Friday, September 18, 2015

Weeks 36, 37 and 38: Project 365, the 2015 Edition

Thursday, September 3

We met friends at the airport with their car, that we'd kept stored at our place while they traveled. They were so kind and agreed to bring us back some goodies. I've ordered this same coffee and cocoa from amazon three times now. The cocoa powder especially is excellent! And another dear friend sent some Shaklee products, including their wonderful hydrating moisturizer (one of only two kinds I can use; everything else causes my skin to break out).

Saturday, September 6

Had to make a trip to Cordoba after failing to find what we needed at either of the Sherwin Williams stores in Carlos Paz. Had to go to two different SW stores in Cordoba as well, before we found what we were looking for. Import restrictions are making it harder and harder to find things :(

Anyway, at the second store I stayed in the car. I noticed a traveling carnival had set up at the end of the parking lot, so I took a few photos with my phone. This is the best of the bunch. I could have gotten out of the car and walked closer for a better shot, but just didn't have the energy that day.

We were on our way to fill up the car before heading home and got rerouted because of an accident near the gas station. Ended up on a street we'd never been before and saw this Salvation Army store -- had not even been aware that SA had thrift stores here, just like back home!


Saturday, September 12

I have only one photo from Week 37. Ivan painted the bedroom door early in the week, had men's Bible study, we went to Sta. Rosa to get the house ready for the Men's Advance, and visited various friends throughout the week but we didn't take photos of any of that. Our one and only photo is from a walk at the end of the week when we noticed that they've started planting trees along the costanera.


Monday, September 14

This afternoon we went shopping, to stock up on food for me while Ivan's gone the rest of the week. As we came out of the grocery store, I noticed the glorious flowering tree next to our parking area. With the warmer weather, everything is blooming much sooner than normal this year.

Tuesday, September 15

Even though Ivan's in Sta. Rosa for the Men's Advance (all the missionary guys from our mission are together this week, hashing out policy stuff), I'm continuing to take my daily walks. Although there's still a lot of brown (mainly due to so little rain), the trees are definitely greening up!

Wednesday, September 16

I shared a photo from last Saturday of a tree they'd planted on the costanera. They are continuing to plant trees right along, and I took this photo today. They have about a dozen planted so far, and what you can't see is that further down, holes are dug and just waiting for more trees.

Thursday, September 17

Two photos today! On my walk today I noticed they'd painted the top cement section of the gated area at this complex. Ugh! I'm not kidding when I say it hurts my eyeballs. I have nothing against purple (am actually wearing a purple shirt that same color right now), but the purple has no relation to the rest of the fixed materials! In my collage I've shared three colors I think would have worked much better with the tile and brick. What do you think?

I know orange and purple are opposite on the color wheel and are often used together, but to me this just looks all wrong. Different strokes for different folks, eh?

And tonight I remembered to take a screen shot of Simon while skyping with him and Tina. He is such a ham! I love these opportunities to see him splashing in the bath, climbing all over, playing a matching game... He's growing up so fast! *sniff, sniff* 

Very much looking forward to Ivan getting home in a few hours. I've kept busy, but I've missed him. I've gotten daily emails and texts and it sounds like the men have had a productive and enjoyable week. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The distinction between generality and particularity, and how it affects compassion

We've been reading "A Circle of Quiet" by Madeleine L'Engle and we were struck by how so much of what she wrote 40 years ago is still current. She writes of a play she'd probably seen a decade before, Rhinoceros.

"It starts out in a small French village on a Sunday morning; everything is normal and ordinary; the people in the village are very much like the people we know, like us. Then a rhinoceros strolls through the village square, and this first rhinoceros is like a presage of plague, because the people of the village start, one by one, turning into rhinos; they are willing to give up being their particular selves, to give up being human beings, to become beasts. And one of the characters says, 'Oh, why couldn't all this happen in some other country so we could just read about it in the papers?'"

Madeleine's point is that it's easier to be uninvolved in distant generalities and to shy away from particularities.

Her mother had "seen the advent of gas light to replace oil lamps, of electric light to replace gas...the advent of the telephone, wireless, cables, television, all our means of instant communication...the development of bicycles, automobiles, prop planes, jet planes, rockets to the moon." Madeleine considers how children (she wrote this in the early 1970s) had never known a world without machines.

"We can't absorb it all. We know too much, too quickly, and one of the worst effects of this avalanche of technology is the loss of compassion. Newsprint is too small for me now; I listen to the news on WQXR. I find that I always listen carefully to the weather; this affects me. If there is some kind of strike going on in New York -- there usually is -- which will inconvenience me, I get highly indignant. I am apt to pay less attention when the daily figures for deaths on the battlefields are given; it is too far away; I cannot cope emotionally. Occasionally it hits me hard when I hear the announcer say that there were only fifty-four deaths this week: only? what about the mothers, wives, sweethearts, children, of the fifty-four men who were killed? But it has to happen close at home before I can truly feel compassion."

Later she shares the story of hearing that a young girl had been hit by a car in their village. At the time she and her husband ran the general store and, since it was centrally located, they always knew what was going on. It was where people came to shop and share the news of the village. Everyone was relieved when the child suffered no serious injuries. She concludes by saying, "Compassion is nothing one feels with the intellect alone. Compassion is particular; it is never general."

This week we saw pictures of migrants crowded onto small boats and large ships at sea...

Photos like these are too general to do more than warrant a passing glance. We are on the other side of the world, and can "just read about it in the papers" -- or in most cases today, online.

But the photo that touched a nerve for all the world was the one of a small boy lying on a beach, at the edge of the water. We can see the masses on the boats and not see their faces, but one small child brings it home to us: this tragedy unfolding in Europe as thousands upon thousands flee war-torn countries looking for a place of peace. They are individuals and when we see that, we are moved to compassion.

It happened with another photo this week:
This Syrian refugee, holding his exhausted child and trying to sell pens in order to survive, struck a chord that moved people to respond.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by all that's happening. It takes the particular story of one to reach us on a visceral level. The ability to be connected to the world 24/7 has innoculated us, to a great extent, but all it takes is one individual story to move us back to the true kind of connectedness.

A missionary blogger that I follow had this to say:
"Most of the people concerned about the migrants have never tried living in a foreign country. They've never packed their belongings into a few bags and replanted themselves into another culture. They have no sense of how much paperwork is required to retain legality. Refugees are doing all of this while living in a panic, while they are trying to escape to safety." 

I can attest to the mounds of paperwork required to be a legal foreigner in another country. It took more than four years for me to become a legal resident of Argentina. This involved traveling to the Argentine consulate in Chicago before we even moved, and then multiple trips to the provincial capital as well as Buenos Aires. It required filling out forms not once, not twice, not three times, but four times before I was finally granted legal residency status.

Four years and four applications. Think about this. Refugees fleeing war do not have the luxury of waiting four years for their paperwork to be approved. Have you considered what you would do if you and your family were threatened by severe deprivation and almost certain death?

I'm not trying to stir the pot and get into a debate on immigration, either in Europe or the United States. I do want us to stop and consider that each immigrant is a particular individual, with their very own story, and we need to get past generalties because Madeleine was absolutely right: "Compassion is particular; it is never general."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Week 35: Project 365, the 2015 Edition

Thursday, August 27

Over a month ago I said I'd try and take photos of the new picnic and exercise area on the other side of the river towards town. We had traffic right behind us so only paused long enough to do some "drive-by shooting" of the playground/exercise space. Maybe before another month passes, I'll manage to get some pictures of the picnic area.

Friday, August 28

After several friends sent me the link to an article about a new market in town that caters specifically to celiacs, we thought we'd check it out. Funny thing, though, the article didn't say where it was! While scrolling down Ivan saw someone had included the address in a comment. By the way, the Sin T.A.C.C. symbol on GF products makes it a lot easier to verify if it's something I can eat.  
We picked up several things that have been hard (or impossible) to find elsewhere -- including corn tortillas! Shelves line the perimeter of the interior and that's it. No shelves in the middle, although there's room. The fact is, gluten free products are still pretty scarce here. Ninety percent of what's available is prepared foods (cookies, chips, frozen foods, and so on). It's been really hard to find what I'd call raw ingredients. We did notice, however, that they had a couple of "flours" we hadn't seen anywhere else. I use quote marks because they were not true finely ground flours, but appeared to have a coarser texture, somewhat like cornmeal. The prices were high enough we didn't indulge. While I'd love to experiment with more whole grain bread recipes, I can't justify the equivalent of $3-5 for a cup's worth of specialty flour. I think with time, more products will become available and (hopefully) prices will drop some too. Vamos a ver.

While we were downtown, Ivan treated us to ice cream. There's a new-ish place that has ice cream I can eat. You can see they have quite a variety of flavors. Now look in the lower right hand corner. See the flavors listed in white? That's what's "apto para celĂ­acos". This was our second time to go, and I got the same thing because I liked it so much the first time: chocolate and banana. Great combination!  Ivan, of course, can get whatever he wants. He chose one of the chocolates off the regular menu.
It cracks us up that the name of the place is Prego :)

Saturday, August 29

It was rather warm today.
If it's this warm the end of August, I don't even want to think about what it will be like come January.

Monday, August 31

After spending the whole day studying, Ivan was ready for a break. So he decided to start installing crown molding in the kitchen at 6 p.m. At one point he needed my help; I went in to find him on the fridge, working in the corner. I handed him the tools he needed and then ran for the camera :)