Saturday, April 30, 2016

Week 16: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Sunday, April 24

For the longest time I've been meaning to show how GNC prices have risen since we bought our car. GNC (natural gas) is much cheaper than regular gasoline, but with its meteoric rise in price, it's not quite the deal it used to be.
In just over four years the price jumped from $1,499 pesos per cubic meter to $10,94. I wanted to get a picture of the whole sign so you could see how the other prices have risen, too, but the new signs with their digital lights just turn into glaring blurs unless you get really close with the camera.

Tuesday, April 26

We had planned to go to Sta. Rosa today, taking a load out and bringing the books and bookshelves back. But Ivan got sick on Monday so we decided to postpone a day. Probably a good thing, because we ended up having to get our car fixed. It went to two different mechanics for two different problems that took all day to resolve. It gave us time to get some other things done. Ivan's still going through his tools. Most have sold, and with several deliveries this week, he needed to sort out who was getting what.

Wednesday, April 27

The morning started way too early for me, when I woke at 3 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. My mind kicked into high gear (not surprising since we have so much going on right now) so we didn't even need the alarm to get us up early to go for my final blood work. The idea was to get that done and come home for a nice breakfast.

But on the way back we decided to make a quick stop and see what we needed to do to get the '08' document which is necessary in order to sell our car. That quick stop turned into a three hour ordeal due to the fact that my initial Argentine ID was in my maiden name, since that's the way it's done here, but my final DNI is in my married name -- after they decided it was vital to honor my documents from the U.S., which are all in my married name. Anyway, we bought the house and the car before being issued the final DNI so even though the ID # remained the same, the change of last name has created a headache. In the end we did get it done, and finally had breakfast about 11:30 a.m.

Right after breakfast (or should we call it brunch?) we headed out with the fully loaded, quite heavy trailer. We loaded it the night before, thank goodness, so it was only necessary for Ivan to strap things down before we left. Sadly he got interrupted and side-tracked in the process and didn't quite finish the job, so in Alta Gracia we lost a small bin that fell off when we went over a speed bump. It only had one thing in it, but it was of great sentimental value: our African drum. Someone alerted us to the fact that something had fallen off but by the time we turned around and got back, we saw a man hopping back in his truck and driving off with our drum :( We turned around yet again, but never saw the truck. Es lo que hay.

We simply unloaded everything from the trailer into either the house or garage, then began filling boxes and more boxes with books. You might remember that when we moved into the casita, we took our bookshelves and books out to Sta. Rosa. Anyway, we ended up with 14 boxes of books and three bookshelves loaded onto the back of the trailer by the time we were finished.
Some books remained in Sta. Rosa for people to enjoy when they use the house, but the vast majority of our personal library was divided up and given to different people and organizations. We delivered the bookshelves and two boxes of books to one family and 7 boxes to another family before finally arriving home around 11 p.m. Long day, to say the least!

Thursday, April 28

Charlie came over in the morning to help Ivan load the trailer, this time with lots of tools, the workbench, and a door. Then we headed to Cordoba, where we made one delivery and had lunch with our friends, the Caseres family. Their girls were thrilled with the box of children's books I gave them and immediately started looking through to see what they wanted to read first.

Then we traveled across town to Eric and Karen's house where we unloaded the remainder of tools along with a couple boxes of books that they're delivering to a seminary for us. That saved us an extra stop. We left the door on the trailer while we visited with them, and then loaded some other things of theirs and followed Eric to a house they are getting ready to restore in another town. It reminded us a bit of what the casita looked like the first time we saw it. They are currently collecting building materials and supplies, and have a dream of creating a getaway spot that they can enjoy, and so can missionaries and pastors.

Before we left their house in Cordoba, Eric climbed the lemon tree right outside their front door, to pick fresh lemons for us to bring home. Most of the lemons were still green, but near the top there were some ripe ones.

Friday, April 29

It did my heart good to see this photo our friend took of the books we delivered Wednesday night, already unpacked and on the shelves!

A friend came by in the morning to pick up the tools he was buying, plus three boxes of books we were passing along, and stayed for lunch. It was nice to catch up! Hopefully the whole family will get out to see us in Sta. Rosa before we leave.

Late afternoon we went to visit Magdalena and Nestor. She has had cataract surgery on both eyes in the past couple months, the most recent one just a week ago. Between surgeries, she painted this gorgeous picture for us!
We gave her several photos and let her decide which she wanted to do. She chose this view of the Rio San Antonio next to our house here in Carlos Paz. This is the view we see every day that we walk. Nice, heh?!

Monday, April 25, 2016

T Minus and Counting

In the context of a rocket launch, "T minus" refers to the time before a launch. We're sort of feeling like that right now: Launching into a completely different life, with lots of unknowns, and hoping that everything comes together for a smooth lift-off.

A week from tomorrow we're moving out of our little casita. Between now and then we have to deliver several trailer loads of things to different people (primarily tools, but also some household goods). Initially we'd planned to take a load of things to Sta. Rosa tomorrow and bring back the bookshelves someone bought, as well as the books that we're giving to various people and organizations. But Ivan's feeling pretty rough today so we probably won't be able to keep to that schedule.

Both of our immune systems are quite low. Mine has been low for a couple of years (at least) and Ivan's been hit with one thing after another this year: herniated disks, that horrible (and extended) bout with food poisoning, head colds, and not sure what today. He came home after a long morning of running around with the new owner of the property (getting all the utilities changed over to their name) and immediately went to bed. He's feeling slightly better now but definitely not up to par.

I'm fighting a head cold (avoided catching it from Ivan the first time he had it, but not so fortunate this time) and stayed home in my pajamas yesterday, pumping plenty of Shaklee into my system. Today I haven't done much, but I did get dressed so I could take a load of laundry out to the dryer (it's in the garage) since it's gray and rainy. I also cleared off the bookshelf we use as a pantry in the kitchen. Since we sold all the bookshelves Ivan made, we need to at least put back the one dad made. Although we're giving away the vast majority of books, we plan to leave some at the house in Sta. Rosa for people to enjoy when they stay there, so we'll need a bookshelf.  

We literally had every day through next Tuesday planned with things that need to be done. Veering off schedule is just going to make the remaining days that much busier. Praying that Ivan bounces back quickly, and God gives us both the stamina and strength to get through the next chaotic eight days.

Sta. Rosa is two hours from Cordoba, and we'll have to make a few trips back to the provincial capital for more medical tests and to see our doctors one final time. We'll also be tackling some projects at the house, and saying goodbye to the folks we know in that area. We know just about as many people there as we do here in Carlos Paz, since it's where Ivan went to high school and there's still a Grace Brethren church in town.

A wrinkle in our plans popped up -- thankfully before we purchased airline tickets -- that is going to require we drive to Buenos Aires at the very end, so we can switch the title on the car into the name of Ivan's junior high buddy who is buying it. It was going to be too complicated and expensive to try and do that here, since he lives in Bs. As. That will happen the first couple days of June. José Luis is finding out if it will take one or two days, and we'll plan accordingly. But our target day for departure is June 3rd, arriving in Chicago on the 4th.

So T minus and counting: 39 days to launch!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Week 15: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, April 16

Actually a photo from yesterday but I forgot to use it and thought it worth sharing.
This is what our yard looked like after days and days of rain. The ground just couldn't absorb it all so it sort of squished as you walked. And just driving in and out created muddy ruts.

Wednesday, April 20

Not a great week for remembering to take photos, but today I have multiple pictures. First up: a photo of us with the young couple who are buying our property after we'd finished the paperwork with the escribana (kind of a cross between a lawyer and a notary public; they write the documents but also certify them).
(You might have seen this on Facebook, but then I removed it after someone here warned us it was better not to advertise that we'd sold our place.) 

We had just enough time after lunch for a walk before heading back to Cordoba (where we spent all day Tuesday). After all the rain we've had, it felt good to be out in the sun!  Isn't it a beautiful river?!
It never fails to make us smile. We'll definitely miss these scenic walks!

Friday, April 22

Third trip to Cordoba this week. We're trying to get all things medical done before we leave because it's so much cheaper here. This involves mostly those pesky annual tests and exams. But Ivan, who has suffered from acid reflux for decades, wanted to see if there were any new treatments or medications since he last saw a doctor for the condition. The gastroenterologist ordered an endoscopy, which was done this morning. Here is he waiting to be called back:
They found a bunch of polyps and removed a few for biopsy. Praying for an all clear when he sees the gastroenterologist again on May 19th.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Weeks 12, 13 and 14: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, March 26

I played the same word twice in a row. Pretty sure I've never done that before.

Sunday, March 27

Hanging around after church, just visiting with folks.

Easter photos of the grandkids. Because who can resist so much cuteness?!

Wednesday, March 30

Tina had half her thyroid removed yesterday. Thankfully no sign of cancer!

Thursday, March 31

It got quite warm today! We resisted turning on the a.c. but the ceiling fans weren't really cutting it.

Friday, April 1

Ivan says morning glories are like the kudzu of Argentina, they cover everything in their path. I think they're lovely along the costanera.

Sunday, April 3

A few of the men chatting at church.

Monday, April 4

Finally opened this package of chimichurri flavored crackers that Ivan picked up shortly after his bout with food poisoning brought on by chimi. He thought it was hilarious that he found these when he did. They are quite tasty and I get them all to myself since he has no interest in anything chimi flavored these days :)

Wednesday, April 6

Picked up a couple of signs made by our favorite sign guy. I chose the colors for the "Buen Provecho" sign but we gave him free rein on "Bienvenidos", asking only that he include flags from both the U.S. and Argentina.

Friday, April 8

A couple weeks ago I gave these young ladies a box of fabric pieces and look what they made!
I was really impressed with their fabric choices and sewing abilities. Today I gave them a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter so they don't have to cut everything by hand. Can't wait to see what they make next!

Saturday, April 9

Had to slip a collage in somewhere :)
This was an insanely intense and busy day (preceded by some insanely intense and busy weeks) as our neighbor's daughter hosted a garage sale for us. The youth group from church also had their meeting at our house and we had an asado with burgers. It rained for a solid week before the sale, and although this morning was clear, it started raining about 3 p.m. and continued for another three days.

Monday, April 11

Met with this young couple today to talk about selling them our property.
Won't go into a lot of details here, but suffice it to say it was totally God who made this happen and wasn't the result of anything we'd done to try and sell this place. It's beneficial to them and to us. They're missionaries who get support from the U.S. so are ineligible to get a home loan here. And now we don't have to mess with being absentee home owners from 6,000 miles away, dealing with realtors and renters. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 13

Had lunch with Marcela and her youngest, Carlota (recently back from 1-1/2 years in Canada, and now getting ready to head to Australia for a year).

Thursday, April 14

Thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Velvet Ashes Virtual Retreat today! Was so incredibly blessed by the testimonies and working through the online journal they provided. Also greatly encouraged as I listened to the four women who lead VA share from their hearts on the theme of fear.
Instead of printing out the online journal, I wrote directly into my regular journal -- which, at the moment, happens to be this ginormous one I've had for 16 years. Not sure what I was saving it for, but recently when I ran out of all my smaller journals, I decided to start using it. I initially thought I'd get a whole year into it, but that's not going to happen at the rate I'm going.

Friday, April 15

Our last rose of the season.
In reality, the bush might bear more blooms but we won't be here to enjoy them. We'll be moving out of our dear little casita on May 3rd, to the house in Sta. Rosa for a month, before returning to the U.S. for good.

The fact is my health has not improved like we'd hoped. More than a year after the celiac diagnosis and going completely gluten free, I still suffer from pretty severe fatigue and frequent migraines. It's affected the work we do, since most activities don't begin until 8 or 9 p.m. and I am DONE by then.

We began a discussion some months ago with our area director and the elders in our home church. In the end we made the painful decision that we will not be returning to Argentina after this upcoming furlough. We will be submitting our resignation to Biblical Ministries Worldwide, effective September 30, 2016. This was one of the toughest decisions we've ever made.

God has been so good. Ivan's brother has offered him the opportunity to join him in a new business venture of rehabbing homes in the northern Indiana area. We've been able to sell or give away most of our things in just the past couple of weeks. In His perfect timing, we've sold the property. Bit by bit things are falling into place.

When we came, it was with the idea we'd be here until we retired, so it's not been easy to wrap our minds around the idea of going in a completely different direction than planned. I'll admit, it's still overwhelming at times. But I can rest in the assurance He will continue to provide. He is a Good Shepherd who will "send me in the right direction" as Psalms 23 reads in The Message.

There's a lot of work involved in dismantling our life here. We're praying God will give us the strength we need, the ability to tie up all the loose ends, and that we would leave having done what God wanted of us.