Photos: Catch Them While You Can!

May 19, 2010

I’ve been thinking recently that it’s about time to retire the old Nomad Chronicles photo gallery, and the discovery that the comments were chock-full of spam made the decision easy. So, when I switch web hosts in July, the gallery will be no more. I may eventually get some of those photos up on Flickr, but considering my track record for posting photos, don’t hold your breath!

So, if you have any interest in checking out the photos from my round-the-world trip in 2004-2005, my 2006 U.S. cross-country drive, or trips to Arizona and Honduras that same year, do it now!

I’m also debating retiring the nomadchronicles.com domain entirely (at the moment it’s just hosting my photos, since the home page redirects to this blog on wordpress.com). This is not to say that I’m leaving my nomadic ways behind, it’s just that I’m paying for the domain and not really using it. Thoughts?

Yes and No

April 11, 2010

I just finished reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, about his experience hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail (AT). It was an enjoyable read, but one passage in particular really resonated with me, and I even went back to read it a few more times after I finished the book. It reminds me of how I felt when I finished my round-the-world trip, and how I still feel sometimes, torn between wanting to travel forever and never leave home again, wherever/whatever “home” is.

When Bryson is asked if he feels bad about leaving the trail before finishing, he writes:

I had come to realize that I didn’t have any feelings towards the AT that weren’t confused and contradictory. I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts. I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. All of this all at once, every moment, on the trail or off. “I don’t know,” I said. “Yes and no, I guess.”

Christmas in July

December 23, 2009

At least that’s what it feels like down here in Buenos Aires, where I’m sweating through preparing the house for guests and crazy enough to turn on the oven to bake spiced pecans.

The usual crew is coming over tonight for game night – I’m hoping for a few rounds of cards and/or dice, and a later night than usual since most of us don’t have to work tomorrow.

Christmas is more traditionally celebrated on the night of the 24th in Argentina, and through much of Latin America, where the day is called Nochebuena. My new(ish) boyfriend, Roberto, and I are heading to the provincia for an asado with his family, and we’ll return to the city in time to meet up with my parents, who are arriving midday on the 25th. They were here for the holidays two years ago, and I’m really excited about their coming down again, especially since I know the city so much better now and they will be spending more time here on this visit. They’re also going to Mendoza and we’re spending a week together in the Lake District of Chile at the beginning of January. Will be a great couple weeks!

Sending lots of love to all my friends and family, near and far. I wish we could all be together, but more than anything I wish the best for all of you, wherever you are. Felices Fiestas!

a little tree, and my new patio furniture!

A Spring Thanksgiving

November 28, 2009

Sometime last week I realized that Thanksgiving was this week, and started thinking maybe I should have some people over to celebrate. I thought back to the big potluck we did last year at my friend Cheryl’s house here in Buenos Aires, and it was a lot of fun and a great mix of expats, travelers, and locals, sharing traditions and food and conversation.

So I sent out a bilingual invitation on Monday of Thanksgiving week to about 20 people, assuming many of them wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t picky about getting people to bring any of the traditional turkey-day foods, but I did ask people to bring something homemade if possible.

The more I got thinking about it, and as I explained Thanksgiving and my family’s traditions to Argentine friends, I decided I really wanted mashed potatoes (and even called a family friend to get her recipe). And I wanted to replicate my mom’s pecan pie (ended up making pecan pie bars, a little easier, and super tasty). An American friend got really excited and decided she’d make stuffing. And cornbread. Another friend set out to find a turkey – and dug up two cans of cranberries (a really special treat!) that she’d gotten from an expat leaving town a while back. Even some of my disorganized Argentine friends, from whom I honestly didn’t expect very much, rose to the challenge and made some great salads, sides, and dessert.

I also invited a couple Couchsurfers who’d contacted me but who I couldn’t host (I had a German couple arriving the next day), and suddenly the guest list had at least 20 people on it! I tried not to panic about having not really thought all this through, and on Thursday morning I went out to buy more plates and cups, called a friend to bring a ton of extra silverware, and thankfully found all of the ingredients to make the pecan pie bars. My friend Cate came over to help with the turkey and potatoes and everything else, and we sweated it out in the kitchen all afternoon and early evening (all that heavy, baked food is really not meant for hot-weather consumption, but we made it happen!).

So I think we had 21 people here total, some of whom had never celebrated Thanksgiving. Nations represented: US, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Ecuador, England, France, Spain… In true Argentine fashion, I said we’d start “around 9 pm” and I think we finally ate around 10:30 or so. It was a great night, with a beautiful clear sky so we could enjoy the terrace, and just enough space for everyone. It was wonderful to have a house full of people – it made it much less difficult to be away from home. I can’t wait to do it again sometime!

Photos and more

November 9, 2009

After a long hiatus, mostly due to laziness, I’m getting back in the groove with posting photos on Flickr, including more of my apartment and recent days and nights in Buenos Aires, plus trips recent and not-so-recent, like my trip to Salta with my friend Connie in, um, August 2008. Better late than never! These are especially worth checking out because they include our visit to one of the neatest places I’ve ever been, the Museo Pachamama in Amaicha – where all the non-landscape pictures in the group were taken.

My awesome new (used) couch is proving itself a worthy place to rest one’s head. It was first tested out by a friend who had some family problems one night and needed a place to crash, then my dear friend Mia flew down from San Francisco to try it out for a week or so. We had a great visit – it’s so much fun to share my favorite things about this city with friends so they can finally put faces and names to the things I often talk about. I’ve also recently decided to start offering a couch to travelers once again via the amazing Couchsurfing.org and have been meeting and hosting some neat people, including two American girls traveling in Central and South America for two months and a couple from France who will be enjoying my air mattress later this week.

Books

September 13, 2009

So I may not be posting much these days, but I am keeping my book list up to date – check it out if you’re looking for something to read! I’m happy to see that I’m on track to read more books in 2009 than I did last year – though I’m not sure why that really matters to me.

Blog? What blog?

September 8, 2009

I kind of forgot for a while that I have a blog. And that maybe someone would like me to update it. Actually I have no proof of the latter – nobody seems to be clamoring for more blog posts – but I can pretend. I have all the usual excuses and nothing more.

The apartment is coming together, slowly but surely. But to bring it together I have to tear it apart first – I currently have the couch in the middle of the living room and the dining table piled with stuff I moved out of the kitchen, all in preparation for beginning to paint tomorrow! Yep, sure would have been a lot easier before I had all this stuff, but that’s how it goes. The only thing I painted before I moved in was the inside of the closets – at least I recognized how much of a pain that would be if I didn’t do it right away! But I have some time off this week, and in talking to some friends about not wanting to fritter it away without getting anything concrete accomplished, I mentioned painting, and someone offered to come help, and voila! Tomorrow is taping and primering and all that, and painting will commence on Wednesday. Plain ol’ white in the kitchen, and I’m testing out a lovely spring-ish green on two walls in the living room. I really want to paint the rest of the living room – probably in a barely off-white – but I’m having a humidity issue in one corner that I need to get fixed first. Thankfully the super thinks it’s a building issue, so hopefully I won’t have to pay for the repair – and hopefully they won’t tear up the wall too badly. And I have my eye on a lovely shade of light blue for the bedroom; just have to find the store that sells it (I found the color in an old fan deck a friend gave me).

Before and after pix soon…

Whirlwind

July 26, 2009

The last month has been a bit of a blur, but in a good way, as I’ve been gallavanting around the US visiting family and friends – sorry if I didn’t make it to your neck of the woods! Now to figure out how to fit all my new purchases/gifts into the suitcase…

I’m looking forward to being back in BA… but hopefully the “polar” cold front will have passed by the time I get there.

A Pain in the Neck

June 18, 2009

So much for that writing every day thing… But here’s a slice of my life today.

I was up late last night researching things I want to buy while I’m back in the States this summer, and had trouble getting to sleep thinking about new toys and the impending arrival of a new (to me) couch! I was up early too, and headed out to a friend’s second-floor apartment to watch two guys (who arrived EARLY – shocking) lower said couch over the balcony and onto the sidewalk below. They kept telling me how complicated the job was because of this sign that was attached to the front of the building, but it all looked pretty smooth to me! Their clunky truck carried the couch and us 22 blocks to my place, where they (thankfully!) determined it would most likely make it in the front door of my apartment, and proceeded to carry it up 10 flights of stairs. The older guy, sweating on arrival, declared the stairs “mortal.” And mentioned again that they had done such a good job, and, you know, no obligation, but a tip might be nice. I was already paying a pretty penny for the move, but took pity and threw in a little extra “para los chicos.”

Then I had lunch and enjoyed a nice nap on the new couch.

Then I went to a personal training session with my yoga teacher to work on some things to improve my yoga practice. Afterwards I stopped at a store, and while the guy was wrapping up my purchases I was rolling my starting-to-be-sore neck and shoulders. He asked me if I’d been here long (“here” meaning BA, of course), and when I told him I’d been here two years he said, “That’s why your neck hurts. Buenos Aires is a nice place to be for just a little while.” This sums up the sentiments of a lot of people I’ve talked to here, who can’t really understand why so many foreigners would want to come live in Buenos Aires, when they’d all just love to get out. Argentine-American singer Kevin Johansen has a song about that, actually; this is the chorus: “And all the people that aren’t from here would like to come and stay / And all the people that are from here just want to get away.”

A Good Day

June 4, 2009

I got an email today from a new client that starts out, “Hi Amy, You are amazing.” Can’t get much better than that! Makes working until really late the last few nights totally worth it.

More soon…