Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baby Brain

Last Friday Hugh and I were walking Utta around Rosedal lake and noticed something unusual. Bumper to bumper traffic along all three main arteries out of the city. Yes, it was friday. Yes, it was a 3 day weekend. But come on. This was odd. It was yet another series of road blockades as part of the three month long farmers protest against the new taxes imposed by Presidenta Kristina Kirchner. Over 30 blockades preventing access to every major autopista in the country. Good thing we axed plans to head out of town. Noone was going nowhere fast.

Sunday evening the boom of pots and pans clanging together, horns honking and protesters marching filled the typically tranquil skies. The melody continued for 20 or 30 minutes, getting angrier and louder by the minute. Every balcony from our window's view had at least one or two people on it banging away. I guess we missed the email announcement on this one.

The tension and frustration is palpable. All of my Argentine friends and acquaintances (and strangers, taxi drivers, deliverymen) whale on about it. They use words like "disaster", "worse than a dictatorship", "face of a witch" (reference to the President - "cara de bruja". It's serious enough that when our next door neighbors (americans living here for 6 months) considered buying an apartment, the real estate agent (risking lost commission) urged them to put their money elsewhere. "don't invest here now" she warned. "things are going to get a lot worse and you do not want your money in Argentina when it does".

Meanwhile back on planet Baby, I dream of butterflies and unicorns, paint in cheery tones of turquoise and cantaloupe, hum to myself and pet my belly all day. Sunday I spent the afternoon painting. I've graduated to canvas and am working on different kinds of brushstroke techniques. That evening while the whole of the outside world raged with wooden spoons, cast iron skillets and clenched fists, I perused and subsequently got lost on After peeling my eyes away from the 30 different varieties of breast pump, I registered for the essentials so that friends and family could partake in a Virtual Babyshower. Ok, that pint-sized yoga sticky mat probably falls outside the "essentials" category but HOW CUTE! I had to include it. Its not that I don't care or worry about the situation and how it will be resolved. We are affected. Our groceries are more expensive. We canceled a weekend trip to Rosario because the roads were all closed. Our friends and neighbors talk of nothing else. but....There's a happy hormone running through my veins, clearly immune to the nonstop chaos, misery and injustice in this country and our own. I guess nature planned it that way so that each species would survive. I'm just doing my part.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Party's Over

Rachel and Rey fly home today. They spent a month in total here for the wedding festivities and honeymoon. Aside from their 4 day trip to Iguazu Falls, we've seen them every day. One night Rey made us Panzit (Filipino noodle dish) from the ingredients we found in Chinatown. Last weekend we rented a car to explore some of the more residential neighborhoods and wealthy suburbs north of the city. Then we took a boat tour around the islands of Tigre. It will be a rough adjustment for me no doubt tomorrow. Its been so nice having my sister so close (they rented an apt across the street), sharing daily mates and the routine of cooking meals and walking the dogs.

Tomorrow its a blank slate again. No more wedding to plan. No more visitors to entertain. Just me and my burgeoning belly hunkering down for the long cold winter. I'm wearing my warmest wool coat in the evenings now. Scarves and mittens too. I've outgrown most of my regular jeans and final appear as pregnant as I feel. In pictures of me I notice my face getting rounder and rounder like a red apple.

Last week we had the 20 week ultrasound and found out its a girl. Well, I've known since week 4 or 5. Call it mothers intuition or whatever but she has always been a she to me. She also started moving last week. The first feeling was very exciting - more of a flutter than a kick. But now she is active all day long. In the mornings before I get out of bed is when I can feel her the most. At first Hugh looked terrified to touch my belly like an alien might pop out but he is settling in to the idea a bit more each day.