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Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrapping up the year!

I know, I just made a post about my visitors staying with me for a week (they're still here as I write this). However, as you know I am counting down the days until Wally's arrival back home here in Uruguay. Yes, we do think of Uruguay now as our home and Wally can't wait to get back here.

As a present to me he's going to turn this years blog into a book! ($59.99) The reason we want to do this is because it has been a landmark year for me.

I have now been here in Uruguay on my own without him for 8 months! He will have been gone a total of 9 months when he finally returns in January, on the twelfth, 2012.

 It has been an interesting year for me! We have been married now for 38 years and this has been the first time we have been apart for more than a week in all of those years! He once went to Florida to visit his folks and I joined him in the second week as my work allowed. Many people said that I was very brave to have stayed behind in a foreign country all by myself. Especially, without really speaking the language, (Spanish) all that well. I had to take on the role of maintaining the house, learning how to change out the gas tanks, clean out the sink trap and keep an eye out for all of the various devices we have hooked up, like our Solar hot water heater. I know that there are literarily millions of single women around the globe who have been doing these types of things for eons. Still it was a good experience for me to see that I was capable of handling,"come what may" on my own.

I wasn't really alone as I had my 2 dogs and 1 cat (Barney, Sheila and Nathan the cat) for company, as well as many loving and caring friends who watched out for me.

I took on new roles. For instance, since this blog is primarily about Uruguay I took over the brunt of posting new blog posts about various things going on here in Uruguay. So, I took over Wally's computer and blogged away for any readers out there.

 I learned that there are readers out there because so many of you kindly added comments of your own. Also, as a lark, Wally added (in August) a google counter to see how many "hits" we might be receiving. I thought that maybe, we might have up to 12 people who have checked in from time to time. Well guess what? The counter says that during the 3 plus years, we have been posting about Uruguay, some 50,000!!! people have at least stumbled upon our blog. That doesn't mean they actually read it but that 50,000 people know we exist or rather that our blog exists! Roughly a 1000 people a month cruise by. The countries represented by these people have circled the globe. Click on a counter and see for yourself!

Since it's impossible to add a live link to a paper book, I thought I would copy this weeks counter numbers to remember them by, as a fitting end to this year of 2011.

Worldmap Visitors

Total Pageviews



By now, you can see that this last post of 2011 is going to be a self-indulgent one. I wanted to use this post as a souvenir to remember this year. It was a milestone in my life. I was pretty proud of how capable I was on my own. Of course, I did have my "ups and downs", quite literarily in fact, when I fell flat on my face a few months ago. That black eye was immortalized for all to see! I also had to run to the medical clinic one day to fight an infection that my cat Nathan caused by scratching my arm. All is forgiven him on my account so I am now including a photo tribute to Nathan my "Beloved" cat!

See how sweet he can be?

Wally has been gone for most of the year but we did get to go to the department of Rocha before he left through the kind invitation of Gustavo and Silvia. I definitely want to go back there!  There is so much we still want to see! I liked a picture they took of Wally and I so much I am including it here.

Uruguay has an abundance of water ways, lagoons, rivers and coastline, so of course, I have to add a few water views here in this post. The combo below is from the lagoon in Rocha.

I am especially glad that each day, I get to see a great view of the water from my house. In fact, from inside my very living room and dinning room and kitchen! Yes, I'm using this last post to brag!!!

Speaking of my house, we're happy with our light, bright, open floor plan and yes the enjoyable view. Since Uruguay has some fierce rain and thunder storms, being able to stay inside on a stormy day and still enjoy a view is a real luxury for us. 

My outside front garden has really made coming home a treat. I like looking at the multi-tiered front garden along with my little personal "rose' garden.

Wally has missed Uruguay and me so much, that he says, he's even willing to talk about my garden with me! I had a large backyard garden in Seattle that I left behind so it was important to me that I could have a fitting substitute here, The idea was to really make Uruguay and this house feel like our natural home. In other words we don't want to be "homesick" or have a longing to return to the States (USA). We love the USA and nothing can really compare to the magnitude of having 50 separate States each diverse from the other and many as big or bigger than this whole country of Uruguay. However, we want to think of Uruguay as a comfortable place, you do come home to.

To test Wally's resolve to tolerate my gardening topics I'm adding more garden pictures of our home right now! I want them to be part of my book!

During this year I didn't drive our "Fusca" or VW bug because I'm out of practice driving a stick-shift. So it sat parked in our driveway for the year, I will have to quickly charge its battery up before Wally arrives. He has promised me that when he gets back a priority will be to make me practice driving it. I need to relearn how to drive a stick-shift. I have a Uruguayan driver's license and when I was younger I actually learned how to drive a stick-shift on a VW bug, so the knowledge is in there somewhere. You might say it's like learning to ride a bicycle, once you do learn you never forget how to do it. I definitely put that saying to the test when I started to ride a bicycle here, after a 40 year absence of use. 

Another reason, that I'm starting to feel more comfortable here in my house is that the many boxes of stuff we shipped here, have finally found a permanent place throughout the house. Some on walls, others on counters.

When we first came here we felt we couldn't afford a shipping container so we sold everything and came here with 66 boxes. We should have had 67 boxes but Wally miscounted in his haste and 1 box, that wasn't numbered, went missing. We never could claim the lost box although it was the only wooden box, (a small crate ) that was mentioned as a wooden box on the manifest. That was the price we paid for trying to settle things long distance. Of course, it was the crate with our new TV in it! It also had several large framed pictures in it. Along with various smaller items. Now, whenever we can't find anything that we thought we had brought, we say, "it must have been in that crate"! 

My bathroom looks like a mini picture gallery. I have hung up all of the pictures I had brought with me from my last home in Washington State (that weren't in,"that crate"). To tell the truth my bathroom now looks smaller  because it's now very "busy" with everything hung up. However, I had those pictures up in my last bathroom and I wanted them up here too. One wall predominately has copies of Monet paintings. The second wall has pictures by my favorite artist, a graphic artist from the 1910s and '20s named Maxfield Parrish. He did artwork for famous companies and Magazines like Life. I have a copy of the book "Arabian Nights" that he illustrated and I did have a commemorated stamp set issued in 2001 by the US postal department. (I wonder if I brought that here?) The Irish singer Enya has a CD cover inspired by his painting "The young King of the Black Isles". I have that Print and that album. That picture is up on my wall. As is his most famous picture "Day Break". 


I now have a proper "Guest room" due in part to my surprise house guests! I admit that I hadn't planned on doing that room just yet and if Wally were here he might not have let me design it the way I wanted. Meaning, to buy the extra furniture, He did say it was good that I had free reign to decorate it as I wanted  because now the room is useful and more importantly done!

Here's an odd, interesting tidbit, I had to remove Sheila's (Shila's) Bed from out of our bedroom and into the hallway. Normally she keeps Barney up at night with her tossing and turnings so we had long ago separated them at night to give Barney some rest. Well since Wally was away, she took it upon herself to take his place in our bed. She has since learned a new word called 'Move!" She wanted to be right by my side and on me while I slept. She is normally my shadow during the day guarding me. She must have felt I needed even more protection at night what with Wally's absence and all. Well, I tolerated a few nights of sharing my bed with her but eventually (so I wouldn't be pushed out of my own bed), I moved her bed into the hall way. 

Barney then decided he liked Shila's bed better (though it's much smaller than his) so he claimed it as his own. It was a cold winter this year so he preferred sleeping with a blanket (a beach towel). Then Nathan, "the cat" decided Barney needed company and he started to sleep on a rug near Barney so I ended up putting Nathan's bed down, next to Barney's, in the hallway (Nathan loves his bed) and immediately accepted the arrangement. All of that will have to change though when Wally returns. It really isn't safe to have an obstructed hallway, in case of emergency. Normally, we keep the hallway pretty empty. We send the animals to the hallway when we eat and they accept that as a waiting zone but they will hang out there on their own sometimes just to relax or even play together. Now with everyone sleeping in the hall, it's a little crowed. My bedroom door is however, well guarded by Barney and Nathan. Shila now sleeps in the laundry room, in Barney's old bed.

Since I'm talking about pets and Nathan has already had his photos included, I'll give Mr. B. (Barney) his showcase.

Shila, was named so because I was trying to get the sound of Sheila from English into Spanish. Sheila sounds like Shayla in Spanish. I made a mistake because to get the sense of a very feminine name,  a very She, girly girl image, I tried a double female sounding name, like La, also is (She La) I tried for the "e" sounding "i" spelling in Spanish. However, to get the sound of the American Sheila, I should have spelled her name more like Yila or even Llila with the double L (ll) shh sound. That is the sound of Y or the double L down here in Argentina and in Uruguay. Mexico, for instance, does not have that sound when using Y or LL So the spelling is wrong but we pronounce her name Sheila though we spell it wrongly as Shila! Now that I have gotten you throughly confused, let's see how cute she was as a pup and how she has grown. She now has her "fringes" or long adult fur grown in.

My friends can't wait until Wally returns because we haven't had a karaoke party for over a year now. I just had too much on my plate being   on my own (read my years's posts) to host one. When we have a big group (over 20), we push the furniture to the walls and really open up the place. My friends say, they will let Wally rest and have 2 weeks with me alone and then we "must" have a "Welcome Home" Party!

All in all, I had an interesting time on my own this year in Uruguay but I must admit I'm looking forward to having Wally come Home!

Because I want to get this into printed book form, I'm quickly wrapping up the year and this will be the last post for 2011! 

You will just have to imagine the whistle blowing and me running after the garbage collectors to give them their year-end appreciation tip. 

You can perhaps imagine me walking my dogs to the vet's, to get their yearly rabies shots that are due in this month of December.

Finally you will have to take it for granted that the end of the year will be greeted with community fire works and that I will be watching them on my balcony listening to the sounds of explosions and surf!

But most of all you can imagine how glad I'll be when Wally gets back home, here in Uruguay, come January. Of course, that will be in the new year of 2012. So I guess you won't have to imagine that after all as it will probably be my first new post of the new year, 2012

See you next year!
Ciao, Denise D. Glass


Anonymous said...

Dear Denise and Wally,
Another year went by and I am very happy to be a regular reader of your blog from France. By the way, our plans have not changed… it is just a matter of time!
It is nice to know that Wally will back soon.
Thanks for this nice blog. I really enjoyed all posts this year. Please go on!

Anonymous said...

hey! was amazed when found your blog!
we have been in Marindia for almost 16 years and never met you...and we live a few blocks apart
it is funny for us to see how you describe our country and culture with other eyes
it is a very nice, interesting blog
hope to see you in the future
Retired neighbours too

Anonymous said...

Hi Denise-
I just stumbled upon your blog and thoroughly enjoy reading your experiences. My wife and our 3 young children are very interested in relocating to Uruguay from California,USA and have many questions since we are also Jehovah's Witnesses

Julia said...

Hello Denise,

I am Uruguayan and live in Montevideo, but spent 2 years in Minneapolis, MN. I came back and searched blogs of American expats in Uruguay, to see what was my country like to American people.

I really enjoy your blog and I recommend it to friends. I'm glad you found a little corner of the Costa de Oro to call home.

Felices fiestas!

TV said...

Great blogging Denise with the nice 2011 chronicals for you both!
I always look forward to new entries in your Uruguay experience.
I'm hoping that 2012 will be healthy and joyful for you and Wally as well!