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Wednesday, January 2, 2013


December 31st, 2012
Well the Mayan Indians weren't such forward thinkers after all, their calendar ended last month but we didn't! Yeah! That's the good news. The bad is that I'm afraid 2013 won't be that great of a year for me.

John Lennon (of the Beatles fame) was once asked why he was attracted to Yoko Ono who became his wife. He said it was because when he met her at a gallery opening her exhibit spoke to his soul. Her art installation consisted of a long wooden stair case with a telescope like piece mounted at the top of the stairs. When he climbed the stairs and looked through the eye piece what he saw made him know she was a woman he wanted to be with. What he saw was the word YES. It was a positive message and very powerful, just one simple word but with great possibilities.

So, I too usually try in my posts to be positive and upbeat when I can. I hope this new year's post doesn't turn any of you permanently away but I'm just hoping that this new year doesn't suck too bad.

December 31st. ended with the usual neighborhood fireworks show. We have at least 3 competing neighbors who go all out in their displays so we stayed home to watch. Earlier in the day it had rained so we nixed the roof and I just ran out at midnight and peeked from my own backyard to watch.

My neighbors' fireworks display, as seen from my backyard.
January 2013.
We found my favorite street dog dead this morning. Whenever, I would see him, I would give him some food. He would wander up our stairs and I'd give him something to eat. I always keep water in front of our stoop/stair case for the street dogs. I have called around for homes whenever I've seen abandoned puppies but the grown dogs live in packs and are usually caring for themselves, being feed by various people in the neighborhood. This dog was probably some summer pet abandoned by vacationers after their vacation ended a few summers ago. He was sweet but way too large to take in. I have 2 of my own (dogs and 1 cat) and a husband who won't allow anymore pets than what we already have, given our limited budget.

Wally pulled the poor thing out of the road. He died, I believe from parasites. Wally next, went to the Intendencia (city hall) to see if they pick up large dead animals.  The guy in the office said yes they do. He took Wally outside to see the 4 pickup guys standing around who have motorcycles and bags, then he left Wally with them. We have a little map showing how to get to our house along with instructions on what streets to take pre-copied up. This usually makes finding and getting to our house a snap. We even have a picture of our house on it. Wally handed them the map. The four guys then debated for a full 10 minutes on where our house was. They related how at one time, on the old city map our street was named after a sea creature  or mussels/ Los Moluscos. Then it was called, Calle Uno (# 1) but how now it was back to being named like the old map said but it could also be something else. Then they discussed how sometimes the coastal road is called the Rambla but others call it the Costanero and a third word was also used. Although city hall is only 10 minutes away, I'm hoping the dog is removed some time in the next 8 hours.

This 2013, I am reminded that I no longer have my neighbors' photogenic pine tree to admire anymore against the waves, so I am angling my photos now slightly to the left. The pine trunk is still there, the tree is just decapitated, sigh.

As a reminder to whom it may concern, January is usually when you are supposed to pay your ContribuciĆ³n Immobilieria (property taxes). If you pay early and in a one lump sum payment verses splitting the payments and paying every 6 months instead, you get a hefty rebate! We bought booze with the change back. Vermouth which is called a Martini here because of the company brand name and some Vodka which helps in making Long Island Ice Teas (if we ever find Triple Sec, Where, where??) at least made our tax payment with it's cash back more palatable.

January is the 2nd month of full on summer, down here in South America but this January is surprisingly cool. I'm sort of glad, because among some very strong winds that blew, December had mosquitos and a day that went from 92 degrees F. to 102! So cool and Mosquito free is good.

January 2013
Because of the wind and rain, the water outside at the beach is very brown and choppy.

Wally and I had a fight. That's very rare for us. Still, it left this transition between saying good bye to the old year and welcoming in the new one quite sour for me, but he says he's sorry and will try and do better. One thing I got out of his repentance is that he says he will help me a little bit with my struggling Spanish. I've been very depressed about my lack of progress. Can you tell? Conversing, actually speaking full sentences in Spanish, comes much easier to Wally than it does to me. I know more rules and grammar than he does but that hinders me, more than it helps. Wally knows a few phrases and is able to turn them in a variety of ways so that it sounds like he is speaking full on Spanish. He is now trying practice conversations with me. We started to watch some old Spanish movies and then review them in a mock conversation. So while I am still pissed at him, I also am kind of glad, he's finally helping me with one of my valid complaints! Viva Luchas!

Well, no matter what the coming year brings, I promise that the next post will be more upbeat and positive. May your year bring you, more Yes than no's!


ML Hart said...

Hi Denise,
Happy 2013, especially since it will only get better from a slow start!
Congratulations on learning Spanish, however slowly... more on that in a minute.

I spent last weekend reading your blog - yes, all of it - since we're planning to move to South America to retire. We're about 3 years away, but have started planning, and all your posts (Wally's too) were *most* helpful because of the detail and the honest "warts and all" view. So thank you for the effort you put into this blog!

I'm tentatively planning a 2-week visit in October/November this year - I should know in a couple of months when and whether... can't wait to get acquainted with Uruguay. My boyfriend has his heart set on it because of the stable government, economy, favorable attitude towards immigrants, etc. but I need to see, explore, get a sense of it on the ground. I'll keep you posted.

Spanish... I took my first classes in January 2010 and learned a bunch of grammar and got confused. But we don't learn how to talk by learning rules of grammar. Yes, they're useful - especially for a word nerd like me - but the way I really started to learn was taking classes and living with a family in Mexico. I did that twice, in 2 different cities, in 2010 and improved so much.

Then I had to stop for a while, and I'm starting classes again in April this year. For me, immersion was the only way. Everyone was patient, nobody cares if your grammar is perfect when you're just starting out, and you do pick it up (I'm 59, not a kid! so I wasn't sure I could).

I loved your story about doing homework on the bus and talking to people that way - what a great experience! It can be too easy to fall back into English, and then you don't practice anything much more than Cuanto questa? or Donde esta el banyo?

I don't listen to radio programs in Spanish yet - way too fast! but I changed the language on my iPod to Spanish and soon will change it on my computer, too.

Stay with it, little steps at a time, and remember to give yourself credit for what you're doing and not thinking you have to be perfect from the very start.

Hope to meet up with you when I visit - October if possible, or if not, then next February - and explore the country a bit.

Thanks again for your blog and best wishes for a lovely new year!

Denise said...

Dear Martha, Thanks so much for the uplift in my spirits with your nice comments. It helps especially to know that our blog can still be of help. I just had a bad start to this year but tonight is pizza for dinner so a pleasant evening is a foot.

If you ever want to correspond privately by e mail just repost another comment with your email address and we will promptly delete it after noting your address. That way you can have our phone number and email and maybe you can visit us when you come in November or so. That's how we have met others in the past who have come. Just a thought.
Thanks again, You really made my day

Bankruptcy Federal Way said...

Forget all ideas of Apocalypse and Afterlife. Live well and act kindly and compassionately. That's the best we can do.

Happy 2013!

Anonymous said...

Hello Denise
always read your blog and feel as if you were a very close friend--you are wonderfully positive an are able to enjoy the most little and obvious things, a quality that very much admire
dont get the blues..sometimes it happens and am wondering if you may be depressed because the outrageouly cost of living in this country
i think it higher than in USA and to say the truth it makes me angry most of the time i need to do some shopping
perhapas you are a bit blue because of the difficulty in learning spanish
it is avery difficult lenguage and if you attach to grammar rules shall be rather desperate
try to talk and listen..just so, dont read grammar books
most of us do not know how even grammar rules
old lady also retired in marindia

Anonymous said...

we are missing your news
dont get the blues!!
old lady in marindia

Marvina Case said...


I am really enjoying your Blog! Thank you so much writing it. We are moving in June to Uruguay and have not decided where let. We will have to keep working as we are not old enough to retire, but it looks like you have made quite the life for yourself there. May God bless you for sharing your jouney with us.