Search This Blog

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cat Spa

Just as Nate has settled in, he has finally learned what a thoughtful family that he has been adopted into. We have provided the finest set of toys. Here are some of his favorites: wooden block, string, rolled up paper towel, toilet paper roll, plastic box, clothespin and last, but not least a little piece of white rock from his cat box (unused, of course). The little piece of rock may be his favorite. He is like some superstar soccer player with it, running it down the corridor and flipping it into the air.

And he has also gotten used to his newest acquisition, the cat spa. He couldn't believe that we had installed his own spa, complete with jets, right next to the toilet. He spends hours in there. He even enjoys the water.

Nate has also learned some tricks. He is able to unroll all of the toilet paper from the wall holder. I wish he would unlearn that one.

Work continues on the kitchen and they are putting in the supports for the drop ceiling. Aldo has a new helper, Miguel, so things are moving along nicely. The electrician has already roughed in many of the circuits, so we are finally on our way to a new kitchen. We are currently eating from the local restaurants, but I hope to get back to home cookin' soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

At Home

Well, Nate is truly making himself at home, as are we. As you can see, he found a good use for one of Denise's desk drawers. While Denise zips around the internet, he is content to just lay there and enjoy a little cat nap.

The deck and lower terrace are proving to be very useful. An interesting note is the guy on the motorcycle. He delivered the bank statement. They are delivered by a courier service, as are electric, and water bills. The regular postal system is little used, but even they come out on motorcycles to deliver the one or two pieces of mail we might receive. You might be the only one in the area receiving mail that day, so it does not pay to have a regular delivery route. Denise thought it was cool that a cool guy in jeans, sexy v-neck sweater and motorcycle came to deliver the mail.

As you can see, the days are a little darker, as fall is here and winter is approaching. The days are still nice and warm, but the nights are getting colder. We have not used the stove, yet, but I am making plans to start stocking up the wood near the back door, so I can get easy access.

The kitchen drop ceiling is being started. The dining room has been painted and we installed the vertical blinds on all the windows and things are really beginning to look finished. We are enjoying our new surroundings.

We came to Uruguay last year on June 12th. A lot has taken place in the last 10 months and the first year will see quite a bit of progress in many areas. I have been sick a couple of days (just a little cold), but I hope to be feeling well soon. We are fully expecting that our wedding anniversary, this year, will be a memorable one. Last year's anniversary we went into Montevideo to sign the final papers on our new house. This year should see us fully ensconced in Uruguay.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Visitors From the US

This past week, we had more visitors. Steve and Dianne (4th & 6th from left) our local tour guides from La Floresta, brought visitors to us. With their help, we have not had to go out and find people to visit- they bring them right to our door. It helps having a car, and when we see a little vintage white VW beetle pull up the street, we know that a treat is in store for us.

The primary visitors were Andy and Brendan, cousins from Georgia and New Hampshire. They are 1st and 5th from the left. Which one is Andy and which one is Brendan still remains a mystery, but the 1st on the left is from New Hampshire and 5th from the left is from Georgia (he is the one who had a time share that they traded for vacation in Punta del Este). One wants to escape from the harsh winters of New Hampshire and the other just wants to escape the U.S.

Steve and Dianne also brought Eddie, an expat from Atlantida, hailing out of Germany. He is quite the entrepreneur and is growing an import business which will cater to expats, as well as locals. Among other things, he is importing woodburning stoves, a much needed commodity, here. He is known as "Lucky" on the expat forum (Southron Society) which has been of immense help on providing information on Uruguay.

Today our iron worker is installing sliding bars on the kitchen window. He has brought grinders, welding equipment and the most important tool in Uruguay- hot water and yerba (maté). We had not intended to install bars on all windows and doors, but the reasonable costs and added security seems to be worth it. We will improve and lock the large wooden shutters, so the main view windows will always be clear of bars, but the rest of the openings are going to be very secure.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back to Our Roots

Starting with this post, we will be including some informative insights on matters that we have not discussed heretofore. We will be adding information on spiritual activities, in addition to our other endeavors. Our blog is primarily a blog about the general goings on in Uruguay and our day to day functions in this country. However, a good part of our lives are also spent here in this building. It is where our congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses meets at. So we wanted to give you a peek at where we go to for Bible instruction. Our meeting are held twice a week. We are attending meetings at this local Kingdom Hall in Salinas.

I won't be sharing any of our religious beliefs. I don't think that the internet or this blog is a place for that. But I will comment on some of our activities, much as I have done with regard to building, residency and food. Uruguay is touted as being one of the least religious countries of Latin America. Rather than Easter Week, they have the Tourism Week. While many of the people are religious, the holidays are not shoved in your face as it has been in other places we've lived. I would imagine that Mardi Gras is an exception.

The meeting this Thursday was the Memorial of Christ's Death that Jehovah's Witnesses observe once a year. Thursday night was the evening that corresponded most closely to the evening that Jesus enjoyed a last Passover meal with his apostles before he was put to death the next day. On the table next to Denise, you can see the wine and plates of bread on the table that were passed around in this simple ceremony. After less than an hour it was over and we all went our ways home. It was such a warm night and the full moon was so lovely. We stopped into a little restaurant in Salinas for a quick meal and then walked home on the rambla, with the water lit up by the moon. After receiving such a warm welcome from the local Witnesses and enjoying the visit, we wondered why it took us so long to "get back to our roots".

We sat out yesterday evening with a glass of wine and just enjoyed the almost perfect temperature (must have been 67 degrees) and lovely views. Neighbors headed to the beach waved and greeted us. All of the houses are filled again, on this last week of vacations. I've posted this last picture at a little higher resolution, to give you an idea of our setting.

This next week will see the vertical blinds being installed. Finally we can have some privacy without having to close the heavy wooden shutters. Fernando will be manufacturing sliding bars for the kitchen window. We are trying to be security conscious, but at the same time it would be a shame to lose that view. And this next weekend there is a 2 day assembly in Montevideo that we will attend with the local congregation. So a full week ahead. Glad that we had some "down time" since both Aldo and Carlos took extras days off this week, to be with their family.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Green Card Holder

Well, after waiting almost 10 months and after several visits to immigration and various other offices, we received our final, 3 year cedula (the national identity card). We are finally legal residents, much like a green card in the U.S. Ironic, isn't it, that the cedula is green? I have photoshopped the number and signature out, but the picture is the actual picture. It is the best ID picture I have had in years, ever since the fateful passport photo of '07, where I look like I had just been released prison. Thankfully I will no longer have to carry the passport inside Uruguay and will only need it for travel between countries.

This number of the cedula is used for everything. I think that your driver's license also is derived from the cedula number. We will find that out soon, when we attempt to obtain the local driver's license. And the cedula is linked to all your documents: fingerprints, marriage records, birth certificates, etc. It truly is a national ID card. In fact, as I mentioned previously, Denise will have to get a fresh copy of our Uruguayan Marriage license (applied for during the residency process) when she has to renew her cedula in 3 years, in order to keep her married name on the document.

Next step is to have our customs guarantee returned. This is the deposit we made when we shipped our meager belongings into the country. They allow one shipment per resident and the deposit is returned when residency is obtained (very similar to many Latin American countries).

We are finally legal residents of Uruguay! We're home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spanish Cats Go "Meow"

Well, little Nate had his first bath. He wasn't really dirty, but Denise wanted to get something that would kill any fleas, so we found some cat shampoo and this morning we lured him into the shower.

Denise had him in there for less than 4 minutes and you would think he was being skinned alive. He howled and howled and howled. And interestingly (I had never thought of this) he called out, "Meow, meow". I didn't know that the "meow" was universal cat language, but it is and he had no problems enunciating clearly and loudly. Anyway, he survived and moments later was cuddled up in our arm for warmth. Trauma over- peace reigns, again.

Aldo is almost finished with tiling the living quarters. Next week is Semana de Tourisma, a national week of holiday. Since UY is not really a Catholic country (apparently one of the least religious countries in South America), they have a week of Tourism holiday, which coincidentally is the same time as Easter.

We are trying very hard to get everything done by Winter. Fall just started and the nights are getting cooler, but the days remain warm (60's-70's most non-rainy days). Occasional rain and wind, but still warmer than the average Seattle summer day. But when winter comes, and we start using up the wood from those trees we had felled during the summer, we hope to be safe and secure inside our finished home. Anyway, that's what we want- whether we get it, is another matter.