Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Planning for Success" Workshop

Alan conducted his first Planning for Success class on Tuesday. We had 9 people pre-register but were warned that people here sign up and then about 1/3 show up (if you're lucky).  Nevertheless, Alan and Martha called each one to remind them on Monday, one day before the class.
This workshop is required if someone is planning to get a PEF loan.

We were very excited when we had to set up extra chairs for the 16 participants that showed up.  Most were actually about 10 minutes early.  I think we are the new attraction at the Zoo.  The people are curious about the strange American senior missionary couple .

Alan had them break up into three small groups for a group activity as part of the workshop.  They are working on their career dreams. You can see some yellow post-it notes on the wall.  We had them write their wildest dreams on the notes and post them on the wall. Alan encouraged them to work hard and study hard to achieve these dreams. 
They will need courage to achieve their dreams, don't we all.  I like this saying:
                                            "Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will"

Alan seemed pretty comfortable during the workshop and only struggled for a few spanish words (as far as I could tell, but then I don't understand anything).  Seated at the back and near the door is our Area Seventy, Elder Romeu, from Buenos Aires offering his support.

The workshop teaches the participants to use the following method in determining their careers:

                                                     Determine your options
                                                     Gather information
                                                     Make your decision
                                                     Share your plan

And then of course, go for it (some may need a PEF loan to acquire their dream).
The participants vary greatly, one is in a stake presidency and one is homeless living on the streets. This is a 3 week course (once a week) or 4 weeks if you need a PEF loan.  It will be interesting to see how many of the participants return this coming week.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

COTO Food Market (Supermercado)

COTO Food Market is the most modern grocery store we have close to us.  It is 3 blocks away from our apartment, which seems a lot longer walking in pouring rain!

The fish and meat department smell as you walk quickly by.  This guy is tossing ice on the fish.

In the produce department, you bag your fruit or veggies and take them to this man and he weighs them and puts a price on them, then you can go through the check out stand quicker.  Not a bad idea.

 Bimbo brand everything is big here.  COTO has these little plastic container buckets with a long handle that you drag around on the floor and put your food in them. The shopping carts have a mind of their own and really don't work or roll the way you would like them to go. The plastic bucket/baskets make a lot of noise when you drag them all over the store. Look mom, no wheels!

Alan had the idea to bring these 2 bags below (from IKEA) to haul our groceries to our apartment and they have been wonderful! We needed to buy a COTO bag on one grocery trip, so now we have 3 bags to try to fit our food in.

For breakfast every morning I eat "Copas de Maiz" flakes (no sugar added) from COTO, with a little soy milk (they don't have almond milk in Rosario). Alan eats oatmeal with granola and my corn flakes mixed all together with a lot of milk!

So far we have devoured 3 small containers of San Cor brand Dulce de Leche. We spread it mostly on crackers, it is caramel at its best!

On Sundays we don't eat out or ask Isabel to cook for us, so on Saturday we buy what ever COTO has that we can warm up.

Above: basically frozen chicken nuggets with a frozen corn, peas, and carrots mix. We actually fired up the oven for these chicken patties (doesn't look as good as Isabel's food). We have also tried frozen breaded chicken patties with spinach layered in-between. Above is a lettuce/carrot salad with a meat tart. They have no salad dressing that you can buy at the store so we were told to use lemon juice or balsamic and olive oil mixed.

Below: these sandwiches (Sandwich de Miga) are everywhere and are good. No crusts. This one has lettuce and tomato on it and is really good. Most sandwiches don't have the tomato/lettuce because it won't last as long in the store. Also pictured is Argentina's version of potato salad with peas and tomatoes in it. They call it Russian salad or "ensalada Russo".

Above: Large Tartas for 2, these are very good. They come filled with spinach or ham and cheese (my favorite), or shredded chicken and cheese.
This cabinet (below) is our pantry. So as you can see, we can't buy too many things at COTO. That's about $100 US dollars in plastic containers to keep the humidity out of our food. Plastic is expensive down here and Tupperware brand is about $3-$4 more than the generic brand.  We only have one Tupperware container. The containers shown below are All-a-Dollar quality too.
The lids don't fit quit right.

COTO carries Ades brand regular soy milk and then they have manzana soy milk (that tastes like you poured apple juice into your soy milk, but it tastes pretty refreshing. Then there is the pear juice, it's really good! But, these little cookies below are cheap, taste pretty good for a quick treat and last forever especially in Tupperware!

                                                             Another weakness.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Argentina Food

On our way home from our office we found a cute take-out food store, "Te La hace Simple".  We ordered its "12 Triples Especiales Sandwich" not knowing really how big it was or what it looked like. It came on a long, hard piece of bread (so hard we couldn't break off a piece) with 6 square sandwiches on it (2 sandwiches are gone so you could see the bread tray).

I started to eat one sandwich and it tasted funny but Alan's was fine. There were 3 different kinds of sandwiches on this bread tray. Then Alan started to eat his second sandwich and decided to look up what it was that we were eating. It was raw ham (pictured below), you couldn't even chew the meat! It was called Jamon Crudo (crude/raw ham). We won't be buying this again anytime soon and so far no sickness has occurred.

From this same take-out place is this delicious chicken salad (lettuce, tomatoes, egg, chicken) in a cracker edible bowl. We will be buying this again to eat!

One building away from our apartment 
is a little "Almacen" (mini-market). Isabel owns 3 of these markets. On our second time in her store she saw us buying a sandwich dinner and asked if we'd be interested in having her cook some dinners for us. She gave us her phone number. Yeah right, I thought that was like buying food off the street! Alan talked me into having her make dinner for us one night, he used the word missionary effort (getting to know our neighbors).

Well, she is making dinner for us a lot now and it is fantastic and no sickness! Isabel's face is hidden by the register.

Above: Fish, potatoes pure' (mashed), veggie salad with green beans.

Above: Empanadas, Ham & Cheese, Pollo, Beef, and Spinach. (that is just Alan's plate)

Salad and Pizza with a very thick crust, but it was very flavorful.  Lots of cheese with green olives. (we forgot to take a picture of the whole pizza)

Milanesa Napolitana (best Milanesa we've had), potato salad, tomato salad and peanuts covered in a hard spicy shell.  Cacauates? (very good)

Chicken and Potatoes (al Horno)                                Chicken and Rice with a tomato/onion salad

She brings the food hot and packaged in plastic disposable containers to her store and we bring them to our apartment and put it on our plates!!  I'm in heaven and it is only $4 US dollars a person!! Some things in Argentina are so expensive, but this food isn't! When we get home from our office we still have to work, so this is heaven sent! I'm wondering if she would like to move to Draper in a year!

This above picture is the best meal so far from Isabel! Meat filled pasta with the best sauce I have ever tasted (it must be a 1000 calories)! Below: steak and oven roasted potatoes, salad with tomatoes and beets, delicious!!

With all the walking we are doing we figured we were losing weight, but having Isabel now cook for us, we are in big trouble, but are feeling very blessed and well fed!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Frozen Fridge

We have been having refrigerator problems since we have been down here.  We have now had 2 different technicians over to look at it! As you can see, it is a very skinny fridge (Tropical Marshall brand).

The freezer section below has to be thawed about every 2-3 months (so we are told).

The fridge  section below has more ice in it than our freezer does!

It has been freezing everything! Lettuce and carrots freeze the fastest, then our milk.

We stopped buying food to put in it because it would just freeze!

We did clean the fridge, any dirt you see has become part of the fridge.
Frozen pasta.

Second time might be the charm, so far it is working! I'm going to give it a little more time before I buy food to put in it! Crossing my fingers on this one!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Argentina Documentation

Elder Hill (with Glasses) the mission secretary, called and said we needed to do some paper work. Paperwork here is called Tramites. So we walked downtown, met up with him and a dozen other new missionaries from all over the mission and got ourselves finger printed...again. We had to have an FBI check with finger prints to get into Argentina and then now more finger prints to stay in the country! I think they plan to match them to see if we are legally able to stay.

It was very different getting finger printed down here at the police station vs Draper Utah's Police Station. The police station was very old (in its day it would have been nice) and it had a glass ceiling right above us with a couple of broken panels. It didn't look very safe! They had a big jar of dirty, gritty soap and they gave us a small scoop in our hands to rub together and then go wash off.  It took us so long to get the ink off our hands and of course there were no paper towels to wipe our hands on (they did have a dirty rag that was hanging but not even the locals used it).  I guess that's why missionaries wear black pants.  Maybe this is why they call this paperwork "tramites", lots of trauma!

The floor was beautiful! Notice the ink on the floor! I hope that 'glass ceiling' doesn't serve as a metaphor or prevent me from learning Spanish. I can do it!

We also went to another place to have our photos taken with the other new missionaries. The Photo studio reminded me of Napoleon Dynamites friend, Debbie's photo studio. It looks pretty normal in the photo below, but it had a mirrored-disco ball, sparkly motion lights and other hanging shinny stuff. It was fabulous!  

One Elder from Riverton reported that he was robbed at knife point on his first day in the country! Welcome to Argentina! He had his watch, camera, and money stolen. He didn't plan to tell his mother but his brother spilled the beans....I mean frijoles. It was nice to speak to some to the English speaking missionaries! May the Lord bless these missionaries with safety and success!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CAS - Center for Autosufficiancy

Our office is located at Mitre 1377 in Rosario

 It is home for the three Rosario Stakes with a 3-fold purpose: 1) Centro de Auto-suficiencia (CAS= Self-Reliance Center) 2) the seminary and institute classes and 3) it's the local physical facilities offices. Its a nice facility with four large classrooms for training. The bathrooms are clean and nice and we just got filtered water! I think it is filtered, but it seems to be always broken.

This sign still has the old logo and will soon be replaced with Centro de Auto-Suficiencia. CAS combines employment centers, the Perpetual Education Fund and the new training classes and will soon be a call center for PEF loans. You can see some job listing on the bulletin board in the main hall.

If you are wondering what SUD stands for...Santos de Ultimos Dias.
(It's the Spanish way to say LDS)

Elder Wheatley in the center before hours.
We have four computers for public use.  Sometimes there is a waiting line.

We have security cameras for the front door, street view, parking garage and parking gate. People at the front door press a buzzer and then we ask them what they want (check them out) and then buzz them through the first gate.
Security monitor.

People come to the center for training workshops (talleres), prepare curriculums (resumes), check emails and check for recent job listings. Some travel as much as two hours by bus to come to the center.  They can print their curriculums in color on our color printer. (color is a big deal)

Brother Roque and Sister Martha Cabrera (pictured below) are in charge of the center.  They are part-time missionaries called to manage the center itself. They are on a 2-year mission.  They come in at 9 am and leave at 1:00 pm everyday. Since we arrived, they have started wearing their name badges too.

Alan loves the title of the receptionist at the center: Director of First Impressions.  As soon as I can speak a little better (I mean speak at all), this will be one of my jobs.  For now, I smile a lot, nod my head and say: "no comprendo" every time I open my mouth.

Institute class room (above) and Seminary class room (below) are also located in our building.
We can use these classrooms for our workshops.

This Vintage piano is so beautiful and is in one of the classrooms. I took the picture because the keys on this piano are yellow, really, really, yellow. But the picture makes them look white! Real ivory I guess.