Thursday, May 9, 2013

¡Otro Casamiento! (Another Wedding)

On Saturday, March 16th, I had the opportunity to attend my second Argentine wedding!  What a coincidence- I don’t attend weddings nearly as often in the U.S.!  Maybe Argentina is a more romantic country, and simply being here increases your probability of receiving a wedding invitation (laugh track). 

This time, I had not just one, but eight wedding dates: Osvaldo, Marcos, Maxi, Sandra, Romina, Kaitlyn and Mirta, all from El Arca!  We attended the wedding of Ana, an occupational therapist and friend of the community who worked with Marcos during his first year living in the home in addition to volunteering in the workshop.  I had met Ana once before, on December 25th of all days, when she visited the home to wish everyone (especially Marcos) a Merry Christmas!

This was not just any wedding.  It took place in the countryside of Buenos Aires province in a small town called Valdes, a 3 hour drive from Boulogne, and the whole affair had a distinctly gaucho (Argentine-cowboy) flavor.  The ceremony took place in a small, beautiful chapel with a rustic feel, and the groom enhanced the rustic ambiance by dressing like a gaucho himself!  He wore high leather boots with baggy tan pants tucked into them, a red sash for a belt, a white dress shirt with a brown best, a bandana around his neck and a typical gaucho hat, which to me looks suspiciously similar to a French beret.  Here he is with the El Arca caballeros (gentlemen):

Marcos, Dani, Osvaldo, Francisco and Maxi

As guests gradually trickled in and waited for the bride to arrive, an acoustic ensemble of guitar, voice, flute and drums serenaded us from the balcony.  I was happy to recognize a few of the songs from previous masses I had attended with El Arca.  Listening to the drifting, mellifluous music while sitting in that beautiful place made me feel like I was in a fairytale.

Ana, the bride, was the protagonist of this fairytale.  She had a simple (by contemporary standards) yet ethereal look.  Her wavy hair hung loose down her back and her dress was elegantly classic, with lacy cap sleeves and satin buttons.  Here she is with the El Arca acogidos:

Maxi, Marcos, Ana, Osvaldo, Dani and Sandra

The experience felt even more like a fairy tale at the post-ceremony asado when the newlyweds arrived on horseback.  A crowd of cheering friends and family members awaited them as they gracefully slid off the horse and into their celebration.  

Unfortunately, due to schedule constraints, we were unable to stay at the party long.  We stayed long enough to delight in the delectable cheese and bread appetizers and the more-than-filling Argentine asado, though!  Then we headed back to El Arca, cosily huddled together in the van.  All things considered, it was a lovely outing!  I feel so blessed to have shared this day with such a great group of people.  

Here are two more photos from the wedding that I really like:

Marcos, Romina, Mirta, me and Sandra

 Kait and Osvaldo

                                             by Lisa R. April 6th, 2013

Labor Day Munchies

Happy Labor Day!!! Here in Uruguay, like most other countries around the world, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1st. Everything was closed today which resulted in a pretty quiet day in el hogar as most of my roommates were gone and it was rainy and cloudy most of the day. I was in my room reading when one of my friends invited me to take part in a Uruguayan tradition, eating torta fritaor fried bread. Here in Uruguay, it is a tradition to eat torta frita on rainy days. I have asked lots of people why this tradition exists and have not yet gotten a conclusive answer. Apparently, nobody really knows why the tradition exists or began. Either way, like most street foods, torta frita is tasty, cheap and not at all healthy and since it was Labor Day and everything was closed, we ended making it ourselves. I have never deep fried anything in my life and was a little grossed out by the amount of grasa vacuna a.k.a. in English as "cow fat" or "lard", we used to fry but it was still a good learning experience. (Unlike mate, I don't think I'll bring this tradition back with me to the United States) Cow fat aside, making and eating torta frita with friends was a great way to pass a rainy, gloomy, Labor Day afternoon.

Mate & torta frita: Helping Uruguayans cope with rainy days since 1811

                                                                  --Emery E. May 1st, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Re-Cap of YAGM 2012-2013

Since this blog was just created, 
here are some pictures to recap the journey thus far for the current YAGMs...

At the airport

Our afternoon with the IELU´s Vice President Pastora Wilma

Learning about Uruguay

Final day of Orientation

Final day of Orientation

Final day of Orientation

Sending Worship service presided by Pastora Andrea and Pastor Fabi├ín who had just been ordained

On our way via boat to Uruguay for the YAGM´s first of 3 retreats!

Hanging out in Colonia, UR for the day

A Parade!!!!


At the Retreat Center

Morning Yoga

Telling their story

Learning about the farm


23-hours in a bus and then they arrived!!

My father-in-law making the YAGMs a typical Argentine dish

Just Before

At the top!... totally worth the hike! Thanks Victoria for helping us find the trail!