Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Home is Wherever You Are

Hayy friends hayyyy!

How are you guys doing? We probably talked on skype like yesterday or something, but I do hope you are all having a super dupes day. Today I went to the neurologist (I've been having some health issues, but do not fret!! I am taking care of it, ya'll) and my doctor kept trying to talk to me in English and I could not understand anything and I kept telling him that I understand Spanish, but he wouldn't stop trying to speak in English and I started laughing and it was seriously the funniest thing. I'm chuckling to myself right now as I write this! AH. I miss you guys... here are some updates!!

As you know when I first arrived things got off to a slow start, but now everything is in full swing and I have 3 different placement sites! I am working with Las Madres (The Mothers) of Plaza de Mayo, El Arca (L’Arche) and the Santo Sacramento Congregation. Because I have 3 placements, I am able to discover diverse communities on a weekly basis and it's been pretty great.

With Las Madres, I am able to dabble in politics, which I love. Las Madres are an association of mothers whose children disappeared during the Argentine Dirty War (1976 and 1983). I am tasked with reading old memos, manuscripts and reflections from an organization called FEDEFAM. FEDEFAM is an international organization formed by relatives (including Las Madres) of the disappeared in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have or are currently practicing forced disappearance. I am starting to translate into English some of the information and it will be put up on their website in a lil bit. Below is a link to a recent news story that ran in Al Jazeera. The part of the video when the mother is talking is in Las Madres office, which is where I work, so that is pretty cool.

I just started working with my second placement, El Arca last week, but so far so GREAT! El Arca is dedicated to the creation of homes, programs, and support networks with people who have intellectual disabilities and it is in 40 different countries. In Argentina there is a hogar (home) and a taller (workshop). I split my time between both places doing crafts, cleaning, cooking and generally just being a support to the community. My new friends at El Arca are so loving and are just what I’ve been needing, as my first month here was kinda lonely, as I've probs told some of you.

My third placement is with the Santo Sacramento congregation, which I talked about in my last post. The Sunday activities are really a time for the kids to relax and have some fun. Their daily lives are difficult and they have struggles that I can’t imagine at such a young age. I really, really look forward to Sundays, where I can hang out with my new friends. It's my favorite day of the week. Last week one of the kids, Cecilia (she is like 14 or 15) and I bonded over our mutual love of Justin Bieber and she gave me this awesome picture of JB to decorate my apartment with. In return I gave her one of my necklaces and she cried! It was the sweetest thing and I really love my JB pic, duh! Here is a photo of Xiomi, Me, Cecilia, Agus, Evelyn.

My BFF here is named Xiomara and she is from Honduras. She lives next door to me and she's studying Social Work at Buenos Aires University. She is seriously my lifesaver. She is teaching my how to cook, so we eat A LOT. We also go for runs in the park and talk about her really dysfunctional relationship with my next door neighbor. She also went with me to the hospital last week when I was really sick and she sat with me for 3 hours waiting for the doctor as I cried and whined. I really, really appreciate her.

Here is a photo of Xiomi and I:

What I'm Reading:
So, I do this thing where I start a book and become obsessed and read the first few chapters and then get distracted and usually start another book, that I will inevitably not finish as well. That's me, that's my life. So, instead of writing about Dance of the Dissident Daughter (which I WILL FINISH) I will write about ¡Gracias! by Dutch priest Henri Nouwen. Since I arrived about 2 months ago I’ve been searching for ‘my place’ here in Argentina. The words in ¡Gracias! have assisted me in focusing my thoughts and gaining perspective, leading me to recognize that ‘my place’ is wherever I happen to be, not what I happen to be doing. I can and will affect change in my new communities just by being in ‘my place,’ a place I never anticipated I would ever be if you asked me a year ago. Here are some quotes:

“One of the most rewarding aspects of living in a strange land is the experience of being loved not for what we can do, but for who we are.”

“It is hard for me to believe that the best I can do it probably not to give but to receive. By receiving in a true and open way, those who give to me can become aware of their own gifts. After all, we come to recognize our own gifts in the eyes of those who receive them gratefully”

"When we walk around in a strange milieu, speaking the language haltingly, and feeling out of control and like fools, we can come in touch with a part of ourselves that usually remains hidden behind the thick walls of our defenses"

"...we are called to empty ourselves of these privileges and become servants of the people. True servants depend on those whom they serve. They are called to live lives in which others guide them, often to places they would rather not go."

What I'm Listening to:
Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, 'My Favorite Place'

So many hugs,


  1. Awesome Lo.....I will sleep well tonight:) I love the receiving part of your work, so true. Keep on giving to receive. Hugs and kisses

  2. I love this!!! and I love you, I'm so glad you are doing well and have met fabulous companions! besos