30 March 2010

Good for Another Year

Red letter day: we successfully negotiated all on our own the process of renewing our temporary residence permits for another year. Our advance work included ordering police reports proving we'd not caused any trouble over the last year and getting photocopies made of our US passports (all pages), Argentine identity documents (also all pages), apostilled and officially translated marriage certificate and proof of Kurt's pension, and our Argentine bank statements for the last 12 months.

At 6:45 this morning we arrived at the immigration office down by the port to find a line already some 100-125 persons long, everyone waiting for the doors to open at 8. Linda asked the third person in line what time he had arrived. "A las cuatro." Fortunately, residency renewal did not seem to be the most common reason for lining up at this hour of the day: we received numbers 8 and 9 for the renewal section and were on our way out the door by 9:15 with our passports bearing the required stamp and signature renewing our residencies through 27 May 2011. Next year we apply for permanent residency, which comes with additional benefits from other Mercosur countries. As permanent residents, for example, we will no longer have to pay $130 for a visa to visit Brazil. We can hardly wait!

11 March 2010

Mejor en bici

Today was a great day to go running around in the parks near the Law School and the Museum of Fine Arts. Turns out it also was a great day to have a press event in the same place, featuring Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri officially inaugurating the northern link in the city's new network of dedicated bike paths.

We snagged some of the yellow booklets explaining the whys and hows of the program to encourage bike use. The material presents some compelling reasons for mejor en bici ("better by bike"), the slogan for the program. Most trips made in Buenos Aires are under 5 km, a distance easily covered by bike. Benefits include better traffic circulation, personal health, and the environment, not to mention the cost savings associated with NOT using a car.

We were caught without a camera, but there are lots of good photos plus more information on Facebook.

05 March 2010

¿Vos Hablás Castellano?

For the last 2 weeks, Linda has been getting up early to navigate through 3 subway stops and 13 city blocks to the DWS language school. There she took lessons in Spanish - or Castellano, as it's called here - Monday through Friday from 9 to 1:30, with a 30-minute break at 11.

She had the good fortune to share the classes with Chloé from London and Camilla from Norway (with maternal family in Brazil). Instructors Ludmilla and Nicolás took them through the paces from the imperativo to the pretérito perfecto and imperfecto to the pluscuamperfecto. Cuando terminaron las clases, Linda había aprendido mucho. Best of all, she discovered that the dreaded "vos" she had been avoiding is actually the easiest form to conjugate.

At right is Camilla with her famous dictionary.

After a 1-week break, Linda's heading back for 2 weeks more, but starting at 2:15 pm instead to accommodate exercise time in the mornings.