An oldie, but a goodie.
A family of three drives an old VW bus from San Francisco to the tip of South America.
An oldie, but a goodie.
We decided to stay in San Martin del los Andes for Christmas. The weather had been bad earlier in the week, keeping us inside a lot, but the storm was finally passing through. Perfect for hanging out at the lake in town.
We found out that our friend Baptiste – aka French Guy on a Bike – was also in town. We had met him on our boat crossing from Panama to Colombia. We stopped by his hostel on Christmas Eve to say hi. So, it’s official, we travel as fast a bike. Actually, slower. Baptiste has already been to Brazil.
We had invited him to Christmas Dinner. In true Argentinean style, Christmas dinner was at 9:30 pm.
The dinner itself was a testament to patience. We had no oven, only a 2 burner stove (1 burner only went on low) and a microwave (we haven’t seen one of these in a long time). I started the day before on a stove top stuffing recipe I found online. I had to substitute a few things we couldn’t find here, including replacing celery with a celery looking vegetable we haven’t identified.
We also baked a mystery squash that ended up being quite delicious. It’s green on the outside, orange in the middle, but about the size of a pumpkin.
All the stores were closed on Christmas Day, so when I found out the others were coming, I looked around and made due with what we had. Tomato and onion salad with a bit of white vinegar. The mashed potatoes were easy enough, just a matter of battling for the good burner. Our pavito was about the size of a large chicken. Jason cut it and put it in a brine on Christmas eve. The next day he basically covered it in honey and steamed the thing all day. Since it didn’t really fit in our biggest pot, he crammed it in with a rock on top. He was quite pleased with himself.
In the end, dinner was incredible. The moistest turkey I’ve ever eaten. Overall, I think we knocked it out of the park on the meal and enjoyed Christmas with friends.
Although it has been a great holiday season–void of malls and panicked shopping, we are still missing our families today. We asked my Mom to write a guest blog for us today, and she wrote about our early Christmas back in October.
Shameless plug: Just in case you need any last minutes gifts, you can download her award-winning novel, The Secrets On Forest Bend, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Soul Mate Publishing. And, her Christmas novella Redeeming Santa, is available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.
Christmas is where you find it. This year I found it in October when Team Rehm came home for the holidays. We put up the tree, hung the stockings, and cooked the turkey. Bode e-mailed me his Christmas list. I printed it off and mailed it to Santa with instructions as to when and where.
Bode must have been very good this year. Christmas morning we were awash in Star Wars Legos. He had a big space ship, a smaller space ship, and a helicopter. There were pilots, droids, and the dreaded Clone Commander Rex.
He spent Christmas afternoon assembling his new Legos, then he wanted to play with them. The next three days found me sitting on the hardwood floor playing with him. I, of course, was the bad guy. He got the new Legos while I had the old, left-over odds and ends that stay at my house.
He had a full air force plus a large catapult, an army, brick fortifications, and various weapons. I had a dune buggy, two men with spears, and a bowlegged guy with a sword who couldn’t stand up on his own. I mentioned that he was better equipped than I was. He gave me a short, stumpy guy to be my general.
First, he declared, we should set up. This took him quite a while. Me, not so long, although I did point to his brick wall and mention that my guys had nothing to hide behind. He gave me a palm tree. Maybe we should have the actual war tomorrow, he said. I agreed and invited his general over for dinner. We sat around a campfire and roasted wieners and marshmallows. His general brought over his son, the Prince. My general bowed and acted impressed.
My two spear guys joined us for dinner, but bowlegged sword guy remained on duty, leaning against a box. Then it was night and our armies should rest for the big battle tomorrow. My guys, except for poor bowlegged sword guy, still acting as sentry, lay down on the floor.
That was when Bode unleashed his SECRET WEAPON. A crocodile. The crocodile slipped past my palm tree and bit bowlegged sword guy. But not hard. He wasn’t hurt.
The next day we started over and did the same things. Only this time he brought over all his spaceships and my general admired them and said how nice it must be to have an air force. He brought over a motorcycle, but he had to hold his man on it. But, HA HA, bowlegged sword guy fit right on it and rode around. Bode looked surprised, but was very gracious. He said we could borrow it until time for the battle.
The next day was their last day so we decided to have the battle. There was much swooping around by spaceships and helicopters. My guy’s spears turned into lasers and shot at the aircraft, but they must have had bad aim because nothing happened and my men were knocked over (surprisingly difficult for bowlegged sword guy because he was still leaning against a box) but no one was hurt.
All new Legos were packed into plastic freezer bags and taken to Chile. The old Legos went back into the Don’t Mess with Texas lunchbox and were carried upstairs to wait for next Christmas. But I must insist on some changes next year. For one thing, we’re going to have to play in a room with carpet. After three days on the floor, I could barely stand up. But more important, next time, I want that crocodile!
We out-did ourselves last year in the obnoxious seasonal card department. This year, not only did we lack our bus for such a production (it’s parked several thousand miles away,) but we completely lacked the energy to pull anything together before Christmas. Even last year, I think we decided that we were better off with a “New Year’s card” instead of the classic Christmas card.
We’ve heard some even more extreme opinions on this. In fact, some people seem to think the format is dead. Regardless, we did finally get our act together – just not in time for Christmas.
So, if we have your address, we will hopefully manage to get our non-holiday-themed late well-wishes to you before the new year starts. If not, then merry Christmas and happy new year from us!
If anyone on our mailing has happened to relocate over the past year – well, send us your new address!
And, if anyone else out there in the ether would like a 100% genuine paper and ink card, just drop us note with your address to TeamRehm@bodeswell.com. And, best wishes and safe travels to everyone over the holidays and in the new year!
Of course, no childhood winter is complete without the mandatory photo with Santa.
He told Santa he wanted some video games, some action movies, and a new computer. A kid of the digital age, for sure.
‘Tis the season and it didn’t take long to get in the spirit. This is our second Christmas tree decorating of the week. Bode loved it, and put all his favorites right up front, several to a branch if necessary.
Below is a box of ornaments my mom has been pulling out for 4 decades – my old diaper box. Yep, I’m the baby in the family and back then you needed full color illustrations on how to diaper a kid in those new-fangled disposables.
It has been great seeing all the cousins. Bode is stoked that everyone speaks English. Every grandparent, aunt and cousin’s house comes with new toys to play with.
Now that he has access to a TV, every commercial has been followed by “I want that!” Numero uno on the list is a Wii. Tough for a family that lives in a van and has no TV.
He’s also discovered watching TV upside down. I think most kids have done it, but without a TV or a living room chair, we just hadn’t seen this yet.