My grandma (Meiti), my mom, Bridget and I spent last week in Buenos Aires visiting the city and visiting family. I got the chance to tell Claudia and Francis and all the other aunts and cousins about being in Patagonia, show off my improved Spanish since my first couple of weeks in Argentina, and at an asado that Claudia hosted on Saturday, I showed my pictures from El Fortín, and got to hear what people remembered, what had changed, and what looked the same. My favorite part of the week may have been seeing Meiti, Irene and Lilian – the three sisters – together again, although Irene and Lilian have a difficult time of things these days:
Lilian: I would like some more tea.
Irene: I’ll ask your maid. Beatrice! Beatrice?
Lilian: Oh, is that her name?
(Patricia comes over, who is Lilian’s maid as of months, at least.)
Patricia: Yes, maam?
Lilian: What’s your name?
Lilian: Oh! We would like some more tea, please.
(The two sisters turn to each other and laugh.)
That, and many other similar exchanges, happened while we had tea at Lilian’s house. It’s an odd combination of sad and funny to watch them, but at least they have good humor about it. However bad their short-term memory can be, however, they still remember well events from their past, especially when they are together. They can even remember the names of friends or neighbors that they had as kids in Patagonia. This has inspired my change of plans for my last month. I have heard that Trelew is not the prettiest place to spend a long amount of time, and furthermore, I feel like I have done a lot of farm/natural building work. My family here has talked for a long time about writing down the Patagonian stories of Irene, Lilian, and Meiti and their family, but nobody has had the time to do it. So through having tea with Irene and Lilian here and spending a week with Meiti in May, I would like to interview them and try to compile some sort of a collection of stories, timelines, photos and recipes from their youth. Every time I talk to Meiti some new story of her childhood seems to come out, and I love hearing about any part of their Patagonian adventures, so I can’t wait to start. Plus, I’ll get to live in the city for a month, which will be interesting and different for me. That will give me the chance to do other things like shadow Veronica and Claudia at work again, spend time at the MALBA (modern art museum), which I loved, and volunteer at the school that one of my aunts heads. Hopefully, that means I will be blogging more often, about stories that come out of the interviews or other Buenos Aires adventures!