Passport Virgin

I am pleased to introduce another guest blogger this week…my wicked stepmother, Maggie.  She and my father recently joined us for two weeks in Argentina…a significant leap of faith on their part, for which I am very grateful.  Maggie, or Mémère as my babies call her, has been a joy and rock in our family and I am ever thanking the stars for my wonderful luck in step-parents (Papa Phil is pretty fab too!).  Here Mémère reflects on her own experience traveling to Argentina:

Buenos Aires Scenes

Buenos Aires Scenes

“My parents taught me many things: the importance of family, humor and resiliency, independence and hard work.  Did I say family? Travel was not something my family did.  Family vacations were not in the cards and we never took one.  Well, one summer I did go to New Bedford for a week to stay with my godparents.  That was it.  Home was on Cape Cod, my world was small, and I never knew what a bagel was till I went to college.

Fast forward several decades and now my own children are teaching me things. At the encouragement of our daughter Rachel, my husband and I recently left the comfort and familiarity of Cape Cod to meet Rachel and her family in South America.

Photos captured by Mémère during a grandmother-granddaughter photo class

Photos captured by Mémère during a grandmother-granddaughter photo class in San Telmo

When I first met Rachel she was eleven years old and she and 13 year old Aaron were a package deal, a bonus, that came along with her dad Bruce.  Now, the Greenleys are their own wonderful package in my life and bravely experiencing varying levels of togetherness as they travel round the world.

At 62 this was my first passport.  My first trip to a place where I didn’t speak the language, know the culture, the history, the currency, how to order in a restaurant.  So many firsts.  I loved it.

I chastised myself.  Why hadn’t I learned Spanish!  Read up more on Buenos Aires!  Planned on staying longer!  As I look back through the 600 plus photographs I took I realize this was just a taste.  There is so much to see.  So much I don’t know about. I never missed bagels till I ate my first and now they are a staple. Where should we go next?

Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery

I found I was comfortable in Argentina and Uruguay.  People seemed the same. They came in various sizes and shapes.  Some were friendly and helpful.  Some were not.  My grandchildren were tall and lean and let me hug them.  Well, one hugged me alot and the other tolerated a couple of hugs.  We won’t name names.

This trip was about the things my parents taught me…family and humor and the reward for hard work.  And it was about the things my children are teaching me. Life is damn good.

Photos taken by Julia during a grandmother-granddaughter photo class in San Telmo

Julia’s photos from her class with her Mémère

6 thoughts on “Passport Virgin

  1. I have enjoyed reading ALL of your posts and this one, too, left me teary and blessed: for family and friends and opportunities for travel that teach, strengthen bonds, build resilience, and are just plain fun.

  2. Hi Maggie (and Rachel), this is a terrific blog post. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing the space with Memere. Pleased to see your photos, pleased to hear that you got the chance to be Memere to grandkids, and pleased that you experienced the full range of interactions with Uruguayans and Argentinians and discovered the commonalities that we all share.

    Although I may have traveled a lot compared to you, you are definitely one up on me with your trip to these countries. Suzi and I will definitely have to get to some Southern Hemisphere countries before we are ready for the Bide-A-While Rest Home.

    • Richard, good to have your comment. Patagonia in particular seems quite popular with the tough baby boomer set…we’ve seen so many Americans here with backpacks bigger than ours. Spoke with a couple last night older than my parents who had just completed the 5-day Torres del Paine W trek. Grab your North Face, this is the place to be!

    • Thank you, Karrie, you’d love my memere…I can definitely see some cackling going on! As we near the end of my trip, I’m excited to see you guys begin yours!

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