Saturday, August 20, 2011

South America Here I Come!

Today I experienced a South American adventure. My vacation was over weeks ago, but does that have to stop me from having an adventure this weekend?

It began with an email from the Volga German Roots web list. Gerardo Waimann of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a descendant of Volga Germans from Russia, sent us the following message:

“Dear members of the list:

Under the auspices of the German Embassy in Argentina, the Provincia Bank has published 3 magazines (of tourism and history) about the 3 Catholic colonies of the district of Coronel Suarez: Santa Trinidad (also named Colony I), San Jose (Colony II) and Santa Maria (Colony III).

The digital edition of these 3 publications can be downloaded (at no cost) with a click from the following URLs:
Santa Trinidad
* San Jose
Santa Maria
Another possibility to download them (in two steps, a little more complicated
for non-speakers of Spanish) is from the Volga German website of Raul Wagner:
Santa Trinidad:
San Jose and Santa Maria:

Best regards to all the VG cousins in the northern hemisphere.”

Coronel Suarez was one of the many places I visited in Argentina in 2008. When I saw this email and checked out the links, I knew I had some more exploration to do. I settled into my chair and decided to turn on television and relax next to my dog, Harrison, while I read the magazines.

As I turned on PBS , I saw Bob Ross finish a painting. I checked the next PBS channel. I normally do not watch or know what is on television Saturday morning, but I wanted some background noise as I read my email and kept company with my dog Harrison who rested in his crate. He had a hectic week as he underwent surgery, a Femoral Head Ostectomy also known as FOH.

One of the things I didn’t mention about my vacation was the Harrison incident. During a routine nail clipping, the technician called and told me Harrison had sprained his ankle. When I picked him up from the appointment, he was noticeably limping and in pain.
Since I was unable to get him to my vet on Saturday, we had to wait until Monday to have radiograms.

The ultimate diagnosis was hip dysplasia and arthritis, a chronic condition. Harrison is only ten months old so the doctor recommended a specialist review his x-rays to determine if surgery was needed.

No matter what happened when his nails were trimmed, the provider mishandled the communication and situation. They did ultimately offer to pay for my vet visit. The check has not arrived in my mailbox but I have not lost hope of receiving it. Corporate America is slow to move on reimbursements.

On Tuesday, three anxious weeks later, the specialist contacted us. The verdict was surgery. I was nervous when I dropped him off for surgery yet Dr. Drager increased my comfort level. Now that Harrison has been back home for two days, I am still nervous. So, as I watch Harrison slowly heal, I am thrilled to have a South American adventure.

From Travelscope to Rudy Maxa’s World to the Seasoned Traveler and Passport to Adventure, my mind soared across the countries. Their excursions in Argentina from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and from Chile to Peru inspired me.

As I watched some of the brief histories, I wondered why we do not learn more of about South America in school. Why do we focus on European and North American history? Didn’t the Spanish, French and English explorers settle in the southern hemisphere, too? Why does the United States act as if they were the only country to import slaves? Why can’t North Americans instinctively draw a relatively accurate map of the countries in South America? Why don’t we know our southern neighbors better? For that matter, why don’t we understand Canada better? When I traveled to Argentina, one of my fellow tourists said, “I always thought Canada was one of the United States.” I laughed until I realized she was serious.

When I see wonderful shows like those on PBS today, I understand how much I need to learn despite my knowledge of Canada as a country composed of provinces and separate from the United States. During Harrison’s recuperation over the next six to eight weeks, I will have ample opportunity to continue to explore the South American continent from the comfort of my chair. And to dream of that next trip. I have my eye on the wine country of Mendoza.

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