Coming to and Living and Shopping in Amerika


Haven’t written for awhile because I have been stupid busy. I was in Miami for a week at the beginning of the month, back inBsAs for a week and then company came and then we went to Junin for Thanksgiving break. I have been wanting to write about my trip to Miami but just couldn’t find a chunk of time to relive it with you.

The Miami trip has become an annual event since moving here. I shop for Christmas, wrap it and put it in a bag. And there it will stay until Christmas Eve. I highly recommend it. I get to really enjoy the cooking and crafts and books and even decorating the tree that precedes Christmas Eve. All the stuff I remember doing as a kid.  The shopping only takes a few days. When I am done with Santa’s work some, old (in the long and dear kind of old) friends from Connecticut come and visit Miami for a long weekend of eating and drinking, spa and beach time. As lovely and relaxing that part of trip was with its food, drink and good conversation, it cant be compared to the frenzy and productive energy that surrounds the Christmas shopping.

I left BsAs on Sunday night with Tonje, who was with me for the shopping portion of the trip. Tonje is a good traveling companion. She is honest about what she does and doesn’t want to do and she likes to eat candy. We stayed at an acquaintance’s luxury condo on Ocean Drive in Sobo (South Beach for those not in the know). It was large and had beautiful beach and ocean views. It was also the most staged apartment I have ever saw. Every piece of furniture was from the Design Within Reach catalog, some Pottery Barn accessories thrown in and lots of aqua, fuchsia and orange paint with touches of stainless steel. I affectionately call it the Real World Apartment. It was a bit bizarre but in an extremely expensive way.

I am still in recovery from my shopping binge with Tonje. We arrived in Miami on a Monday morning and after a shower and change we hit Starbucks and CVS. I forget how great CVS is. Everything you could need except clothes and the kind food that doesn’t come in a box. What I appreciated about it most, beside the sheer volume of different products, is that, unlike in Argentina, I can touch everything, pick it up and look at it at my leisure. I don’t have to point to it over a counter and ask someone if I can look at it. This can include things like toothpaste and tampons at a typical pharmacy in Argentina.

The beginning of what becomes a pattern during my stay, emerges. Uninspired and annoyed service staff. Our checkout dude shot us eye darts when we pull up with our full shopping cart. He actually walked away and went to the nearby camera and battery section, got some plastic bags and picked up his cell phone. He proceeded to make a personal call and for the subsequent 15 minutes bitched about some deadbeat relative that wouldn’t leave his apartment. When the person on the other end said something particularly interesting, he stopped dead from his paid work and carefully considered what is being said, for a really long time. He occasionally walked away all together and fiddled with merchandise that has nothing to do with what Tonje and I were attempting to purchase. I guess we should have demanded better service, but we were distracted by library of celebrity mags, each more sensational than the next.

After hitting Starbucks again (this becomes a pattern as well), we got in a cab and went to the industrial outskirts of Miami to a strip mall that has a Best Buy, a Target and Publix, and the largest parking lot I have ever been in. We successfully bought computers and are in need of something to eat that is caffeine free. Well our options were limited. It was either Taco Bell or Taco Bell. So we went to Taco Bell. It was actually good, going down. We felt a little sluggish afterwards but there were no cockroach eggs in my pita taco.  A mortified Connecticut friend mentioned a few days later to me that cockroach eggs in the food had been the latest PR disaster that Taco Bell had been dealing with. Great.

While our computers were being set up and our stomachs were just beginning to detox from the caffeine thanks to the influx of lard, we went shopping at Target. We purchased Starbucks for our stroll around the store. I was a Target virgin. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. I had such high expectations given all the rave reviews. It seemed me to be only a slightly better merchandised Walmart. That is more or less shopping day one. There was probably more Starbucks and I do remember having some Indian food for dinner. I am sure I clocked some of my decorator porn (HGTV) and went to bed.

The next day was not for the faint of heart. Let just say it included another $50 cab ride, Old Navy, Sport Authority, KBToys, Sunglass Hut, GAP, Toys r Us, and a multitude of lesser stores. Our shopping expedition to this other Super Duper Mega mall on the moon, was driven by the quest for Webkins. Don’t ask. Lucky for us, Tonje had made arrangements to meet a friend (with a Uhaul facsimile of a vehicle) at the mall for a lunch/dinner meal (our meals were opportunistic, only coffee seemed to happen on a regular basis). And although we had been shopping for the last 36 hours, the friend wanted to shop and who were we to stand in the way of her fun? So more shopping we did and this afternoon/evening round of shopping rendered a Wii from Santa Claus for my kids and a goldmine of Webkins at the Hallmark store. Tonje’s friend/Uhaul was kind enough to deliver us and our 100 pounds of shopping back at the Real World Apartment. Wow, what a day that was. We topped it off with some red wine, and wrapping session. I watched more HGTV Porn and Tonje passed out sitting up.

So why this play by play recount. I don’t know. It was fun shopping. By the next day we were so burnt out and strung out from the shopping, we were like drug addicts. What had we been high from? We were literally like kids in a candy was Christmas morning, shopping. It makes you realize how much fun it is to have lots of different stuff to buy. Living here is limiting in that way. Is a lot of consumption options something I need in my life? Obviously no, but I am not going to deny that it was fun or made me feel good. It was fun sharing it with a friend and I don’t have to do it again until next year. So what does the photo have to do with the over the top consumerism I participated in?

This what I am thankful for. To be living the life I lead, to have the perspective to know that its the peace I feel here in our corner of Patagonia that makes me happy. Its my family, my husband and friends that I enjoy when my head and body are in the same place. Its not stuff, or getting stuff, but Taco Bell once in a while makes it all absolutely delicious.


About Elizabeth

Wife and mother of four. This blog is personal, political and hopefully relevant with a sense of humor. I got to have a sense of humor with the tough crowd I deal with everyday, and they cant even vote, drink or drive.

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