Glenna Luschei writes, “It was my dream to come to Argentina all my life”
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“It was my dream to come to Argentina all my life. My grandfather told us stories about General Jose de San Martin and the long Argentine fight for independence. He carried a copy of Sarmiento, the early literary president of Argentina along with Don Quijote and the Odyssey with him when he crossed the plains in a covered wagon to Nebraska. Later he told us that in crossing the Great Plains he thought they might look like the pampas that Sarmiento described. John Stevens, my grandfather, studied a book of Spanish grammar during his last days at the hospital in Onowa, Iowa. “You never know, he said, “when I might go to Mexico.” He infected me with Spanish but it took five generations for the condition to come into full contagion.
Now I was landing in Argentina with my son, his wife from Mexico, Yasmin, and my two bilingual grandchildren, Linda 12, and Andrew, 6. We arrived on August 9 and we were met by Dario who helped us through customs. We were in Canning, town of the international airport, but where were all the people? The streets in the town were empty except for the signs advertising media lunas for breakfast tomorrow. We finally found an Italian deli open. Servers were carrying out giant trays of antipastos: cheeses, olives, cured meats… Parties were going on, but where? It seemed to us that August 9, 2016 was the day the Martians came to Argentina and carried off all of the people. It was a historic day, and we and the Italian deli servers who kindly made room for us on a table they pulled out from behind the wine crates, were the only ones who survived the abduction. Lucky or not?
Well, it was a historic day but it was not until I saw the paper when we arrived in Iguasu the next day that I realized the importance. The front page pictured a throng of thousands in front of La Casa Rosa downtown at the Proclamation marking 200 years of independence for Argentina. The president, the citizens, the soldiers, the musicians and the Italian antipastos were all there, except for us. Argentina’s 200th anniversary and we missed it!”