As you travel you are expected to maintain a open minded attitude about others. Not only out of respect for people but to enjoy your yourself. It's difficult sometimes, though. You meet people that are very different from you, completely different, and you aren't expected to like everyone and you shouldn't expect people are always going to like you. This fact alone was difficult for me not to take personally. Being an individual who takes most things personal before evaluating what is happening, this has been a challenging process for me. They say the first step is realizing you have a problem. So here I am, with a sensitivity problem in a city that doesn't give a damn. I love it. Everyday I'm learning so much about myself. Now, my goal here isn't to become insensitive, by any means, it's simply to take the soft, outside skin I have and blister it some so calluses develop. This city provides many opportunities for that, allow to explain a few:
Being a foreigner is not a novelty, nor is it necessarily an endearing quality about yourself, to the average Argentine. In fact, you're viewed more as a piggy bank than anything else. This can be quite frustrating at times, especially when you lose your identity to these phrases, "that American girl" or "the girl from Texas." It's much to exhausting to try to avoid these judgments or assumptions so thus: accept and move on.
Communication is based on their wants, otherwise, don't expect anything. This is a simple enough explanation in itself and can't be more widely applied. It's valid for instances at the nightclub or with my boss. The trick is to always keep them believing that they need something from you. I'm trying to master this skill, as it's the most difficult for me, but once I do...watch out.
Punctuality is relative. Now, how relative you ask? Well, take a look at the previous observation made and you will put it together. I have confidence that you're that smart.
In addition to this I'd like to consider some of the things that I've strangely gotten used to while living here. Everyday I expose myself to something new, but there are some consistent things that I feel strangely adapted to, that when I first arrived, were quite a shock
*Dog crap on the streets. Endless amounts of random dog crap. This is why no one can ever afford to make eye contact, they're trying to keep their shoes from getting ruined.
*Washing underwear in the sink. I can't afford the 23 peso laundry cost in my neighborhood, and sometimes I'm too lazy to walk the 20 minutes to the cheaper place. And sometimes, I'm just that broke. I suppose being used to wearing dirty clothes falls in this category, too.
*Being late because of public transit. This severely stressed me out my first few weeks here, but now I've learned that patience in a city this large is necessary.
*Not understanding everything people are saying around you. In a way it's comforting. I mean, at times it's frustrating especially when they're talking to you, but when you're on the collectivo it becomes like white noise, and it's soothing.
*Cooking. I mean really cooking. And really yummy things, too. I love it. I was stunted in the cooking department on arrival because I had been eating home cooked meals (made by others) for a year. But now! I've made black bean salsa, milanesa, eggplant spinach lasagna, split pea soup, garbanzo bean salad and I just made fresh spinach/tomato sauce with pasta!
*Walking for hours a day. Sometimes when I think about it I will have walked 2-3 hours that day. I move around the city a lot for teaching jobs and if I have enough time between classes, I'll save my monedas (coins) and get my exercise.
*Not investing much in people until they actually follow through with what they say. It's the perils of city life. I'd like to think that people mean what they say and maybe they're just busy, but the truth is some people just aren't honest.
*Being super "thrifty." This actually wasn't a huge adjustment, for those of you who know me well, I'm quite the thrifty lady, but this city has me concocting whole new levels of being thrifty....i mean some call it cheap, stingy, or borderline theft, but pahleeze. If you knew what I earned an hour, you'd understand. Which leads me to.....
*Not ever making enough money. I mean it pains me to say that I'm getting used to this, but I kinda am. I think of it as character building and prioritizing. There are somethings I refuse to give up, and others that I do with somewhat of a cringe, but out of necessity. I mean I don't wanna name names here, but do you really think I'd stop drinking wine in Argentina? Psshhh. Gurl you crazy.
So it's Friday. Dance class, then maybe a foreign film at the culture center after.