May 25, 2009. I got on a plane departing to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Six months later, I'm still here. with a job. a few levels of Spanish ahead. non-friendless. and a few pounds lighter.
I even survived my first Thanksgiving away from Mom's homemade stuffing. A task I predicted almost impossible because of it's delicious aroma. But I was able to pull my friend resources together here in Argentina, and it was quite a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Chicken was substituted for turkey because this country isn't the avid provider of large foul. Just large cow, which isn't quite as appropriate. Jenny B. was the master chef, and I give her five stickers for that gravy. I can still taste the deliciousness. Kelly baked bread. Oh, Kelly, my little baker girl.
After six months things I have over 89.7% mastered:
The Guia-T: (the little bus bible map that has every bus route for the city): Seeing as though my roommates had to gift me a new one for my Birthday because my old one was missing about twenty pages, I get good use out of this thing. I used to have stare at the maps for long periods of time. close the guia. re-open it. re-look. and repeat several times, but now yo sé. yo sé. I can even just whip out suggestions for buses to take off the top of my head. Impressive for a city with hundreds of different bus lines.
Resistance to dulce de leche: I'm not quite sure how I did this. Maybe I just ate a few too many kilos of it in one month, and not my body has stored the sugar content like a bear and it's feeding off that for a while. I'm waiting for the cravings to come back like spring chickens.
Surviving an evening of Spanish-speaking: I live in a Spanish-speaking house and on my Birthday it was deeming the official language of the party. I can't understand everything but I can make my point and get the point. I'm speaking Spanish? I'm speaking Spanish! My awful French-Canadian third-semester-Spanish teacher would be proud.
Living without a television or a microwave: Sometimes I miss the absent minded nothingness of TV. and Argentina does show a lot of really good movies. but. but. I'm not crazy enough to live without the internet. So all is accessible via eso. As far as the microwave goes, surprisingly I don't even notice. Except, I did eat a cold empañada the other day, because I was too lazy to bust out a pan to reheat it.
Explaining what I'm doing here: Whether it be in Spanish, English, or in my sleep. I've had to explain what I'm doing in Argentina so many times, that I'm actually starting to sound boring to myself. The lack of enthusiasm, upon request to explain, doesn't exactly help. I really should be doing something more interesting.
Not stepping in dog poop!: Seems like a simple enough thing. Unless you've spent time walking around in the San Telmo neighborhood. Jinks. I'm sure tomorrow I'll step in some.
Eating a lot less meat: My body is incapable of being a vegetarian, but I've definitely cut out meat a substantial amount since I've arrived. Which is strange considering how cheap and common beef is here. And just how good looking my meat man is. wink wink. I try to eat it about once or twice a week. The rest of the week I fill my dishes with cheese, soy, beans and veggies. Oh, and tuna. Lots and lots of tuna.
A love for the public parks: There should be more park sitting in this world. There just isn't enough of it. So much to observe. Really nothing makes me happier on a sunny day than sitting in some grass, drinking a little mate and reading a book.
And, because I can't be good at everything. After six months I still haven't quite mastered the following:
Making friends with Argentines: Seemingly impossible. And it's not like I haven't tried. We've all tried. It's just not working out. But after the third time of being blatantly blown-off, you gotta stamp that shit "over it" and move on. Argentine women have this secret pack that apparently I haven't been given the very secret password to enter. And Argentine men. Well. They're either your lover or... well. Apparently there is no other option. Do I sound a little bitter? Well, good. It's frustrating. When I talk to my students and they ask me who I hang out with, I tell them mostly Americans and other foreigners, usually I get a little bit of crap from them, telling me how I should be friends with more Argentines. That's easy for them to say, they're already one-up. And it's not like they're not nice. They're sooo nice. To your face. But then the promises of hanging out just turn into laughable lies. And it's not like it has happen to me with just one person. It happens with girls. with guys. And if I spoke Argentine doggy spanish, I wouldn't doubt it that maybe they would be like that, too. Sad to say.
Figuring out what I'm going to do with my life, especially when i return: This isn't usually up for discussion. And it still isn't really. But I've been starting to think about it more. At least starting to think that I should think about it. It's just one really big vast dark opening, filled with ideas.
How to afford to travel all the places I want to go: Yeahhh. Vamos a ver. I want to hit up the whole country. Doubt it gurl, unless you want to spend the whole time eating raisins and sleeping outside. Although, I do miss the stars a lot.
Surviving the summer without an air conditioning: I'm from south Texas, but damn. If this humidity keeps up, I'm not sure my little fan with keep me happy enough. And because there's no AC, you have to open the windows. Then there's the mosquitoes. Then there's this shit called denge, which is apparently like West Nile. I dunno, dudes. not cool.