On Friday, I realized that I have just six short week left in Argentina. I immediately started panicking, thinking of all the things that I still want to do. But on my way home from a surprisingly efficient encounter at the Alto Palermo express mail stand, I thought of all the things that I have done, that this country and its people have taught me. This is my list.
1. My passport number. Want to buy something with a credit card? In Argentina, you have to know your passport number. I’m not really sure when I’ll use this again, but I figure knowing it can’t hurt.
2. That buses aren’t scary. In fact, they can be just as fast, easy, and cheap as trains. Also, they tend to have more people willing to help the girl struggling with her Guía T.
3. That while a picture may be worth a thousand words, there are still places in the world that neither a photo nor a book would do justice to. Case in point: Cerro Campanario.
4. That I need to chill out. Ive never thought of myself as a tightly wound person. But the most common word I hear from Argentines is “tranquilo” - calm down. I’m trying to take their advice.
5. The art of small talk. I don’t pretend that I’ve mastered this. And I am both hampered and hindered by the fact that I am a foreigner. Still, I talk way more to strangers here than I do in New York, and I’ve gotten better that it.
6. Spanish. Of course, I knew a fair amount of Spanish before arriving in Buenos Aires. And while my goal for the end of this school year is to be fluent, I’m surprised of how far I’ve come in just 2 short months. I’m nowhere near fluent. But I’m far more comfortable with my Spanish, and I know I’m getting better.
7. Dance transcends language. I’m not much of a dancer, although I’d like to be - hence my (poor) attempts at Argentine tango. The class, which is taught in both English and Spanish, is difficult, confusing, and tons of fun. And dancing has nothing to do with language; it’s about communicating with your bodies. That’s plenty hard in itself, but it has nothing to do with my verbal abilities. It’s a nice break every week.
8. That sometimes, your travel plans will get screwed up, and that’s OK. Rosie and I got stuck in Bariloche an extra night. We went to Antares, had margaritas, and had a great time.
9. That I’m really bad at sticking to a self-imposed schedule. Case in point: this blog. I told myself I’d update it regularly (by which I meant at least once a week). Obviously, that didn’t turn out quite so well.
10. That photos and words are, sometimes enough. Yes, this is a direct contradiction to Number 3. But it’s true. Through this blog, the photos I’ve taken, and and the very occasional entries in my diary, there are things that I will remember about this country that I very likely might have forgotten. And for that, I am grateful.