Nine weeks ago I arrived in Argentina. The trip I’d been preparing for since February had finally arrived. This country was going to be my home for over two months and I had no idea what to expect. But now I’m on the other side of the journey and all the “what ifs?” and “maybes” have become epic stories that I will get sick of telling and quiet moments I will eventually forget. Thankfully, this blog will do some of the legwork for me on the story telling end of things, not to mention helping preserve the memories I’ll eventually binge drink out of my brain. Anyways, here are my final thoughts on this trip with random ass photos from whatever-the-fuck that I haven’t posted before.
1. Hands down the best thing about this trip was staying long enough to actually get to know some people. Not just spend one good night with folks I met in a hostel and then going our separate ways, but actually having friends that I felt like I was “hanging out with” and not “getting to know.” Today I even ran into my friend Paula randomly while going to the park to drink mate with my friend Vick and it was the coolest thing ever. Getting to know all the amazing people I now consider friends, but who I didn’t even know existed two months ago, was incredible.
2. Language acquisition is a tricky bitch because no matter how greatly I improve, I am always confronted by how much I don’t know. And so while I still constantly feel frustrated by my inadequate mastery of the Spanish language, I have spent nights in this city talking in Spanish with friends without resorting to English. I have gotten around town, ordered food, asked for directions, given directions, made friends, sworn at cab drivers, and essentially lived in Spanish. Of course, all of that will probably go to seed once I get back but it was awesome while it lasted.
3. I’ve done a ton of awesome unforgettable stuff. Being forced to live in a city where I didn’t know anyone or have any idea what to do forced me to meet a lot of people and do a lot of new things. I’ve hung out in VIP at huge clubs, seen more than half a dozen bands, killed time in parks, cafes, and book stores and just wandered around different neighborhoods. Basically, I’ve spent two months outside my comfort zone and that’s been a really positive thing.
4. On that same note, just being outside of my normal Austin routine made me really excited to get back to it. But now I feel like I have way more purpose and understanding of what I want to do with my time in that city and a greater appreciation of precisely how many things I love about where I live. Fuck, this is getting cheesy. How about some quick bragging and then some complaints?
5. I realized that I kick ass, take names, and am better than 98% of the half-witted goons that go to UT. Okay, that’s an exaggeration (97% maybe?) but I am proud that I am an extremely adventurous person that can show up in a new city, find awesome stuff to do, and make connections like a motherfucker. And I can get way crunk as fuck and party till the break of dawn. I can seize the day and understand that sometimes when you’re so tired you feel nauseous, you just gotta keep partying and drink some wacky 3rd world energy drink because there is way more fun to be had that night.
6. Finally, obviously there are a million great things about Buenos Aires and Argentina. They party late, they keep it chill, they drink mate, they value friendship, they’re super friendly and considerate, the street art is incredible, the food is kind of good sometimes, the croissants are definitely tasty, there are beautiful parks everywhere, and it’s not 100 degrees right now like it is in Austin.
1. Being away from any sort of recognizable social circle sucked for me. I felt like I was either sitting inside flatlining with Facebook or downloaded TV shows, or I was out going to a hundo (aka partying hard) and pushing my social skills to their limits. There was no in-between equivalent of passive yet social activities like watching a movie with friends or making dinner with my girlfriend. It was either going hardcore or doing fucking nothing. That got old, especially once my energy reserves for socializing and meeting new folks started running dry and I found myself just absolutely not caring about meeting some new person and remembering their name.
2. The food. It was sometimes good but more than often it sucked. I miss spicy stuff. Also, meat with sauce. I will be eating that real soon. I am probably over empanadas and disgustingly sweet desserts forever. Okay, maybe empanadas I’m over for like three months but dulce de leche can suck it.
3. Boliches and club culture just isn’t my scene. I’m glad I got to experience a different aspect of modern urban life but I’m even more glad that I don’t worry about cologne or VIP or any of that shit in real life. At the end of the day, standing in line for clubs is dumb and being “cool” is more often than not a disguise for being a vapid douche. However Thomas’ DJ sets were amazing and I obviously had no complaints about getting free alcohol while I was in VIP. I guess VIP isn’t the problem, it’s the wanting to be in VIP and the culture that surrounds it.
4. The weed sucked. Hiram Walker and all of the domestic whiskey sucked. Drink prices sucked. However, that’s not exactly a fair statement since living in one of the cheapest booze cities in the States and knowing all the angles really spoils me on drink prices. Not being able to pre-party in a house where I lived also sucked. I’m fine with going out till the break of dawn, but having to wait at home until 1 a.m. to go party, without being able to invite friends over to drink and get amped, was annoying.
5. I don’t want to live here. As many positive things as there were in Buenos Aires, and as many awesome people as I met, I didn’t connect with the city in a way that made me want to make it any kind of semi-permanent home. And living abroad has been my general post-graduation game plan for the last few years so now I gotta figure out something else. I can’t really pinpoint the one reason why I wouldn’t want to live here – though the crowding, the food, and the economic turmoil are all key factors – but I think it’s that I just never felt like I could fully connect, whether that was the language barrier or just the anonymity of being new in a big city for only two months, I don’t know.
6. Fuck that shitty I lady I lived with. God, she was such a rude jerk. Mala onda all the way. At least I can enjoy the fact that I probably had more fun in these last two months than she has or will have in her entire life. Have fun with your cats and boat photos Maria Luz. I’m going to go do awesome shit.
1. Not really sure what to do with this category but felt like I need more than “good” and “bad.” Today, a bunch of my Argentine friends have been asking me, “When will you come back?” Well, I have no idea. It’s expensive to come here and honestly, if I had the money, I can’t say that I would come back here rather than explore someplace new. And that’s a bummer because now that I know people here, I feel like a second trip would be an entirely different experience. I’d start with the connections I had to fight so hard this time around to gain and maybe this city is an entirely different animal when you have rad friends the entire time. It’s a weird taste of mortality leaving a place and realizing, “Wow, I might never, ever come here again.” But then again, who knows? The future’s not ours to see and so maybe one day I’ll return for some now unknown reason.
2. I have to wake up tomorrow at 8 a.m. and spend all goddamn day traveling. Not looking forward to it but 19 hours isn’t a bad price to pay for going from one end of the world to the other when you think about it.
3. Austin readers, stay tuned. There is one final update to Blargentina to come. It will be awesome and you won’t want to miss it.