So that’s it. Just like that, it’s over. Back to North America, back to regular life, back to reality. And not excited about it.
My last week in Argentina was just crazy. A hectic week, bogged down with school work, franticly packing and trying not to let the depression get to me. Finishing a semester at school is even more strange and liberating abroad. The work is in and that’s it. But instead of driving home and kicking back, you have to face a long and drawn out goodbye with the life you built, the people who have surrounded and supported that life, and everything you have come to call home as you pack your entire life into a giant (9-pounds over the weight limit) suitcase. So that’s what I did.
Tuesday night, I went to dinner with my host mom and host brother. She took us to La Cabrera. This restaurant is constantly filled with tourists as its name swarms every BA to do list in history. Some say it is simply the best restaurant in the city, so I had to find out for myself. Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it certainty is not over rated. As the three of us split a bottle of wine and the almond and parmesan cheese stuffed olives, we waited for one of the tastiest meals I have ever given my taste buds the honor of enjoying. That place will surely be making it into my dreams; I am going to wake up with drool everywhere and I’m okay with it.
Wednesday night we had a small goodbye dinner. A group of maybe 15 of us that have gotten close over the duration of out time abroad went to one of our favorite restaurants for a short but enjoyable and commemorative meal. It’s strange, it really seems like I have known some of these people for my entire life and in a sense I have. Parting from the life I have built including a new city (state, country, and continent) new language, and new lifestyle is not going to be easy. In fact, after the “reverse culture shock” sets in, I’m pretty sure it is really going to hit me that the semester is over. It already feels like a dream and I would do anything to jump back in it.
Thursday was my last day of school. Papers turned in and final exams finished, we just sat and talked in class as we looked back on our time in Argentina. The swarm of emotions from all the students sitting and telling funny stories was more than palpable. We really, really just don’t want to leave. After my last (actually, on second thought, I think I’m going to continue my tradition) Thursday afternoon nap, I met some people at Kevin’s (Jesus’ son) place so we could…not drink…before the IES farewell dinner. Then we went. We had no idea what to expect. We thought we would be sitting down at a huge table but boy, were we wrong. They rented out what was more or less an Argentine Ballroom and had a projector playing a photo slide show as students spiked their drinks, ate the dinner (which was more like hors devours) and danced the night away. It was actually really nice to see everyone let loose. Many of the teachers and staff came and everyone was dressed up. Turns out, many of our friendly staff members who just sit typing away at their computers are actually beautiful and love to dance. Hm, who would have known? Throughout the night, people said their goodbyes as we split up to go out to various boliches for one last time.
And just like that, it’s done. Friday I just woke up, enjoyed my last empanadas for lunch and packed my entirely overweight suitcase filled with all kinds of crap that I hope doesn’t break. 2 bottles of red wine, 2 suits and a white rug is a dangerous combination. Pray for my luggage please.
Now it is off to Canada. Why? I have no idea. Well, for a wedding actually, but still. I flew overnight from Buenos Aires to Miami where I had less than an hour to get off the plane, pick up my checked bags at baggage claim, go through documentation and customs, re-check my bags, go through a (miserably slow) security line, and walk across the terminal before my connecting flight to Montreal. I cannot believe I made the flight. After 2 days in Montreal for the wedding, I fly back through Chicago to Austin. That is 18 hours of flying in 3 days with 2 checked bags and 2 carry-ons weighing in at a total of, I don’t know, a hundred million pounds or so, thanks to my 27+ kilo suitcase. Luckily though, my flight to Miami was awesome. After finding out that Jenn was on my flight, we shared a cab to the airport and got ready for the plane. After eating gross airport food, we had to spend our last pesos. Thanks, duty free. Before we knew it, we were sharing a few small bottle of whisky and watching Finding Nemo before passing out for the majority of what could have been a miserable flight. I have no idea how we managed to sit together, we got really lucky.
Anyway, in what might be my last blog post I would like to (very briefly, don’t worry) recap some of my experiences abroad. If you are still keeping up with my blog, there is not point in stopping now.
Let’s think travel. About 17 weeks in Argentina, and considering the long weekends and Spring break, I think I may have travelled for half of them. A ver…
Week 1: Where the hell am I?
Week 2: Traveling already, Mar del Plata before Summer is over.
Week 3: Classes begin; day try to San Isidro neighborhood.
Week 4: Man, I wish I spoke Spanish.
Week 5: Easter off? We’re going to Iguazu Falls. One of the most spectacular things I have ever seen.
Week 6: IES trip to Tigre. Fell out of Kayak into gross brown water. Lived.
Week 7: Day trip to Lobos, Estancias rock.
Week 8: Alright, I’m settled in.
Week 9: Mid-terms already? IES trip to Tandil.
Week 10: Patagonia. Scuba diving in Ushuaia, climbing Laguna de Los Tres to Fitz Roy in Chalten, and trekking on a giant glacier in Calafate.
Week 11: Keep going. Uruguay with IES.
Week 12: Emily comes to BA – incredible.
Week 13: The time flies by.
Week 14: North by Northwest Argentina. Packed a 7 day trip into 4 to Salta, the Salt Flats, Purmamarca, Tilcara, Cachi, and Cafayate and seeing the beautiful sights in between them.
Week 15: Something tells me I’m running out of time here. Oh well, at least I speak Spanish.
Week 16: I need to study for finals now? And how many pages do these papers need to be?
Week 17: Finally, I’m done with school. Oh dammit. Am I leaving already?
Yep. 9 trips. I spent more weekends outside of BA than I did in it. And still, there is so much more I want to see and experience. Not being able to go to Chile and/or Peru is my biggest regret. There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to return to South America to see more. This experience has been one of the most incredible and life-changing times I can imagine and I can’t wait to take that home with me. I have made some incredible friends without realizing how seamless it was. I am going to miss all of them very much (until they come visit me in Austin.)
So what now? Well, that is a really good question. This may be the end of Good Air from Buenos Aires, which by the way, I’ll tell you now in case you didn’t know actually means “Fair Winds.” You fool, you. I really appreciate those of you who have kept up with my blog, it has really been a pleasure to write and I hope you enjoyed it. Perhaps I will continue it with my post-Argentina adventures or the after-effects of my experience. One thing’s for sure, I plan on hanging onto my Spanish, drinking my Mate and living una vida tranquila. I suggest you do the same.