This is officially the last entry. I’ve read some of my initial blog posts and it’s amazing how unsure I was of everything, how foreign of a concept Buenos Aires seemed to me (even when I was only ten hours away from being there!), especially since now Buenos Aires is a place I feel like I know well, a place that will always be dear in my heart. Similarly to how I could not conceive of ‘tomorrow in Buenos Aires’ back in June, I am having trouble grasping what ‘tomorrow in Sioux Falls’ means. Of course it’s not as dramatic, it’s a place I know, but it still is actually a little scary to me, as stupid as that might sound.
I can’t believe the five months are already done! Even though it was the primary goal of mine, to tell myself on June 20, 2013 that I would leave Buenos Aires with extremely meaningful friendships was a far-out dream, a super fantasy. Of course, to be able to be invited to the apartment of friends from Argentina, to go out with people from here, drink coffee, mate, cook dinner, to be accepted as ‘un argentino más’ would be great, but I also didn’t want to expect too much and leave disappointed. And for that exact reason I’m sitting here in the airport on the verge of tears, incredibly incapable of understanding how the hell I’ve been so lucky. So many micro-moments encapsulate this feeling: cooking empanadas in Leni’s house with my friend Gabi on the 9th of July; trulling through the Tigre Delta last Saturday to go to a super weird island party with Piru, Kate, Marina, and Ami; watching The Nanny with Fred, Leni, Jail, and Vadu; seeing a small concert with my friend Emilia- the list goes on. I think in the multitude of moments where the very people who I crossed by complete chance in this bizarre corner of the world accepted me without question as one of their own. I’m probably not explaining well, but this is why I feel so lucky.
Maybe this will make it a little clearer. You know when a famous person gets asked how they felt when they first got famous? They tend to say, “Well I couldn’t believe it, it’s what I’d always wanted, and then to see my dream become reality was amazing, etc etc.” That’s how I feel. My true goal was to enjoy good company here, even if just for a few moments, and I got much more than that. And I still can’t believe it. That’s why while I’m sobbing hysterically, I genuinely don’t think it’s because I’m sad but instead because I’m super content with how I’m leaving Buenos Aires.
As much as I’d love to continue with this idea, I’ve probably beat it dead by now. I still need to write about my last day here. I actually can’t even post this blog right now because I want to surprise my parents in Sioux Falls, so if they read this they’ll know I’m leaving today and not Thursday (though they’re parents and tend to have instincts about these things anyway…).
Anyway, yesterday, the 17th, was an awesome day. The only big plan was to have a goodbye dinner with friends from Buenos Aires, a small group to be sure, but just to end things on a good note. Before that, I was feeling the kind of nostalgia I’m emptying onto you, dear reader, and so I spent the day keeping myself busy, packing, walking, reading, and buying food for the dinner. These last days I actually didn’t do any sight-seeing but instead focused entirely on doing goodbyes the right way. I also bought a few presents for family members.
Around 7 my friend Kate came over to help with some kitchen stuff. We exchanged some presents and I ended up getting around a pound of Colombian coffee which honestly meant the world to me. After that we tried to make an iced coffee but it turned out the blender was broken. So instead of doing anything we chilled on the balcony, listened to music, drank a beer, watched a final sunset over the skyline and waited for our friends.
In classic Buenos Aires fashion, a few people cancelled at the last minute and the majority of people showed up late. Fortunately, our friend Marina came over and helped begin to prepare things and another friend from the exchange program named Dylan rolled through, and so we started eating. A little later Fred, Leni, and Jail all came over which is when the party started (and when the neighbor rang our doorbell to be quiet). It was a peculiar mix of different friend groups and so it was funny to see how people interacted. On top being from different backgrounds and professions, it was also interesting that people I knew from day one (Fred, Leni, Dylan) were sharing the experience with people I met only ten days ago (Marina and Kate). Fortunately we all got along and had a great time listening to music and chatting. Afterwards some of us gave sentimental speeches, Jail and Leni said super nice things and I obviously thanked everyone for coming over. I’m surprised I didn’t cry. As everyone was leaving Vadu showed up in time to say goodbye.
Today was just a normal day. I went to exchange some leftover pesos into dollars with a street vendor and then went over to Leni’s for a final mate. It was really awesome because in his house was Fred and Franko, and those three were the very first people I met in Buenos Aires on the subway. Afterwards Vadu came by and we exchanged some more gifts- Leni gave me a shirt with his name on it, Franko gave me a really raunchy cutoff shirt, Vadu gave me his city guide, and Fred gave me a used metro card and 25 cents. When I left they all said that they knew we’re going to see each other again and didn’t seem too worried in the least. I really hope to come back, too.
In hindsight these months have been absolutely amazing. It was truly a blessing to come to Buenos Aires and especially at such a young age. I know that this experience will be something that influences me for the rest of my life, and the people I met here will always be in the front of my mind. I’m eternally grateful to my family, friends throughout the world, and whatever other forces brought me here. I wouldn’t trade these five months for anything in the world (except for a lifetime supply of Snow Dogs, obviously).
For those of you who read this, thank you very much. It’s nice to have a (relatively) candid record of Argentina, of my thoughts and perceptions in Buenos Aires and how they’ve developed and changed, and I’m not sure if I would have written it without an audience, no matter how small.
It’s almost time to go home, so here’s where I’ll leave it. Goodbye Buenos Aires, I hope we see each other soon.
Terminal C, Ezeiza International Airport