It has officially been 3 months since I arrived in Argentina to study at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. In this short period of time I have gained a new understanding of a language, a city, and its people. Argentina is a beautiful country with possibly the best food, people, and climates one could possibly ask for in a single breath. However, I can safely say, with two more months to go, that this time has been the “best-worst” time ever.
Why the “worst?” Well, I’d challenge anyone to go abroad for more than a month with a minimal grasp of the language and little knowledge of any of the customs of that place (I would recommend studying up on the place beforehand!), and not deal with culture shock and homesickness every once in a while. To take yourself out of the everyday context of your life and to transplant yourself in a setting in which all the things around you are completely different, all of a sudden all the little things that you never noticed that were feeding your bubble of identity just stops and you are surrounded by people who expect you to know and understand their ways of living.
For this and other reasons, I miss “home” considerably. But then there are those moments when you happen upon a free concert or you find a great bakery with the best little sweets, and everything seems okay for a little while. I don’t expect this type of living to change when I return to the U.S. either. Why? Because as of lately I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of Missing that hangs around every free moment and empty thought. Perhaps this is a sign of discontentment, or perhaps it is a sign that once again, things are changing. But the thing is, they always do. Things always change and we must be ready to accept that every day contains some good and some bad, but the overall trajectory of our lives cannot be determined on how things affect us in a positive or negative manner.
Things are going to suck. The other day, it was cold, raining, and there was mud everywhere. I had just missed my bus by a fraction of a second so I had to wait for an hour in the rain until the next one came, full to the brim with people stuffed into a humid, and dirty bus. I was almost late for my two exams and upon arriving the professor read aloud our grades in which I received the lowest, embarrassing. However, at the end of the day I sat myself down at a cafe to drink some tea and eat a croissant. The next thing I knew I was listening to the city sounds and watching the wind carry autumn leaves up to the tops of tall apartment buildings. The rain had ceased and the city of Cordoba looked a little bit cleaner. It made me realize that good/bad is severely relative in a personal/daily basis. I realize this sentence contains many unacknowledged aspects that could be analyzed in a long essay, but for now, this will do. To know I have the freedom to choose how I will respond to certain situations, to an extent, it not a bad thought, no?
So for this and many more reasons, my time in Argentina has been the best/worst time in that I am learning so much about myself in a place that all the opposite of what has informed my identity. I can’t imagine what will come next, but as always, we have a choice to make for ourselves to acknowledge both the good and the bad and not let either one deceive us from the reality of the freedom waiting for us beyond this fixed duality to which we often fall prey.
Best to you,