Most people in my study abroad program are leaving this weekend to go to far off places or simply back to the United States to states that still feel far away. So many people are stopping, taking time to reflect on what’s happened here and how it’s changed them and how these months will be with them forever. It makes me think back to my first days here, confused, jet lagged, head exploding every time I had to form complete sentences in Spanish, and not listening to the world around me. As it turns out, listening is extremely important to understand a language.
There are so many people who I wish I could have gotten to know better. Even my roommate Juan and I didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would like, but life isn’t really long enough to get to know everyone as well as I would like. That’s what letters are for.
To any of my fellow study abroad students, it was a pleasure getting to know you, no matter how little or much time I spent with you, and you are always welcome to call me if you need anything and are in my state. Goodness knows I’ll probably try to hit you up for a couch to sleep on.
Life Lessons in Buenos Aires
Life never stops.
I’ve had several conversations that revolved around how bad things still happen in here in Argentina. All the problems in the states haven’t gone away, and even here there are slow days. There are days of crippling apathy and there are days where you wake up and you just do not feel like being the prettiest of princesses and that’s okay. It seems there are two ways to go about dealing with days with that heavy black rain cloud: You can stay in and take care of yourself, working on your personal spiritual health, or you can go outside and do something that somehow involves interacting with the world. I’d usually recommend the latter, as the former can sometimes become an intentional way of avoiding the latter.
Dreams are important.
I’ve been running back and forth trying to decide what on earth I want to do with myself for the next five years or so in my life. Grad school is on the table, as is just finding a job and really trying to do the writing thing while working for a while. That isn’t my favorite idea though.
No, what I really am starting to want to do is a roadtrip throughout the United States where I run around and see what people think about the tango. As far as I can tell, there’s tango in every state (I mean, it’s in Rhode Island and Wyoming, so it has to be everywhere else, right?), and I’m taking a leaf out of the book of a wise-tango-woman who wants to dance tango on every continent, while having an excuse to explore my own country! What could be better? I still need to find a job so I can save money and actually do this/figure out where I’m living for the next year, and fight off all the inside-my-head monster that tell me this is a stupid and irresponsible idea full of selfishness. As a friend of mine told me, I’m dreaming now, and that’s okay.
In other news, dating is difficult.
Not only do I have friends here with some communication barriers between friends (“No, I want to come cook and go running with you.” “Okay, we don’t have to hang out now.” “Wait, what?”) And, it turns out long distance relationships are tough for folks here, but through the powers of Skype and flower delivery services, I have not heard of any break-ups that occurred down here though.
An interesting thing I came across during a date (I couldn’t even remember when my last official first date was) I went on is I had to reassure the person I was with that I wasn’t just trying to sleep with them. That I wasn’t just after them because I thought they were smoking hot, but because I respected their intelligence and their ability to be funny. While I’m usually more of a fan of people who are kind first, while still being intelligent and funny, it weirded me out that the base assumption for one being interested in another is only to get sex. That leads me to…
A Rant About Women
I went to a gender bender party this last weekend, and being a combination of too lazy and unable to find proper women’s clothes and lacking the desire to be a pretty princess, I decided to just go as Rachel Maddow. For those who don’t know, Maddow is a political commentator on MSNBC who normally leans so far to the liberal side of things that I have trouble listening to her show, but I have never disagreed with her about women’s rights. Being a gender bender, I had a bikini top on underneath my shirt with some dress socks functioning as improvised tetas as everyone insisted on calling them. Now I think dressing as a transvestite and having a good time is great, and while I usually slapped people’s hands away when they tried to grope me (fake or not, Rachel Maddow does not put up with that shit), one thing struck me as interesting.
Almost every guy at the party, when he came over to say hi to me (me being Harry Potter), asked me about girls at the party. He wanted to know about this girl, that girl, what it took to get with American chicks, and I told them they would usually do best with respect and patience, but it depends on the woman, just like in Argentina. This sounded like something that frustrated them even more. They would nod, make some more chitchat, and mention how so-and-so was so absolutely beautiful or hot. Usually both.
As the night went on and people got drunker, they got more aggressive, and, as always more forward. If I was talking to a woman (dressed as a man, of course), a guy would come up, try to touch my fake breasts, and then after I told him to take a hike, would try touching the real breasts of someone I was with. This young woman who I’ve met once before kept coming over and dancing with me, telling me she needed a break from all the guys who were trying to make out with her. Guys would try to take off girl’s shirts to take off their bras, dirty dance with them, and be general brutes. It was like they were all this woman who was pretending to be a man and telling me she wanted to explore all my safaris. Safari exploring struck me as hilarious coming from her as a woman pretending to be a man hitting on a man pretending to be Rachel Maddow, but somehow the humor lost its flavor when the actually male-identified group followed her lead.
It frustrates me to no end this is the way women seems to be treated throughout the world.
People interested in women
Get the hell out there and start treating women like ladies and being gentlemen.
Or you could just work on being a decent human being.
Remembering that everyone else too, is human.
Apparently that’s the same thing.
Night at the Musuem (better than the movie!)
The government here put on a night where you can go into any museum for free, and you get a sticker that serves as your bus pass for the night. I very sleepily went from museum to museum looking at ancient paintings, bathtubs, spears, woven tapestries, a painting of a naked woman sitting on a fishbowl of eelsnakes, a movie with Korean men breakdancing, and a very red and sparkly Jesus, who I think had just been taken down from the cross.
Art history majors who are thinking about coming to Buenos Aires, there are wonderful things to see, but be warned: People touch the art. People get close to the art and have no respect for the art. I have it on good authority that someone could not stop thinking about the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney and Ted lick the liberty bell and that someone may have in fact licked a very small Chinese lion. I would not be able to say who this is though, for fear that the rage of all art history majors would destroy said person.
For my part, I muttered into some large cauldrons to listen to the echoes.
I went to the planetarium today and watched the show about the stars. It was funny to hear information that I mostly know about stars being translated into Spanish, like giantes rojos y enanas blancas. It was relaxing, calming, and in the middle of Plaza Italia, which is a beautiful open park that is one of the most relaxing places for me in the city. I ought to spend more time there. Probably the best part of the planetarium was afterwards. No, not the delicious choripan I got for ten pesos, but the little girl who kept talking excitedly to her mother about the show. She said: “Cada persona nació de las estrellas,” or everyone is born from stars. That’s one cool little girl.