Never Too Old to be a Brat

In The Art of Travel Fall 2017, 11. Travails, Buenos Aires by Kiana1 Comment

In the three months I’ve been in Buenos Aires, there have have been many mishaps. Whether it’s a lost wallet, a phone that won’t work, or miscalculated directions, I’ve experienced it all. These occurrences are annoyingly inconvenient when traveling internationally, but magically, they haven’t affected me much. There’s always been a silver lining to these mistrials. Without a bank card, I have to go to the one money wiring service that I can use with no credit cards, which has resulted in me spending less money. With no phone, I have no choice but to give the present moment my undivided attention. I take a wrong turn and I stumble upon a whimsical afternoon. You get it. Things never turn out to be that bad. Essentially, it hasn’t been the obvious ordeals that have gotten under my skin. That being said, I’m not going to take the next 400 words to praise my resilience. My happy-go-lucky attitude was put to the test with the most minuscule “issue” imaginable.

An average Wednesday in the life of Kiana looks like this: I wake up around 10 am and get ready for school. The 39 line bus stops two blocks from my house, and because it’s now a leisure 11 am, there’s always a window seat available. I take the 15 minute ride to ease my brain into thinking mode by listening to music and people watching. Upon my arrival at school, I make a pot of coffee or maté and do work until my 1:45 class. I have Journalism followed by Interamerican Relations, which puts me at 5 pm. At this point, I take the bus home, change, and walk four blocks to boxing class. After an hour of punching stuff and sweating disproportionately because I have no stamina, I walk home with nothing but a relaxing shower in mind. On this fateful Wednesday, I was right on track. I climbed the three flights of stairs to get to my room to find that the maid had taken my towel but not replaced it with a fresh one. “Okay, whatever, I can just use my hand towel” I thought. I headed into the bathroom, stripped off my sweat soaked clothes, and got in the shower and turned the knobs to start the water. A scalding stream of water spat out onto my head and shoulders and I jumped back in shock. “Hot!!!” I thought. For 10 minutes I shivered trying to adjust the temperature while simultaneously shoving myself in the corner of the shower to avoid the water coming straight up from the Inferno, but the more I tried, the hotter it got, and finally I gave up and turned to the tiny towel I had forgotten I would be using.

I know what you’re thinking. Damn, Kiana, that was a dramatic level of detail to build up to that. You just got out of Journalism class where you presented on Afghanistan war crimes followed by Interamerican Relations where you discussed the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and you’re throwing a fit over a towel and water that’s too hot. This first-world afternoon unfolded about a month into the semester, a time when I could deal with the phone not working and the wrong turns, but the inability to access a comfort as simple as a shower, was the wrong wrong thing. Suddenly I was stomping back to my room throwing my clothes on the floor, so weirdly affected by such a minor inconvenience. I wasn’t the 17 year old who made a raincoat out of a trash bag when I encountered a hail storm on a weeklong backpacking trip, and I certainly wasn’t the 19 year old who made a makeshift bandage when I stabbed my hand to the bone opening a can of beans with a knife in the middle of a forest. No, I was the 21 year old who threw a hissy fit over a shower. I can’t tell you what exactly it was that got to me, often times the comforts we take for granted are the most important ones. An instant of inconvenience turned into a manifestation of homesickness and I could not ignore that things were going to be different for the remaining four months. Luckily, I got over myself in a matter of 30 minutes, and my attitude has reverted back to dreamy ever since.


  1. Kiana,
    I love the details you provide of your typical Wednesday routine. In just one month, you were able to make your house in Buenos Aires some version of a home. However, maybe the reason the shower issue impacted you so much was because it put a bump in your usual routine. It was a reminder that the complete comfort of ‘home’ had not yet been established, and may never be established, considering the very short amount of time we have to live in these cities. I commend you for not freaking out over losing your wallet and phone; I know many travelers who let a circumstance like that ruin their entire trip! Hopefully, you have been able to adjust the shower issue, making Buenos Aires a little more like home.

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