In the last few days leading up to a big move, often times we’ll find that we have already emotionally left. Bags are packed, airport transportation arrangements are made, and images of our destinations play like movie trailers in our minds. It’s odd, isn’t it, that in our precious and dwindling time in a place, we are in a rush to go. Of course we must handle the practical aspects of travel in advance, but beyond those procedures, our minds can stay or go however they like.
I leave Buenos Aires in four days. After a 10 hour flight to Atlanta, 4 hour 50 minute flight to LA, and finally, an hour and 35 minute hop up to San Francisco, I’ll be home. Four months of assimilation to this culture, and after one lengthy flight itinerary, I’ll be back in Marin, a place I never had to adjust to or grapple with to feel comfortable. Before I left for Argentina, many study abroad veterans told me my emotional state would almost definitely follow a wave pattern. First I would be filled with adrenaline, then I would realize how far home was, then I would get over it and fall in love with the place, and then I’d be ready to go home. Besides the blip that was my 20 minute emotional hot water crisis a few months ago, (available to read about in my post titled “Never Too Old to be a Brat”), I experienced exceptionally smooth sailing. I kept waiting for it to “hit” that I was away from California or New York, but it never did. Maybe it’s because I’ve increasingly found an identity for myself in the dirtbag/nomad stereotype, but I genuinely loved every moment I spent here. The most obviously gratifying experience I’ve had is learning the language. I went from having to repeat myself and asking others to do the same, to having locals ask me that if I wasn’t from here, where I am from, because my spanish is excellent! It’s been a treat learning how to express myself beyond the basics in a different language. Dinner table discussions with my host family have become more lively, which makes me sad to leave them. Writing this blog. That’s another positive experience. I have a habit of getting so caught up in the moment, that I forget to record or reflect on it in any sort of way. I signed up for this course to make myself take an hour at the least out of each week to chronicle my adventures, and I’m grateful that I did.
As for how life will be when I am home, I’ve found I have a way of reverting back to teenage Kiana whenever I return to my childhood surroundings. That being said, I think it’ll be different this time. Firstly, I’ve never returned from living in a foreign country for four months. Second, as soon as I get home, I have a month to enjoy before I head back out on a new adventure in the South Pacific. My time here in Buenos Aires has left me weirdly obsessed with this notion that as a 21-year-old, I am in my physical prime, (yes I’m totally serious) and therefore will not put off living exactly how I want to live. For now, that means taking some time off school to squeeze in some more plunges into the deep before I finish up my degree. I spent my birthday on a plane here, (wouldn’t have it any other way) and recently had the revelation that the entire time I am the mischievous yet seasoned age of 21, I will be in a country where it’s summertime. I owe it to myself and to this city for proving that I can live in sticky-sweet bliss all the time. I’m leaving Buenos Aires in a climate and culture of warmth, and although I don’t have immediate plans to return, I know I’ll be back.