Thursday, July 14, 2011
Every day, several times within the day, my perspective of this life changes. In the morning, I may wake up exhausted, unable to even think about tackling the day. I'll think about how everything is just that much more difficult because of the language barrier. I'll think about the four agonizing hours I'll have to spend in class, poring over every detail of Spanish grammar. Then, by the time I'm on the colectivo, I see the city buzzing and thriving around me and I'll get excited; I'll realize I'm living here in this incredible city, in this incredible country, and God, aren't I lucky?! Class will both discourage and enliven me as I have moments of clarity and periods of utter confusion. And when I get home all I'll want to do is collapse on my bed. I'll get some much-needed alone time, all the while feeling an obligation to go out and converse with the girls on the floor but simply not having the energy to do so. I'll eat my dinner, finish my homework, and go to sleep thinking about what I would be doing if I were at home. That's what always brings me back to positivity. As much as I miss my family, home, and everything familiar, I have to remind myself that if I were there right now, I'd spend my days in some boring job or another, my nights on the couch watching TV. Don't get me wrong: I miss those things; I love those things. But look at what I'm doing here. I'm going to the theatre, the movies, museums; I'm exploring not only a major metropolis, but the capital of a country in a completely different hemisphere. It's exciting; it's challenging; it's big. And that's what makes it so exhausting. I was dropped into this world and I have to adjust my habits to survive here, to thrive here. I'm making progress; every day gets a bit easier, but I still can't help but realize how much easier it is at home. I realize how much I take for granted the fact that people I interact with will understand the language I'm speaking; that I live in my own home country, my patria, that I belong there. I never really thought about it until I left, but there's a certain level of comfort living in a place where you are a citizen, living in the country where you were born. I take travel for granted, food, TV shows, my couch. There are so many little things I miss while I'm here. But I know that this experience is a unique opportunity, that it's going to change me, permanently, probably for the better. And I know that when I go home in four months (which now seems like such a short time), all those little things I miss-- peanut butter, my couch, local commercials-- will be there. My regular life is going on without me there; my friends and family and all my little habits will all be there when I get back. It won't all be waiting for me, exactly, but my regular life will be ready to envelop me, and I'll be ready to wrap back up into it, maybe a slightly different person than when I left, but still essentially the same. I can't help but think big picture every day that I'm here. I can't help but realize the magnitude of everything I do during this five month period. Every day is significant; every day I'm going to see and hear and experience a hundred things that I won't be able to experience again come November. I'll just have the memory. So that's my goal while I'm here: I try to take every day as it comes, to enjoy every day. One day I might be homesick, but the next day I won't be able to imagine leaving Buenos Aires. Studying abroad is so strange: you create an entirely different life only to leave it behind. It sounds tragic. But, God, every day is just so damn exciting.