EsperandoBuenos Aires, Spring 2009
I leave for Buenos Aires in less than a month. To me it feels, as most impending major changes usually do, at once very far away and very immediate. A giant new suitcase lurks in my closet, Spanish textbooks are stacked on my desk, my parents have been trained in the use of Skype, and I have a vaccination appointment—but all of that seems like so much clutter when I wake up to another Texas morning, another day at school and work. My routine is so comfortable here that I have to remind myself that soon everything will change.
At the same time, though, I’ve been planning this for years. Even, in a sense, from my very first class my freshman year of college, on Latin American short fiction, and the summer research project on Borges that it prompted. I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but I had no idea where—until after attending a study abroad fair at my school, where every representative gave me booklets on Oxford and Cambridge upon hearing that I was an English major. Looking at those pamphlets, I realized that I didn’t want to go to England—or even Europe at all. Not that they aren’t great, but why not take advantage of the chance to do something a little different? I just felt drawn to Argentina, and when I talked to my friend Carina, who had been planning on going to Spain, about the mix of European and South American influences there (not to mention the much gentler exchange rate) we decided to travel together.
One thing I’ve learned is that if you choose a program abroad that has a much different calendar than your home university’s (March to June vs. January to May, in my case), you should plan as far ahead as possible in terms of jobs and housing. Although I waited far too long to figure those things out, I was lucky enough to find a writing job with an environmental nonprofit, and with that plus working at a food magazine, auditing a Spanish class, and doing all my normal extracurriculars, there’s plenty to keep me busy, though it does feel odd not to be in classes full-time like everyone else—and I’m surprised that I actually miss pulling all-nighters in the library.
My next post will likely be either from an airport or Buenos Aires—and I promise it’ll be more interesting, since travel always leads to crazy stories. Right now feels almost like the calm before the storm. I’m savoring this time to work and read and relax with friends, but I’m also counting the days.
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