How do Mexican's play basketball? Juan-on-Juan
In the movie Elizabethtown, Kirsten Dunst frequently makes use of an imaginary camera to snap a moment into her memory. Something about it resonates with me. There are so many moments in my life that I appreciate everyday, from the most mundane, to the absurd or unbelievable.
This trip of mine began when I moved to Canberra in July 2010 amidst a marriage break-up. I blue-tacked a grande mapa de Sudamerica on my bedroom wall and it has been an imposing presence with its own energy ever since. There were days when I'd come home from a full weekend of selling pretty shoes to pretty ladies and that puta (google translate) of a map had collapsed, a crumpled heap on my bed. 'Don't overthink it Reagan, just stick it back up, it doesn't mean anything'.
I believe that knowing another language is a must do in life (at least for myself it is). So Simone and I started taking beginner Spanish back in September 2010 where we met my maravillosa profesora Nancy Valle. I can picture her eyes glaze over as she wistfully describes her joyous youthful days as a Peruvian woman living it up in Buenos Aires. ¡Que divertido!
How much that has to do with my choice of destination, I'm not exactly sure. When people ask why I chose Argentina or South America some standard replies have been:
¿Por qué no? (why not) or
Quiero bailar, hablar, comer, beber y vivir (I want to dance, talk, eat, drink and live).
My favourite: conocer Pedro, Mario, José, y Juan (to meet Peter, Mario, Jo and John). People would laugh heartily at the indiscreet and suggestive intonation in ones voice.
Whatever the reason, if there actually is one, here I am with 2 months off work, preparing to get on a plane ALONE and it's definitely a moment for my imaginary Polaroid camera. I'd take those fake Polaroids and shove them under the nose of insecure, shy, boring younger Reagan and scare the living daylights out of her.
Whilst there have been a few moments of breathing deeply to ward off panic attacks, I just remind myself that when I moved to Canberra I knew a grand total of 3 people (one of whom is my friend's father). Most days now I feel like I'm living in a Canberra episode of Bold and the Beautiful. I know how to connect with strangers, I'm a relatively nice, normal human being, and three glasses of vino is usually the magic formula to create just the right amount of open & outgoing. Less is sub-optimal, more can result in not remembering what was said to whom, resulting in awkward salmon scenarios.
This holiday is primarily about improving language skills and obtaining tango proficiency, but in the process I am going to be so far out of my comfort zone, that my comfort zone looks like a speck in the centre of a swirling vortex.
This is a city where a young traveller's day might consist of a 2pm wake-up in a dorm room with 5-7 other people. Restaurants don't open for serving dinner until around 9:30pm and calling it a night before 4am is absolutely unacceptable behaviour. Reagan's long established home routine consisted of 5:30am wake-up and 9:30 calling it a night. When a South American person says 'I'm coming now' it really means 'I'm coming at some point in the next 3 hours'.
I promise this blog is not going to be an eat pray love, baggage offloading, self-indulgent rambling. Just an account of some Argentinian adventures so that maybe others will fall in love with this new culture like I know I'm going to.
Nos vemos pronto! (See you soon!)