Every once in a while I get a comment on a blog post or article I write, and it’s always nice to know that not only someone is reading what I write, but that they felt strongly enough to say something, whether it’s good or bad. Recently I got an email from Andy Coelho, a reader from Washington D.C. Andy offered some sympathy and advice on some tough times from the last few posts: moving to a new neighborhood, alone on July 4th, and the death of an old friend. I really appreciate the kind words, but it also got me to think about how I’ve been writing.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m miserable here. While I’m new to Recoleta and getting adjusted, I don’t necessarily dislike the place. It’s one of the most beautiful sections of Buenos Aires and many people would be envious to live here. Being alone and bored on July 4th was fairly tough, but I also have new roommates here in the apartment that I’m getting along with very well. In fact, I went out last night with a new comer from England and we only got back at 7 am (today is a national holiday for Independence Day). As for the death of an old classmate, that’s something that will always be there, but obviously life goes on. Though I think about it a little less each day, it’s simply a part of life and I can’t place any guilt or blame on being abroad here.
One of the things Andy said was that I should do something nice for myself. Maybe get some ice cream or something along those lines. That made me think of my buddy Ricardo who was volunteering with me in Ecuador, but in the coastal city of Portoviejo. Porto is a raw city, and the kind of place where you could get down on yourself after a few months of immersion. Ricardo bought himself a new hat that cost him $25, a hefty price there. He told me that he walked by the store for a few weeks and always saw it, and one day when he was feeling down he finally bought it. “You gotta do something nice for yourself once in a while,” he said. “This hat will make me happy for a few weeks, otherwise I’ll just start to go a little crazy,” he said.
And he’s right. Even if the money is a little tight sometimes, you have to give a little leeway or you’ll never find the pleasure in life. I kind of miss Chinese food at the moment. So maybe this weekend I’ll take a run up to Belgrano and hit up Chinatown. That should make things right again. In any case, my birthday is coming up soon and yesterday I received a birthday card from my brother at the office. A little early, but nice and welcomed nonetheless. With a picture of a chimp driving an invisible car, I’ll leave it next to my computer and look over at it for a smile every once in a while. Not all is lost.