These last few days have been getting busier and busier for me. Ever since joining the Nike Running Team which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I find myself trying to cram a million other things into the week on my spare days. So far I’ve had almost every day of the week booked up, which is a nice juxtaposition from what my life was like in the winter, sitting around almost every night watching TV. I also keep in mind that we’re always going to be more active in the summer than the winter. Over the last few days I’ve had meetings and a little bit of fun, mixed in with running and hardly any writing as a result.
On Saturday I finally got back to Tigre after over a year since my first visit. This time I was heading to an island campsite for the night to take part in an Afro-Latin theme party which my Colombian friends had invited me to. I got there late, however, and as the sun was setting I was getting to the island, making it so that I couldn’t go for a swim in the river. Even going by the train, the boat to the island took about an hour, leading up zig-zagging channels to who-knows-where in the delta.
Once on the island I had to deal with the fact that I went there on extreme survival terms, with a bottle of water, a bag of Goldfish crackers, a bathing suit and towel (left unused) and some sunscreen and bug spray. The bug spray came in handy but just about everything else was useless. Luckily, I was able to get some meat from my friends’ asado and eventually found a tent to sleep in, though in the early morning hours I was freezing with no covers, and soon after the sun rose I was baking in the stuffy tent.
Sunday morning was lazy, but the prospect of getting back to the city late after barely sleeping wasn’t too attractive to me, so I caught a midday boat back and was home by 4 pm. Now that I find myself busy most of the week, I can really see the days just melt off of the calendar. We have a four day weekend coming up for Carnaval (which was not a holiday in Argentina for years due to the military dictatorship removing it) and in a couple of weeks I’ll be heading to Chile for another long weekend. Then in April I head off for my two week vacation. So looking at the months ahead, I have to finally do what I’ve wanted to avoid for as long as possible, which is come to terms with the fact that I’ll be going home in July. It’s not that I’m not excited to go home, but it will also close a chapter on something which I’m not sure how I feel about yet.
Slowly word is getting around, and I’ve been letting people in on the fact that I have an expiration date. I’d hate to leave people in the wind and then tell them a month before that I’m leaving. That would just be unfair to everyone. While I don’t want people to start looking at me and talking about me as if I’m already gone, there’s also a bit of an upside because people realize that they should make the most of the time you have left, rather than continuing to leave it for next time.
Some friends have asked me why I’m leaving, or if I don’t like it here. The truth is that I always had a time frame of two years in my mind, and I actually stayed a year longer and deferred grad school so that I could live in Argentina longer. It’s not that I don’t like Buenos Aires, though I complain about it often, but I have family and friends back home who I also need to see. I wish I could combine both worlds, but that’s a fantasy which will never be realized. I do mean what I say, however, about going to study for two years with a possibility of returning. I don’t know where the future will take me, but my studies are focused in Latin America and my citizenship in Argentina (if that DNI ever shows up) wasn’t done just for the hell of it. Anything is possible, and surely now that I’ve gone through the hardest parts like learning the language, culture, making friends, etc., a second time around would be much smoother.
Don’t be surprised if I disappear for another couple of days. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that I’m at full speed ahead and can’t get myself into the writing groove.