A Short List of the Things I’ll Miss

18 Jun

Meat, Meat, and More Meat

Next month I’m going back to the United States for at least two years. People keep asking me for how long and that’s my general response–“at least 2 years,” because in reality who knows what the future holds. After all, I’m going to be studying U.S. Foreign Policy with a focus in Latin America, so it’s very well possible that I’ll end up right back here. Yet at this point in time I have no idea if I’ll be back in 5 months on vacation or in 5 years to live here again. Another thing my friends have been asking me is what I’ll miss when I go back home. Here’s just a short list of the things I’ll miss about Buenos Aires and Argentina (not in any particular order):

Dulce de Leche, the rich caramel-like creamy stuff used in any kind of dessert

Empanadas. The best ones usually come from random places or estancias, but there’s a place around the corner from the office owned by a Brazilian family from Bahia, and every time I come in the mom comments about my eyes and jokes around. I’ll miss that.

Great steaks. Even though I don’t eat meat as much as I’d like to because of the cost, when you get a good steak in Argentina, it’s pure heaven.

Fernet and cola. Hands down one of my favorite drinks. Mixed with 2-3 ice cubes and ONLY Coke regular.

That's me! On the right

Excellent, fairly cheap wine. Both red and white varieties are lining the shelves of the neighborhood supermarket, kiosk, restaurant, gym, post office, bus stop, etc.

Alfajores. I don’t eat many candies or junk food, but I love helping myself to a good alfajor cookie once in a while. The two best brands are Havanna and Cachafaz, but equally delicious is the Capitan del Espacio from Zona Sur, though only as a triple layer. For some reason the single layer is just meh.

Maté tea. Both in drinking and simply socializing with people. Get a few people together and bullshit over some mate for a while. Also helps in staving off hunger for a few extra minutes.

Road races. Buenos Aires is probably the capital of Latin America in terms of running races. I’ve gotten very into running while here and have already been disappointed by the options in the United States. A deep search showed me that aside from 5k races and a few marathons sprinkled in, there aren’t that many races throughout the United States. Maybe because most Americans don’t run, but drive. I’m still hoping I just haven’t found the right source yet.

Mate with friends

Random sketchy bars/clubs. South America is full of random little dives and sketchy bars where it feels like a slamming door will set the place off. Not exactly like the Wild West, but there’s just the feeling of imminent danger, which is somehow so attractive. Leading me to the next thing…

The feeling of doing something so unique and interesting that I otherwise never would have done back home. Even this means sometimes putting myself in danger or stretching my personal comfort to its max. Living an amazing life rather than reading about it.

Meeting new friends who reinforce that there are good and interesting people all over the world. We all share similar interests and desires, and friendship is one of the most precious things I’ve been able to take away from my time here.

Of course these are just some of the things that come into my mind right now. There are clearly more, and as the days get closer to my departure I will no doubt add to it. I’ll probably add to it after I publish this list. And then when I’m home. And then days, months, and years later. Until I come back and do it all again.

4 Responses to “A Short List of the Things I’ll Miss”

  1. The Travel Chica June 19, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I can totally understand missing the empanadas, cheap but good wine, and delicious cheap steaks. But I cannot believe they managed to get you hooked on the dulce de leche and fernet and cola (gag!). By the way, I have heard you can buy fernet in the US.

    • Jon June 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      As always, thanks for commenting. But come on, do you really not like dulce de leche?? That’s criminal. I can at least understand the Fernet because it takes a couple to get used to, but after its delicious, trust me. I grew up wanting dulce de leche from my mom’s influence, but I’ve seen regular Joe’s enamored by it as soon as they arrive here.

      I’m sure you can get Fernet somewhere in the States, though it’s probably insanely expensive. I’ll also have to find a way to get mate.

  2. Amy June 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Fernet shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve never seen it in stores, but the argentinos I hang out with always have some on hand. So they must be getting it from somewhere around here… Same with maté.
    Regarding the alfajores and dulce de leche, on the other hand, I believe you’re s.o.l.
    Regarding the road races, you’ve got to be kidding me. Boston is home to the Boston Marathon. You shouldn’t have any trouble whatsoever finding races in your neck of the woods.

    If sketchy bars is what you like, New Orleans is your answer.

    Nice picture of “maté with friends”.

    • Jon June 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      I’m thinking of getting in touch with the Argentine embassy to ask where they get their supplies of Fernet, mate and such. Alfajores no chance, but dulce de leche maybe. My mom used to make it, but it’s just not the same because the milk is different. The cows in Argentina are more pure.

      Regarding road races, you need to tell me where to find em. I just signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon in October (you in? road trip) but the Boston Marathon is a bit out of reach. I think you have to have already run a marathon before you even qualify.

      Promise you, soon I will visit New Orleans and annoy you for days. But Chicago comes first.

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