I’m kind of being bad right now. I probably shouldn’t be taking time out to write a little blog post, but I figured it’s worth it to clear my head for a few minutes. I’ve just got so much work to do, and it never ends, that it almost seems pointless to try and get it all done in a one day period. Graduate school is no walk in the park when you’re also working. I’m not pulling a full time job, but the 20 hours a week I’m shouldering is enough so that I notice the difference. I head over to work in the morning, leave in the afternoon to come back and study before heading off to the university. Then I come back and study some more, but I never really seem to come close to finishing all of the assignments until they are due. There’s just too much to read.
That’s the way it is though, and I knew I was going to have challenges like this. After all, this isn’t meant for everyone, and if no one can force you to go to college, there is definitely no one who can force you to go for a Masters. Everything has been incredibly interesting so far, and from learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis to strategy on how to combat Al Qaeda, I can honestly say that I’m smarter after just a couple of weeks in the program. That is to say, I never would have just known about this material on my own. On a day like today though, I can feel weighed down by responsibility. Work, meetings, reading, class, and having to scrap together a meal with almost nothing in the fridge at the same time. I haven’t gone food shopping since moving in, but I really have limited time to get down to the store, as working with the buses is a venture in itself.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the last six months or so that I spent in Buenos Aires. Once I moved back into Palermo with my new roommate Tomás, life started to get a lot sweeter. I was on the downward slide, so knowing that I would soon go home made my job less of a chore, and nostalgia started to reign in. I made some great new friends but also solidified my long standing relationships with other Argentinians and a handful of expats. There was one week in February when I was busy every night of the week, running with the Nike team, going to a pub quiz, and other after work outings to keep me busy. I was flying by but enjoying it all, though eating poorly (pasta and pizza for four days) eventually caused me to fall ill.
The weather was beautiful as the summer edged on and eventually slid away, and from the 13th floor apartment I could see the sunsets come around faster and faster, until I was running in the dark after work and complaining about the chill. I would sit in the old green felt chair with character at night, prop my legs up on the wooden table and watch a show on my lap top. I would enjoy leisurely activities like writing and even read a few books, including a book on philosophers and their teachings from the Greeks to the 1800s. That book actually helped me in dealing with stress in some situations, and I’m still grateful to my friend for letting me pick any book I wanted from his pile.
Becoming more familiar with my neighborhood, I could drop down for a $5 ARS ice cream cone, or drop in to the bakery for some fresh bread to match my meal that night. Buenos Aires certainly has some European characteristics, and one thing that I’m missing here in Washington is being able to stop in at a corner market for fresh fruit and bread. But I’m not forgetful, and I have the archives here to show me that it wasn’t always peaches in BA. Did the last six months make up for frustration during the first year and a half? I think the answer is self-evident. Those last six months in Buenos Aires were a precious time in my life, and I think I’ll always be able to look back on them with a tragic romanticism, happily allowing a bit of water to the eyes even while I picture the scene of the old living room with a view of the Botanical Garden, bedroom with a view of the west, and kitchen with a view of the Palermo parks and Rio de la Plata. I can see it now.