Tag Archives: returning home

Back in the United States After 2 Years

14 Jul

On Tuesday night after two years in Argentina, my friend Matias accompanied me to the airport and I left Buenos Aires on an overnight flight bound for Miami. I spent the last day with my friend Amy, rushing around trying to exchange money and finalize packing. Later we met up with my friend Yerly and walked around for a final slice of pizza. The weather was spectacular for the winter and all things considered, it couldn’t have ended on a better day. I had kind of expected to get choked up or tear up on my way out with the final goodbyes, but was surprised when nothing happened. I even spent a lot of time reflecting on the last couple of days, but nothing got me to the point of weeping. I suppose I was ready to go home, at least for a while.

Two years is a very long time, and upon arriving to Miami I smiled with the anticipation of finally not being a foreigner. Yet in Miami International Airport I still had to speak in Spanish and was still surrounded by Argentinians. There I was, expecting to hear English and suddenly all I heard was “boludo” this and “boludo” that. I was exhausted from the last few days in Argentina and the long, mostly sleepless flight, so I passed out for most of the Miami to Boston portion. Yet once we landed in Logan International Airport, the song “Dirty Water” entered my head and I felt right. Things looked as they’d always looked outside of my window.

The reunion with my parents was nice, and as we drove out of the city and into the suburbs I was able to see many of the landmarks I had always seen as a child. Some things were different, and occasionally I’d be told about something that had changed while I was gone. My brother and sister were waiting as we pulled into the house, and then the tour of the house began. It was like being a guest almost, because so many things have changed that it almost doesn’t feel like the place I grew up in. It’s of course the same house and many things are exactly the same, but two years have changed this house. There’s also something to be said about coming home after a long time away and not feeling as you did when you left. Likewise, the other people and things in your life won’t be the same either.

I’ve been incredibly busy so far, from cleaning out the junk my mom has piled up in my room to running around to the bank and seeing old friends. A lot of people have been asking me if I’m going to be continuing the blog, and the answer is of course yes. The theme will obviously slightly change, and though I am no longer an expat, for a time this blog will focus on a recently returned expat. In time, I’ll move to Washington DC and then will explore a new city. Just as Buenos Aires was a new experience that I discovered, Washington will offer me new opportunities and stories which I will share with you. Continue to check back in for updates on what I’m doing at home and how the transition is going.

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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.

I’ve Got a Golden Ticket

7 Apr

Today I finally did the unthinkable, something I’ve kept out of my mind since arriving in Argentina in August, 2009. I bought a plane ticket home. Back to Boston, where family and friends await anxiously, and have been waiting for two and a half years, really. It’s about time I cut them some slack, so without keeping them on their toes any longer, I’ve now got a set date on my return to my home country: July 12th, 2011, D-Day, landing on the shores of East Boston.

I was all set to go to a travel agency near the office and purchase the tickets I had investigated yesterday after Vero passed me a special deal for travel agencies. It was the cheapest deal I was able to find around, though it would only get me in to New York. From there I’d have to either by another flight to Boston or take the bus, an option that wasn’t appealing but cheaper nonetheless. Yet it was a last minute change of plans as my dad emailed me some deal on 60% off airfare from another travel agency in the U.S. I don’t know how he got it but I looked into it and found a flight from Buenos Aires to Miami, Miami to Boston. It worked out to something like $50 more expensive, but gets me right into Boston, which in the end is easier and aside from the bus fare, probably cheaper.

The date wasn’t exactly picked arbitrarily–my birthday is in late July and I want to spend it at home as I’ve missed the last two outside of the country. My parents will be away until July 11th and thus I’m leaving on July 11th, landing on the 12th. The idea was to wait nearly as long as possible in Argentina to make the most of my time here, but I’m leaving my job on June 30th, and I’ve been away long enough. The idea is now to make the most of the time at home as possible. I also need to head down to Washington D.C. earlier on to find an apartment and get settled before starting the challenge of grad school.

It’s still kind of weird to think of it as so official. There was the idea long ago of returning in the winter, but without a notion of exactly when. Having the tickets in hand makes the calendar seem much shorter. A week here melts off the calendar and before I know it I’ll be on vacation for two weeks, returning for a couple of months and then, chau. I told my friends at the office and was mostly met with the “good, get out” response, telling me that I might be missed. But I don’t want to think of it as a goodbye forever. Especially because it’s a round trip ticket. I very arbitrarily picked a date in early September because still in the down season, the ticket would be cheaper.

I need to look into it when I return to the States, but if I can change the ticket for a fairly minimal fee, I’ll push it back as far as I can, either to December or January, Spring Break, or after classes end in May. It’d be nice to come back to Buenos Aires to visit my friends, eat a couple of steaks, and maybe visit a place like Bariloche. Of course, that all depends on how broke I am and if I have an internship lined up. Ideally I’ll get a job in D.C. which will allow me to save a tiny bit of money for something like travel. And maybe I’ll get an internship in Latin America.

For now, you’ve been warned. Posts to come might start to get more reflective or have a “wrapped up” feel to it. It’s only natural, but not entirely intentional. I hope you’ll leave comments on what you think of it all.