Nos Vemos

23 Jan

I’m leaving for Argentina in two days. Two days. Spanish phrases are flying through my mind and I’m going over my packing piles over and over again, trying to get into that 50 pound limit. It hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve watched every single friend I have go back to their schools, back to their routines. They’re joining sororities and not sleeping for days. They’re getting new roommates and seeing candidates on campus. Meanwhile, I’m on this crazed drive to shove as much American culture in, between watching Star Wars and eating take-out Americanized Chinese food from China East.

American food seems to be the biggest item on my cultural docket.

American food. Eric Schlosser crafts our fast food nation and explains how we truly are what we eat, Like my country’s politics, there’s a monstrously unhealthy dark side, but there’s also something optimistic and ambitious about American food. We’ve got the advancing guard in the most cosmopolitan kitchens, but it’s still tough to beat classic comfort food. We’re cutting edge in America, but close to the heart. We love technology, but we are convicted on our traditions. America seems divided between what it’s about. Our political approach at home and abroad is like football’s aggressive charge versus baseball’s mysticism and rituals.

And I will miss all of that. I’m trading popcorn for parillas. The food is going to be unreal there.

I read about asadas, Fernet, Malbec, and dulce de leche. It’s so different than the grilled Henning’s Cheese sandwiches and creamy grits.

My final visit to a friend showed me so much about myself and the life I’m leaving behind. I realize how much I’ve grown, how much darkness I’ve absorbed during a misty and melancholic walk around a train’s bridge. A freighter rolled by overhead, slowly stabbing its lights ahead on the tracks. How can such a thin bridge hold all of that weight?

This is the last entry I’m making before Buenos Aires. A thin bridge between the current and the future. Like that train bridge, I’ve got to carry a lot with me, but nothing exceeding 50 pounds. I hope it can hold.

I don’t want to look on my life in the South condescendingly. I don’t want to sneer like so many others have. I want to bring grits to Argentina and show what an odd thing they are. I won’t be blindly accepted where I go. There will be trouble. I’m going to be smart and confident, but there are bumps on the rails. I’m not going across the Equator with the idea of mastering the place, but I know enough about me to know how to handle.

And I know I can.

Maybe all of this would be more appropriate as an angsty tumblr post.

I compiled a list of treats both savory & sweet that I’ll miss while gone. I’ll be looking forward to sharing them with the best loved ones I could ask for when I’m back.

Until then, Vamanos!

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One Response to “Nos Vemos”

  1. Levi January 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I am so pumped for you. Good choice with the Bourdain link. He’s my all-time favorite.

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