Hola, como estas? Tienes chimichangas? A phrase. In Spanish. It will soon be commonplace in my conversations, sadly supplanting my once familiar Korean "Onn-young-ha-sayo, kimchi joo-sayo" (Hello and how are you, kimchi please). I am facing this harsh formality because I just purchased airfare that would have me stepping off a plane in Buenos Aires, Argentina two weeks from this Wednesday. Buenos Aires, 17 days, Joseph G. = out of his gourd.
Oh my goodness, that proximity is both terrifying and exhilarating. This feeling is further amplified, or perhaps more appropriately exacerbated after turning down the one job offer I had
lined up in the country. I had prearranged a teaching job for myself and it would have been waiting for me once I had stepped off said plane, but now all I can really look forward to is
mechanical bull riding and basking in the glory of some well grown handlebar mustaches. Both are Argentine crazes...my ignorance may or may not be sarcastic. It would have been slightly better than my first taste of Vietnam, which was communist soldiers with fingernails of disturbing, disturbing lengths; and children street vendors who upon polite refusal of their business, turn into nipple pinching assassins. Yeah I just used the word nipple.
My secret weapon besides craigslist so far has been the friend of an acquaintance. Sounds promising right? We have been corresponding on the magical tin cans connected by string that is gmail and its wonderful chat service and she has proven to be most helpful and informative. Through talking to her I have basically determined that the best plan is simply to arrive, scout out the city and find an apartment while (using her language) staying in a sh*t hole
at minimal cost to myself, and then hit the ground running in search of employment. Of course while retaining mental health and refraining from
robbing a burrito stand. All she is asking of me in return for her counsel is some love from America in the form of JIF peanut butter. My kind of girl. Who can deny the heavenly yet figure punishing treat that is peanut butter? Not I.
I am typing this from the little Internet cafe that is my family dinner table...I say Internet cafe due to the high concentration of laptops and starbuck coffee drinking hipsters. I am sitting across from my middle brother who's hard at work putting together his communications program application to Western. For about the third time in 25 minutes I break the silence with an ingenuine laugh while directing a comment close to "I'm going to Argentina in like 3 weeks" at him. For some reason I think he will have some kind of answer that will alleviate the mystery of just what hell I am getting into. I have read that using laughter and comedy is a highly effective way to deal with the stressors or curveballs that life throw you; or you throw at yourself.