“I had a moment of complete immersion in futility! Like wtf am I doing?”
“Yeah, I’m going through something like that. Questioning whatever the fuck I’m doing here, at home, in life.”
“Well, we will wallow in futility when you return.
Or we can accept that the only thing that matters is how we love.”
How even on a day when I’m not at work can the weight of a Monday still hang over my head?
Key words: Hang over.
Wendy and I took off yesterday after the trilingual asado, where I met some of Wendy and Fer’s friends. We sat around the table till late in the afternoon, drinking mate and talking about Cordoba, cultural differences between Argentina, Cordoba, Brasil, the United States, summertime conversations. I washed dishes, swept a bit (an endless task here) and we headed for the bus stop around 6:30.
The light was perfect, warm but not hot, in the golden hours of the day that I enjoy so much. We were sure we had missed both the trolley and bus for good, since it was so late on a Sunday, but as we stood on the corner with a few other women, all looking both ways for either to come first. The trolley came first, which I have come to love. As the old trolley approaches you can hear it rattle down the line, like the sound a stretched out Slinky makes. We got on and “surfed,” hanging on to the rails and swaying in our summer dresses as the trolley bounced down the road, around corners to centro.
After walking through the ferria again, Wendy and I made it back to Dada mini bar, where we had beer the night before. I introduced her to Campari and the beauty of Negronis, the sweet and bitter poison of many summer nights. We talked about me coming back to study espanol, of course a much more difficult and expensive endeavor than it seems, especially when considering the cost of re-entry into a life back in the United States. So what is it that I want? What change is underway, what is the next step on my path or journey?
I asked her what she thought of my overly romanticized, dramatic shifts that she’s witnessed in our adult lives. I’m so passionate about something, whether it’s a person, a place, an idea or concept. I want to dive into it! Into the Pacific Northwest, into teaching yoga, into working at a magazine company, into the bici community in Chattanooga. Then I realize that all things have highs and lows. She suggested that maybe I just get bored in Chattanooga sometimes. Do I crave the excitement of South America and Latinos? Yes. But do I also just crave more excitement in my life on a regular basis, like more or different opportunities, more extreme characters, less of a conservative feel, regardless of where I am?
What that shift will look like, what form it will take, the change I will make… I don’t know. I only know that the shift will come from within me. It cannot be some pipe dream I chase, looking for it in different locations. Because the change is in Chattanooga, my family there. The change is here in Cordoba, in my sister and Fer and their friends. The change is within everything and anything. It’s a shift in collective consciousness that goes beyond location, beyond our physical bodies.
The change I seek is within my heart, in my soul and within my Self. It is colorful, brash, and sometimes uses too many curse words and is rough around the edges. It’s sweaty, smelly, gritty skin. It’s messy but neat, wild and free but driven. There’s a softness and sweetness among the burning, fiery energy.
Home is where I’m going, and the journey will be an introspective one. What did I unearth here, and how will I incorporate it into my life? How do I express the newness I feel, the rebirth and rediscovery I’ve experienced, the refreshing reminder that
THE WORLD IS SO MUCH BIGGER
and I am so much smaller, merely one thread, a single fiber, connected to a great quilt!
than I’ve realized in a long, long time.
It’s so easy to get caught up in a small town life, whether the “small” feel is in your head, in your neighborhood, among your friends. It’s hard to think outside the box. When you’re thrown in head first, though, into a different society, a different culture, where do you find the least common denominator? What matters about you? What matters about other people? It’s not the car you drive, the clothes you wear, what kind of place you live in or what you do for work.
It’s your values, the way you treat other people, easiest to witness or feel or express among dear friends and families.
What strikes me most about Argentina, about Cordoba, is not necessarily it’s culture, the people, the amazing food/meat/wine/baked goods. It’s not even the simplicity and slower pace of life, though I’m really attracted to all of the things just mentioned.
MY FAMILY, my best friend, my sweet sweet sister, my role model and mentor and confidant is here. She really makes the country, the foreign experience, feel like home, whether she’s making a gringa salad for us to eat at lunch, running for a bus in a way that only Walker sisters can, turning to talk to me and only Spanish coming out, or loudly singing Hall & Oates with me walking down a street in centro at midnight on a Sunday, enjoying the buzz of the people around us, the heat of summer, the life of the city.
That is what I’m most sad to leave behind, but it only makes me appreciate every second I’ve been able to spend here, to see her life, see the province and the mountains, all while digesting and digging into what exactly I’m experiencing, what shift is underway.
baby, won’t you carry me… back to Tennessee.