22 May 2008

Some Fears I Have About Argentina

Okay. This is not going to be the most rational entry I've ever written, but I think it's helpful--and even important--to be aware of the way my mind works, and understand what's just plain irrational and what is somewhat founded. So here are some fears I have about moving to Argentina. You'll note that some of these fears are bizarre or totally generic. But, la vida es así, so deal with it baby.

My Fears:

1. Erika and I will get to Buenos Aires and discover that it feels just like Lima, except this time we're not returning to Chicago after we've had our little adventure
2. Living in Carnatopia drives me crazy
3. We never feel like we belong in Argentina, making us feel nothing if not a little interstitial
4. I won't become totally fluent in Spanish because Erika and I will speak English too much at home
5. Erika and I won't branch out enough and make Argentine friends, thereby limiting our experience
6. Our apartment in Palermo ends up being the size of our dishwasher
7. We use up all our money after a year and then we're totally screwed, with no job prospects, no money to return to the states, and nothing keeping us in Argentina except our humility
8. It's impossible to make a living wage in Buenos Aires without working 50 hours a week
9. I won't write while I'm there
10. Erika falls in love with some exiled Italian dude that makes sculptures out of ATM receipts and I have a stupid love affair with a 21 year-old girl who ends up being 16, poor, drug-addicted and VERY hip on moving to the states.
11. My literary career freezes on contact once we land on Argentine soil
12. The vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires bite my ass
13. It's impossible to buy decent seitan and tofu in the capital, forcing us to eat beans and empanadas for a year
14. We gain tons of weight because our entire diet is starch
15. There's no organic produce in the whole country
16. Argentinos are dicks to us because we're estadounidenses, even though in so many ways, we're not. Or at least, we're not the ones they hate
17. I miss my family unbearably
18. Ditto with Erika and her family
19. I can't get over the idealization-of-homeland stage all expats go through
20. There are too many turistas in BA
21. My relationship with Erika falls apart
22. Or conversely, I remain too poor to marry her
23. I pick up smoking again.
24. I won't like my new life in Buenos Aires
25. We're too poor to go out to eat
26. Our plane crashes 100 feet from the runway
27. We are forced to start eating dairy again
28. Our clothes are all outdated
29. There's a Marxist revolution the day we move into our apartment
30. We get kidnapped walking home from a nightclub
31. Buenos Aires turns out to be totally overhyped
32. We won't have enough money to travel to Brazil, Chile, Uruguay
33. Our passports will get stolen
34. Neñas don't think I'm cute
35. The greatest presidential administration (Barack Obama 2008! Holla!) takes place when I'm out of the country
36. My brother relapses, my dad gets sick, my mom turns ill, Erika's abuela passes away
37. I give up writing
38. I have a midlife crisis that involves getting plastic surgery and wearing rugs on my head
39. Living abroad turns me into a nationalist
40. We will stop loving who we are
41. We stop running.
42. My literary career takes off to my great surprise, but requires me to make a choice between New York City and Buenos Aires
43. The Dollar reaches monetary parity with the Argentine Peso
44. I don't figure out how to get past the 6-month and 12-month thresholds
45. I start to feel like I'm staying in Argentina to prove something to myself
46. Erika gets accepted into a rad M.A. program at Berkeley and we have to leave right when I feel like I belong in Buenos Aires
47. Erika doesn't make any friends and becomes too dependent on me
48. There's a national quarantine in the US and we can't return for 5 years
49. I turn into a stereotypical Latino male (e.g. jealous, shouts a lot, charming but also secretly mysogynistic)
50. I become addicted to Paco and begin loitering the streets of Ciudad Oculta
51. Or more realistically, Erika and I end up loving Buenos Aires so much we never want to leave


Anonymous said...

nobody isn't 'totally fluent' in anything. people are learning thru all lives. you are really stuck-up turkeycock. boredom...

By Jackson Bliss said...

Originally I was gonna erase this post but I decided to keep it because it's funny. Here are my responses: one, what's up with the double negative? Nobody isn't what? Two, I agree with you that we keep learning until the day we die, but that doesn't mean there isn't such a thing as becoming fluent in a language. I didn't say perfectly because I don't believe in speaking a language perfectly, but I know when I'm fluent and when I'm not, and right now I'm not totally fluent in Spanish. According to my Peruvian girlfriend, I'm 3 months away from being fluent. I think she's being gracious. But give me 6 months and I'll be pretty close--that's what I'm talking about. If nothing else, it's an aspiration of mine. Three, you've got it wrong. I'm not stuck up at all. I don't think I'm better than other people--c'mon, posting 40 of your fears is the farthest thing from stuck-up. And besides, I like people too much to be snobby. And fourth, calling someone turkeycock is one of the funniest things I've ever heard. I'd be insulted but it's too funny to take seriously. If you had bigger turkey balls, you'd have left your name, punk.

santelmoloft said...

Great that you didn't delete this post. Isn't it cool to have all those fears and still move ahead? Kudos to you guys. You're going to love it here and if you don't you're going to love that you came here. It doesn't much matter how it all turns out. It's just fantastic that you're doing it.

Can't wait to read more posts. I've been here just over a year. Should you guys need a gringa's advice or help, feel free to get in touch. Welcome to the neighborhood and to expatism... or whatever it's called.

Jackson Bliss said...

Hi (angela? I'm just guessing)!

Thanks so much. We will definitely write you with questions and any help we might need, and I think all of us should kick it and drink wine and share stories of our travels. We'll come to you in San Telmo or you can come and see us in Palermo. Thanks for your kindness. Peace and Blessings to you and your crew.

miss tango said...

13: go to barrio chino, you will find tofu there.

Alas, you still may get fat from the starch, unless you take up tango, salsa or more likely cumbia as it is too polluted to go running.

Jackson Bliss said...

No! Miss Tango, you're breaking my heart. If I can't run I'm gonna cry. I love walking and dancing very much, but there's no substitute to a great run. I'm gonna have to scratch my head and figure something out because gyms suck ass in the worst way. Still, I appreciate your honesty, but I will find a way!

M said...

Don't erase this post. You'll regret it. Anyway, "turkeycock" is priceless.

I had the same carnivore fears before moving down here, but there are actually a lot of choices for vegetarians. There is a "dieticia" in every neighborhood that sells tofu, seitan, fake meat milenesas, and dried beans. The supermarkets sell dried beans. They're cheaper than canned. There are frozen Boca-esque type burgers.

Biggest surprise--there are hip, organic veggie restaurants such as Bio, Senutre, and Nirvana. Angela at San Telmo Loft wrote a post on some. The Wash Post had a good article the other day on some options I had never heard of, so don't be afraid.

I've never experienced an encounter with someone who had negative expectations of me as an norteamericana. I've found people a little brusk at first, but once you scratch in a little, they are really warm people here.


Jackson Bliss said...

Dear M,

You're becoming my best new friend. I can't tell you how stoked I am to hear you tell me that. We've been worried that we'd become breathatarians, or live on empanadas for 2 years, but your words give me hope. I did a Happy Cow search and found at least 18 restaurants that were either vegetarian, vegan, or vegan/veggie friendly--hell that's more than in Chicago, or even Portland. I mean, if you don't count Thai restaurants or falafel shacks. Anyway, thanks so much M. I really appreciate it. And if you get a second, I'd love and appreciate any other tips or addresses you wanna share. Thanks for being so rad.