07 January 2009

The Year in Review 2008

The year 2008 was so good is so many ways that I want to look back at it and take it all in for a second. In the past 12 months I:

1. Tried surfing for the first time in my life in Socal with my Mom's boyfriend Ron
2. Gave my first public reading of BLANK, my first novel, at Notre Dame
3. Traveled to South America for the first time in my life
4. Spent time in Lima, Cusco + Arequipa
5. Flew over the Lines of Nasca in a small airplane
6. Walked up to Machu Picchu with LB
7. Moved from Chicago to Argentina (Buenos Aires) with LB and our Shia-Poo, Zoe
8. Applied to 2 Creative Writing PhD Programs (FSU + USC)
9. Was part of history twice by voting for Obama in the Democratic Primaries in Illinois and a second time in the General Election via absentee ballot at the US Embassy
10. Finally received (or will soon receive) copies of my prose in the South Loop Review + Stand Magazine
11. Got four short stories accepted in literary journals: the South Loop Review, the African American Review, the Connecticut Review + the Kenyon Review
12. Got a geisha tattoo on my forearm that has still not healed in BsAs--it's the water
13. Went to the Taste of Chicago for the first time in 10 years!
14. Bought tix with LB to fly to Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Geneva and Casablanca for this April
15. Took the Buquebus to Uruguay
16. Sipped my first mate (I've been addicted ever since)
17. Celebrated my one year anniversay with LB in May
18. Spent my first Christmas abroad
19. Watched the US Men's bastketball team kick ass in the Olympics
20. Danced in the streets on New Year's Day at 2 in the morning with the love of my life


Devin said...

Wonderful post as always Jackson! Best to you and LB and your familites this year!!

Katie said...

Sounds like a fantastic year! Here's to good things in 2009.

Argentino del interior said...

Cool blog. Nonetheless, there are things I kinda didn't like such as: Porteños dont cover their mouth when they sneeze. This is a matter of education. I mean, there are people in UK, China, USA, France who dont cover their mouth when they sneeze. By the way, it's such a pity that people think that Argentina is Porteños. Porteños are d-bags! You should visit the so-called 'interior' where people are cultured and polite; they won't say, Che, boludo and stuff. Most of them will treat you as Ud.

Argentino del Interior said...

Another stuff I did not like was the 'Private Property' is an oxymoron in Argentina. That's an hyperbole. I mean, I never took anyone's cellphone. It all depends where you're living in and who you hang out with. I never make it to the States, but does the Bronx represent America? No, it doesn't. It's just part of it. Are Texans like Californians or New Yorkers? No, they aren't. It makes me sad that you have seen the bad stuff only. Anyway, I'll keep on checking out your blog to see how your Spanish goes en Capital Federal. Porteños are Italians who speak Spanish who think they're French and live in London.
Argentino del Interior

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Hi Argentino del interior.

Thanks for writing. My response:

I'm sorry, but I have never seen a porteño cover his/her mouth when they sneeze. This doesn't mean it doesn't happen, it just means I haven't seen it. When people talk about their observations, it's a law of averages, and averages can always be wrong. But that's not the point, this is a blog, so I speak from the personal point of view, and personally, I've never seen that. Compared to people of other countries (and I've seen quite a few), I've seen so few people cover their mouths. In America + Europe, most people do. Not because they're better countries, or better educated (that's your argument, not mine) because so many people are afraid of getting sick, or invading someone else's space. Also, if what you say is true about Porteños not being like all Argentines--and I have a feeling you're right--then even then, my observation doesn't necessarily reflect the way all Argentines are, just the Porteños I've been observing for the last 7 months.

Also, a lot of my former students weren't born in BsAs. They were born in Salta, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Bogotá. Nevertheless, they moved here for the economic opportunity. So, though BsAs isn't all that Argentina has to offer, it attracts people from all over the country. And on that level, I'd argue that it's a more fair indication of the totality of Argentine culture than another city that doesn't have the same diversity based on opportunity. No one place can sum up an entire country, but some places are more representative of the country than others because of how concentrated they are.

In America, 70% of Americans live in cities, so the Bronx is very much a cultural representation of America. It's one of the most important ones there is, actually, it's just not the only one. But part of that is because America is definitely one of the most racially diverse countries I've ever seen, so the Bronx can encapsulate only so much. When countries are less diverse racially and ethnically, it's usually easier to make generalizations. They may not be correct, but then again, no generalizations ever are. Are you trying to tell me you qualify every generalization you make? You've already made several about my blog, jaja!

Private property IS an oxymoron here. Let me explain. In America, there is a strong sense of "this is mine" and "that's yours." Here, it's just not the same. Employees take chairs from someone else's table without asking; in America they would ask because people have a strong sense that something is theirs. Another example: personal space. In American and in much of Europe, people will sit on a bench by themselves. They almost never share their bench with someone, least of all, a stranger. On the other hand, my g/f and I walked to Plaza San Martin just the other day and we sat down down to a complete stranger without asking for permission. Why? Because South American's don't have the same idea of possession (personal property) that North Americans have. My g/f, who is Peruvian-American, talks to her mom every day on the phone in Chicago. Most of my no-Latino friends don't talk to their parents more than once a week? Why? Because there's more of a sense of "me. . .I. . . mine" with North Americans than there is with Latinos, living either in American or South America. You don't have to agree with me, but I've talked about this with countless Latinos in American and virtually all of them feel similarly. The beautiful part of that is that you get a large, loving family that is crazy, affectionate, tight-knit. The bad part is that you have no privacy. On the flip side, with these tiny Anglo-Saxon families, you get a calmer, less melodramatic family sometimes with more time for yourself, but you also feel more isolated, more cut off from the world, and lonelier too. It's not about one being better than the other, it just depends what you need in your life I guess.

Lastly, most of my blog is filled with the things I love about Buenos Aires. I suggest you read more then 3 entries before you make generalizations. After all, one entry is not like the rest of a country. I have readers from 80 countries because my blog is written with honesty, observation, art, and humor. It comes from a place of love, and love isn't just positive reviews.