My adventure in Argentina begins in a little over a week, but it still feels so far away. After two and a half months of winter break, I’ve gotten so used to being vaguely excited about this big trip that lay in my distant future that I just can’t shake the feeling of it being in the distant future. There are also a lot of big things happening in the coming week, including but not limited to Mardi Gras parades, my return home to Albany after 6 weeks in New Orleans, and a weekend in New York City before I ship out.
To set the scene: I’ve been living with my relatives in New Orleans for the past month and a half, volunteering at the Animal Rescue and helping teach an English as a Second Language class; mostly just killing time before my semester abroad, but also enjoying myself thoroughly. It’s been a good warm up, too, living in this subtropical, heavily French- and Spanish-influenced city, where you are frequently greeted with a kiss on the right cheek (Argentine-style!) and the pace is somewhere between the frantic hustle of New York and (what I imagine to be) the languid flow of life in Buenos Aires. Not that I believe it’s a slow-moving city; on the contrary, it’s a bustling metropolis. But the European style of enjoying moments of pleasure to their fullest extent – long, slow meals, for example – is an experience I’m looking forward to, and I’ve gotten a glimpse of that lifestyle here in the Big Easy.
Preparation: I haven’t done much. Despite having lots of free time, I’ve spent very little of it trying to get myself organized for my five months in Latin America. I get my visa when I arrive, which simplifies my responsibilities before I leave significantly, narrowing them down to, more or less, money, clothes, and technology. I have to make sure that I’ll have money when I get down there (when I went to Israel last winter, I didn’t call my bank before I left, and had no access to my bank account for the first three days of my trip – I will not be making that mistake again), that I have clothes to wear, and that I have my laptop and that it’s insured. Simple and straightforward. Great.
So all I have to do now is enjoy my last week in the states, pack my bags and wait for the next phase of my adventures to begin. Next time I write, it will be from an internet cafe in Buenos Aires, or perhaps from the living room of my host family’s home – fingers crossed that they have wi fi, but no guarantees. Until then, chau!