Hindsight's 2020: A bitter-sweet reunion
I leave Argentina today with a heavy heart. The reason is stupid but I haven’t been able to get that message across to the weight in my chest. Exactly two weeks after I landed in Buenos Aires, my body has tapped out. I’m fucking exhausted. It hit me about midday and got progressively worse–until I was sitting with my head out the window of our taxi in violent tears.
Leaving this city, I feel so much regret. It took the second visit to make me see how special Buenos Aires is. Every experience in the last 14 days was an opportunity to analyze each and every way I could have made my first trip better. I lived here for 5 months and I didn’t nearly enjoy it as much as I had this time around.
Granted, the two journeys were completely different. in 2015, I was a young 19 year old, emboldened to travel by a great high school teacher and a few 10 day guided tours. I was thrown into the concrete jungle of Buenos Aires with no idea of what I was doing. With passing conversational-Spanish, I managed to live out my time comfortably assimilating to day to day activity. But I missed everything: my language, my friends, my family, my comfort, and my life.
I studied in Argentina for the bragging rights. When I tried again in Australia, I dove into the Pacific with the confidence of a 20 year old who took life by the balls. Later Rebecca met me in Sydney for her semester, and found me in the club where I had been blissfully dancing and drinking alone, waiting for her for an hour.
Today at lunch, we discussed how I felt coming back to Argentina. I explained how different the two experiences were because of who I was then, compared to who I’ve become. “Before Sydney, I had never seen you like that before.” she commented as she brought us both back to our summer on the beach, and the girl I was then.
I feel like I let Argentina down by not embracing this new version of myself then. I felt myself constantly proving to be different–better this time. I felt like I was proving to the city how much I truly loved it, and that I hadn’t taken it’s gifts for granted. I embraced my Spanish, I met new people, and I got myself on the 12pm-5am Argentine schedule.
I don’t have much experience with relationships. Instead, my relationships have been with countries. Each one a romance: an affair that I look back on; either fondly or with a wince of regret. Argentina was a love that I met too soon. I was scared to get too close. So I kept my heart closed, until Australia: the love that freed me from all of my preconceived ideas of who I was ‘supposed to be’.
So here I am many lovers later, rekindling an old flame. The butterflies filled my tummy with each hour that we spent together. Nostalgia and freshness blending and exuding pheromones for my senses to read. I was swept off my feet, and instead of excitement, all I felt was regret. Because I knew it was over. We were just crossing paths for a short time compared to the months we once had.
Like with lovers, some are lessons and blessings and we don’t get to choose. Although I wish I could have given more of myself to this beautiful country when we had the chance, I leave again, with one last long embrace: thanking him for being a part of the journey that made me the woman I am today. Thanking him for setting me on my way to fall more in love with Australia and Israel than I ever thought I could be, and still–years later–welcoming me back with open arms.
Maybe that’s just me. Maybe that’s just the 400 vodka-tonics from this week talking. But right now all I can think of to sum up what I’m feeling is this:
From Buenos Aires with love,
A grateful heart.