Leaving Buenos Aires, For Now

Dogs in Buenos Aires
Photo Credit: Bucaorg

We’re leaving in two days, and I’ve been procrastinating to write. I didn’t know how to conclude this part of my history at this point. I’ve been editing drafts in my head for two weeks. I wanted to write a Dear John letter. Buenos Aires, I love you, but it’s time we see other people. I adore you, but maybe more like a friend. I wasn’t serious about us long term. Actually, I just happen to be going out with Chile, your arch rival…

More than anything, I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve changed since I’ve been here, and how moving always provides the opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves.

After living here for ten months, I’ve realized that being what some call “poor” in the United States is considered well-off in another country. That people will do inventive and humble things to in order to survive, including selling socks and bobby pins on a subway. That truly being poor means living in a “villa,” the slums put together with odds and ends. I’ve learned the discomforting truth that some people are born in a social class and may not be able to overcome it, despite that everyone’s due the “American Dream.”

The dogs are a fabric of my days. Wherever I walk, I follow dog walkers and their cheerful herds. When I used to leave for school in the morning, a lady dog walker stood and waited for one of her clients to come out. I always found her staring down adoringly and petting a golden retriever who smiled so big and looked back adoringly back at her. There are some dog walkers who tie their dogs in the park all day so they can bark themselves hoarse, but there are some walkers who are clearly in it for the love.

Milongas and the strange mixture of intentions from different dancers. The hope for a matching rhythm, a good embrace, a shared laugh, a man’s card, a woman’s number, “English lessons,” “tango lessons,” another tanda, a complete tanda, no more tandas at all. The smell of vanilla cologne. The heavy wheeze of a life long smoker. A courtly accompaniment back to a lady’s table.

The sun worshipers sprawled out in the city parks like the beaches of Punta del Este. Leathery, spotted skin. Fish lips and fake breasts. At the gym, anorexic girls who watch themselves in the mirror as we kickbox together.

Most of all, I will miss the shabby, broken apart sidewalks and collectivos. There is a freedom to get around this city with only a 30 cent ticket each time. Travel possibilities. Everything’s within reach of the buses, and they come one after another. I want to keep riding past the antiquated Victorian apartment buildings with outrageous graffiti and teenagers smoking on the corners. Listen to the beautiful sound of castellano that I can understand now but could still improve on speaking. Share more bottles of wine with friends over some of the best pasta in the world. Keep staring out at the night landscape of high rise apartment buildings that never end. Kiss a hundred more cheeks hello and goodbye.



Filed under Argentina

15 responses to “Leaving Buenos Aires, For Now

  1. Beautiful post. You have eyes that see the beauty in everything. The bitter and the sweet. I can see, feel and hear it all. I look forward to reading about your life in Chile.

    Thanks so much. 🙂

  2. I love it. Fantastic imagery, by the way. Besos.

  3. Well said! Here’s to the continuation of your journey…

    One question. Will you change the name of your blog? 😉

    I don’t know. I was considering the same thing. What do you think?

  4. Aunt Marge

    Love reading your blogs. Hope the next chapter of your adventure is just as, or more, exciting than the last. Wishing you love and happiness. Aunt Marge

    Love you too! Happy holidays!

  5. I love your writing…how about Don’t cry for me Argentina??? that sounds good to me!
    Lots of History between the two countries, but oh…my…you’ll love both!
    We need to meet-sometime in 2009.

  6. Good luck on your next chapter. Leaving Bs As is never easy. I guarantee you, you’ll find that you’ve left a bit of your heart there. A bit that you’ll never recover. It will belong to that city and its people forever. Isn’t that the case with most love affairs?

    Interested to read what you think of Chile. We never made it that far.


  7. I just love this post. Your writing is amazing – makes me feel like I’m there.
    Best of luck on your journey – and have a fabulous holiday!

  8. love all the details of your post! happiest of holidays to you. enjoy your next stop.

    (love the photo!!)

  9. Ah…. it almost made me cry. Don’t change the name of the blog. Don’t become Chilean. Stay true to your first South American roots. Oh boy, I think I’ve been in Argentina too long. Maybe I’m heartbroken that you’ve left for the arch rival.

    Have a great time. Can’t wait to read what you think of it….besosososososososos!

  10. we miss you! did you arrive safely to santiago? we are having “still life” withdrawals…write soon! 🙂

    we hope to see you here in mdz.

    -wade & tania

    We arrived in Santiago and are now in Puerto Natales. It´s been a good journey. I´ll definitely have some posts coming in a week or so. Hope you had great holidays! Happy New Year!

  11. Your writing has such a vivid sense of place.

    Thank you, Denise. 🙂

  12. Sherry

    Well I wish I’d seen this sooner so I could wish you a proper Happy Holidays, but I guess better late then never. Happy to hear that you’ve landed in Chile. I love reading your blog, makes me wish I was as adventurous as you and E. Please keep it up and allow me to continue living vicariously through you.

    MISS YOU!!!! Hope Chile turns out to be a wonderful tangent.

    Miss you too, Sherry. Let´s catch up when E. and I return to Santiago. Besos!

  13. Thanks for finding me. Obviously I got sucked into your blog– otherwise I wouldn’t have made it this far down the page before remembering to comment. Also, this is a FABULOUS post and I love the picture. I too look forward to good reading.


    Hey, thanks Claire. Good to meet you. 🙂

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