I’ve prepared my backpack, the apartment is tidy, and the sheets are in the wash. My hours in Buenos Aires are numbered--12 to be exact. Waiting for the landlady to check out the apartment and return the security deposit, I am taking stock of my belonging, checking the closets and medicine cabinets for nearly-forgotten objects.
Despite packing conservatively for the trip, only what could fit in one backpack. I am surprised to find items that I forgot I had even brought. Goggles, ripped jeans, shoes that rub too much--all superfluous to my daily activities. Conversely, there are articles that I overused and would prefer never to see again. The seat of my green corduroys is threadbare and friends who saw me regularly could have bet with favorable odds as to what I would wear.
|Marisa and I in Puerto Madero|
Due to a tight budget, I am returning with a bag that is physically lighter than when I left. (My treadless sneakers got tossed, as did the jeans.) The true souvenirs of this trip won’t adorn a coffee table or be framed on the wall. I am going home with an experience more real than any tangible object. In Buenos Aires, and perhaps any large city, ugliness, violence, pollution, and poverty exist alongside passion, friendship, dignity and kindness. I have seen a mob of men threatening pedestrians as they rode to a fútbol game along with men hugging and singing to one another on the street. Armed robbers stealing and impoverished families picking through the garbage. Regular people who were unwilling to intervene when I was in need and ones who opened up their homes and hearts. I am leaving with my Spanish much improved and deep gratitude for those Porteños and fellow tourists whose friendship has made it all worthwhile. Above all, a special thank you to Marisa for being my best companion and support. It's been an adventure!