Fluff time can mean a lot of different things, and most of that depends on the weather. Sometimes, fluff time is fun things like going to a new bookstore or for a walk in the ecological reserve on the edge of the city. Sometimes it’s glancing in the fridge, deciding that leftover chicken isn’t going to cut it and grabbing a bite to eat instead. On rainy days, it’s looking up pictures of my favorite brunch places in America just to torture myself or slowly chipping away at the mountain of movies I have to watch to feel cultured. Sometimes it’s picking up money from the money collection place. If it’s Tuesday night, fluff time is heading to a neighborhood bar for an event called Mundo Lingo, where people from all over the world congregate and talk in whatever language they know (and eat free popcorn, a very important draw to the event). If it’s Sunday morning, fluff time is going to an international church outside the city.
We usually eat out once or twice a week, and always at some point on Fridays. We’ve tried a handful of different places, usually picking a different style of food every time around. My favorites are a mouth watering burger joint and a did-I-really-just-that-whole-thing-in-five-minutes Mediterranean place. There’re plenty of coffee shops with tons of delicious pastries to keep me stimulated and challenge my weekly budget and waistline.
Embrace yourselves now, because I’m now going to attempt to do something that very, very few have done before: say that STUDY ABROAD ISN’T ALWAYS PERFECT AND WONDERFUL.
To be honest, it’s very different than I was expecting. Whether I realized it or not, I imagined that these four months would be the absolute, no-doubt-about-it best of my life to this point. There have been awesome parts of this trip, parts where I am shocked by what I am seeing and doing and parts when I can’t believe how lucky I am to be in Buenos Aires. I’ve met incredible people and eaten incredible food and seen incredible things.
However, there have also been moments of debilitating homesickness and questioning my decision to come here at all. This trip, if anything, has been an excellent way for me to learn to really, truly appreciate elements of my life that I left behind when I boarded that plane in August. That I don’t have to schedule a set time, often days in the future, if I want to hear my mom’s voice. Watching football. How I can walk across Mizzou’s campus or into the 90th and Center Hy-Vee and see fifteen different people I know. Greek yogurt. A sense of home.
I am learning so much more than Spanish vocabulary and cultural norms; I am learning about myself, how I operate as an individual and the circumstances in which I thrive. I’m realizing that adventure doesn’t have to happen in another country; sometimes, the memories you make with your friends while stuffing your face with homemade brownies and watching The Office are more special than watching street tango dancers twirl through the air. Others would certainly disagree, which is fine.
The future is bright with days frolicking in Argentine sun, the promise that December 6 will come and the desperate hope that I will make the most of my time before then.
*That could be either a really good thing or a really bad thing depending on what year we’re talking about.