The Long Way

20140907_214515When we got near Buenos Aires, there was a pretty intense storm. I had my face stuck to the window to capture the beauty of it all. I was slightly surprised that we were flying right into it but strangely, I wasn’t scared. I guess I was too excited to be feeling anything else. I have been thinking about coming back here for quite a while. But only in the last few months was the feeling very very strong. I am not sure why but I just needed to come back. And stay a while. A week wouldn’t do. No, I had to revisit my life here. I am so glad to be bringing Michael. It’s a completely different feeling traveling with someone. And right now, I need his moral support.

When I liv20140908_172930ed here almost a decade ago, I was a different person. At least I think I was. I feel like the places that have defined me have been the ones that have most challenged me. And Argentina was the best and the worst, in so many ways. I knew before I landed the first time that I would stay here for a while. I wasn’t sure why but I just knew I would stop moving from place to place and take a rest. I had been traveling non—stop for three years. So it was time for a break. Some part of me knew it was home. At least for a while.

As I had decided that, things began to fall into place to fulfill that intention. It was really quite easy. Too easy intact.  Anyway, that is another story. This time I wanted to come back to my South American home because I missed it. I guess all the growth that happened here changed me so much that I feel an affinity to it. I did grow up a lot while I lived a year in Buenos Aires. I learned about love and loss. I IMG_8210was taken care of and then abandoned. I got to experience such extremes here. I admit it made its mark on me.

So a few months ago I decided to come back and see how things are now. How I am now when I am in the environment which broke me. I was in a very very bad place near the end. Now I have come back stronger. And I intend to change my experience with this country. No longer will I think of it with sadness or regret or any unknowing. That part is over.

As we touched down, I felt relief. Even though I haven’t slept in 45 hours, I am not tired. I have a bizarre energy that must be like adrenaline. I don’t remember the airport at all. I am sure it has changed anyway. We are the first ones off the plane and to the baggage carousel. Michael waited for our bright pink suitcase, while I made my way to the back of the never-ending line. Customs was super quick and easy but it seems they have a luggage scanning system that backs up the line all the way through the entire area. It was crazy! At this point, I started getting tired. Some man asked me in Spanish if this was the end of the line…I think. I was so sleepy I could barely speak English, let alone Spanish. I mumbled something and he nodded and then went to ask someone else. There were not a lot of foreigners. Most people looked like they were locals or at least from South America.

20140908_185937Finally the bags came out and just as I was about to get into the maze of divided line, Michael joined me. It still took another 20 minutes after that! My friend Flor, whom I haven’t seen for 9 years, was texting me on the Wi-Fi. She was already there and wondering when I was coming out. I felt really grateful at this moment that I had scraped the idea of taking the public bus into the city. I vaguely remember doing that last time and it working out well. But that was in the day and it wasn’t raining. So I had arranged to take Flor up on her offer to have a friend pick me up for a fee… and since it was her day off, she came too! It was so good to see her and it felt like yesterday that we hugged good-bye.

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The streets were treacherous and we almost hydroplaned down the busy freeway. Even though it was just 5am there was a ton of traffic, most of them big trucks that scared me from our tiny sub compact car. I tried to catch up with Flor but I was limited with my tired brain and she was busy trying to navigate the roads. I was sure glad that her friend was a good driver because I doubt I would have attempted those roads. She fed him hot mate and kept him away and alert. The rain came down in sheets and the road was a lake. It happened so suddenly, but was not letting up. We had thunder and lightning all around so we couldn’t even figure out where it was going. Perhaps it was following us. I mentioned to Michael that it was here that I had experienced some of my best lightning storms in all the world. Well, what a welcome!

20140909_054838Grateful for intense storms, safe drivers, old friends, having a travel partner and finally reaching Buenos Aires.

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