It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Yo Intiendo

We arrived in Buenos Aires, two people, ready to love and be loved.
We had visited for 2 weeks in November and had enjoyed every minute, we decided in the 4 months in between that we really might enjoy living there.
So we moved to Argentina .. Pup and all.

Upon arrival, we settled into a nice little apartment in a very good part of town, in a fantastic location in that part of town ! Who knew ? we just needed a place that allowed dogs .
Pup liked it there, he loved the way everyone wanted to pet him, asked if they could take his photo and whispered little love words in his ears.
He never said, but I am pretty sure he understood the language.

Right away we started to pick up words that we needed in every day life.
You know, please, thank you, hello, good by, where is this and what is that ... how to pronounce things.
Argentine Spanish is Castilian / Castellano. Not exactly pronounced the same as your every day Spanish.

Everyone said chau (ciao) when they said goodbye, we picked that up right away.
Easy- peasy.
But then we had to start our Official Immigration Process and that proved to be difficult in ways we did not consider.
Thinking that someone somewhere will speak English, is not always the best way to go into a new situation .. but luckily for us, between our learning new words every day and our great luck in finding someone who did speak a touch of English, we went to Immigrations, we went to the Police department for our papers and for 4 years, we managed to do all that was required to get a National Identity Card .. Permanent Residents. DNI.

Our neighbor would make phone calls for us, it was impossible to deal with some issues by phone, she was our translator. She was one of the best neighbors we have ever had.

The days that we would walk around totally clueless evolved into days that we walked around and 1- recognized where we were,  2- could find a shop/cafe and actually ask for something and buy it/eat it or 3- find our way home without taking a taxi.
Soon the 3 of us were walking all over BA.
We would walk from our area, through a series of parks to the next neighborhood and from there on and on ... Pup loved those walks. He made friends no matter where he was and on these walks, he had a favorite cafe and waiter who always brought him a bowl of water, a favorite park where we would sit on a bench and he would wander around sniffing, always sniffing.
Does everything smell different in Argentina ?

We started being able to answer questions .. we were able to give directions to tourists ... that was a big day ! Nothing makes you feel more like a "Local" than being able to give directions ..

We were recognized often by the dog. There were none like him, so we became the Extranjero con perro.

As time went by, we realized that we knew what people were saying ! I could eavesdrop on the people at the table next to us at the cafe ! Oh joy, Yo habla Castellano !
Well, not exactly but yo intiendo ... un poco.

And now here I am ... back to the world of English speakers.
I mostly understand everything they say.
Some things they say make no sense and I have no clue what they are talking about but that is OK.. I have perfected the look of understanding and nodding my head in agreement.
It worked in Buenos Aires, it is working here too.

Best of all, I can read everything again.
The New York Times was in English online in Argentina but here, I have real paper magazines !
I still use my Kindle but I can go to a Library if I wish.
I might just to remember what holding a book feels like again.

It is great to be back.
I miss Buenos Aires.
It is so great to be able to do things that I did all my life without thought, but are more special to me now.
I still miss Buenos Aires.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine what you miss - even though I only had such quick visit in Jan. The sounds, the colors - definitely the colors - the smells, the loud, smiling people, tango in the streets, perhaps even football!

    Glad you have happy memories though - your neighbors must have been a huge blessing.

    Mary X


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