Now, the present, after three weeks in Buenos Aires - we have our path home. We have been able to settle here, to sleep easy, to waste a day if we wish, and to plan the rest of our trip.
We have explored tango. Sweated through the steps. Chased the city for lessons and let Catedral squeeze us. I have experienced Copa Libertadores football, the clasico of the south between Banfield and Lanus, and bathed with thousands of Argentines as the rain sunk our match in General Mitre and sent us home floating in a city bus.
I have forgotten my backpack, in the closet, no longer musty - more like moth balls. I have been looking at this flat as if it were my own. Looking at the Peruvian fruit stall below as if I might one day be their friend or considered a "regular."
I know the subte and the plazas and where to get what and when. Holed up in this barrio, I venture out at night for a Quilmes or Brahma with Marko and Kaitlin - only getting angry at the neighbors and their cat that never stops moaning or the trash collection that rumbles through the concrete canyon - even the same man on the same squeeky bike the same time every night. No more Nueve de Julio, no more protests from Plaza de Mayo to Congreso.
For Mass at Parroquia Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. For helado at Munchies. For the nights indoors when we just sit and laugh at the Argentine commentary for the winter olympics - marveling at the strange snowy sports.
But we will leave - for Lima, then Trujillo, then Guayquil, then somewhere along the Ecuadorian coast, then Otovalo, then Cartagena, and Medellin, and Solento - until we leave this continent from Bogota.
It is a mixed sense.. I am excited to travel again and to see Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. We plan to meet up with our Finnish friends Antti and Laura in Lima. We plan to drink coffee and sit in hammocks by the beach all day.
But we're leaving a comfortable place. We're leaving a good friend, that has taken care of us in innumerable ways. We're closing the door not only on Buenos Aires, but eventually South America.
Though there is so much left for us to do yet.. so many other things to look forward to. It can't be helped, I am looking towards California and all the struggles that will entail.
And since that is not the topic here..and that there is so much left to make of the present, I won't bother pontificating. But it still acts as an intensifier. It still factors in when I decided, "Should I take this train by myself to an unknown part of the city?" - Yes, because it will be a long time before I get back here and how can I expect to succeed in my new city, if I can't take a chance here.
So, to more chances! Thorough and committed. Throw in a little help and luck.. and I think I'll be just fine.
From Castro to Karly -
7 years ago