Argentina and fitting in and whatever

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I’VE found a song on Youtube I’m listening to on repeat.

Song – Nada fue un error

Tengo una mala noticia  
No fue de casualidad 
Yo quería que nos pasara, y tu, y tu 

I don’t know most of the words but it sounds beautiful, and it’s uplifting, and I like the core message that I get out of it. And the second singer, this wavy haired woman with innocent eyes, and a growling husky Spanish tone, charms me. The lead might be Andres Calamaro, an Argentinian who is possibly my favourite singer at the moment anyway, and he  has a cool laid back long haired vibe. I want to be like him, that guy on centre stage singing in Spanish. But I can’t play a guitar, I can’t sing, I can’t speak Spanish. That’s okay. I listen and every time I grab at another word and I try to sing what I do know at the same time they do.

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There was a Rotary Book Fair on the weekend. I went there with a soon-to-be housemate and colleague. I found three books, with one about police corruption in Qld in the 70s which it turns out I’ve already read, some book called Unpardonable Crime, and…a 2004 Lonely Planet guide for Argentina.

I wanted my next travel destination to be Chile. But after I bought Argentina’s guide and flicked through it I became more excited. This was a challenge! The land is massive, a whole new section of a massive amount of land that is monstrous in comparison to Peru. And having traveled Peru I had a context of the size of Argentina. And there was music, and a new history, and a new culture for me to navigate! I met Argentinas when I left Machu Picchu and they were really nice.

Yesss, Argentina. But the guide said I would need six weeks to three months to circuit Argentina. I believe it. So I think this is a trip that could wait after I quit this job, years from now.

Lo dejaste pasar 
No quiero que me perdones  
Y no me pidas perdón 
No me niegues que me buscaste 

I have an airfares price-watch set on Santiago, Chile. Qantas has just come through with a bunch of specials including a return flight next year, which is when I could go on holidays. It’s only $1000 return. I want to go. I’m ready to do so. I just don’t have the money in my pocket to book it. Just yet. I’ll still do Chile. Maybe fly into Peru and say hello to friends and former students, and then bus it south down the border. Or maybe into Bolivia. I still don’t know.

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There is a boxing troupe that travels in certain places. Fred Brophy runs this boxing tent, and he pitched it last weekend. The locals get drunk and then volunteer to take on his boxers. I’ve been in there once.

As I watched Fred, a true old school Aussie, drawl out for challengers to take on his boxers, and as we screamed in the tent for the next blow, “finish him!” I may have screamed at one point, as some of the lads shook the lights at the top of the tent to make the fighters hurry up. I left the tent and drove home, but happy. It felt good to be back, this tent came to where I used to live before I moved to Peru for 18 months.

Tinder hasn’t gone well. I’m a bit confused by that. One time I thought to myself it was a bit like “how to lose a Tinder match in three messages (without using a dick pic).” My soon-to-be colleague says he goes through the same thing.

For a bit when I came back I just wanted to be single, or be a fuckboy for an ego boost, and when that didn’t eventuate, and as time went on I realised I didn’t have the energy to be with a girl who’d even accept that.

I’m okay being single. I guess I just want to be accepted for who I am. I can be myself and loved for it. I want to vent, and I want to be heard. I had that in a relationship. I’m not sure  I get it when people aren’t invested enough.

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My new car!

I feel like something is still missing. Every week I felt that, I guess, but every week I either got a job or moved, or bought new things for the unit, or connected to NBN. This might be the  first week I don’t need anything new. So what’s new?

Los errores no se eligen 
Para bien o para mal  
No fallé cuando viniste, y tu, y tu 
No quisiste fallar
Aprendí

Peru has become a punchline with my colleagues, probably because I talk about it so much. It’s not meant to be cruel, and it isn’t, but it makes me feel a wall is there. I sit at my desk. And the joke is that I want to keep travelling even though I’m happy where I am.

Today a colleague asked me about music, and to give her a list of what she could listen to. And I did. Happily.

Nada fue un error.

Argentina. That idea. Of being on the road. And being exciting to people again

 

 

One date with a backpacker

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It was my first date since I left Peru. And I knew coming into it that it was going to be a challenge. In a way it was going to be therapeutic. I was right.

She was from Taiwan, picking strawberries at a farm for minimum wage so she could extend her visa in Australia. Where she worked there weren’t any Australians, only other backpackers who spoke in Asian languages. This date was rare English practice for her.

And she wasn’t  great at it. The conversation over coffee, and later over green curry, was awkward. There wasn’t much of it.

I’d been there, in that same situation when I lived in Peru, before entering a relationship, where I went on dates where they couldn’t speak English. Back then I was the foreigner, and they were the local, and I was anxious, and they had all the power, or so I thought. And I was frustrated easily, and felt they were judgmental.

I realised then over flat whites, in a small Queensland city, how exhausting it was to be expected to hold the conversation as the local speaker. It was draining, but I had the luck of being on the other side of the table. Twice, her frustration showed, but it didn’t last long and it wasn’t her fault.

Questions that allowed for ambiguous answers was hard for her. “What is Australia like?” wasn’t going to get an answer, but “is Australia cold?” would.

By the time we went to the local Asian restaurant, and had ordered our food, I had figured out that even though I had no interest in learning Taiwanese, an interest in it was the way to bridge a friendship. I learned to count to three (and absorbed it surprisingly faster than I would have two years ago before practising Spanish), and asked about the objects, “what’s rice in Taiwanese? What’s water in Taiwanese? What’s fork in Taiwanese? What is chicken in….”

And I thought back to the time I was in Peru, and I saw my dating life there in an entire new light. And I saw the people there no longer as impatient, but as kind and confused as to how to bridge a connection.

It has been a while since I have posted. It hasn’t been abandoned. Resuming a normal life after an ex-pat one is still worth recording. It’s been a confusing time, and I have been so busy trying to sort out adulting (finding a place to live, set a household budget, get the hot water working) that I haven’t processed emotions until recently.

The date was healing, and before that I was kind of grieving.

Today I bought wi-fi from Telstra, and now it’s set up and I’m listening to Spotify. I’ve taken a few hours off since the last sentence, with a few old friends from the west coast passing through and inviting me out for a few beers.