It’s Like Running…
Being in Argentina is sort of like running (as are all good things) because once you get going, you sort of get into the zone and could just go forever. When you start on a long run, and it’s rainy and cold outside, you feel stiff and are tempted to stop. But once you get a rhythm going you loosen up, warm up, and it just gets easier and easier, and you feel like you could go on forever. But then sometimes you hit a wall.
One of my high school running coaches told me once that there is a period of 3 seconds in every race where you have to make a decision: quit, or keep going.
That’s sort of what Argentina has been like for me. When I am at Chapman I usually go home about once a semester, in addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had a fear of staying there longer than 3 months at a time, and felt like I didn’t want to risk missing my family or home too much. But while studying abroad, I don’t have the luxury of flying for 2 hours and then curling up by the fireplace with my down comforter (it would take over 15 hours to get there). So I’m in it for the long haul here, and when I passed the 3 month mark on September 30th, I prepared myself for a mental breakdown to follow, but surprisingly, it didn’t happen.
As of this week, I have now successfully passed the 4 month mark, which is very exciting. I was feeling good about being here, feeling like I am very much in that zone where I live my everyday life and have friends here who I really enjoy spending time with. I was thinking that it will be nice to go home, as planned, on November 17th, but that I could actually stay longer. There’s still so much I haven’t seen!
But over the past few weeks, I have been stumbling along a bit, hitting a wall, of sorts. It’s not that bad, but it made me more ready to head how when the time comes. I feel pretty well adjusted to live in Argentina—eating late (last night after midnight, tonight at 10), taking public transportation everywhere is actually really fantastic, except when the subte is soooo crowded, and of course, speaking in Spanish. But it is also difficult to live here, because I don’t have the close friends I have in both Seattle and Orange. There are only so many students in my program to get to know, and we are all SO different. We still get along really well, but it isn’t the same as the people I would normally seek out—with similar interests and similar backgrounds.
It makes me wonder how it would be different if I were staying longer, because I am still planning on moving out of the US for a year after I graduate. I am seeking God’s will in my life for that time, but as far as I can tell, that’s what I’ll be doing. I want to go somewhere where I can connect with other Christians and be vulnerable with people who understand me, who have at least a similar perspective. I have found it really valuable being around people who do have such different perspectives from me, and then I have conversations with people from my church here, mainly my friend Vanessa, and she and I are more on the same page than I am with anyone else here, and it is quite refreshing.
Over the last 4 days or so I have hit a bit of a rocky patch, not feeling very motivated, but feeling like I want to do something and really just feeling like if I am going home in 2 weeks, why not just go? I still have things to see, but like I said, there is a lack of motivation right now, and I feel like let’s not sit around while time goes by ridiculously slow, let’s just get on a plane and 17 hours later arrive at SeaTac, you know?
But, as in running, I have realized that it is worth finishing, and finishing WELL. So that is what I will do, and in all of this I am evermore grateful for my family and friends, for listening to me whine about how hard life is in paradise ;) and I know that I am only more sure of my faith in God, and what I am doing with my life, never less. I am stoked to rest for a bit, and then get back to Chapman refreshed, ready to see friends and apply what I have learned about myself here in Argentina.