Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The end is near.

But is it really the end?

I'm not sure. I have been thinking about whether I should actually stop updating my blog after I leave. And the answer is not immediately. As much as I have had to say about living here, I have no doubt in my mind that I will have plenty of things to say when I get home about being at home. Also, I'm expecting a little recognized phenomenon to occur, it's called reverse culture shock. Here's what wikipedia says about it:

"Also, Reverse Culture Shock (a.k.a. Re-entry Shock, or own culture shock[7]) may take place — returning to one's home culture after growing accustomed to a new one can produce the same effects as described above. This results from the psychosomatic and psychological consequences of the readjustment process to the primary culture.[8] The affected person often finds this more surprising and difficult to deal with than the original culture shock."

Now to me, this makes perfect sense, if I adjust to a culture, and to some extent, you have to adjust no matter how resistant you are, but upon return, I will have to readjust. And I have been making mental lists of all the things that will be different when I ge home, I will share a few. Here:

1. At home, in the US, the majority of people are fat. The obesity rates are just disgustingly high. In Argentina, it is the opposite. The rates of anorexia and bulimia are just disgustingly high. It will be like returning to the country of people who have been all the food Argentines don't eat. Seeing women eat in public, that I think will be jarring.

2. Toilets here are weird. They don't have flushers, they have either buttons on the wall (I don't understand how this works) or they have push in buttons on the top or the side or somewhere. Also, for some reason, the toilets here don't really take toilet paper, so there are always signs telling you to throw the paper in the trash can instead of the toilet, I rarely actually do that, but the lack of guilt I think could be a change. Also, most public toilets here don't have toilet paper. This includes universities, restaurants, movie theaters; I miss toilet paper (that I am of course not allowed to put in the toilet anyways).

3.I have not been in a car in well, 4 months 2 weeks and 1 day. Back when I went to Smath, I could get car sick after not having been a car since the last extended break, imagine the consequences of this interim. Also, most people in the United States have cars. I don't anymore, but I can drive mom's if I want, so that might be weird. Also, people tend to obey traffic laws where I live. They obey stoplights, they see the lanes as having meaning and they stop at intersections. OMG.

4. The main food group here is just different. The Argentine Food Guide Pyramid would go something like this:

dulce de leche

They have been known to eat a few vegetables to, but only on occasion. I will miss the copious amounts of calabaza (read: butternut squash), the batatas (don't exist in english or the US) and they tend to use mushrooms heavily, this makes me happy. Although, I will not miss the scarily common arugula. Oh, and I almost forgot, beets. It turns out that I love beets. Yes, the kind from Doug, and I will miss them, my mother doesn't provide them for me.

Those are just some differences I can think of now, but I will try to note as many as I can upon my return. I think I have started to forget what living in the states is like, small towns, cars, people smiling on the street in a non-i-want-to-rape-you manner. I can't wait to get back to southern hospitality.

This point reminds me, the other day, I was thinking about living in BA and how it has changed me and the habits of my southern upbringing. Absolutely everything is the opposite to start off with. You don't make friends, you don't talk to strangers, you don't acknowledge people on the streets, you stare at the ground. I asked my mother the other day if it was safe to look at people that you walk past and she responded by saying, yes and you can even say hello. Now, this is just unheard of, doing that here as a woman is just, well it doesn't exist and for a man, it's a come-on. I storm past people on the sidewalks, I cut off old people and I curse at people. I no longer understand sidewalk etiquette, because it doesn't exist here, not even slightly. Now, I sound awful, don't I? Only to you soft americans, that's what you have to do to survive here.

When I get home, watch for changes, I can tell living here has affected me, but I can't tell how and I want to know, because I'm not sure I am going to like it. Like for example, I will now kill you if you walk slowly in front of me or if you block the whole sidewalk with your whole damn family and the stroller.

So, as you may have ascertained, I have mostly finished my work. I have to turn in my final paper Thursday afternoon at 6 (which is not afternoon, but rather evening at home, showing how warped I am) to my teacher. I'm currently waiting for revisions from my academic advisor and that's about it. I need to start packing soon I think. Also, tomorrow, Spain plays Germany, you should watch.

That's really it, my brain is mush and now I sleep.


p.s. my host mother told me tonight that she is getting another host student on the 19th. her name is kristin. weird.

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