If you’ve talked to me since I landed in Argentina, you might have heard the words “westernized,” “developed,” and even the occasional “disappointing.” While I’ve been told (and hate to admit) that I generally lean on the pessimistic side, I can’t help but frown at the English conversations, lack of surprises and level of comfort that I’m experiencing as I’ve been trying to adjust to life in Argentina.
It’s frustrating because I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not sure if it’s because Colombia and Ecuador felt much more diverse and culturally unique in a stereotypical South American sense, if I miss feeling out of my comfort zone or if I secretly want rice and soup back in my diet. There’s even a part of me that’s afraid it’s because I’ve been on a cultural-overload for the past two months that my open mind and wide eyes are beginning to close. With degrees in anthropology, journalism and as a world traveler I should be appreciating the Argentinian culture much more than I have been. Colombia showed me the power of change, what it means to be happy and the potential for more. Ecuador offered biological diversity, the preservation and importance of culture and meaningful conversations. And although it’s only been about two weeks, I’m just not feeling anything close emotionally, physically or mentally in Argentina.
But I’ve recognized that it’s OK. I can’t fall in love with every place, every culture and every experience. It’s OK that I’m just not vibing with the place. I’ve had to adjust my way of thinking and flip a switch when it comes to finding every day excitement. I’ve essentially gone from “third/second world” to the “first world” side of South America with the snap of a finger. It’s hard to believe I’m on the same continent as the places I’ve been—and maybe that’s what’s driving the lack of attachment. It feels as though I’ve gone from one extreme to the other.
It’s fascinating how European conquistadors shape each country and how its history truly alters its path and modern day life. The Spanish and Italian influence in Argentina is incredibly strong and evident in more ways than one. It’s a true melting pot, especially in Buenos Aires. Travel wise, I’ve been transported back to my backpacking trip in Europe. Again, quite the shake-up from waking up to roosters, falling asleep to bats dancing under the roof and hitchhiking to the nearby beach.
But Argentina is huge. It’s the 8th largest country in the world by area, offering everything from bright beaches to Sierra mountains to wine country to southern glaciers. And I’ve only seen a fraction of a portion of the place. It’s too soon and too early for me to discount the beauty, possibilities and cultural diversity here. So here’s to seeing more of the country and building my appreciation for the Argentinian culture. It’s time for me to refresh and reset and find what I can discover, learn and uncover from the land of silver.