Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walking on a Minefield

It has been exactly one week since Jackson, Zoe and I left Chicago. The long talked about move finally came and we are now established in our cozy, one bedroom apartment in Palermo. It was a rough flight to Buenos Aires for the three of us especially Zoe. The poor pooch suffered some serious motion sickness and threw up on her self several times, making her in need of a good bath. As for me and Jackson, we both felt that the flight was very bumpy. I sort of felt a little sick to my stomach so I can only imagine how Zoe felt being in a travel bag underneath my seat. Once we arrived to Ezeiza, we gathered our suitcases with the help of an airport employee and made our way to the exit. Jackson and I were both surprised that after all we went through to get Zoe into Buenos Aires, all of which included an extensive physical exam to obtain an international health certificate and extensive screening at the USDA office which by the way charged me $25 to get the health certificate stamped, we thought that a vet would be waiting for Zoe at the gate in Ezeiza. There wasn't a vet waiting at all. According to the airport employee who helped us, there's an office to take arriving animals but he had no idea where it was. So, he simply walked us out of the airport where we met my uncle and cousin. It's unbelievable that it was so easy to bring Zoe. Even in O'hare, no one knew we had a dog in a travel bag. If I would have known how easily Zoe would be unrecognized, I would not have paid the $100. Hopefully, it will be this easy to take Zoe back into the USA. We shall see after a year or as Jackson prefers, two years.

Since the very beginning, the thought of moving to a foreign country scared the shit out of me. And now that I'm here I have to admit I'm still scared. I have all these thoughts running through my head and I don't know who talk to about them. I feel that if I tell Jackson, I will shatter his dream of moving here and if I tell my parents, they might think I'm unhappy which I'm NOT. Anyone who truly knows me knows that it takes me awhile to get used to my new environment. Jeez, it took me awhile to get used to working at Comer, coming from a small community hospital. Now imagine, a foreign country where the Spanish is not the Spanish I'm used to and I don't know anyone except Jackson, my uncle and cousin. I admit this is a better start off than some people but for me, it's a giant leap.

After being here for a week, my allergies have become a living nightmare due to the pollution. I'm afraid that the pollution will stop me from running which makes me very sad. Not to mention, the dog shit all over the sidewalks makes it almost impossible to run without stepping in it. Why don't the Argentines know how to pick up dog shit, leaving it on the ground only makes the city a walking minefield. I am happy to see a lot of dog lovers in the city but how well do the Argentines take care of their dogs? I'm disappointed that Zoe won't be able to have her organic, animal-free testing food. With some research, I decided to feed Zoe Royal Canine which doesn't preform inhuman animal testing... I hope. We are lucky enough to have a vet two blocks away from our apartment who not only sells Royal Canine but is also a groomers. Now, the question is whether I trust this place with my Zoe? I'll have to be bold and test it out. As for me and Jackson, we are very happy to have found Lotus and La Esquina de las Flores both being a natural food store with organic and vegetarian products. However, I still miss Whole Foods, Trader Joes and all our favorite vegetarian restaurants in Chicago. For my birthday though, Jackson treated me to dinner at a really nice vegetarian place called Bio, located in Palermo. The food was very yummy, especially el flan de coco.

So far, our time in Buenos Aires has been very nice. Jackson is super happy to be here which scares me because I'm not on the same page as he is. Jackson talks about staying here for two years. Now, this really frightens me because I was shooting for a year. Even then, I don't know if I can be here for a year. I don't want to tell him this because I don't want to be a disappointment and rain on his parade. Seriously, what am I going to do here, work wise?! If I'm not nursing than I don't know what I'm capable of doing. At least, Jackson has teaching experience. I don't even have that. What do I know besides nursing? Jackson talks about meeting new people and having great conversations but that can easily be done in San Francisco. Why not travel through South America and Europe together?! I know this is a great experience and will allow me to grow in more ways than one, but I don't know if I can get used to this. Like I said this is a giant leap for me. It's going from one extreme to another. Why couldn't my start be in New York or California?! I know I have to give it time. I know that eventually I will learn to assimilate. This is a new cultural experience and as an anthropology lover I should embrace this opportunity. I don't know my way around. I don't know what neighborhoods to avoid...what train or bus takes you one goes about seeing a doctor...what medicines you can get at the pharmacy without a prescription...Give it time, Erika!! I tell myself this all the time. "Two years, though?! What happened to your plans of going back to school? Or the baby talk?" These are questions I ask myself. What can I say, I'm complex. I like to think though that we all are in our own little way. This is what I'll repeat again and again: "This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Make the best out of it!! Everything in life happens for a reason. We grow every day through the stuff we experience. Now conquer the world!!!"

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