Home » Thoughts » Maybe I want to write a post…

Maybe I want to write a post…

It’s been half a year since the last time I checked what was up -or, rather, since the last time I told you what was up.
I’d like to say much has changed, and probably a few things have. But I’m still a teenager with much to learn, and share, and complain about, and enough free time and English knowledge to do so on the internet.

So many things have happened in my country, explaining everything would be too much for me right now -I just came back from work, and some time’s gotta pass before I can even think of something other than printers, which I sell. A country’s future seems brilliant, horrible, unpredictable, and obvious no matter what happens, after all, so maybe it’s not that necessary. Maybe it’s always more or less the same.

Hm? Yeah, I’ve been working. For like 4 months now. That’s probably part of why I haven’t been active at all. It’s a nice job, easy to do, people are really nice and we have a lot of fun.
I’m not gonna make my career here, but I’m saving up for my biggest project so far: going to New Jersey in June. A few more months, and I’ll have the necessary money for it. I’ve even finished my VISA application, and now I just need to settle a date for the interviews, when I’ll have the chance to convince the people at the US embassy that I, in fact, am not a threat for their country. That I wasn’t lying when I said I do not partake in terrorist activities, human trafficking, drug dealing, or any of the sort. More importantly, I’ll have to make sure they understand I do not intend on settling there.
Yeah, I think the last part’s gonna be the most important one.

Sometimes I think all the paranoia they have over terrorism and drug dealing is only there to cover for how seriously awful they are to immigrants.
But hey, your country, your rules. And I respect that.

Another obstacle for my trip is gonna be how difficult it is to buy US dollars. The official way takes too long and it’s impossible for me, so I’ll have to buy them from someone I know, at a very high price. Luckily, both the VISA and the plane ticket can be paid in ARG pesos, so I only need to get enough dollars to take with me there to survive.

Ah, yes, the infamous plane ticket. How can it cost so much? Doesn’t anyone notice how wrong that is?
Also, why does a flight to New York cost, say, $12k ARG pesos, while a flight to Seattle is $21k ARG pesos? Something is not ok. Definitely not ok.

Gosh, I hate money sometimes.

Moving on to the brighter side, this is totally happening. I can’t wait to be there -I really really can’t. All my hard work’s gonna pay off when Brian and I meet at the airport, and have a romantic-movie-moment, then laugh about it and go have some cold beers. ‘Cause it’s gonna be summer there in June.
It’s weird to think about it being summer in June.

I’ve been drawing too. I’m looking for my own style, and I think I’ve found the right path. Maybe I’ll show you something later.

I have a weirdly optimistic feeling for this year, I don’t know why. 2013 wasn’t easy on me. Not because of any superstitious silliness, but because I went through the biggest of my psychological crisis, in my opinion. I’m still fighting it, but I feel better. In fact, I feel ok. And that’s what matters.

SUDDEN CHANGE OF SUBJECT!
Have you ever read anything by Spinoza? My grandmother lent me a book about him, and I devoured it in a few days. I was so relieved to see so many of my thoughts regarding religion and politics so beautifully laid down on a book from the 17th century. I’m going to read more, so his name is going to come up quite a couple of times.

I hadn’t been reading that often lately, but now I feel how my brain is back on the business. No more mental stagnation for me, nu-uh. Not reading for a while can make you feel like… A rock. Like nothing. Your brain slowly stops its workings. Even though you keep on thinking and analyzing, it grows in difficulty every day.
And then, you pick up a book, and suddenly you think so freely. It’s amazing, the power they hold. Specially when it’s a physical book, when you can smell the paper and feel the solid ink under your fingers as you help your eyes follow a particularly complicated line.

I should start writing more too.

This will go under “thoughts”, because that’s mostly what this is. A compilations of things that came to mind when I thought about writing a post.
I’ll go back to Argentinian politics soon. Probably.

Thanks for reading,
-Mila.

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9 thoughts on “Maybe I want to write a post…

  1. Nice to read a post from you again, Mila. You always have interesting thoughts.

    When you write, “But hey, your country, your rules,” do you mean in the broad sense, or only regarding immigration? In any case, I disagree — I think my country has loathsome laws and attitudes regarding immigrants, especially if they’re of non-European heritage. I believe there are some moral absolutes for all nations, and one of them is “welcoming the stranger.”

    But to shift to a more amusing anecdote: when I was in Buenos Aires last August (weird for me to think of it as winter!), my friend who’s from there and has lived in the US for 11 or 12 years told me about a friend of his who wanted to visit the US and has limited English skills. The friend didn’t fully grasp many of the pro-forma questions during the visa interview, and kept repeating, “Turismo! Turismo!” as his answer to everything. My friend said the embassy employees probably didn’t think his buddy was too much of a “terrorist threat” or likely to overstay his visa.

    I hope you have a wonderful first visit to the US! It’s a weird place, but also wonderful — countries are countries, and all have their quirks. I love both countries, despite all…

    • Ah, it’s nice to see I have at least one faithful reader here. I was looking forward to reading a comment from you, as unlikely as I made myself believe it was!

      Regarding that comment, it came from my point of view as someone who really doesn’t have any power regarding the state decisions of the US, and who will have to abide by its ridiculous rules in order to do what I dream of.
      In reality: yes, I agree with you. I think that the US’s closed borders are a source of terrible violence and segregation, and only fire the horrendous amounts of racism in the north american society -and, to be honest, the world. It is not a problem to be taken lightly, and it’s definitely an incredibly interesting topic for a debate.
      But, then again, I need that VISA. So I’ll just act as not-so-lefty as I can in front of them, and hope for the best…

      Haha, I can imagine the look on those guys’ faces as they tried to understand what your friend’s friend was saying xD. Maybe they just let him pass in order to get rid of him.

      Thank you! I know I will. I’m really looking forward to it. Not only being with Brian -although that’s the main reason I’m going-, but I want to visit New York as well. I’ve dreamed of visiting the Museum of Natural History ever since I was little, so I gotta do that. Also, any teenager who’s ever read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ has the essential need of going to Central Park and watching the ducks. Too bad it’s gonna be summer, unlike in the book.
      I don’t know if I’m gonna LIKE it there, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy myself.
      Any advice? Survival tips?

      Thanks again for commenting.

  2. I’ve been thinking about this for 24 hours, and it seems to me I could write a blog post (or 5) about how difficult it is to answer the advice question.

    I can answer better if I ask some questions: are you going anywhere besides New York City and New Jersey? Is Brian able to rent a car? Is your spoken English as excellent as your written English? How long will you be here? What are you hoping to do besides the activities you’ve already mentioned?

    I realize it’s outrageously expensive for you to visit, so you need to cram a lot into a short time. But you don’t necessarily have to assume this is your last visit ever to the States (as we call it, jingoistically ignoring that Mexico’s full name is Estado Unidos Mexicanos). I felt disappointed when I visited Argentina the first time, my Spanish was pretty bad, and I thought I’d never be able to return; I had no idea that 2 years later, I’d have the opportunity for the trip of my dreams.

    That’s my only advice — for the moment! Unfortunately, I love to give advice. But I try not to, unless someone asks for it. ;-)

    • Oh dear. It was only an innocent question.
      And I would totally read that post. All five of them.

      To answer your questions in order:
      1) I don’t know.
      2) I don’t know.
      3) Oh, stop it, you. And I’ve been told I have a cute accent -I call it shitty pronunciation, though. But well, people seem to understand what I say, so I guess my answer is yes.
      4) 2 weeks~a moth. Depends.
      5) Yes I am! I just don’t know what…

      I don’t want to be rushing from one place to the other in order to visit and do as many things as possible, though. Most of my time WILL be spent cuddling.
      My question was more of a “can you think of anything I should keep in mind while I’m staying there?”.
      For example, if someone asked me that question about Buenos Aires, I would say:
      >Avoid the subways from 17hs~19hs.
      >Make sure you get a SUBE, and a Guía T. Those things are handy.
      >Take as many dollars with you as you can. Even handier.
      >Try not to go alone to places you don’t know. Well, that’s common sense.
      >If you go to a café, ask for coffee, for god’s sake. You won’t regret it. You can get that vanilla tea later at Starbucks.
      >Don’t be embarrassed to ask around for people who speak English. You’ll find someone near by 90% of the time.
      >That also means 90% there’s someone near by who gets what you’re saying. Mind your words.

      And stuff like that.

  3. Well, I didn’t sit around and obsess about it for 24 hours, but the conversation made me realize that I’ve put a lot of time and effort into writing blog posts I hope will help English-speaking travelers understand parts of Argentine culture that used to baffle or intrigue me, and will keep my “fellow” USians from acting like Ugly Americans (this can be a lost cause, but…). But I’m not sure any Argentines have ever asked me for tips on visiting the US, and it made me realize how culture is like water for fish: we’re immersed in it and don’t necessarily notice it well enough to explain it.

    And then I start thinking about culture, and racism, and the differences between our two countries, and how very much I still don’t know about yours, and… At heart, I’m a cultural critic.

    But I’ll try to be more like a travel guide. First, I’m from Western Upstate New York – in other words, from the provinces. A province with a much higher level of education and services (especially decades ago) than many of the US states, but even though we lived only a 5-hour drive from New York City, my family and I did not go there. This is very typical in the US, although less than it used to be.

    In short, you will need the New York City people to give you guidance on the city. My recent travels in Manhattan have showed me that it’s much, much cleaner, safer, and more pleasant than it was a few decades ago. But I find the subway huge and fairly confusing (kind of the way I find the colectivos in Bs As), and some service employees in NY very unpleasant – if you’re not from there and don’t understand the system, they can be a pain to deal with. On the other hand, it seems to me the city administration has recognized that they make millions from tourists from around the world, so the last time I rode the subway from JFK airport into Manhattan, there were new, friendly employees asking travelers if they needed help.

    NYC is great in that it’s incredibly diverse and multi-cultural – these are the words you’ll hear everyone use to indicate that people from all over the world live in New York. In fact, when I returned from a trip to Bs As with my graduate school class in 2011, I heard almost as much Spanish spoken in Manhattan as I had in Baires. It was a strange sensation, and I liked it.

    I asked you about going elsewhere and renting a car because another great thing about NYC is you can get out of it fairly quickly and see other, beautiful parts of the Northeast. Where I live in Western Massachusetts and where I grew up and friends went to college in central New York state, the terrain was carved by glaciers, so we have small mountains, rolling hills, shallow lakes, lovely rivers, canyons… June is gorgeous; it’s very green, and each state has a system of wonderful parks with short or long hikes. If you can borrow a car or find friends to ride with, you can get to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or the rest of New York state in a few hours. The Finger Lakes area and Ithaca in NYS are really nice. And although I’ve never been to the Jersey shore (and you’ll hear a zillion jokes about a bad TV program with that name), I’ve heard that Cape May and other beach areas are beautiful.

    Evidently, I can rhapsodize just fine about my country’s physical attributes. So, other practical advice… You’ve probably already heard that you’ll get a terrible exchange rate here for your pesos. I’m sure there’s advice on the web about this problem. Of course you’ll have Brian to travel with and you already know about security precautions from living in Baires. I don’t know how things are safety-wise where he lives, but some of the small towns in the US are so safe, even for women alone, traveling is easy.

    I like to think we USians are friendly and helpful, but you may meet some idiots. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping racism here, but I guess that’s true of every country. Something I find very annoying is the deep ignorance about the rest of the world. I’m as guilty as any other US citizen about not looking past the Americas, but it just drives me crazy when I tell someone I’m going to Argentina and they really don’t know it from, say, Puerto Rico or Venezuela. Chances are good you’ll meet people who know nothing about your city and country – it’s just “down there somewhere” in South America, probably. Ugh.

    Finally: enjoy the cuddling!!!

    Michele

    • These are all subjects I would like to sit down and write about when I have the chance and energy. I was actually thinking of keeping a travel diary when I go over there, and compare the myths we hear over here about the US people, with what I see and whom I meet. I’m sure I’ll confirm some of them, but I’m looking forward to some pleasant surprises.

      I have but one last doubt, if you don’t mind. I was thinking of buying a ticket to Newark’s airport, where Brian was supposed to pick me up. But today my mom mentioned that flights to NY airport are much cheaper, and that, once I’m there, I can just take the train over to Somerset (where he lives), or something like that. How true is that? Is it really that easy? I ask because of your comment about the employees helping out new arrivals.

      Other than that, thank you for such a complete answer! You should totally write posts about all these.

  4. Rather than clutter up your blog with this back-and-forth conversation, you can just email me at [mail]. To be honest, it’s a national holiday here, and I’m trying really hard to finish the footnotes to the book I’m translating, and am looking for information about “Los siete locos” without having to take a bus to the university to use the library. So I’ll get back to you soon! In the meantime, this might help: http://www.njtransit.com/var/var_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=BROADWAYTo

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