I recently came down with a bad case of the “first worlders,” or as some might call it, “Americanitis.” That is, I was complaining because the Internet wasn’t working; and my room was hot, but I couldn’t open the window because then I would get eaten bit by bit by mosquitoes because they don’t believe in screens here; [and I was feeling kind of unsafe because I might have gotten robbed], and I had to light the stove with a lighter, instead of it automatically lighting, or being electric (and I have a really REALLY big fear of matches and lighters).
But hooooold up. Am I sounding like a prissy American who’s acting like it wasn’t HER idea to move to Argentina in the first place? Exactly. I had to check myself before I wrecked myself.
I had also apparently forgotten that the entire time I traveled around Asia, I had no Internet at all and had to pay to use it, everywhere was blazing hot and waaay more humid, the mosquito situation was worse by at least ten-fold (I counted 115 bites on me AT ONE TIME once), and well, I never used a stove there, but the bathrooms lacked a certain er… cleanliness. (We’ll call that a fairly even trade, because I seriously have a level 10 fear of matches and lighters.)
The difference is, though, that while I was on the road traveling, roughing it was part of the adventure. It was a good thing to be off the grid for a while, checking your email only once every five days (instead of once every five minutes), it was humbling to have to wear dirty, sweaty clothes day after day (okay actually that is a lie… clean clothes are never overrated), and though the toilets were disgusting, it was all part of taking in a new culture (right?). It was even a badge of honor to be able to say, “You won’t believe how gross some of the hostels I’ve stayed in were.”
But now. Now I’m living in Buenos Aires. I need the Internet because that is the lifeblood of my work. And being sweaty just isn’t as fun when you’re sitting in your living room, instead of exploring ancient temples. But so it is–growing pains. Some of the comforts I’ve had at home (such as drying machines and oh, I dunno, mac ‘n cheese) will have to wait for me back at home, while I settle into this new phase of my life. But I’ve already discovered a couple things that are helping to make the transition smoother: dinner parties with expat friends, $4 foot-long inch-thick steak sandwiches, the huge terrace I have at my current apartment, and the amazing pastries at Bell Aria, a neighborhood bakery. And did I mention that the next place I’m living has an air conditioner? Score.