Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On leaving...part 1

Tuesday, 13 September; 7 days left in Buenos Aires

After neglecting my personal blog for quite some time (see new political blogging project here), I've decided to return, this being my final week in Buenos Aires. Those of you who have read my blog in the past know that I'm prone to long, detailed entries told mostly as narratives. However, rather than attempt to cohesively and coherently convey my conflicting and at-times overwhelming emotions of dread, guilt and loss, of excitement, anticipation and relief in one single entry, for this next series of posts I will write one short bit each day until my departure date, 20 September 2011.
April 2009. With Ricardo in Palermo.
For those of you caught unawares, at the end of the month I will start my PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan because my official enrollment is dependent on a few last transcontinental errands. (My multi-city plane ticket, however, is non-refundable). It's ironic how something that has been in the planning stages for three years still comes down to the wire. And it's funny that the consequences of a series of choices I've consciously made during the past year and a half feels as if they've crept up on me, that they've blindsided me at the last moment.
May 2007. My first neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Constitución.

San Jose del Pacífico, Mexico; August 2008. When I began
researching UK grad programs.
I remember when I first started researching graduate programs in the UK. It was during the (northern hemisphere) summer, and I was traveling in Mexico after having recently graduated university. In my journal, between pages devoted to Oaxaca and my 23rd birthday in San Cristobal, I scribbled down the names of various UK universities. Between buses, I had devoted an entire afternoon to researching geography programs in an Internet cafe.

Halloween 2010. With Davin. Me as
a Manhunt profile (also subject of my
MPH thesis; he as zombie punk.

May 2011. With Agustin.
Mustache party.
It's normal to feel pure excitement when hatching a new idea, like elaborating the details of a thrilling daydream. I suppose I maintained that feeling during much of this past year, even while filling out tedious applications, writing countless drafts of personal essays, and negotiating with multiple academic departments separated by nearly 7,000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean (OK maybe that shouldn't really count as part of the thrilling daydream metaphor). As a close friend confessed to me last week, her eyes wet and red with drunken tears, "This whole time I've told myself it was just an elaborate lie–that you were hypothetically going away–but now it feels real." Until I bought my plane ticket yesterday, I think it all felt hypothetical to me as well. Now I'm faced with the very real task of packing up three years of my life, of saying goodbye.

December 2008. With Mercedes y Juan Ezequiel.
Leaving Buenos Aires is one of the most difficult choices I've made. Blogging about it will deny me the ability to suppress my feelings, but I hope that it will also allow me to work out the complexity of those feelings and express my love and deep gratitude to all who have made the past three years of my life so incredible.