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The Arrival

Mar 19th 2010: Travel

“What brought you to Buenos Aires?”

A common question, but I find I don’t actually know how to answer it. I don’t really know why I am here. I mean, I know I am here to take photos. I know I am here to change the pace in my life for a little while. But why Buenos Aires and not, say, Chicago, Berlin, or Shanghai? I could rationalize it with “Well, it’s summer there” or “South America is one of the two last (enjoyable) continent I have not been to”, but in the end I have to admit the decision was arbitrary. Pretty much as arbitrary as throwing a dart at a map.

For someone whose job it used to be to handle and manage change on a daily basis, I can be surprisingly resistant to change in my personal life. So it has always taken me a little time to adjust to a new place. I hated the first few days after vacations when returning to boarding school or college. This natural tendency of mine combined with the big questing captured in the little word “why?” made for an unnerving first few weeks. What was I thinking visiting a country I know nothing of and don’t speak the language?¬†But then you wake up one Friday morning and you become fascinated with the fact that you have already been here for four weeks. Four weeks that passed by very fast and very slow at the same time.

And you reflect.

When the like-minded of your new acquaintances have become your friends, when you keep getting invited to different parties, when you meet someone special and you become close friends in only four days because for those four days you spend almost every waking hour together, when you get excited that people show up to your St. Patrick’s day themed house warming party and when you get annoyed by others flaking on you for the same, when your spirit drops at a new won friend’s going-away party but you help him pack and move anyway, when you walk into an old-school record store and end up chatting it up with the young owner and he later hooks you up with a set of cheap, but awesome speakers because your new place has no stereo, when you buy a coffeemaker and go grocery shopping because you would rather cook at home than eat out again,… that’s when you realize that you are no longer traveling, that you are no longer visiting here, but that you have arrived and are now living here. And even though you still don’t know why, you know that at this point in time you are supposed to be here and you know that right now you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And that you should really get started on shooting your photos.