While on my trip, I had lots of time to ponder certain things and simply reflect on how things are going in my life.
I typically don’t sit around and simply “be” inside my head; I am much more of a doer and thinker versus feeler and reflector. This time — to think, reflect, and appreciate — was a very pleasant change of pace. Here are a few of the things that stuck out to me while in Argentina:
1. The United States really is a melting pot of cultures, races, and languages. Sitting in the Dallas airport, while I waited for my connecting flight to Miami, I saw so many different races of people and heard many different languages spoken. Even Spanish — widely spoke in the southern part of the U.S. — has numerous dialects and accents! I had so much fun people-watching and listing to people as they spoke their native tongues.
2. There are some people in this world who have a soft spot in their hearts for certain causes, and they oftentimes end up working for these causes as part of their life’s mission. My cause would be helping minorities (predominantly Latinos) to achieve excellence here in the States or back home in their native country. I want to give back so badly, and to contribute in a meaningful way.
3. When traveling, it’s very easy to get caught up in the tourist attractions; they’re meant to be easily accessible, so they’re the most easy way to experience a place/city/country. For me, it’s worth the extra effort required to get a bit lower to the ground and to try to create a more organic, authentic experience. For example, some of my fondest memories were at the peluquería (hair salon) on a small side street near my hotel. I went there numerous times: for mis manos (manicure), “brushing” y planchitas (blow drying and straightening my hair), and to simply get directions and recommendations on good places to visit in Buenos Aires. Pamela and Guillermo were so gracious and helpful; it was seriously one of the places where I got to practice my Spanish the best. I loved every second of it. (Loved the red nail polish color, too.)
4. My Spanish-speaking skills are something to be appreciated. I take for granted that I understand the things that I know, and can communicate so freely with those who speak Spanish. I really enjoy speaking to, relating to, and communicating with others in Spanish. My trip to Argentina and to Honduras wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful had I not communicated with the locals like I did. The more I travel and practice my Spanish the easier and better it gets. Love, love, LOVE.
5. As I get older, I get more and more comfortable with certain things, particularly with myself. I feel more secure in my preferences and tendencies, and don’t feel the need to explain, justify, or defend them to anyone. “It just is the way it is” is a thought that passes through my mind a lot lately. And it’s true — some things are not meant to be explained; they just are that way. A few years ago I definitely didn’t feel as secure or comfortable in some things the way that I do now. For that I am thankful and appreciative that I can recognize this growth.