In Spanish, the verb “extrañar” means “to miss” (so, for instance, “te extraño” means “I miss you”). The adjective “extraño/a” — clearly derived from the same word — means “strange.” I find it interesting that the sentiment of missing something is so closely related to the sentiment of something being strange. Is that really what that feeling of missing comes down to? The sensation that something has become too strange for one’s comfort? Perhaps. It will probably feel strange to be back in the US and back at Tufts after such a long time away (indeed, it even felt strange to return to campus after our spring break last year, and that was only one week), though I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of things pretty quickly. But something can certainly feel strange to you (in the sense of having been away from it for a long time) even if you don’t miss it, and you can also miss something that doesn’t yet feel strange. So the two aren’t perfectly compatible, but I can understand the overlap. Thanks for indulging my brief philosophic bantering.
Below are two lists: the first is of things that I will miss about Buenos Aires, and the second is of things that I look forward to going back to at Tufts. They are in no particular order.
Things I will miss about Buenos Aires:
1. The cafe culture. I love not being able to go anywhere without seeing people chatting over a cup of coffee — it gives the city a certain laid-back and genial atmosphere. I wish people in the US were more accustomed to spending hours lingering over a hot café con leche and some medialunas.
2. Walking everywhere. I really came to love the 45-min walk I took to and from my internship every day; the route usually varied somewhat, depending on which way I could cross at the traffic lights, but I always followed the same general path. I’d listen to my iPod, and just take it all the sights of the city.
3. Having breakfast all set out on the table in the morning and coming back to a home-cooked meal in the evening. My host mom always prepared the same, lovely breakfast, and an equally delicious dinner — though I’m certainly not complaining that I’ll have to make my own meals now (and by “make” I mean go to the dinning hall to get food).
4. Spanish. I got so used to hearing and seeing Spanish everywhere — not to mention always being able to practice — that it got to the point where I would be very surprised to hear English being spoken in the streets; it seemed unnatural and just wrong. I am taking a Spanish class this semester, but it’s certainly not the same.
5. My host family and friends. The people I met in Buenos Aires were all so wonderful to me, and I can’t say enough nice things about my host family. I will miss my host-dad’s philosophic chats in Spanglish, my host-mom’s wonderful smile every morning, and wandering around with my friends trying to find a restaurant, a boliche, or not trying to find anything at all.
Things I look forward to going back to:
1. Leggings and sweatpants. This may seem odd, but these items of clothing were essential parts of my wardrobe at Tufts, and I somehow neglected to bring a single pair to Argentina.
2. My friends. I did make many very good friends in Buenos Aires, but I never stopped missing everyone back at school.
3. Berries and vegetables. I never had a problem getting apples, bananas, oranges, or pears down here, but strawberries were a very rare occurrence and I don’t think I had raspberries or blueberries one over the summer. Vegetables were not nonexistent either, but I can’t wait to make my own super salads again!
4. Being busy. This probably sounds like a strange one, but I like to be busy, with really only a couple of hours of downtime every day. Yes, I did have an internship and took classes, but that still often left four or five hours of free time every night, not to mention 48 hours every weekend.
5. Warm weather. Granted, there will probably only be a few weeks of summer left in the north-east before it gets colder than it was in Buenos Aires, but oh how I will enjoy those weeks! I was very happy that the last two days I was in Argentina were around 75 degrees, and in general August wasn’t too bad, but I still wore my winter coat almost every day.