Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Expat Report: Month 20 – Surviving The Summer Heat Wave

The clock is ticking, and soon enough, I'll be officially starting college in Argentina!
The summer months have been stressful for me. Not only did I have to deal with a swarm of insects trying to come into my house, I've also been experiencing constant water pressure issues, and power outages, which are fairly common here. This is my second summer in Argentina, so I knew it was coming, but it hasn’t made the stress any easier to handle. 
The heat index has been super high. We’ve had the temperature spike as high as 40 degrees Celsius/104 degrees Fahrenheit. There have been days where I can’t shower, wash the dishes, or wash clothes because there’s zero water pressure. 

The heat forces Argentinians to consume a lot of electricity to power their fans and air conditioner units. This produces a major drain to the power grid, which causes intermittent failures throughout the province. The only thing I can look forward to is the fact that autumn is only a few more months away. Then this heat wave will be over. Besides, I look a lot more stylish in winter clothes than in summer clothes. 
In the meantime, I’ve been keeping busy by socializing with my friends, exercising and writing articles for my freelance job. I’ve even started watching some YouTube videos to learn Portuguese. I know it seems like a hectic schedule, but it’s really nothing like what I’ll be dealing with next week when I start school at the National University of Cordoba (UNC). I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous, but I’m also quite eager. 

Someone sent me a personal message recently asking me how I was handling single life. Hm... that’s a tough one. I can’t say I’m happy about it. I was in a committed relationship for twelve years. That’s not a loss you can get over in a couple of weeks. However, I’m trying to look at this as a positive thing. Now I’ll have more time to focus on myself, which I’ll admit, I’ve rarely done in my entire life. So, what about my ex? 

Well, getting a divorce while living abroad isn’t easy. So, it’s going to be a while before we can finalize the divorce. Besides, just because our marriage has ended doesn’t mean that our love for each other has. We still care for each other in our own way. But we’re slowly learning how to regain our own individual lives while living under the same roof. 
I feel like I’ve been reborn and like any newborn baby, I’m learning how to live life. Baby steps. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Celebrating New Year 2014 Abroad

2013 was a crazy year for me! With Zach’s help, I was able to get my U.S. education validated so I could enroll at the public university in Cordoba (UNC). We were able to make Zach a permanent resident of Argentina, which was a huge relief for us. I started going to therapy at the public hospital, and they provided me with medication to handle my social anxiety and depression. I took two incredible trips to the capital city of Buenos Aires and had a chance to eat at T.G.I.F., Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Wendy’s. I boarded a train for the first time in Argentina, which was an experience in itself. I’ve made some amazing expat and Argentine friends. I celebrated my second Thanksgiving since moving to Argentina. Fortunately, this one was way better than last year's. I’ve gone on a diet and lost 8 kilos (17.5 pounds more or less). 

I’ve also had to deal with some bad stuff too.  I’ve watched as my relationship with my "cousins" turned toxic and emotionally abusive. I was also recently a victim of a judicial officer in Cordoba, who came looking for a previous tenant, and turned irate with me and ripped the U.S. passport from my hand when I tried proving to him that I wasn’t the man he was looking for. He shouted racial slurs about Americans and threatened to arrest me. That, to say the least, was not fun at all.

However, the most painful of all changes in my life has come from having to end my marriage. Even though I saw it coming for months, maybe even longer than that, I don’t think my heart was prepared for it. Worst of all, there aren't too many moments where I'm okay; only moments, which don't hurt quite so much.

I've been reconsidering a lot of things lately. First of all, I’m thinking of getting my own apartment, but that’s going to cost money. As grateful as I am for the freelance writing job I get from my handler, Ben, the assignments don’t always come on a consistent basis. Once I can secure something more stable, I will definitely start saving up for a move. I’m also considering waiting till I graduate from college before moving back to the States in approximately six years. It’s nothing personal against Argentina, but I just don’t feel like I belong here. Who knows, I might change my mind once I start college.

Despite a lot of tension earlier in the month (My folks threatened to throw us both out into the street), Zach and I were invited for New Year’s Eve dinner at my parent’s house.
My dad made goat, which I’m not a fan of, but he also added sausages, steak, and pork to the mix. It was a really nice meal and we took some wonderful pictures. This New Year’s Eve celebration was better than the last because at least now, Zach was here with me
Afterwards, we headed outside to watch the fireworks at the stroke of midnight, just like we had on Christmas Eve. 
Then we headed back to the house and had some Sidra, which is like champagne, to toast to 2014. 
I’m not sure what 2014 will bring, but I’m hopeful for a new beginning, better luck at the university, more money, more traveling, and more friends to add to the already amazing group I have, both here and in the U.S.
I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to all of my readers from around the world. Thanks to you, my blog has had over 15,000 hits. You’re all amazing!