Friday, June 01, 2007

First week back (Ken)

We arrived in the USA one week ago today. It has been a much easier transition back than I thought it would be. There is a lot a spring cleaning to do around the house since we were not here for the spring to do it. I still have to file my taxes—but that is another story.

I have been driving again for the first time in over 5 months. I noticed that it was not an adjustment at all. I am, however, surprised at hoe I immediately got aggravated at the other drivers. When I was in BA and taking colectivos everywhere, I never got aggravated at the other drivers. If we sat in traffic, I assumed that there was a good reason. I gave all the responsibility for getting from A to B to the colectivo driver. But here, in my own little pick-up truck, I get impatient if someone takes too long to make a turn or drives too slowly in the left lane.

I see restaurants are differently now. Since we had no food in the house when we got home, and because both of our daughters work in restaurants, we have been to several restaurants in the fist week. What I like about Buenos Aires restaurants is that the mozos are available but not ever-present. I met a friend for lunch Friday and we were greeted by a hostess who lead us to our table—rather than seating ourselves wherever we wished. The waitress took our drink orders and gave us menus. She was back in two minutes, “Have you decided?” she asked. “Decided!” I replied; I haven’t even considered.”

After ordering and the food arriving, she was back every five minutes inquiring if we needed anything else. She brought the check without being asked. At a breakfast restaurant the other day, the waiter was so overly familiar, that I thought he was auditioning to be a part of the family. I miss the Argentine “I am over here if you want me” style of service.

I have been to work a few times, and I already feel like people have a list of projects with me included. I really don’t have to be back at work until the end of August, but I am already feeling that pull to get back there and involved.

Tomorrow, Helen and I start Spanish classes again. We will go two days a week for four hours a day. We are afraid that if we don’t keep studying—we’ll lose all that we learned. It will be interesting to see the difference in teaching Spanish here from UBA.

We went to a neighborhood party Saturday. Everyone was asking, “Did you have a great time?” Well, it’s not like we can answer that question in 10 seconds over the steamed shrimp platter. Helen came up with the perfect answer: “It was like any other five-month period of your life. There were good days and bad days. Some time it was fascinating, sometimes frustrating. We didn’t go there to be on vacation; we went there to live.”

While it is good to be home, there are things and people I miss about Buenos Aires: morning coffee at Balcarce, an afternoon beer at El Alamo, long walks through the city. It is so quiet here at my house. I welcome the rest and ease, (and the streets are really clean here) but I think I will soon miss some of the excitement.


Tina Tangos said...

I know what you mean about the restaurants. I find myself annoyed here in Seattle when waitresses won't leave me alone.
The cafe culture was a little shocking for me too - I miss being served at my table...
but ya can't beat the clean streets for sure!
Good luck transitioning, and glad you're taking Spanish classes in the States too!

Emma said...

Ken and Helen, welcome back. I've been reading your blog faithfully since I discovered it sometime last year. I hope you keep writing about your transition and the differences between the two countries. It is a topic I'm very interested in, and like to hear what others have to say. I was born in Argentina and lived there until the age of 23 when I got married and came to this country. We have lived here for 42 years (since June 21st, 1965) and I'm still transitioning. I will forever live in two places. Best wishes. Emma

Jos said...

Hola Ken!

Just returned yesterday from my second trip to Argentina - Mendoza. I wanted to go to Buenos Aires, but hesitated because I enjoy the more peaceful Mendoza and magnificent view of the Andes.

Gosh I wish I could have stayed!