How do I only have 6 and a half weeks left? / "Sorry Mom and Dad"
So it has been 72 days since I left the US on July 18th en route to my, soon to be, favorite place in the world. Buenos Aires, Argentina, and South America have done nothing but fuel my eagerness to see the world, meet people, and experience new cultures. As everyone who has been abroad for an extended period of time has said, you start to adjust to a new place faster than you would imagine. For me, I am so accustomed to the lack of convenience for certain things, using public transportation around the city, and speaking a foreign language on the daily. Anyone back home would assume that all of those things were nothing but pains, but it is much more interesting than you would think.
With that being said, I only have six and a half weeks remaining in Argentina. To some, that may be a lot of time, but for me, I wish I could stay longer. The weeks seem to fly by down here, given all of the cool things that I have done and will be doing before leaving. What makes it easy to enjoy your time abroad is that you know your family and friends are doing the same at home, enjoying their own busy lives. Regardless, I have made it a point to do as much as possible during my time here. Before I left the US, one of my best friends at school, Maria, gave me the best advice that I could have received. Having been abroad in Australia earlier this year, her word is better than most. She told me to just say yes to everything, whether it be a new food, place, sport, or friendship. Maria said that I would be surprised at all of the things I'd enjoy seeing or trying. Just figured that I would share that information with you all, in case you wondered why I do the majority of the things I try down here.
This week following Rio de Janeiro has been relatively quiet. Getting back into the swing of things when I had thoughts of the beach and amazing landscapes of Rio was difficult, but we managed to get through it (real tough struggle there, people). On Thursday, Ben, Sarah, Christi, Sydney, and I went to a bar that shows NFL games on the weekends. And to my enjoyment, I got to watch the Giants beat the Redskins in an early, but crucial NFC East matchup. In addition, on Friday I did have an unforgettable experience called "paracaidismo" in Spanish. Also know to English-speakers as skydiving.
One of my more spontaneous decisions since being down here, but yes, I went skydiving on Friday (9/26). Just to backtrack for a second, when I left the US in July, one of the last things that my mom said to me was "do not come back married, do not get a tattoo, and do not go skydiving." Keeping that in mind, I knew that I wasn't going to do either of the first two things while in Argentina, but skydiving was definitely a possibility. Given that we also found the skydiving package for such a great price through a reputable company, the deal was done and I was going skydiving.
Along with four other friends, we had to meet our driver at a Starbucks downtown at 8am. Since we obviously cannot skydive over the city of Buenos Aires, the jump spot was an hour and a half outside of the city in Chacomús. After arriving in Chacomús and their local small-aircraft airport, we were given all of the safety instructions and waivers associated with skydiving. The aircrafts could only fit a maximum of five people per flight, including the pilot and two instructors that jumped with us. So basically only two people at a time could go. Each process to get to the altitude safe for jumping took about 20 minutes, so it was a while before we actually got to go.
While watching the other daredevils complete their jumps, I had the genius idea to write things on my hands just for the experience. I figured that the most fitting thing to write on my left hand (closest to were the GoPro Camera would be filming me) had to be "Sorry Mom and Dad". I anticipated that they would not be too happy with the decision to skydive, so I might as well give them a shoutout. Meanwhile, my right hand read "Skydiving" with a check-mark indicating that I was marking it off of my Bucket List.
My friends Sydney and Caroline went right before us, and judging by their excitement for it, everything went well. I usually have no trouble with things that require a tough mentality, like roller coasters or zip lining, etc. But for this, I was definitely very apprehensive about it. Realizing that I was relying solely on my instructor and the parachute attached to his back was a tough pill to swallow on that flight up there.
We reached the perfect height and and it was downward (in a good way) from there. The freefall portion of skydiving lasted about 45 seconds, and to describe that feeling is impossible. The best way to say it would be that it felt as if I was stationary and everyone else was moving around me. Once the parachute was deployed, the ride to the ground lasted around five more minutes. For only about six minutes, was it worth it? Yes. Yes it was. Not only did I cross off one of the top 10 things on my Bucket List, I did it while abroad. If I can somehow manage to post the video that came with the jump, I will certainly do that. But for now, I hope that some of the pictures below suffice.
As some of my older posts have mentioned, Argentina has an extremely rich history from its Military Dictatorship during the 1970s to its Financial Crisis of 2001, and meeting people that survived these events is another way that I have come to embrace their culture. Yesterday, Saturday (9/27), my friend and I stumbled upon a museum next to Casa Rosada, which is basically the Argentine "White House". The museum had tons of information about the country, Casa Rosada, their historical struggles, and modern innovation. Although things may not seem so great for a country with a dwindling economy, Argentines are very proud of their heritage and history so seeing this museum was actually really interesting.
Aside from going skydiving, seeing the Giants beat up the Redskins, and exploring more of the city, not much else has gone on this past week. Next weekend we have a planned excursion through our program to Tigre, which is about 30 minutes outside of Buenos Aires. In the mean time, I hope you all are doing well back home and hope to hear from some of you soon.
"I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life." - J.A. Redmerski