Sunday, July 12, 2009

What will become of me???

The eternal question-- where will I end up?? Those who know me best can attest that this is a very tough question for me. I just really, really, really don't know. And although the "not knowing" is what can make life exciting, it's also what makes it a bit scary.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what to do next year. I don't need to decide yet, but it's nice to get the ball rolling in the decision-making section of my brain.

I've also been thinking a lot lately about travel, and how I've got the bug big time. I'm 28 years old, and I'm not getting any younger. I feel like now is the time. I have a lifetime goal of visiting every Spanish-speaking country in the world. I am in South America! I want to write more... I want inspiration. I want to explore. I want to climb Machu Picchu, and relax on the beaches of Colombia. I want to learn first hand how to say "what's up" in every Spanish-speaking country's local slang. (For example: Cubans say "Qué bolá?" which is unique to them. I find this sort of thing fascinating.) I want to travel like I mean it.

It's true that I tend to change my life plan almost every day, but I have yet another tentative one I thought I'd just throw out there for you to comment on. I'm thinking:

1. Work my various teaching jobs in Buenos Aires through November, which is more or less when the regular school year ends.
2. Spend the month of December traveling around Argentina-- it's a huge country! I want to explore Patagonia for a few weeks, and also head north to Salta. For Christmas, maybe I'll head back to BsAs, or lounge on the beach in Mar de Plata.
3. Spend January and February living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A couple of my lady friends down here and I are talking about renting a place there, and well, I'd be crazy to pass up the chance. I was thinking I could spend the summer there for those 2 months, and enroll in some Portuguese classes. It's high time I learned a 3rd language. Plus, it's like a dream to be in Rio for Carnival!!! Yesssss.
4. Head to Peru and climb Machu Picchu in early March. Take my time. Contemplate a culture that allows its people to pee and poo in the streets. Eat some quinoa, and take some amazing photos.
5. Head home for a visit in the United States from late March-April... yay! I'll hit up Boston, Westport, and Philly, so no one feels left out. Plus, I'll be there for Christie's, my mom's, Natalia's, and my birthdays, and I may even be able to make it to Amanda and Joe's wedding!!!! (see?? I didn't forget you guys.)
6. Move to... WHERE??? At the end of April... to continue teaching.

This is the big question mark, people! WHERE?! Hence the big poll I've set up at the top of the blog. PLEASE VOTE. I am really, genuinely interested in your opinion. Let me explain the choices:

1. New York City-- I'm just not feeling ready to fall back into the rhythm of Boston or Philadelphia. I'm sorry! But I could use a new adventure, and I figure NYC is between my two "home" cities, between the 2 sides of my family (my mom is in MA and my dad is in Philly), and could be a happy medium for heading back Stateside. However, I am not totally sold on this idea. Oh man, the thought of moving to NYC actually scares the living &*$# out of me, but in theory I'm willing to consider it.

2. Brazil-- I'd looooove to live in Brazil! I hear it's amazing, and the people are just so damn likable. The only problem is the visa situation-- I'm not sure I can get one. :-/

3. Italy-- I think a lot about moving to Europe! And although Spain is tempting, I think I might like to try something new. To everyone's surprise, I am actually half Italian (thanks, Dad!) and speak a minimal amount of Italian. It would be an incredible experience to live in Italy for a while, improve my Italian and experience such an incredible culture. Not to mention, eat eat EAT!

4. Mexico-- Most of you know that I left my heart in Mexico years ago. I'm not finished with Mexico, and my soul knows it. Sometimes I dream about living there again. Sometimes it seems like the most obvious choice. Mexico is one of my favorite places in the world. Perhaps it is my destiny. I can't explain the draw, but I must go back soon. Perhaps not now, but soon. My love affair with the Pacific Coast of Mexico has not yet ended...

5. Stay in Argentina-- I've had my ups and downs, that's for sure. But I've also spent some serious time and energy creating a life for myself here, and I get sad when I think about leaving all of this. My life here isn't perfect, but it gets a little better every day. I've made some very special friends here, and I have some of the best roommates a girl could ask for. I like teaching, and I've finally learned to support myself. I feel myself changing a little bit more every day. Living here is not easy. In fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Yet I've grown so much, and gotten so much stronger. I know myself now better than ever. I could see myself here for another year.

Please help! If you are taking the time to read my blog, I probably love you and will really value your opinion. If you vote, it's anonymous, but feel free to leave a comment to say what you voted for and why!


heather said...

hi, sweetums, as you know i voted already. 1) italy 2) brazil 3) nyc. but now that i read your blog and get into your real feelings and thought process, i have two thought. 1) since you are keen to study portuguese and in brazil, both of which make lots of sense, i wonder why portugal is not also on your list of choices. would you see that as an option as well? 2) my other thought is that since you will more than likely do the portuguese/brazil thing in jan/feb, would it make any real sense to then move to italy where i know you've always wanted to live for awhile but maybe next step isn't the right time. so, based on your tentative jan/feb plans, which sound wonderful btw and i say go for it, i vote for either brazil or portugal. HAVING SAID THAT...i also get how you really feel about argentina, buenos aires, the fact that you DO have WONDERFUL friends and apt situation, you have built up a good pool of students and teaching contacts, you have gained new skills in translating which i can tell you love doing and you are become very skilled at tutoring in TOEFEL and love that work too. yes, all of these skills are transferable to other countries but maybe there is something to staying in BsAs longer, leave it open-ended maybe so you aren't forcing a decision and move date. i hope this helps. i do know you and how you weigh all your options and change your mind over and over sometimes but it's never failed you once. not once and i love that you allow yourself to do just that. good on you! a note to all us voters, be sure we are not voting for where we want you to be but where we truly feel you will be happiest, most challenged in positive ways, and allow you opportunities to pursue the things you want, which i clearly get are being in the latin culture, speaking the languages as your main languages, traveling, teaching and making a difference in your students' lives, and combining all of these with writing. you're a born writer. i believe this fully in my heart. i love you. xoxo mom

Hi, I'm Erica. said...

oh, mom. i love you, and thanks for the advice!!! buuuuut... there's reason why portugal is not on the list!!! if it didn't make the top 5, it's certainly not going to happen.

Claire, the other colo said...

I voted for you to stay here, obvio, but I'm curious about Italy. If I could get a work visa for Italy, I'd be there in a heartbeat! Do you know something I don't?

Ditto for unmentioned European countries Germany, France, Switzerland, etc.

Amanda said...

You bet your ass you better be coming to my wedding!!! I need a hot red head to represent! :)

Karynski said...

Hi Erica: I don't know if my first comment went thru so I am going to repeat myself. I choose Mexico because of what you said, which I felt throughout my soul! Go there and retrieve your heart and finish up whatever it is you need to finsih. Unless, of course, the timing doesn't feel right to you! Whatever you do, have fun, BE happy, enjoy your own definition of success. I love you. You are an incredibly brave and wise young lady! Love, Karyn