Time.

My French friend Clémence once told me that most French people think that Ke$ha’s song goes “Tick tock, I’m a clock.” 

This made me, of course, think back to all of the lyrics I misquoted as a child, and the many that I still probably misquote…. “Frosty the snowman… with a corn cob pipe and a butt and nose” being my personal favorite. 

Anyways, more and more I’ve been honestly thinking about time. Tick tock, I’m a clock. I have 90 days left in Argentina. 

90 days. Holy crap. That’s not much time at all. With every passing day I am reminded of the tick tock… 

When I first got here on January 24th, I felt like my 11 months in Argentina would be an eternity. Now I look back, and I seriously wonder where the last 8 months went! 

I remember getting here, spending a week in Buenos Aires, going to the plaza in Salta for the first time, moving into my apartment, and my first grad class. Everything in between that point and right now is an enormous blur. 

Days spent in coffee shops, begrudgingly writing another long paper for my master’s. Afternoons in Portuguese class. Afternoons and evenings teaching English at Instituto Franklin. Afternoons in my Spanish class with Patricia, drinking mate. Weekend trips around NW Argentina. Occasional Skype calls with friends and family at home. Frustration to the point of tears with Argentinian bureaucracy. Thousands of empanadas. Folklore music and peñas. Afternoons working with some of the brightest Salta teenagers at their private high school. My huge trip to Bolivia and Perú is muddled somewhere in between all of that. 

Where have the last 8 months gone!? Of all of the things that stick out in my mind, I have very few, if any, photographs of those things and places. My trips are well-documented. But my everyday life in Argentina is only documented in my mind. 

I’m starting to panic about how little time I have left here. When this grand experience is gone, what will I have to remember it by? The random earrings with old Argentinian currency I bought from a tiny shop in an even tinier town? The salt llama statue I bought once at the salt flats? One of many llama sweaters? What does that stuff really mean to me, anyways? 

My final graduate class, my Thesis Seminar, starts a week from today. I am almost done with all of my graduate coursework. All I have left is my thesis.

want to study bilingual education in the Wichí community. But do you have any idea how hard it is to start this process of research, interviews, observations, conversations? It is so hard. 

No es tan fácil simplemente entrar en una comunidad y esperar que se te abran los brazos.

“It’s not as easy as simply entering a community and hoping they open their arms to you.” 

I’ve been emailing with someone who’s worked a lot in bilingual education, and that’s what he said to me today. Sigh. He’s right, and I know that. It’s just… how do I overcome that? Move beyond that? 

At the beginning of October I’m just kind of planning to go up to the Wichí community (a HUGE area that starts about 6 hours NE of where I live and goes up, around, and over for 5-ish hours). It’s really, really hard to do anything from here. 

I only have 3 months left to do some solid observations, form some good connections, and really get going on my thesis. I have my fingers crossed that my Fulbright grant works out so that I can come back and finish my thesis in 2014-2015. But if I don’t get it, I guess I will be leaving my thesis dreams behind and not end up with a master’s degree as a result of all this work. Sigh. 

It’s really hard for me to have no idea what the future has in store. Only time will tell. 

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2 Comments

  1. Is this song “Gusttavo Lima Feat. Dyland & Lenny” popular in Argentina? When I first got here, I only heard the song when I was out in clubs and seriously thought the chorus repeated “quien quiere leche” hahahhaa.

    But seriously, tremendous post. It is amazing and scary the way time slips away.. Thankfully we’re filling it with amazing experiences, but it’s still hard to grasp at times. Looking forward to meeting you on your trip to Chile.

  2. Woo hoo I am excited to meet you too! Hah um basically in my part of Argentina the only music that’s popular is a. zamba b. chacarera c. really bad cumbia that goes “chi chi chi, chi chi chi” over and over again. I heard that song in Bolivia a lot though and my friend in Brazil told me about it, and it randomly came up in my Portuguese class one day! But what you wrote made me laugh really hard. I teach at a Spanish immersion summer camp in the states and all the kids think that in Waka Waka (Spanish version) she’s saying “saca la lengua, por queso es África” so now anytime I hear it I sing it that way!

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