I have begun to feel strangely comfortable here in Buenos Aires, even though I can't speak the language and I have no friends. The Internet helps a lot, I must admit. Also, things have started to move along in their own little way, and I am glad for all the distraction.
My biggest piece of news is that I sold a second story to a magazine, and it is a FOOD story, so maybe this will be the first step to writing about things that I love. It is a short piece, but it will be published in a nice, glossy magazine and they are paying me enough to almost pay a full month's rent here. Maybe that is the ticket to my existence as a writer, to get paid in US$ and live abroad.
That leads me to my second piece of news, which is that I have found a place to move into on Wednesday! I looked at three apartments in different neighborhoods. My instinct was to move into the first one I saw, which was in the trendy San Telmo neighborhood. I would have shared the house with four or five other students, and a young couple and their daughter. The place was appropriately untidy for my taste, and full of young travelers. But I think I am getting old, because I'm taking a place much further from the action, in Villa Crespo. It lacks the obvious charm of San Telmo, like the cobblestone streets and myriad cafes and galleries, but it feels more peaceful to me. And instead of living with a bunch of rag-taggers like myself, I will be sharing the house with a couple, two young men who are both artists in their own right. If I had known they were a couple right off the bat, I probably wouldn't have gone to see the place because I don't really like the idea of living with a couple. But everything just seemed so fucking perfect. They were so charming and hospitable, and their place is cute, cozy, and out of the way. I'm surprised that I am so excited to get out of the buzzing downtown area where I'm staying. But, like I said, I must be getting old. I also thought I'd be dying to meet other Americans and travelers, but it turns out I don't really care at the moment. I think more than anything, I am dying for a good night's sleep, and it turns out downtown Buenos Aires is not the place for that. After the drunk people and trash collectors have disappeared from the street, the street cleaning truck crawls down my block every night around 3 a.m. to wash away the grime with a high-pressure sprayer, and it is maddening.
There is only one other person in my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class, a woman who is my father's age. She is all the company I need. Today we finished the first week of the two-week-long course, and it is boring and annoying for the most part, but sometimes interesting to think about one's native language in such elementary ways. I found the practice teaching to be incredibly fun. The students (six adults) were all over the place, but they were engaged. Of course, the first ten minutes of my class consisted of the students interrogating me about my ethnic heritage. Why do you look Asian if you were born in the States? There aren't too many Asian people here in Buenos Aires, although all the supermarkets seem to be owned by Chinese people (who actually speak Chinese). They were intense, but overall, delightful. One of the students invited us to a party as his house tonight, but I have been so crushed by this weird headache that I had to say no. I hope that he will extend the invitation some other time.
I think the real turning point for me was the other night when, for whatever reason, I started to think about returning to the States in April and I was seized with this feeling of anxiety and dread. I don't really know why the thought of going back freaks me out, but I'm going to let that simmer in the back of my mind and probably let it terrorize me late at night when I am done wondering if this persistent headache is a symptom of dengue.