Friday, January 19, 2007

is this the end?

and so, i write the final entry from the same place i wrote the first (that will be LS 23 then). and i'm asking myself what has changed here?... not much my sister has bought a house (strangely so has my dad) and my mum has put her wedding photos in an album. its colder and slightly darker than when i left but otherwise i look out of the window and see the same people, the same houses and the same trees.
That is not to say that i'm not delighted to be home and possibly the familiarity of it all is what is so exciting. The flight home is the only journey (without exception) that i have taken, in which i have been literally unable to sit still due to anticipation (or knowing) of what i'm going towards. Every other journey has had an element of the unknown- will i like it/the people?; will the people like me?; will i find a bed to sleep in?; etc. but this time i knew exactly what i was getting- laura waiting at the airport followed by much (caffeine fuelled) talking all the way back to Bramham, at which point i was greeted by a lovely glass of red wine beside the fire and some belated christmas presents.
and am i different? well judging by the easy way we all fell into conversation, my unforgettable way of picking at the food before its served, licking the wine bottle rim after pouring or interrupting - it would seem not. have i learnt things? yes, i'd hope so but i'd also hope i would learn things after a year at home in Leeds too. I've probably learnt different things and i'm sure i'm different in subtle ways (or perhaps i've learnt the art of that?!) or can now manage to express a few sentences in spanish (how i say Buenos Aires or Uruaguay seems to be a constant source of amusement). but i'm sure i'll fit right back in where i left off.
what was my favourite place/thing? This i've been asked many time in the last month and i can honestly say i that i don't really have a favourite place/thing that i've been/done. If pushed, i'd probably say that would be something really difficult like climbing Huayna Potosi or trekking to the Lost City, or something really fun like Buenos Aires for christmas and new year or maybe simply just the month that i spent with Roo in Peru (despite that definately not being my favourite country). What i've decided is that what has made my trip has been the people i've met and for the most part the people i've met have been wonderful. They have had the capacity to make even the dullest places seem fun and raise a smile whatever calamity has befallen me. and so thank you, all of you- you all know who you are and rest assured you haven't heard the last of me! (and by the same token some of the most spectacular places could have been quite ordinary without that person making me smile). I guess i'm just not a scenery girl, give me people any day.
And now for the shortest paragraph, what is it that i've been doing for my last week in Buenos Aires? Not much is the answer.
I did manage to go to one charity event- a soup kitchen where i helped cook dinner for over a hundred people from a really poor neighbourhood. I did enjoy alot and do feel a little bad that i only managed this once (but not so bad i guess to have made me go again). The contrast between those who live in the lovely flats where i've been shopping or taking photos to the neighbourhood where people are queuing up with plastic boxes to get the weak beef stew that i have cooked for them and will serve to them in a mud floored hall was quite astounding and certainly humbling.
The 3 Musketeers had their final days at the millhouse and i was very sad to see Kate and Hannah leave but happily soon found that the swedish girls in my dorm were good fun and equally up for having a laugh, so we enjoyed many more drunken but tasty meals around town.
and of course shopping, shopping and more shopping!


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