Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Taking Personal Stock

Hello my friends,

I suppose people write in journals for the same reasons that they dream: to purge and synthesize the experiences of their days. Also, it's nice to have a record of your thoughts and feelings at certain stages of your life, in order to look back and compare with your current situation. Anyway, while this blog hasn't been filled with the most intimate details of my trip, I have felt that by keeping this blog, I've had to reflect, synthesize, and record a lot of my experiences that I may otherwise not have. When I was a child, I think I honestly thought that when I wrote in my journal, I was indeed writing TO someone, and I diligently started every entry with "Dear Diary," I think, for that reason. That idea was comforting - that I was not alone with my thoughts. Somehow, the blog has had a bit of the same effect, although, in this case, I actually AM writing to someone - to a lot of someones, my close friends!

Why the sudden wistfulness? I don't know. My trip is coming to an end, and it's 7 in the morning and I haven't slept much this past evening. I watched the Argentinian heist movie "Nine Queens" last night, which I had with me on DVD, and was surprised to see just how much Spanish I've learned, and in particular, Argentinian Spanish. It's quite different. The accent is clearly very particular, but also many of the words they use are unique to Latin American Spanish. For example, (or as they say in Spanish, per ejemplo (it was a long time since I threw one of in, just thought it was overdue)) in Spain, the word for avocado is "aguacate" (a word I learned because I love avocados and wanted to buy them). I walked into this hovel next to my apartment which sells produce, asked for an "aguacate", and the vender looked at me blankly. I of course had no back-up word for avocado, so I did the thing that foreigners do when they don't know a very simple word: I described it. "The thing...that" "Ah! Una palta!" Ah yes, a palta. Likewise, the word for "fuck" (ahem) is "coger" (te quiero coger - I want to fuck you), whereas in Spain that verb is used for "to take", to take someone by the arm, to take someone's coat...In this case, I see how it arrived at its Latin American connotation, but many of these words or alternate meanings kind of come out of the blue, at least for me.

Anyway, I had a bunch of goals for myself for this trip, and clearly I haven't come close to achieving them all - but I have been really surprised to see how much I just FORGOT about my life in Los Angeles while I've been here. It seems like a distant, inconsequential dream. I don't mean to sound negative, and one of the things I'm working on for the new year is how to enjoy my life there more, but it's funny how quickly a city, a life, can fade in your mind when you're enjoying yourself someplace else. So I'm happy about this temporary Los Angeles amnesia, if for no other reason than it gave me a much-needed break, perhaps in service of re-entering that life refreshed and more optimistic. That was, in fact, one of the goals. Some of the other goals? To learn Spanish, to spend a month by myself, to get to a know a new city (I only mention the ones I've accomplished, you'll notice)...

So now it's 8 am, and I'm going to try to get some sleep. This is actually a pretty normal occurrence for me here, the only difference tonight is that I've been home all night. I don't know how people have romantic hookups here - when a night ends at 7 in the morning, it's already light outside, your eye makeup looks like heroin chic, and the mood is totally lost.

(A little post-script about avocados, I looked them up because I was curious: it seems that the English word avocado is derived from "aguacuate," which is derived from the Aztecan word, "ahuacatl," which means.....TESTICLE! Because of it's shape!)

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