I had two large suitcases packed with all my clothes and belongings I needed for the next four months. I bought a suitcase scale at Wal-Mart because I didn’t want my bags to be overweight, and when I got to the airport, they were just under 50lbs. Perfecto. When I arrived in Argentina on Saturday morning (after an overnight flight from New York), my bags were extremely heavy, as were my eyes from lack of sleep and quite a few shed tears. But I was finally here, and that was all that mattered.
There’s a lot of weight in finally doing something you’ve always wanted to do. I am here, at last, in Buenos Aires. I’ve only been here two full days now, but I think I may struggle this entire trip to comprehend what’s actually happening. The dream that I’ve had to travel and live abroad, as well as teach English, is unfolding before my eyes. When I do wrap my head around my new reality, I feel this pressure to make the most of it, to soak everything up, and to dive in without reservation. But, in my past two days, I’ve found that the best strategy for dealing with this weight is not to constantly think and process, but to look, watch, and appreciate all the new faces that surround me.
Saturday night, my host family had some friends over for dinner and wine. As I sat in their living room and tried to keep up with all the Spanish banter, my head was spinning but my heart was full. Here I am, half way across the world, in an Argentine family’s living room, watching laughter between good friends. And that laughter cleared my head.
The weight of my suitcases did matter, and the weight of this new reality is important. But overall, the ability to laugh, connect with others, and keep my heart and eyes open through these next four months will turn any “weight” into a gift.