I am entering my final month of living in Argentina and am in full denial. Like full blown pushing back my flight/dishing out wishful thinking to my friends that maybe I could stay until my Lumos presentation on November 7th/making plans to return later in the year (partly out of dread to be entering yet another winter.) I am set to take off on October 25th, and I am sorry if any one of you reading this (s/o mom, dad, Ruthie, Theresa, Mark, curious Belmont student) coincidentally has a significant attachment to that date but it is actively going down as a personal curse. I cling to the hopeful comforts awaiting me in Nashville: my job at the Health Department (being able to communicate with my Spanish-speaking patients), volunteering as a doula at Vanderbilt Hospital, hugging my angel friends after 5 months of long-distance, $3 Mule Mondays at The Village Pub…the list does go on, and I have to remind myself of that. Ok enough sulking (at some point I have to look in the mirror and realize how beautiful it is that I am exiting this experience with so much to miss and be grateful for). I don’t think of myself as a very intense person, sound off in the comments below if I have a completely incorrect self-awareness, but I do recognize a recurring tendency of mine to burrow into a place and forget that parts of me are elsewhere. Our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses, or something like that. Ok, now it’s enough! Get on with the show, girl!
The hospital has been eerily quiet the past two weeks, something all of the doulas have commented on. I think this can, in part, be attributed to the increasing flux of c-sections we are seeing at the hospital (something out of our control as volunteers but something we are actively working to push against), and in part because birth rates fluctuate with seasonal changes (according to my very basic research this is due to fluctuating inclinations to conceive with seasonal changes—my host mom believes October will bring an increase in births and that these past two weeks were the calm before the storm, I’ll keep you posted). Tomorrow Ana and I are going to the home of one of our doula clients to have a pre-home-birth consultation. Her due date is October 19th and tomorrow we will get a perspective of the layout of her home/how to make use of the space, make plans for where she wants to deliver, cover emergency situations, and meet with the midwives to work through preparations. We will also provide the mom with counseling, emotional support, and provide childcare to her other young ones for the day so she can focus on working with the midwives. I’ve never participated in a home birth but the more I talk with Ana about it and the further I get into doula classes, the more excited I become for the opportunity to witness and participate in my first. In the month leading up to a home birth, the doula and midwife have to remain close to home and abstain from any consumption of alcohol as they could receive a call at any moment from their client going into labor. Originally, I was hoping to do a bit of traveling in my final month here, but now that I have joined this patient’s team, I will remain in bsas and wait for the call with Ana.
Outside of work, I have been putting creative energy into the kitchen, alongside the help of my talented chef friend, Lucas. I made purple sauerkraut (nothing that I have eaten in past two weeks was safe from this), beet tortilla, olive oil orange budín with mascarpone topping (my most repeated recipe as my host sisters ask for it nearly every week now), fresh squeezed OJ iced matcha (this is the first thing I think about when I wake up every day), and homemade chipa (if you’re reading this, bury me in a pile of chipa, please I’m begging!). Other than cooking, lately I have been energized by spring in full effect and have spent a lot of time laying in the abounding parks of Buenos Aires, reading or sharing mate with a friend. Spring is by far my favorite season, for a multitude of reasons but mostly for its ability to revive the energy of everyone in it. Flowers showing off after 9 long months of rest, parks filling up with musicians/children playing/neighbors exiting hibernation, layering just for the purpose of de-layering throughout the day. I’m taking note of the ways simple things revive with livelihood, and trying to soak it all up before returning to what I know as November.
The next time you hear from me will be my penultimate blog and, believe me, we’re both not ready for it! In an attempt at distraction, here are some sentences I wrote the past two weeks:
September 22: Feeling very grateful for my long-distance friendships and amazed by how loved people can make you feel even from so far away.
September 26: Today a man on the street walked up to me “just to practice speaking in English” because he had a “deep-seated fear” of trying to exercise his second language and I hope to channel this confidence for the rest of my life (I also told him that the fact that he could say “deep-seated fear” meant he was doing well).
October 1: Happy Halloween!
Ok that’s it for this episode, I love you (too soon? I don’t think so!).