Tomorrow, I'll be boarding a plane headed for Buenos Aires. That's here.
In the last five years, I've flown in plenty of planes. I've seen plenty of countries. I studied abroad in Alajuela back in 2007 thanks to my university's Costa Rica Summer Program, and I spent 6 months in southeast Spain studying Arabic and Spanish lit in 2008. Besides that, I've done a little traveling here and there, mostly for leisure. What makes this trip different can be expressed in three letters: J.O.B. For the next 8 months, I'll be helping in English classes at the Universidad de Río Cuarto in Río Cuarto, Argentina (Here's Río Cuarto). How did I wrangle such a sweet opportunity, you ask? I have the Fulbright Commissions in the US and Argentina to thank, as well as the Department of State (and all of you who helped me with my application; it was a long, arduous task).
(More info on Fulbright here: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html)
Oscar-esque speech aside, I'm really fortunate to have the opportunity to do this. Since I started studying Spanish (waaaay back 8 years ago or so), I had always been intrigued by Argentina. I guess you could say my heart got swept away by the passion of the tango, the smooth talking and bold use of a different 2nd person familiar pronoun than that boring old tú, and the delectable carne asada. I´m excited to actually go there and experience those things, but more than anything I want to get to know the people there. The people are what make any community, and judging by what I'm feeling about Argentina, these people have to be pretty awesome.
My excitement is quickly burdened by my overly-analytical brain, which is wont to take anything good and new in my life and multi-directionally prod it until it's felt out every possible scenario and risk. My brain is reminding me that I'm not a particularly social creature, and that it takes a lot of effort for me to deal with social situations. It likes to tell me that I have a tendency to quickly judge and isolate myself. It asks me if I'll be able to be as outgoing as I'd like to be while there.
What if the people aren't liked I've imagined?
What if I can't meet anyone?
What if I can't connect with my students?
Will I shut down and isolate myself?
Regardless of the effort it's definitely going to take, I'm going to drive forward and meet people. I'm going to have a wonderful time with my students, and I'm going to make the most of this experience. I mean, I have to. If I didn't, you wouldn't have anything to read, right?
Now shut up, stupid brain.