Drink the Wild Air
I’m sitting in Starbucks. Why Starbucks when there are tons of great coffee places in Buenos Aires? For one simple reason: They have air conditioning.
It’s 95 degrees, which means I have about 30 seconds from the time I step outside till I start perspiring. Which after three days, I still dislike but I’m getting used to. Air conditioning is a luxury here and neither the hostel we stayed in the first two nights nor the apartment we are now renting have it. It’s not that I’m opposed to sweating – I thoroughly enjoy an intense workout and “earning” my shower when I’m finished. It’s just that I don’t expect to continue sweating after I get out. I used to tell people that as a Southern Belle, “I don’t sweat, I glow.” But let me just be real, I’m way past glowing and glistening here.
But for now, in this Starbucks, I’m cool. I’m facing the window which means I’m completely distracted by the people walking by. Like this guy. That’s a lot of hair.
And then there’s this girl, whose shorts remind me of a pair of stonewashed jeans I wore in 2nd grade.
The fashion here is, well, different.
This is a trend I’ll never embrace. Not just because I don’t find them particularly attractive and elevating myself an extra 4-5 inches will make me feel more like an Amazon than I already do, but also because I’m pretty confident I would bust my ass if I tried to walk in shoes like that. Just saying.
Hold on. There’s a lady trying to talk to me.
Ok, I’m back.
Apparently this woman was warning Natalie and I to be careful about having our Apple computers in a public place because just yesterday when she left Starbucks at night with hers, a motorcyclist must have seen her put them in her car, because he smashed her window and stole it.
Only she told us the entire story in rapid-fire Spanish and was so intense and passionate that I wasn’t able to interject anything until the end when she looked at me for a response. “Yo hablo un poco de espanol,” I offer apologetically.
“You speak English?!” she exclaims before she starts to laugh. Meanwhile her teenage daughter behind her is cracking up. “Did you understand any of that??”
“Well, a little,” I respond. “I knew it had something to do with two Apple computers, your wallet, the night, Starbucks and a car…but I wasn’t entirely sure how it all went together.”
We all had a good laugh, but now just to be safe, I’ve placed my computer sleeve in front of my Apple logo and I am keeping my purse securely positioned on my body.
I’m probably fine, but what’s that expression? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? I’m going with that.
I came here with the intention of writing. Of crafting some sort of inspiring blog post to share, but in this moment I’m just taking it all in. I like this city. I like its’ energy, all the trees that pepper the streets, the corner cafes, and the clean, soapy smell that most people exude. I’m wondering if Buenos Aires has a standard-issue body wash. And if so, how do I get some?
I like the variety of people, a merging of all different cultures, ages and economic backgrounds. I like that wearing my casual sundress, I blend in pretty well on the street – even if I’m not rocking platform sandals. It’s my first time in South America, my first week in this city, but it feels like a place I could one day call home. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, or if I’ll ever be back, but for now, I’m not concerned with that.
I just want to grasp every moment. To embrace the novelty of it all. To find God here– in all of His creation.
Buenos Aires literally means “Good airs.” I didn’t know that until about a month before we got here. When I was praying about why God had prompted us to go to this city – of all cities. When God reminded me that this trip was about learning how to really live. And what do you absolutely need to live? What can’t you go more than minutes without? Air.
So, here I am in a city with “good air.” A place where I’m feeling God calling me to slow down. To let go. To be present in each moment. And to simply breathe.
Yesterday, Natalie and I went to the National Cathedral for Ash Wednesday Mass.
It’s a day of fasting to mark not only the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, but it’s also a day to remember an important truth. From dust we were created, and to dust we will return.
We were reminded of that firsthand two days ago when we went to visit the world-renowned cemetery in Recoleta.
Perhaps the first thing to understand about life in order to really live it fully, is to recognize how truly brief it is.
“You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” James 4:14.
And that is the truth. I am not guaranteed next year any more than I am guaranteed tomorrow. So, right now, I’m going to unapologetically allow myself to simply be. I’m relinquishing the pressure I feel to craft a perfectly worded post with a riveting, earth shattering message that will “wow” you. Instead I’m going to sit here and gaze out of this window, watching the passers by, the leaves dancing gracefully in the breeze and the pigeons perching peacefully in front of me.
And I’m going to breath. I’m going to draw deep, full breaths of all of this “good air” and be thankful for this gift called life that God has given me.