I took the dog for a walk this morning dodging the piles of rubbish rotting in the streets, and trying not to breathe in the stench of the putrid canal shining an impossibly lurid chemical blue-green. It reminded me that being here is a choice, and even though we are absolutely convinced that we are in the right place, it is still a choice that sometimes we have to make to ourselves every day, or even several times a day.
We did have a lot of fun in the UK. On our previous UK trip we nearly killed ourselves trying to get through an impossible schedule of visits and meetings, so this time we erred on the side of anti-social and did lots of fun stuff with the kids and cousins. Bike rides, beaches, walks, blackberry picking, the zoo, London, crabbing, camping, goofing around…
Not all grass is greener though; there are different things that disturb me every time we visit the UK too. Not least the fact that I can no longer remember who has right of way on a roundabout. We also did our very best to counteract the tendency to risk-averse parenting. I’m not a great crystal-ball gazer, but I do wonder what might happen when the generation who are being carefully prevented from ever confronting a risk in the playground suddenly find themselves running a country. Especially since a significant proportion of same will also hold an unchallenged belief that they are the centre of the universe. It might be an unfashionable viewpoint, but one might hope that this generation’s immigrants stick around in sufficient numbers to provide an alternative discourse.
Meanwhile, we left the UK on Sunday, landed in Buenos Aires airport on Monday, and San Francisco bus station on Tuesday. Transitioning may therefore be improved by catching up on sleep. And we also landed straight into some heavy issues involving teen, not least the prospect of me sitting in a queue in the social security office for four hours or more one day in the imminent future.
But there are plenty of things that we do love about life here too, like the view from my dining room over the well-kept plaza, and our sweet elderly neighbour who looked after our house and dog, and seeing Teen transition back to life after extracting her from the hostel.
We were sitting waiting in the corridor at the hostel yesterday, and I asked Danny “Do you want to see (teen) ?” And he said “No!” I was just racking my brains for possible appropriate responses, when he continued “I don’t want to see her, I want to collect her”. So we did.