For the first time in my life I am a property owner. Last week Annie and I closed escrow on an apartment on the top floor of a building in a barrio of Buenos Aires known as Oncé. It's a raw space, absent of a kitchen, shower, or even hot water, but what it does have is potential, and in it we see something that will be our own.
Today, marked Day 1 of the remodel. What does that mean exactly? It means myself and our friend Mauricio, who flew in from Tijuana, Mexico to help us for the next few months, got to smash down walls with a sledgehammer. Unlike in the States, because of fire codes here, it's illegal to build the basic structure of a building or home with wood, so even interior walls are made of brick and concrete as opposed to 2x4's and drywall. Consequently our demo, and the debris that follows, is fairly substantial.
Mauricio and I make an interesting crew. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and I was born in Wisconsin. I grew up landlocked by corn and he was surrounded by desert and ocean. While he speaks fairly good English, his first language is Spanish. I on the other hand am just beginning to grasp the basics of Spanish. The overlap for the two of our lives originates in San Diego. I lived there for the last 5 and half years, and he crossed the border everyday to work construction there, sometimes for Annie. Because of his friendship with Annie, the quality work he's done for her and his ability to speak Spanish, he was the perfect fit to help us get our home and studio remodeled here in Argentina. For Mauricio it was an opportunity. These days it's not easy for him to cross the Mexican border, and with the mortgage crisis in the States the construction industry has slowed down dramatically. Even though he would be leaving his wife and children for three months, it meant three months of guaranteed income he could send back to them, not to mention the chance to see a part of the world he might not otherwise be able to see.
While the life paths for the two of us have been very different, they converge now here for the next few months in South America, in one of the largest cities in the world. We are each teaching the other what we can, while building a home and eventually an art/yoga studio along the way. Sure in this first week we have sometimes struggled to understand what the other is saying, but the majority of our conversations end in laughs so I think we'll be alright. I feel fortunate to have him here.
The Lion and the Unicorn
by George Orwell
The New York Times
Currently Listening To:
On The Real with Chuck D