Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Weeks in the U.S.

I recently spent 3 weeks back in the States for a long overdue visit home. It was my second trip back since moving to Buenos Aires almost 2 years ago, although compared to the first trip this one was slightly (totally) less planned.

The trip began just two days after its conception, instigated by my computer crashing and the need to get it fixed sooner rather than later. For most of March and April I had been working on all the new album artwork for an amazing Indie band back in the U.S. (details and artwork to be released in the coming months) and my computer died smack in the middle of the project. Rather than wait the month it would have taken to get the part shipped and installed down here, I decided to take my "once a year" U.S. visit, slated for July, a few months early.

It was an unexpected, but overdue (and immensely welcomed) Spring immersion in friends, family, and all the little things I miss - Americana. It was also at times completely overwhelming. Nearly everyday was a story within itself as I met with and experienced people and things that I hadn't seen or done in at least year, and in some cases ever. It all led me to give up trying to process the significance of the experiences very early on in the trip, like how one day I was in one country/continent/hemisphere surrounded by Spanish speaking people, thousands of miles away from the country I call home, and 24 hours later I was drinking Schlitz beer with my sisters in the Midwestern suburban town I grew up in. Rather than trying to attach meaning or gravity to it all, for my own sanity I instead tried to just stay in the moment and soak it all in.

And there were many moments to soak up: seeing my parents for the first time in 2 years, walking down the giant aisles of an American grocery store and being overwhelmed by choices, an "Opening Day" baseball game complete with close friends and fresh grilled brats, meeting Henry Rollins, hanging out with a grade school friend for the first time in over 20 years, a roadtrip, smelling the salty air of the Pacific, a Wisconsin Friday fish fry, having too awesome of a time at San Diego dive bar, crashing on the most comfortable couch ever, purging my childhood toys from my parents' basement, and the list goes on. Even now, one week after returning to Argentina, I struggle to put into perspective how intensely meaningful the whole trip was.

It is an interesting situation Annie and I find ourselves in: After letting go of our original business plan within a few months of our July 2008 arrival, which dramatically shifted our purpose here, we've been ready to move back to the U.S. for a year. So we reside in this faraway city not so much as by choice, as by circumstance, while we patiently wait for our home here to sell. Yes, from one perspective it is a beautiful crazy adventure where we don't have total control of the reigns, and I am incredibly grateful for everything living abroad has taught me and the country of Argentina has shared with me, but a journey of this length, distance and uncertainty also comes with a price tag. There is a weight I know I carry being separated for so long from the people, places and culture that have helped mold the core of who I am.

What I do know about this last trip was that it was a lot about re-fortifying myself for what will most likely be my final stint here, the final push through the "South American Experience" with my artwork being my focus solace. As always I find myself incredibly grateful for all the amazing support of friends and family alike as I ramble down this faraway path, waiting for the day I get to say "lookout L.A...the Dank is moving home."

(above) the house I grew up in is on a wooded 4 acre lot. it's hard for me to walk
through that yard without climbing at least a few trees. this is most likely the same
reason I am compelled to climb to our roof 25 stories above Buenos Aires.

Currently Reading:
I'm not sure why, but I told myself before I moved to Argentina that I would read the LOTR trilogy before moving back to the States (South America is Middle Earth?). And now as time goes by I feel a more pressing need to cross it off the list of things to do.
Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
by J. R. R. Tolkien

Currently Listening To:
Song: The Blizzard's Never Seen The Desert Sands (iTunes) (listen)
Artist: The Tallest Man On Earth (myspace)

For more on how I first ended up in Buenos Aires check out the first post of Harmony and Dissonance.