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.


The Broad said...

Oh dear, we have been here 3 years now and just got our Permanent Residence.. we have not been back to the States since we got here.
Luckily / thankfully, family has come to us. But it is not the same.
I can imagine how overwhelmed you were ... the part about the Giant US Grocery store made me laugh .. Jumbo is enough to make me go into shopping sensory overload... in the US I would probably have to take a zanax and go to bed :)
I miss some things in the US but I think being older than you and having done things like this a couple of times... we seem to have acclimated ourselves easier than I expected.
The meltdowns occur much less often and I actually have started using the mayonnaise here :)
I totally understand the Ready to Go Home Now feeling .. I wish you both much buen suerte and happiness in your next home.
Send me an email if you need any help ( although I have no idea how I could be helpful, but the offer is there) ...
chau.. C
ps- my son met Henry Rollins too !! much aƱos ago.

Jimmy Danko said...

Wow...3 years without going back. That would be tough. Having people visit would definitely be a plus. Funny, it wasn't until the end of my 3 weeks in the US that I finally felt acclimated to all the cultural differences. On the other hand it totally flipped my sense of seasons upside down. It was Spring and people were beginning to get excited with the anticipation of summer. I came back to BA then and the leaves were falling and the weather turning cold. It's early May and I feel like Thanksgiving & Christmas should be right around the corner now (laughs).

One of the biggest influences on are desire to move back is that we both sit poised, ready to move forward with our businesses...which was a big part of our original plan here. So in sense there's an energy that's been bottled up and is waiting to be opened, and purpose for us here that no longer exists. Thankfully for me I am still able to keep artistically moving forward, and there are still many wonderful things for us to experience here.

Thanks for the note. :) Looking forward to meeting in person some day. Best of luck in the city to you two as well!