The rest of South America was a blur. I said goodbye to Beth in Valparaiso,Chile and headed to Argentina. Upon arrival in that lovely country, I was immediately kicking myself for not going there sooner. Argentina was everything that the other countries in South America weren't- organized, friendly, and with consistently good food. Well, maybe it's not fair to say the other countries weren't those things, but rather that the beauty and ease of traveling in Argentina really stood out. People stopped to chat all the time, happy to give advice or suggestions. I made friends with some artisans in a cooperative in Buenos Aires, and got a little lesson in silver-smithing. Of everywhere I have been in the last few months, I am really only drawn to go back to Argentina. I have more slang to pick up from their crazy dialect, artisans to learn from, yerba mate to drink, and malbecs to try. Otherwise, I am pretty happy to be home.
I didn't realize what a psychological effect this trip had on my sense of safety until I got back. I was on my guard against getting robbed or hurt or cheated every second of the day. It has been hard to unwind from that feeling. At restaurants here I nervously keep looking at my purse on the chair next to me; the other day when I didn't have my wallet, I assumed it was stolen when really I had just left it at home.
I am living on Orcas island for the summer, and being out here is slowly negating that sense that everyone is out to get me. It is the most nurturing and safe place I could imagine being right now. Among other things, I am really relishing not having to carry a bike lock...
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