BLOG SWITCH: Rease Kirchner

Rease and I decided to do a guest entry on each other’s blogs. I know, it’s an incredibly nerdy thing to do, but we’re pretty nerdy. You can read my entry at her blog. Over to you, Rease…

Jorge and I met in May 2006. I was on a group study abroad trip that stopped in Buenos Aires for a few days of tourism. After a couple days of this tourism crap, I was getting annoyed and wanted to see the city. The group I was with was off to take an expensive Tango Dance class and I had had enough. I told my professor I would not be attending, which resulted in a flurried argument in Spanglish, but eventually, I won. Another girl on the trip, Rachel, stood by me and also refused to go. I like to believe it was my stubborn nature and general dislike of group dancing that resulted in 2 amazing friendships that have had a great influence on my life.

Jorge was staying in the same hostel as us and I attempted to speak to him in the best Spanish I could muster after 5 years of high school Spanish and 1 year of University. After maybe 3 exchanges in Spanish Jorge broke into his perfect English- “Okay are we doing this in English or Spanish?”. I tried, fleetingly, “No me importa. Hablo espanol”. Alas, he stuck to English. I remember my confidence taking a nice hit, chalking up my conversational Spanish failure. Of course, Jorge remembers this incident in a much more positive light, saying he was only trying to make me more comfortable.

Jorge and I’s interaction after that was fairly limited. We discussed music a bit and spent a few hours in a group of ridiculously immature and silly boys from Catamarca, snapped a few photos and that was about it. When it came time for us to head to Mendoza, I scribbled down this very web address, simultaneously puzzled and awed that a Colombian knew and used the word platypus.

At first I was a frequent visitor on this blog. I checked it often, fascinated by Jorge’s seemingly unfair command of English. His posts were amusing and better written than anything most of my native English speaking friends could hope to compose. As time rolled on, however, I admit I didn’t visit his blog nearly as often. We began to slowly lose what little contact we had in the first place, but then along came Myspace and eventually Facebook. Jorge found me and we began to revive our pseudo friendship through strange, random interactions. A wall comment here, a weird video there– nothing of real consequence. This carried on for 3 years. Who was this Jorge person? Just some Colombian I met in a hostel in Buenos Aires. We Facebook stalked each other just enough to have a vague idea of what was happening in each other’s lives. Finally, in May 2009, my graduation from university arrived and with it, my return to South America.

I used trusty Facebook to alert Jorge — my own real contact in South America save my host family in Mendoza– of Rachel and I’s epic, long awaited return. At first it was just for advice on where to stay in Buenos Aires, but Jorge was actually quite excited about our trip. He was his usual, forgetful self and it took a few reminder messages to get all the information I needed but in the end, Jorge made sure we got a nice room in a hostel of a friend of his. He even called a few days before just to make sure we were all set for out arrival. Jorge came to visit us at the hostel after we arrived, went out to lunch with us, and really gave us a great welcome back. He even dedicated an entire day to us in Tigre where we made a spontaneous (and awesome) decision to go to the Parque de la Costa theme park.

Upon leaving Buenos Aires, Rachel and I reflected on how cool it was that 3 years after out initial meeting and with limited contact, Jorge spent a significant amount of time with us and it felt completely natural, like we had always been friends. We also were saddened by the fact that we had no idea if we would ever see him again.

Luckily, it wasn’t so long at all, for me at least. In February 2010 I had a messy breakup that had quite the domino effect on my life plans. Jorge was one of the first people I contacted; within minutes of the breakup I decided it was time for me to make the huge move to another country and in the moment, I decided it had to be Buenos Aires. I wrote a quick, admittedly cryptic message to Jorge asking for information on job possibilities, saying my international move needed to happen immediately. Of course, Jorge replied within minutes, jokingly asking if I had murdered someone and planned to flee the country. Once he was filled in on the real situation, he went into full on friend mode. At first, I don’t think he truly believed I was going to move; but he still responded to all my questions about the city, looked into jobs for me, and even sat on Facebook chat listening to me talk with a suffocatingly depressing tone weaving its way into even the simplest of conversations.

When I arrived to Buenos Aires Jorge was the only person I knew, but, honestly, “knew” is kind of a stretch. I am now 4 1/2 months into my life in Buenos Aires and I can confidently say that Jorge is one of my best friends. I think it is both strange and awesome that this all started with an act of stubbornness in a hostel, held together by a thread of blog and wall posts and has resulted in a completely necessary, awesome part of my life.

Here’s to you, Livejournal turned WordPress, Myspace turned Facebook and Colombian stranger turned Strange Colombian friend.

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