A Sort of Homecoming: My City’s Still Breathing, But Barely


I spent 7 weeks in Barranquilla, Colombia– longer than I’ve spent since leaving the country over six years ago. Seven full weeks back in the old haunts, with my brothers and sisters, with my dad and my dog, with old high school friends that I want to see more of and with some other people only see once a year and pretend to like. And as long as those seven weeks felt, remarkably little happened during that stretch of time. I walked my dog a bunch. I went to the mall with my two younger siblings. I saw a lot of movies as part of Resolution 375 Hours (first substantial update on that to come in the next couple of weeks). Bought a new computer, struggled with a tiny bit of family drama, and generally lazied about. There wasn’t a whole lot of partying. There wasn’t a whole lot of anything. But it was nice.

My return back to Buenos Aires was a kick in the face. The plane trip back home was one of the most excruciating travel experiences I’ve ever been put through. Aerolineas Argentinas is a joke and I will never fly with them again– the flight was four hours delayed, we had to skip over to another airport at the very last minute because our airplane just wasn’t working, the food was horrendous and to add insult to injury the in-flight film was a documentary on lions in the Serengeti. Seriously. Our in-flight film was a fucking Animal Planet special. Fuck you, Aerolineas Argentinas.

(On a positive note, I befriended an Irish veterinarian who dished the dirt on the Dublin music scene, and confirmed my suspicions that Damien Rice is at least mildly autistic.)

I didn’t get any sleep the night before which made the process of wandering around in Bogota’s El Dorado airport for 6 hours extremely unpleasant. My friend Caropi flaked out on me in a big bad way, which left me to just my iPod for company. I started thinking about all the music I naturally tend to gravitate towards when I roam around airports. For the past few years, starting after my 7-hour layover in Lima two years ago, I’ve been turning to the mystery and morosity of mid-era Leonard Cohen, the feverish aggression blasts of Fugazi, the melodic-sophistication-as-singalong-pop of The New Pornographers and the exuberance and eclecticism of Janelle Monae. In quiet moments, Pollini playing Chopin or Debussy. These artists make the process– which seems to becoming more and more cumbersome with each passing year– slightly more tolerable.

Getting back to work was another kick in the face. For the last two weeks I’ve been staying for way too long in the office, working 15-hour days, sleeping under my desk like a regular George Costanza because I don’t have enough time to head back to my house and take a proper nap before my next conference call at 2am. Thankfully, the worst of it is over and I’m back to a regular schedule for the time being, but those two weeks were a harrowing ordeal that left me a crippled shell of a man, taking this entire weekend off to recuperate. If these last couple of weeks were designed to get me back into the swing of things after a way-too-relaxing stint in Colombia, it’s working.

And yet I’m so glad to be back in Buenos Aires, in so many ways. I’ve written about how this place resonates with me at a frequency I’d never known before; truly, this city feels more like home than anywhere else I’ve ever been, even when it’s being an unrelenting pain in the ass. I have settled into a life that is finally completely my own, doing what I like to do and populated by all the characters that I’ve chosen. And as much as my life back in Colombia is quiet and relaxed and easy, my life in Buenos Aires is a different kind of satisfying. One that couples familiarity with foreignness; a constant process of awe and hardships and rediscovery. And I’m so happy to be exactly right here.

2 thoughts on “A Sort of Homecoming: My City’s Still Breathing, But Barely

  1. I think with how your life is in BA, you needed Colombia to be less eventful. Sorry your trip home was the worst! I love the photos. Caropi is so pretty and your siblings are so cute!

Reply! Do it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s