When I stood on the sun soaked streets of Buenos Aires I fell in love. It was 2011 and I needed a change. Years of being a version of someone everyone else wanted me to be inspired a pilgrimage to the ‘Paris of South America.’
What you need to know most about Buenos Aires is how truly European it is. The cobblestone roads offer reminiscences of a time long gone. The dry heat hangs in the air as the sun glints off the black and yellow taxi cars that flood every avenue. The olive skin of the locals glisten. They are, of course, sun kissed, but more than that, God has blessed them.
Often, during my days there, I would wake in my bright, white apartment to a sort of dusty mist that hung just below the ceiling. When you walk through a park in Buenos Aires, you notice the paths lined with crushed red brick waft upwards and colour the firmament with a red tinge. When I would return home, I would often find the hue in my hair, to which I would shower, and watch as it trickled down my white, ginger body.
It was, it is, a different world, foreign from my Canadian experiences. The cold, steel grey sky of familiar winters a distant memory. The passionless, emotionless, passive attitudes I grew accustomed to but never comfortable with replaced with passion, shameless emotion and directness.
I say this with no feeling of malice for my home country, but as an explanation. As a first generation Canadian, I was used to a much different form of communication than those of my parents’ adoptive country. When, as a boy, I would leave for school, I never found that I belonged in a sea with apathetic peers. They were more interested in fitting in and being ‘cool’ to ever dare be original.
Then I found Argentina, and I basked in its rich, complex history. Home.
One day while walking on the intricate tiled sidewalks, I stopped by a shop to purchase produce. A dark haired woman was the only employee.
“You are not from here,” the woman said as I selected my fruit.
“No,” I replied with a smile. “But neither are you.”
She returned my smile and said, “Shhh… don’t reveal the secret.”
I leaned in and whispered, “The secret?”
“The secret of the good air.”