Friday, February 11, 2011

Julianna y Ninna

Sometimes people come along exactly when you need them to.  

The idea of taking this trip alone both worried and excited me as I was planning it. I like spending time on my own and need very much to have time to myself but the balance is delicate because I’m also very social and susceptible to loneliness. Someone who knows me well once told me that I am an introvert who masquerades as an extrovert and I think she had it right.

Ninna I met first in a tango class. I thought she was American from the look of her: blonde and blue-eyed with that cheerful openness in her expression that I have come to recognize as a trademark of my compatriots. She turned out to be from Denmark but her English is so good it took a few moments to notice she wasn’t a native speaker. Ninna wins the language contest hands-down with seven of them to her name. Seven! Perhaps it’s this black belt in language arts that allow her to use the word ‘lover’ and actually pull it off  (as of press time she is the only person I’ve ever met who could do so).  

Julianna is Brazilian and mistakenly took me from one of her countrywomen the first time she saw me; on the second day of my classes at the escuela she sat down next to me and started talking to me in Portuguese. She too has a remarkable facility with languages with three to her name and in fact I have so many bon mots from Julianna that they are getting their own post.

Though we live in three very different countries we have a lot in common. I suppose we were a bit of a self-selecting population being that we were all thirty-ish women who’d decided to come to a foreign country alone for a month or more. All of us are unmarried, well traveled, passionate about our work and excited but overwhelmed by all the decisions about our futures that we find ourselves contemplating. And we were all having SO much fun in Buenos Aires: it seems it was the cure for what ailed each of us in our disparate but similar lives   

We spent long dinners together drinking bottles of wine and telling intimate stories about our own lives: all the tales of loves, losses, tragedies and adventures that you would usually never share with people you hadn’t known long. We talked long into the night about languages, about travel, about friends and boyfriends and family. Caught up in the headiness of the trip we even planned next adventure (Carnival 2012- it’s not just a vacation promise people). We talked about our lists: of what to do in the next year, before we married, before we died.

As much as I loved meeting people who actually live in Argentina along the way, it was these two girls I felt I shared my trip with. They were right there with me for the good, bad and ugly of my foreign adventure.

Who have you bonded with while traveling?

1 comment:

  1. Andrea, what a lovely text! I feel pretty much the same about my trip and how great it was meeting you. Yeah! We have SO much fun, but also we could think more and more deeply about our own lives and learn from each other experiences. Meeting you and Ninna was a gift and I am glad for it. After all, one of the best things about traveling is making new and excellent friends, isn’t it?! (is it correct? Jajajajajajajaja). See you in Seattle (before Brazil) – for sure they are not vacation promises.