I arrived to Argentina last month, around 4am… and I wouldn’t have minded a gentle slap in the face to wake me up, but Argentinian culture decided to take a step forward and give it to me right in the face, leaving my cheeks bouncing like jelly.
I’m starting to feel like home in my new house (finally); spring has began in Argentina, which means I can start to water the plants in my backyard and see which one of them survived the winter. I’m horrible, I know; I’m a plant killer. But what I love the most, is the peace I have with furry boys, my cats Winki and Cocó, specially when one of them falls over my head at 3am and the other one bites my nose half an hour later. Home sweet home.
So, I got off the plane – missing NYC already but happy to see my furry babies again – I passed the customs control like “I didn’t bring anything! Oh… ok… Carry on with your nap”, eventually I reached the street and I felt that embracing (awful and painful) cold of the winter tearing my lungs apart, and then… Then I saw a sign… I saw a sign on a window, a window of a taxi stand, which read: “Get out of here, Ubber”.
What’s the deal in Argentina with Ubber? Taxi drivers believe Ubber drivers are taking away their jobs, when in reality – at least in Rosario, this city I’m living in – the situation is so bad, that taxi drivers don’t want to work at night for the fear of getting robbed or even killed; therefore, taxi owners hire ‘anyone’, which causes the citizens to be afraid to call a cub at night. So, one might think: “Ubber could fix that”… But – apparently – Argentina doesn’t need an app that tells you the name of your driver and license plate, while it records with its GPS the exact road you’re taking, for half of a taxi ride price! … Yeah… Who needs that?
Shopping whenever you want or need? Who needs that either! Shops – in Rosario City – open from 830am to 12/1pm; workers have their lunch and take their mandatory nap, and then they open from 430/5 to 8/9:30. I got used to that when I’ve moved here from Buenos Aires, a couple of years ago, but now… now this city has a new law: no shopping on Sundays. To be precise: no grocery shopping in big malls, which leaves us the only option of going to a ‘Chinese Market’ (which are like Delis), and their prices are 15 to 20% higher.
What’s the deal in Rosario City? Workers say they need their Sunday rest (even though the have a day off during the week)… because, really…who needs to get paid twice the amount for working on Sunday? Who needs to help this country moving forward, by working and letting the economy flow? Yeah… who needs that …
Coming back to Argentina always feels like a cultural slap in the face, and I’m really getting tired of this.
“Laly, you gotta make a move”
I love my country, my mother land, and I’m proud to call myself an Argentinian; however, like almost every girl’s relationship with her mother, it is a good call to live far – way far – from each other, but closely enough to call her at any time to ask her “How many minutes should I boil the pasta?” without spending the entire phone credit on a distance call.
I adore my country, but after the 38 years that it took me to found out that I wasn’t wrong when I’ve said, “I don’t belong here”, NYC and its people, the U.S.A. and its culture, started to whisper to me, “Hey girl, wanna meet up more often?”
Even though my grammar still needs a Laly proof editor, I feel that I’ve found my voice with this language, so when I decided to open this blog I also made an important choice: to become a writer with a vocabulary that allows me to say “I’m a writer, in Spanish. Keep that in mind. Enjoy my blog.” And Oh-my-God, what a move a pulled off!
Fiction overcomes reality in Argentina
You probably know that we have a new president, a very cool one, Mauricio Macri. Most of us (of course, for the simple reason that he won) were very happy waiting for that lady – who was our president twice, after her husband was president for one term – to leave! We were anxious to see the end of that monarchy which lasted twelve years – and I’m being polite here – but… What happened? The Queen ‘wasn’t feeling well’ the day she was supposed to transfer ‘the command’, so she didn’t; instead, she stayed in her house hiding, thinking no one was going to go after her and the countless millions that she – and her entourage – robbed. The things that happened since then, put my career as a Spanish writer in jeopardy. Allow me to explain:
A few months ago, José Lopez, a politician – of the Queen’s entourage – wanted for misappropriation of funds, was found: trying to hide two backpacks containing nine millions dollars, in a convent. Yes, you’re reading this correctly.
This…man, went to the convent in the middle of the night, he left his car running and went straight to the front door, then he left his rifle on the floor – because, who wants to scare a nun, right? – And then … then this poor brainless human being rang the bell! He began carrying the backpacks to the front door, the nuns pulled them inside (we still don’t know if they knew about the money), and after an hour or so, he left the convent, freely and relaxed, with a bag of cookies the nuns where about to have for breakfast!
The police caught him outside… but hey: “Can’t I keep the nine million dollars, under my bed, in jail? That’s ok. I have my cookies”
A well-known director, producer and screenwriter – Juan José Campanella – tweeted about it: “Nobody talks about how anguished we are those who we have to write fiction? Reality makes us unfair competition”.
So, Jake mate to Laly – for the future of her script! – who knows about chest as much as you know the name of the bones in your body.
Back in Argentina: a third-world cultural slap in the face… Am I putting my adjectives in the right order? … Whatever… I love my mother land; however, like every girl’s relationship with her mother, I feel like: “Mother land, you know I love you, right? But, wouldn’t it be good for us, mummy land, if we saw each other only during the holidays? I promise I’ll call!”