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I was taught that you should write the introduction at the end of the essay as it looks like it ties together better. The only time I did this however, I got a very average mark in an history exam. As such, I have chosen to write the introduction – if you can call it that – roughly a week into the trip (to kill a bit of time). The time I have to kill is in a very overrated hostel in Buenos Aires. Unbeknown to me, I have booked to be in a party hostel for a week. I also currently have a low-level bout of food poisoning. But more of this in Week Two’s writeup.

I have been offered a sabbatical for three months. The expression “a long time coming” may come to mind for those who have been bored with my discussions of this sort for the last year and a half. As a personal favour to the twenty or so people that I have bored with that conversation, I will not recap.

The offer came about in my typical ill-prepared fashion: I applied last-minute before going to Cuba where there was to be no internet. Nevertheless, in a rare moment that I had internet on my phone while sitting outside in a public park, I was able to check my email and saw said offer. This was received by me with glee and by Frazer as someone had just informed him that his life was to be sacrificed in order to preserve celery as a food form

The offer required reading T&Cs and signing (I had an iPhone and the Cuban postal service). Suffice to say, signing and returning from Cuba in 5 days would not be feasible ~ Cuban post takes a good 40 days (and counting). Five FaceTime calls with my mother were required to articulate, “Get Dad to read and sign for me!”. This was punctuated with me swearing a good deal about: the obvious ease of my request; the inadequacy of technology; the inadequacy of the preceding generation… After some interlude and apologies on my part, father signs another crucial work-related contract on my behalf (IBM don’t have my signature – muhahahaha – defying the man one false signature at a time!).

Time to plan… I had exactly three weeks to do so. I have no idea why I chose the path I did: Paris for a couple of days to visit Harry. Madrid for a week to do a language class (thus far I can account for my choices). Argentina. Sincerely, I have no idea why I chose Argentina. I have a sneaky suspicion that I decided when drunk and woke up with the catharsis, which I adopted. In any case, I think it was a good choice…

I intend to have at least two months in Argentina in which I hope to reach a good level of Spanish. As such, I am determined to stay put, that is, not traveling around while I am learning the language and (hopefully) living with locals / Spanish speakers. (Learning a good level of Spanish is likely to be impossible here though; they say everything incorrectly and with an impenetrable accent. Argentinians have invented their own form of “you” that is only used in the present tense – obviously!) Maybe after two months I will “do” the rest of South America. We all know that spending three days in each country entitles one to change verbs from “to visit” to “to do”.

Keeping the gems for the trip, but I shall remark that: I forgot my adapter; forgot shampoo; have brought seven shirts vs. two t-shirts; forgot marmite – have no way to repel mosquitos (and women); didn’t get a much needed haircut – so will be at the mercy of an Argentinean butcher; have lined-up nothing here other than a week’s language course and now an AirBnb to get me out of this hostel. On the plus side, I have two cashmere jumpers (obligatory with an ambient temperature of 30+ degrees). I also have roughly thirty pairs of socks.

Let me leave you with a witticism. When asked early on where I would be going for so long? I replied “Don’t cry for me ~ Argentina.”