I had to get out of Buenos Aires..como un veneno me mata. Things are too crazy. Santiago is so close I love to come here. Santiago is everything that Buenos Aires is not. Clean, organized, and very polite people. I am amazed at the difference in me.
I have become too portena as an American friend pointed out to me. I complain like a portena all the time. I am negative. I no longer see a future. I have lost my American self. It is not how I am. I have always been a positive person. I have always seen a future. But now with how things are in Argentina, I too feel the desperation of my friends and neighbors. I live the same life.
Coming to Chile is always good for me. My whole body feels good. People always talk about the pollution in Santiago, but for me it is far worse in Buenos Aires. Here I can breathe. There is no humidity like in Buenos Aires. It is more like the Bay Area where I was from My body feels better. I don't suffer my migraines here.
I am walking the barrios here to better know the city. I have a few friends here so I am not alone. They are happy that I finally bought a chip for my cell phone. I can now communicate beyond email. On Saturday I went to a Russian festival with my friends. They are Russians who now live in Chile. They used to live in Argentina.
I am descended from Russians. My family never talked about our roots. I knew that they were Russian, Prussian, and a little bit of Scottish thrown in for good measure. My sister, brother, and I were to be 100% American, and that we were. I have no idea what part of Russia my family was from. I have vague ideas from conversations, nothing more than that.
In Buenos Aires, people always ask if I am German, French, English, Dutch, or Scandanavian. There is always the surprise that I am American. Russians always ask if I am Russian. They never mistake me. I always find this interesting.
We get to the festival at 2:00. There are few people at first. They have Russian food. Everything is written in Russian. I recognize nothing. I cannot read Russian. My friends translate for me. I recognize a few plates. Russian and Jewish food are very similar. One plate is like kreplach. Everything has meat. I don't eat meat. There are blintzes, but they have jam inside and Idon't want anything sweet. The only thing for me is an eggplant dish which is delicious.
All of a sudden appear bagels. I am euphoric. My Russian friends think I am crazy. I run to buy two. I talk with the owner of the bagel company. A Canadian guy married to a Russian Chilean. They are good. Not exactly NY bagels but good. I bring back the ad for the bagels. My friends read the Russian and say they have another name in Russian.
All around me are people who look like me. Well not exactly. People who have my nose, the same shape of eyes, cheekbones, lips. I now understand why Russians think I am Russian. When I wait in line for the bathroom the women talk to me in Russian. I have to tell them in Spanish I do not speak Russian. They ask me if I am not Russian. I explain my heritage.
When I come back to the table I tell my friends how the women wanted to talk to me in Russian and I could not communicate. I figure it was only natural because this is a Russian event. They say no. There are many Chileans here, but I look Russian. Interesting.
I listen to Russian music. I love it. It sounds like tango. Could this had been my connection to the tango? Larisa tells me that she will send me a link to listen to Russian music on the Internet. I am estatic. The music is beautiful. I imagine tango being danced to it, but this is stupid. This is Russian music.
Throughout the festivals they show videos. They are commemorating the victory of the 2nd world war. I find it very intersting, the Russian version as an American. The Russian version is that they won the war. In their version the Americans did not exist. All the videos there is never a mention of the allies. Very different from our version where at least we talk about the Russians.
We watch wonderful shows of singing, dancing, and more videos. We eat, and share stories. It is interesting to share with Russians of my age how their life was at the same time in Russia as mine in the US. The age of the cold war.
It was a beautiful day. They urge me to learn Russian. Who knew that I would discover my Russian roots in Chile.