“Endurecerse sin perder la ternura jamás”
This was Jerry’s response to the experience of my first day Buenos Aires. I opened up to him as we ate branch in the calming environment of ‘Tea Connection‘ in Rocoleta, an up market neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Jerry listened patiently as I retold my story again from the evening before.
In less than a day in a new city I was so excited about visiting, I’d already put a guard up dissociating myself from people (particularly men that passed me on the street) after being made to feel ‘different’. And it wasn’t just about ‘feeling different’, it was the sexual aggression; almost primitive ‘animal-like’ that I didn’t expect to experience in such a ‘European-like’ advanced city. Advancement isn’t just about technology and fancy buildings. It’s about peoples mentality towards accepting people who are ‘different’, I explained.
“Get tough without ever losing your tenderness…”
These words coming from my friend Jerry were comforting. The words he quoted from his hero Argentine revolutionary, Che Guevara, couldn’t have been more appropriate. And wise words can relate to any context.
So with those words in mind, I gave exploring the city another chance, despite Jerry’s concern about ‘leaving me alone.’ I asked the universe to bring positivity my way and in return I too will exude positivity. Connecting with people is why I love to travel. If I refuse to smile, worried about what a gesture so natural to me could suggest to a passer by- then why am I here?
It took took a lot of man-power to stay positive and keep my guard down. How do you do so when the guy at the market stall shouts to you;
“water, coke… A boyfriend?”
I continued to ignore these luring taunts and repeatedly to ask the unknown for my fair share of positivity.
And then I found myself in Nuesta Senora del Pilar Chapel, almost as though stopping by for a chat with my mate; God. Quite convenient considering it a sunday.
Along with being thankful and praying for those in need, I asked to be a better traveller. I asked not to not be so sensitive, yet still be human enough so I can feel the goodness and pleasures that travelling brings by interacting with people. I asked to walk out of the Chapel a different person than I walked in.
I waited for it to happen. Then I left of the chapel expecting to be a new person!
And still when I didn’t notice much change in me after a long stroll, I walked into a nearby Starbucks. And sat waiting for change to take place within me… While I used the free wifi (thank you starbucks).
Again, I walked out the same person as I walked in.
I get it! Change will take longer than just snapping my fingers!
So I put up a temporary guard as I took the same street to the apartment as I had the previous day I had experienced the ‘unexpected incident‘.
My guard was up. I couldn’t help it.
Then not far from my street to turn into, I noticed a little girl holding her mothers hand. She tapped her mother in excitement and pointed at me;
she said with her eyes lit!
My Spanish isn’t very good but what this little girl said touched my heart! She did what an adult failed do. She broke down my guard to allow me to feel tenderness. I wanted to hug her! In fact why didn’t I hug this sweet little girl?
She’s the positivity I asked for from God.
God really works in mysterious ways…