Argentina (where, for a bit over 3 years, I’ve been learning to live the life I want) is behind me; England (where, for 43 years, I struggled to live the life I thought I should want) is about four hours ahead of me. C., the man I love the most, is in the seat beside me, watching the Spanish-dubbed Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp romp through their very own Wonderland. My parents are driving through the early hours down the M6 to meet us. I’m wrapped in two blankets, cloaked in the ear-plugged peace of a British Airways night flight, and filled with a tranquility that surprises me, but that is oh-so welcome.
This is my third trip back to Inglaterra since I first flew to Buenos Aires in 2007, and it will be the longest so far (if we stick to the dates on our tickets). As I wrote in my last post, I’ve done the absolute minimum of planning, barely making any arrangements or promises, thus keeping the sense of freedom that I now know I need for joy. I’ve also avoided the pre-departure emotional roller-coasters that were once a habit: I remember last year’s slightly nostalgic walk from the last milonga before my departure (minor dramatics) and I recall the year-before’s alarmingly emotional upheaval, as illustrated by my reaction to simply being on a plane headed towards Britain (major dramatics). That I can now sit here with a calm and happy heart, tells me mucho. If you read those two past posts, I think you’ll feel the change in energy. Getting gradually more balanced, no?
In all my life, I never found it easy to leave a place. I used to be the sort of person who’d run back to re-check the door was locked (twice), or phone a friend from the airport to ask them to go and do it. I’d get in the taxi and let my mind run over every possible thing I might have forgotten, until I found something… and I always found something. If a re-check was impossible, I’d sometimes allow myself to worry about the thing for days into my travels – not constantly or too overtly, you understand, but kind of secretly, in moments when I was alone or in moments when I didn’t think you’d notice. But, of course, the people close to me always noticed, because you can’t be fully present when you are worrying, can you? I’d appear distracted and sometimes be intolerant too, because someone I love would want my attention and I’d be preferring to devote that attention to the pointless, time-wasting fears and frets of VOD. How damn daft is that?
Preparing to leave Buenos Aires this time, I made the decision I just wasn’t going to do any of that stuff. And I didn’t. It was that simple. I had one wobbly day when I was exhausted from working too hard towards the publication (still aiming for the coming weeks) of Happy Tango and realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do everything I’d hoped to do in the days available. But, as is my new way (determined to change old and joyless patterns), I accepted it and relaxed my thinking accordingly. I didn’t get all my work done, so I was right in that matter, but the world sure kept turning. I’m on the plane and I’ve told my Mum I’ll be working next week. Life goes on.
In addition to accepting that I wasn’t going to fit all the work in, I played a bit harder for good measure. Me and C. got invited, by one of the most generous-hearted people I know, to learn how to make empanadas with a top cook called Teresita who lives about an hour from Buenos Aires. We ended up dancing tango for the assembled guests, C. got gorgeously talkative (on a few sips of some rather super Argentine vinos) and I got to eat heaps of mini-pasties that tasted as if they’d come straight from empanada heaven. If you fancy an off-the-beaten-track foodie experience while in Buenos Aires, check out the photos of our fun and Teresita’s website try2cook.com to find out about the sort of cool time you could have.
And any last tangos? Well, I did them too. Had to savour being in the arms of those ‘milongueros I love the most’ before hitting the dance floors of the Reino Unido, didn’t I? But, I’m looking forward to a spot of UK tango, I confess. Got some research on the gift to be doing and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve even got other tango bloggers sending out pleas for me on that score (Mark, you’re an angel). Here’s my own request. Brit boys, please ask me to dance and show me that you know the secret… that’ll be wicked!
I’m now two hours away from touchdown, so they’ll be bringing the breakfast out any minute and I’ll have to sign off. But, I’ve done what I needed to do. I wanted to write this post in the air, in the world of zero responsibilities, where I’m in neither of the lands I love. I figured that up here, where my thoughts can’t be distorted by being in either one place or the other, I’d be able to see my latest truths. And I do.
In this precious ‘space-in-between’, I’m not thinking beyond hugging my Mum and Dad in Terminal 5 and checking out the World Cup TV schedules in the Radio Times, asap — gotta make sure that Carlos can get to watch the Argies win their group games and that I can watch England win theirs. And, that is it. No worries. No frets. No looking back. No looking forward. No VOD.
Hey, I have exactly the life I want! There. Here. Anywhere. Now.
Fact is, tonight (and tonight is all that exists), I am truly grateful to be flying into the dawn above the beautiful, British corner of The Universe that for the next few months will be our home.