Passports

Dispatches from Abroad

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 12:59 p.m.

Updates from Melissa, back from Buenos Aires

Photo courtesy of Melissa Turley

This post was written by Melissa Turley, who was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Newton’s first law of motion states an object in motion will stay in motion unless some outside force changes its course. The outside force ending my whirlwind course of motion around South America was the looming deadline of my Dec. 21 flight home. Time has this pesky little way of ticking right along and no matter how many times I tried to prolong my stay, I eventually had to embark on the nearly 24-hour journey back home.

After five months, I realized I had fallen in love not only with the country but also with a completely new way of life. The cultural differences that had once felt like a barrier had found their way into my daily routine. Little things like kisses on the cheek instead of handshakes, having to practically yell at the waiter to get service, walking with my head down to avoid large gaping holes in the sidewalk, and running for my life through crosswalks had all become second nature to me.

I had embraced South America for five months and now, returning to New York, I felt like my entire life had been changed. South America’s casual and slower way of life had turned me from an appointment-making, deadline-chasing, procrastinator into a much more relaxed, easy-going and, I’d like to think, more accepting person.

Newton has a third law of motion that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For me, going to Argentina gave me a new outlook on life and taught me to take each day as it comes because you only live once, and you never know what adventure or tragedy tomorrow will bring.