HTRTWAM is a thing now. I’m making it a thing. Why would I make such a silly acronym a thing? Because it’s true. That is my LIFE. I am living it.
Since I moved to Buenos Aires, I have become quite the cook. I am not saying I’m great but I certainly will say there’s no recipe I won’t at least try. And then try again and again until it’s actually edible. Living in the United Stated truly, truly spoils you with its Wal-Marts, Meijers, Krogers, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costcos…should I go on? In BA you have options like Coto, Disco, Carrefour, and Día but they’re all about the size of your local IGA or Save A Lot. Not to mention that if I want to make food, I sometimes have to go to at least 3 different places to get what I need because we have our bakeries (for bread), delis (cheese and sliced meat), butcher shops (separate ones for chicken and cow meat usually), and fruit and vegetable stands that all somehow sell different things? If you’re coming from a big city, maybe you’re used to this. But I’m from Appalachia. We go to the Wal-Mart for fun. And of course, here’s the kicker, I can’t find half of what I’m used to in the US of A and if I do find it it is A) imported and therefore super expensive or B) not as great quality-wise. This situation was lead me to Google and Pinterest a whole host of foods I never thought I’d make from scratch, from pesto to pizza crust to mozzarella to buttermilk to sour cream to hoagie buns to tortillas. And don’t get me wrong all of these things taste better, cost less, and are better for you if you make them at home but like, as an American, I was SO used to grabbing, going, and reheating. I’ve made Hawaiian rolls, gnocchi, bagels, English muffins and brownies that took me approximately five months to perfect. I don’t know if I ever would have made any of these things in my own kitchen had I not moved to Buenos Aires.
The last few months have definitely taught me to be more appreciative of just how much we have in the US but I also think it’s taught me to be more self-reliant. I will never buy certain items at the store again because…well, I know I can do a better job. From salsa, to cinnamon rolls, to Dijon mustard…I feel like the freakin’ Pioneer Woman? And these are the kind of skills and confidence I want to take back with me to the US. I don’t want to fall back into that routine of buying everything ready-made at the giant grocery store. I literally dream of having my own garden one day just so I can make and can my own marinara sauce. I make my OWN marinara sauce.
I know all of the things may seem really trivial or even childish to some but I am a Child of the Internet–I don’t know how to do taxes or change my own oil or really even how to properly iron my clothes…but I can cook a ton of food most people just buy at the store. So that counts for something, right?
In other news, I quit my job! I used an exclamation point not because I am happy to be unemployed again but because I am so relieved to be done with a job that was sucking my soul away for the equivalent of less than $3/hr. I suppose I did quit at a rather awkward time because now I have exactly one month here in Buenos Aires until I go visit family and friends in the US in October. Which omg, spooky season, here I come.
So what do I do for this month? Convince myself my dream is to go to law school or find a new one. I remember writing my Honors College essay in 2014 about how I wanted to go to WKU to prepare myself to do immigration law. And then this past January I studied for only two months and got the most average, the most basic, the most embarrassing score of all time–a 152. I try to tell myself it’s because I only studied for two months and during that time I wasn’t taking it too seriously. But then there’s that part of me saying, if I was supposed to be doing this, if I was smart enough to be doing this, I would have gotten a better initial score. And then I started my last job where part of my responsibilities were to tutor, which I loved and that resulted in even more panic–realizing that perhaps I got two useless degrees and went into $23,000 of debt to get them. Did I want to do this whole school thing over again to be a teacher? Which I decided not to be about 5 years ago because I wanted a better salary? I still don’t know if law is truly what I want to do. I don’t even know if immigration law is right for me. The takeaway here is: I don’t know. My whole life, apart from knowing I am loved by my husband and family, is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next, in two weeks, or two years. And maybe that’s your twenties, right? Not knowing shit? But I don’t know if I am a fan of not knowing. In fact, I know I’m not. Just ask Andrés every time he wants to make something a “surprise.” So for now, I think I have a game plan that includes studying for the LSAT and trying this whole thing again but with a better understanding of just how difficult and grueling test day actually is. If my score raises, it will be the confidence I need to face law school and say: oh heck yeah I can do this.
Apart from cooking and my major career crisis, I also still suck at Spanish despite living in a Spanish speaking country for a combined total of 16 months. So that’s great, too. I also haven’t made any new friends since I’ve been here. And my pom pom earring business has been a TOTAL FLOP. I only sold a few pairs and apart from that, no one went out of their way to repost them on their stories or even comment, “wow, how cute Rachel!” so I figure that’s another dream that might need abandoning, too.
So, as you can see, as the rest of my life and my career goals and hopes and dreams are engulfed in flames–I have this one constant that brightens my day as soon as I take a bite. That’s right, homemade tortillas, which currently, rule the world around me. And honestly, you should be making them stat. They are so easy. They make me so happy. Everyone should be consuming homemade tortillas. (Recipe is here.)
Thanks for reading, as always,