Une. The Europe trip was considerably better planned. This spring I've been neck-deep in math and unable to spend much time planning what my trip would look like. That was a conscious decision I made, and I'm okay with it. I was going to come here and figure out how to live. It's just been a tiny bit more taxing and taken a bit longer than I expected.
Deux. As a result of (une), the Europe trip had more limited expectations. I knew I'd be there for a short time, so I made decisions beforehand, whereas this trip carries on its shoulders five years' worth of hopes and ambitions, accumulated since at least the first day I set foot in Argentina. Of course I'm not going to be able to do everything I want to before I have to go home. I'll convince myself that's fine.
Trois. I actually have done a lot. I've had to find a place to live (I have! More on that later), I've had to buy a cellphone, buy fingernail clippers (I can't go on any trip without losing something, and I got started quick this time. The pouch with fingernail clippers also had the tylenol and, gulp, my retainers. So I hope Continental responds to my lost item notice.) and shampoo, call BYU's financial aid office, learn how to type Spanish accents on my keyboard, and more. I'm talking about the boring accoutrements of survival. And in spite of them, I've still managed to go to church in one of my old wards, meet up with a number of old friends, including my mission president, make some new friends, go to a concert, go to the library, eat things, and just do a lot of old-fashioned walking around the city. As you well know, these are all things I crave and value dearly, but none really qualify as "productive." I'm learning to reconcile the discontinuity in my ambitions between the drive toward productivity and the drive toward a-productivity (as opposed to unproductivity). Between the economist in me and the, ahem, poet. Sure, we'll call him that.
- Trois (a): What do I even mean by "productive"? Carrying out an experiment, writing about it, and publishing it, sure. Maybe learning French. Maybe reading Gabriel García Marquez. Signing up for and studying for the GRE, that would be real productive. But these are not the only important things, nor are they the only things I'm here for. The trick is that a lot of the things I am here for are difficult to quantify, which is gorgeous, and I like being okay with things that are difficult to quantify; but if one of you is going to sit down and build a tower, aren't you going to count first to make sure you have enough to finish it with? I feel like God keeps sending me hints about how Planning is Important, so I'm trying to figure out how to Plan for important things that I'm more used to trusting to the realm of Serendipity. Did you know those were all proper nouns? Or proper verbs? Yep, that's a thing. All right, tangent over.
Quatre. I really spent a lot of time going around to see different apartments, trying to find one that was Just Right. Which was multitasking, since I also got to see a lot of the city, which was and is a high priority, and think, which is also a high priority. Look at me be productive. (Just Right is a proper adjective.)