After a few wonderful home cooked meals and a full night’s sleep, we started on a full day of……… doing nothing. We did one thing during the day. Okay, two. 1) We ate. And 2) we drove an hour to the other side of Lake Nahuel Huapi – a massive body of icy, clear water, clean enough to scoop a sip without worry. We drove to Villa La Angostura aka “la visha” where we spent the day en el centro with his niece, nicknamed Toty. She has a full personality and is not shy about expressing herself. The day was filled with squeals of delight and of me attempting to speak Spanish well enough to keep up with this 4 year old ball of joy.

La Visha - el centro - Christmas in July
La Visha – el centro – Christmas in July

Of all the places to eat, we end up at a Chinese buffet unbeknownst to us. I realized it when I was at the buffet spread and observed an Asian female picking up a French fry from the egg roll tray with her tongs and placing it back on the French fry tray. Leave it to the Chinese to put things back in its place without waste. I was pleased to select a GF/DF meal – I learned that celiaca is a well known word in Argentina, or at least, in Bariloche. I ordered a glass of vino tinto for 30 pesos (about $6) and the waitress brought me the bottle. I guess I ordered a bottle: Viejo Tomba desde uvas de Borgona. I should have tried a Malbec but there are plenty more days to make sure that happens.

Chinese food, La Villa Angostura
Chinese food, La Villa Angostura

I shared that it was nice to do one thing in a day given that I usually keep my days full. I operate on a hyperactive schedule, often self imposed. We spoke about the irony of working so much and having such little time to enjoy life. It’s that whole thing again. Same lesson, different country. I momentarily drifted to Greece – of memories of an article that was shared with me about residents on the Greek island of Ikaria. Ikarians compete with Okinawans (Japan), Sardinians (Italy), Nicoyans (Costa Rica) and Loma Lindans (yes, as in Loma Linda California) for the longest-lived people (Nolan, 2012). Ikarians enjoy a Mediterranean diet (lots of tomatoes and olive oil) and spend time being present with friends, eating, drinking and enjoying merriment. Ikarians rise from bed at noon-ish, sleep after midnight, and this is done well into the last decades of their lives! There is work but it is not everything.

I wonder if Argentines should be number 6 on the list. Thus far, I have slept in until 11am (I rarely sleep past 8a at home in LA), my first meal is at 3pm and my last meal is around 10p. Meals are cooked with fresh ingredients, enjoyed in company with set tables, with multiple choice of beverages. Conversations are continuous and behind us there is a fire burning in a wood stove.

This is drastically different compared with my very simple and rushed meals at home often eating alone and lacking in joy (en-joy). My perspective often is that meals get in the way of my productivity. I have slept at 4a (which is early) after an evening of walking around in 0 degree Celsius temperature visiting several venues to show support of friends who were debuting a live reggae band, playing Candombe (see video: Candombe), and lastly (my personal favorite) spinning house music at a pub (see sample video DJ Green). Fernet and wine sustained me.

I suppose I have to be taken out of my context in order to be reminded that there is more to life than work – my identity does not have to be my vocation. Although James Marcia claimed that securing vocation was securing identity, it does not work for me anymore. I want work to only be a part of my identity. I am inspired to make space to negotiate life circumstances to align with my values for a balanced and healthier sense of well-being. I do not think the answer is trying to live an Argentine lifestyle in LA: it is unrealistic for me to think I can support myself as an early career professional in LA operating as such. Rather, the answer may lie in the negotiation. I can dream of making changes that will add to my arsenal of the joy creating portions of my life.

I look forward to seeing how the rest of the days I have here will unfold.