It's A Long Way To Argentina (from Tipperary ... well, Dublin anyway)

I am interrupting my continuing saga of our American trip (2 more instalments to go) as I am now nearly two years in arrears with my intentions for this blog, which was to report on thoughts as they occurred and diary events of above average significance in the lives of me and mine.

Yet to be documented are our 25th Wedding Anniversary (hopefully before our 27th rolls round); thoughts on pet ownership; our delight in Argyll and why we have chosen to leave it, and our life and move to Ireland and County Wicklow, amongst other topics.

I wanted to introduce some punctuation to my L.A. Story with something a little more current.

As I sit on the balcony of an apartment in the city of Salta, Argentina; the day turning to night; a pair of small bats chasing each other around a neighbours tree; I cannot help but think that the last 12 months have been a whirlwind of new experiences, new situations and much readjustment.

We are visiting our younger son Marc and his lovely wife Belen, an Argentinian. We have but a week remaining until our return to Ireland, but I at least, have yet to feel that I am actually here - that it is not a strange waking dream. For so long I have been an unreconstructed armchair traveller, rarely moving across the borders of my native Scotland (nor wishing to). I was happy in that bubble. Ireland is another bubble, strangely separate from my Scottish life, and here in Argentina is a third and completely different bubble. The problem with bubbles is that they burst, leaving a damp stain. So much for completing a metaphor. I have no sense of impending disaster or doom - quite the reverse.

Maybe it is the style of modern travel that leaves me with a disjointed feeling; that all this warm contentment must inevitably fail (Celtic melancholy creeping in there); that there is no connection between place; that we are dropped like pins onto a map without experiencing the reality of distance between one world and another.

I suppose that - although I am enjoying this visit enormously - it is curiously unreal, as is our new life in Ireland still. I shall reawaken tomorrow morning in Kilmartin and visit the local shop for some milk or baked beans, then Gill and I will walk the dog on Crinan Sands.

The coming to terms with change is only accomplished gradually - at least for me. I am happy wherever God places me, but I struggle with the pace of the change. Working in an office my performance appraisals often said 'responds well to change' or similar, but equally, some folk tell me that I move at a different pace to everyone else, which I suspect means differently to the pace at which they move.

What is the purpose of all this navel-gazing? I believe that it is part of the coming to terms. It may be the growing older (I am now in my seventh decade, which sounds older than saying 61), but it is also true that I have never been a fast mover. I prefer to deliberate, cogitate and digest before stepping off my map. The last 12 months have allowed for little of that.

Here in Argentina, I find it difficult to catch my breath - sometimes literally - at all the change. This is the point where Gill normally chides me for being an old fuddy-duddy. Do we still use such terms? Maybe she is right.

Or maybe I am just slow.

GJS Salta, Argentina 2014-09-26


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