Last year, soon after releasing the hardback edition of Dvarsh, An Introduction, when I still had cash reserves and thought it only a matter of time before the world realized what a wonder I had made, I booked a trip to Montevideo for two weeks of Spanish immersion. Almost as soon as I had made the arrangements, both reality and regret set in, and I wished I had the cash back in savings. Alas, the siren song of lower, non-refundable price points for every detail had lured me onto the rocks. There was no way to get the money back. It was make the trip or write off the cash. At best, I could have delayed a few months. I thought about this, but what the hell. Montevideo celebrates Carnaval from the last week of January to the beginning of Lent, and here I am.
My accommodations are in the school where I study, Academia Uruguay. Class is four hours a day, followed by about four hours of homework and review each evening. The streets call during the hours in between. Everyone here thinks I speak Spanish better than I think I do. The dialect is Rioplatense, spoken in most of Uruguay and much of Argentina, which means my most common error is “hablar como Mexicano.” I’m very happy to sound like a Mexican, but I’m also trying hard to learn the local lingo. One of the deep aims of the trip is to investigate the possibility of relocation, although I may not be attractive enough to fit in.
A lasting impression from my visit to Buenos Aires in 2010 was that the people of that city are amazingly beautiful. It was hard to believe my eyes. Montevideo speaks the same dialect and boasts a population just as lovely. Today, while having lunch by a restaurant window, I watched passersby in near disbelief. The vast majority were gorgeous. As I wrote earlier to a friend, I feel like an old buzzard in a kingdom of swans.
There are any number of reasons why Uruguay, and especially Montevideo, draw me. A web search will provide you with a detailed list of virtues, but don’t look. It would be horrible if a flood of refugees from Trumplandia ruined the place while I try to figure out how much of my life I could shift. Uruguay is a world leader in the fight to mitigate climate change. They don’t need the distraction of building a wall.