My name is Arianna Stern. This is a page with some of my freelance work. You can email me at arianna[dot]s at gmail[dot]com.
Dulce de Leche
It’s hard to know what to write: I journal, but that doesn’t lead to sharable projects, or I initiate projects, but don’t finish them. I’m trying to save my ideas for the right outlets—probably something that pays, probably not this blog. Who knows if anything I try will come to fruition. As a writer, I have a discipline problem. I’m working on it.
Because of my discipline problem, it’s hard for me even to maintain a daily journal. It’s hard to do laundry! I’ve been using Lynda Barry’s 4-minute diary-keeping method to store some of my memories. Sometimes my inertia still gets the best of me, but still, I’ve preserved some vignettes of Buenos Aires that I’ll want to keep with me.
I saw my breath on the 4th of July; it’s winter here. On July 10, I went to buy a comforter. “Lots of polar fleece at Arredo,” I wrote. I gave the box to my roommate’s cat.
On July 5, I bought a local phone plan, which took a total of four hours. Argentines have a greater tolerance for waiting, I guess, than people in the United States do. As for myself, I felt like I was on fire. I felt great when it was done, though. That night, I ate empanadas at a touristy bar-slash-restaurant that would not have looked out of place in Wrigleyville. My waiter’s name was Maní.
“¿Maní, como esto?” I asked, holding up a peanut. That’s what his name translates to: peanut. I don’t think he liked my question. It’s his mom’s fault.
On the first of July—the first full, 24-hour day I spent in Buenos Aires—I had lunch with a friend from college. Our waiter was gorgeous, and provoked in me the kind of immediate dumb lust that has caused some of the stupidest, most painful decisions I’ve ever made. Obviously I’m going back.
My friend told me that sometimes she questions what she’s doing here, what she’s doing at all. She thinks it’s a product of being in your 20s, not being in Buenos Aires. I tend to agree, and I share some of the same concerns. I’d probably feel uprooted wherever I was; I often feel as though my relationships, living conditions, and jobs go through a revolving door.
I also feel a particular sort of pressure on this time in my life; a physical pressure, like a heavy book closed on a flower to preserve it. This is an era.
- me: I am scared I will never have as active of a social life as I had in Chicago just before I left
- Josh: i imagine that is not true
- social lives ebb and flow
- and you just moved
- and made a major move at that
- give it time
- you'll meet new people, etc., it just takes some time to establish it
- me: THIS LETTUCE IS AWFUL
- GOD IS MOCKING ME
- Josh: likely
- me: ugh south america is so slow
- Courtney: i think it will be good for you to move somewhere that makes you patient
- me: so, hell?
Our Dearly Departed
On June 30, I am moving to Buenos Aires. Moving, or taking a short trip, depending on how I feel when the plane lands. I’m leaving it open-ended for the sake of my sanity, which—what a fucking joke. Every day my pulse quickens when I think about the move, and I feel ready to vomit or cry without warning. I’ve already given notice at my job. The nerves are my body’s way of telling me I’m committed. At this point, it feels inevitable.
This will be the first time I’ve lived anywhere besides the Chicago area. Looking forward to my move feels a little bit like college graduation, another milestone for which I disrupted my daily routine, left a job, and vacated an apartment. Like the move I’m about to make, which separates me from the only city I’ve ever known, graduation separated me from the 18-year tradition of returning to school each year. One of the words I used to describe the change, back in April of 2010, was “morbid.” I was looking back on memories I’d had throughout my life, with the knowledge that I couldn’t create new ones—at least, I’d have no more memories of talking about professors or meeting up with friends on our college campus. There are times when I think I’ve completely adjusted and times when I still miss how I lived then, with my friends within walking distance and wide-open days.
College graduation creates sort of a ripple effect, yielding lots of littler goodbyes. Summer seems to be going-away-party season, with get-togethers on bar patios or beaches. It feels like the same thing all over again—the girls in sundresses and the boys in sandals, everyone drinking beer out of plastic cups, celebrating a ceremonious distinction between “before” and “after.”