#102 - Still Alive

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Well, I haven’t posted for a few weeks, mainly because I came down with a mild (thankfully) case of walking pneumonia. I had been sick with a sore throat for a few days and I kept thinking it would pass. And then I started not being able to lie down at night to sleep. The minute I tried to recline back even a little I would be wracked by violent attacks of coughing. That finally drove me to the local hospital. I wonder if that’s why they call it walking pneumonia. You can’t lie down. 😊

I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the treatment there. They didn’t take my blood pressure, temperature, pulse or anything. Merely had me take an x-ray, declared it clear, and gave me antibiotics. However, no complaints. That’s what I needed.

So last night, for the first time in almost 10 days, I actually got a good nights sleep. This is day six of the antibiotics and they certainly seem to be doing the trick. This is the first day in weeks that I have felt even remotely energetic. Amazing. I counted on the calendar and today marks 42 days since I had my initial back injury. I am convinced that the pain from that back injury is what lowered my resistance to the point where I caught whatever it was that led to the pneumonia. I realize I’m repeating myself, but as you get older it is so incredibly important to do all you can to maintain your health to avoid being ill in the first place. Frequent hand washing, sufficient sleep, adequate diet, even wearing a respiratory mask of some sort if taking public transport is not exactly paranoid in my opinion. At least not anymore.

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And, in a “you cannot make this stuff up” vein, I am no longer in my apartment because four days ago there was an explosion in the apartment two below me and they cut off all services to the building. Apparently, the explosion was not natural gas related, and until they have a completed forensic investigation, they will not restore heat to the building. Electricity and water, yes. But there is still no way to actually get hot water in the building since all the heating is accomplished through natural gas furnaces. So I am staying in my favorite hotel here, the 5th Floor, and being looked after like a member of the family, which I probably needed. It is much appreciated.

I admit that I am curious about what actually caused the explosion, since it wasn’t natural gas. As far as I know, although the owners of that apartment were there, nobody was seriously injured. The other curious thing, was there was no fire alarm. I am still inquiring as to why no fire alarms were heard. When I walked down the emergency staircase and I went past that floor, you could smell that something had been burning, and there were even smoke marks in that area of the doorway which is far from where the apartment was. So, assuming they actually had fire alarms and smoke detectors, one certainly should have heard something. I was told, however, that the building codes in Buenos Aires is do not actually require fire alarm systems in the buildings. That too is a little bit surprising.

Thankfully, I have basically recovered, because I am flying up north tomorrow, for my annual renewal of residency. I am hoping this is either the last time, or the penultimate time that I have to do this. If my citizenship application gets approved next year, then the residency certificate is moot.

22 days before I go back to Asia, and I must say that I am looking forward to being on the move again.

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The incident with having to evacuate the apartment proved to be an interesting test case for my ability to pack and move swiftly. I discovered that, even sick and tired, I was able to identify, pack, and walk out of the building within 20 to 30 minutes with everything I really needed. And it was far less than I arrived with 😊.  I certainly did forget a couple of small items but nothing major. Good lesson though in what not to forget. It showed me how little I truly need to be able to get by.

For all that I feel better today, I will not make this a lengthy post. I merely wanted to update everybody on why I had fallen quiet.

A few days later …

I didn’t have the energy to really finish the post off last week so I’m doing it now. It happens to be my birthday today. Yay. 58 today. Ah well.

I’m up in the north of Argentina getting my residency renewed like I do every year. It’s an odd thing. As far as I can tell my citizenship application and the residency don’t really seem to be connected in any way. I will probably do six months in Argentina next year (not as a requirement for citizenship) just so that I can get permanent residency. Which means I have no more time requirements that I have to meet in a given year. If my citizenship gets granted prior to me completing my time in Argentina next year, then of course, I’m done. The passport of course, is permanent residency. But, just in case, I figured that it does not hurt to make sure that I get the permanent residency anyway just in case getting the passport takes a little longer.

I finished my antibiotics. The first time in weeks I feel basically okay. Still a little tired, but I’m sure that will pass. I hope that really did the trick.

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As usual, on my birthday, I am taking that as a life marker to take an inventory of my life. Where my going, what were my goals, what did I get accomplished in the last year, and what is my plan for the coming year. I did not hit all of my targets. But, in all cases I understand exactly why I didn’t. Some was beyond my control, and some was in my control. And I’m trying to not be too hard on myself.

I think that the one thing I wish I could’ve done a better job at was learning Spanish. That was in my control. But, my few friends here tell me that my Spanish is actually okay. But I don’t usually talk to my friends, because since their English is so good, I feel like I have to dumb myself down to have a conversation with them in Spanish.

But still, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished with Spanish. The last few weeks, with the physiotherapist, with doctors, at the hospital, hotels, emergency evacuations, were always conducted completely in Spanish. And if not completely smooth sailing on the comprehension side, I was certainly able to understand enough to be able to get by. And they had no problems understanding me at all.

I have found out now that my examination in Spanish will be sometime next year, probably as late as possible to give me as much time but given what my lawyer told me about it, I don’t really think it’s going to be a problem for me. It is, I gather, a 10 – 15 minute oral interview with a court clerk. Testing my worst fears 😊 – listening comprehension. But I have a plan for that. Now that I know the general gist of the way the conversation will be, I will drill on that with teachers next year.

I did find out, incidentally, why it takes so long to approve the passport. I had always wondered. Apparently, the court that takes the paperwork (and I saw the court office… It was literally stacked floor to ceiling with paperwork) has to send the citizenship application to nine different agencies and all of the provinces for approval. The provinces are simply to verify that I don’t have any criminal activity attached to my name. I don’t know what the nine different agencies are, I was afraid to ask. As soon as my lawyer told me that, I immediately understood why it takes so long. Bureaucracies are the same the world over.

I hope to be done here in the north by Thursday so I can return to Buenos Aires, and at that point I’m just marking time until I hit the 183 day mark. I’m actually hoping that they approved my residency in the next 10 days so that I can fly back early. But, it is what it is. Es lo que es. Right now, my scheduled flight back to Asia is on 15 September. If I can get my approval, I’ll see if I can leave a couple of days early. It will be good to get home. And … still no word on the apartment 😊.