In order to prepare for coming down to Argentina in August, there are three big things that I need to take care of. These things that must be slayed are: 1. Getting my citizenship taken care of, and taking care of the process to get my DNI citizenship card, and eventually the passport. 2. Find an apartment. 3. Find a job. They aren't in order because I consider them all to be of the utmost importance, but I've been working on each of these over a period of time.
I started the process of getting citizenship months ago, and have already been approved by the consulate in New York. I have the papers, but I need to sign them in front of a government employee in either a consulate, embassy, or in Argentina. I was supposed to go to Guayaquil and do it at the consulate there, but since they had no idea what they were doing, I'm going to have to wait until I get to Argentina. The only problem is that I've heard that once you sign the papers you have to wait 11 months to get the DNI, which pretty much defeats the purpose. Especially since I want the passport so I can travel to other Latin American countries without paying the entrance visa fee that is applied to Americans.
As for the job, I've been searching for opportunities for as long as I've been working on the citizenship, and have even paid a service to help me find a teaching job in Buenos Aires. The only problem is that I'm arriving in August, which is the down season for hiring, as it's winter. But realistically I'd consider doing any job, and I've been pursuing a lot of contacts and friends that have friends there. I'm just hoping to find any job that can keep me sustainable down there. Most likely I won't be able to get a job until I get there, and I'm hoping I can get one quickly so I don't have to dig into my meager savings.
And the last obstacle, an apartment, I hope has finally been figured out. Over the last few days I've been speaking with several people in Buenos Aires who are looking for roommates or who have rooms to let. I was vacillating between a place in a neighborhood called Almagro, which is more residential, or an artsy neighborhood called San Telmo. I've heard good things about San Telmo, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to live there. The place would have utilities included, wifi, balconies and a rooftop terrace. I've heard the neighborhood can be a bit sketchier at night, but since I'm coming from Ecuador, I'm not too worried. I was able to find the apartment in part because of a member of the Matador Network, who first told me to join Couchsurfing and look for apartments that way. Then she was kind enough to offer a room in her apartment.
Hopefully if this works out I'll be able to focus on the other two things when I first get down there, and not have to worry about finding and paying for a hostel, while also dealing with that whole scene. I'm excited to get down there, and yesterday I was talking with my friend Andres, who lived in Buenos Aires for a year. He told me about the juxtapositions in the city and how there's a lot of tension between the wealthy and the poor. How it's very classicist and at times racist. But you also find some very friendly people and can live in a cool culture that is very European. And I love Europe. So either way, it will be a very interesting experience coming from Ecuador.
And of course, I still have another month here in Cuenca. Today is the last day of classes, and I'm taking my class out for pizza. After that there's just a couple week of final exams and placement tests, and then I'm done on July 21st. Yesterday I bought a plane ticket up to Quito for July 28th, and then I'll head down to Quilotoa for a couple of days before going home on August 1st. Things are moving quickly.