How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love you for your beauty: the ragged, raw, realness of your bittersweet glamour, your happy-tragic history, your painted walls and crackling curb sides. I love your Figuero Alcorta grandeur, ancient purple-blossom trees, French architecture, green parks of happy spoiled dogs.
I love you for your barrios: your rooftop cafes, your bodégans, your fresh quiet Belgrano streets. I love your crazy beautiful thunderstorms observed from sheltered coffee shops in quiet Palermo squares. I love your corner bakery shops, your fruit stands, your peluquerias bursting with banter and gossip.
I love the sing-song of your tongue: the rrrrolling of your r’s, the rrrounded echoes of your vowels, your ‘sha’ sounds and ‘yah’ sounds. I am tongue-tied and twisted in your Castellano, its Italian rhythms, its novelty, its foreign and familiar shapes and sounds.
I love the richness of your cuisine: your coco medialunas, your maté cocido with honey sweetness, your buttery steaks and crisp milanesa de pollos. I love your simple meals in small family kitchens with fresh tomatoes and olive oils and warm teas.
I love your helados delivery: the dulce de leche gustos in all incarnations con almendras y nuez y granizadas, los mentas, los frutillas, los bananas y ananas, and yes, maybe even the sambayon. I love the Freddos, and the Voltas, the Persiccos and the Ghianellis. I love the magic of everyday ice cream, of everyday celebrations, of everyday delights just because.
I love your leisure: your after-office-till-4am Wednesday parties, your long drawn out dinners, your sweet aired wines, your street-side eateries. I love your siestas and long lunches, your at-home dinners with friends till midnight, your coffee times and meriendas. I love that days are lived full and long, late into the night.
I love your tango: its slow, sweet, hard curves and sounds, its turn-abouts and swing-abouts, its push and pull, give and tease. I love that it ignites a fire inside me so raw and real and physical, not of mind or heart: just body and dance and movement.
I love your people: their deep friendships and close ties, their Sunday meals with family, their love for children, their anchors with home. I love that grown men caress their grandmothers, that sisters kiss their brothers, that fathers embrace their sons, that touch and love and affection are infinite and insatiable. I love their stories and gripes, their strong opinions and lofty dreams. I love that they love to love.
I love you: for the gifts that you have given in the last 50+ days, for the space and time and freedom that you’ve granted, for the creativity that you’ve inspired, for the love that you’ve nurtured, for the perspective that you’ve shown. I love that you were once a dream, a lofty faraway dream, that then turned to reality: you literally have been what dreams are made of.
Dear Argentina, this sweet slow dance that we’ve shared has only just begun.