It's ReflEEEEction Time: Everything I Did Wrong to Get It Right

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Christina Zogopoulou
December 15, 2023

Two days ago IES Abroad blogs sent me and other students an email with the link to the holiday video. Even though I had submitted some content, I did not expect to be included—because not everyone’s video would—but I still watched to see everyone’s memories. Suddenly, I see my video and the voiceover saying: “I wish you were there when I saw Messi scoring with the national team of Argentina in the first game after the world cup.” 

And I burst into TEARS. Actual tears. I could not believe that I actually was there when Messi scored. I can’t believe most of the things that have happened to me while I was in Argentina. That I hiked Fitz Roy and I did NOT die. All the people I met: Miranda, Maria, Gizah, Valentin, Rafa, Enzo, my classmates from my psychology and dance classes and so many more. The past few days I have been filled with all this gratitude. There are so many things in my life right now to be happy about and I just want to celebrate every single one of them. 

I moved for the first time outside of Greece, my home country, when I was 17 as I attended a United World College in Hong Kong. Then I moved to the U.S. to pursue my Bachelor’s degree. I have lived abroad for the past 5 years of my life and I have changed a lot. However, I am so used to this lifestyle that I did not expect this experience to have such an impact on me. 

Coming to Buenos Aires, I really tried to not repeat all the mistakes that I have done in my previous abroad experiences. I wanted to do it perfectly this time. And I failed, again! No matter how many times you do this you will always make mistakes, but I honestly do not regret a single one of them. First month was amazing, meeting new people, taking dance classes all the time, seeing new places, until it was not that great. I started feeling frustration about my dance classes since I am trying to see it more professionally but I felt so behind than everybody else. I started dancing just recently and I can definitely see that no matter my dedication I am very behind in the dance world and that completely shattered me. I isolated myself and together with some academic stress with my classes in Spanish, lack of communication with my friends, it went downhill. And that is when I took therapy seriously. 

Argentina is the country with the most therapists in the world. I said to myself: maybe this works out. And it changed my life. There have been SO many important shifts in the way I think about myself, my friendships, my life and I am just so happy to have experienced everything. I changed frustration into enjoyment for dance again, I reconnected with my friends (shoutout to Phoebe and Ava and our trip to Patagonia), started going out again, met more new people, ate really good food, connected with God for the first time in my life, and so much more. 

I am someone who used to stress out a lot, took a lot of things more seriously than I should, and a big time overthinker. But Argentinian culture has grown on me. I no longer let myself make five year plans, I just want to enjoy today and make plans for tomorrow. And then enjoy tomorrow and the day after. I want to eat empanadas of carne picante, franui, and marquis every single day. I want to go out to Bresh and dance until the sunrise. I want to take dance classes and sweat and not be able to walk the next day. I want to laugh with my friends and do things I love. 

You make life how you want it. No matter how much you travel, at the end of the day, everything comes from the inside. I try to travel a lot, work at hostels in exchange for accommodation and meet new places. However, my mom told me once: Christina, no matter how much you travel, you will always take yourself with you, you can’t change that. And she was right.

During my time here, I learnt how to take care of myself, and when you do, good things happen to you. The thing about faith is that when you truly believe that everything will be okay, then you see miracles in your everyday life. From the smallest things like when you catch the bus last minute, or when you come back from dance class and there are the two lovely guitarists singing in the subte. 

I am so thankful for all the people I met in my dance team for the performances in Lola and Gran Rex but also in regular classes. All the teachers that inspired me. All the people at IES Abroad, my therapist, the greek community here, and my friends (especially Phoebe and Ava, we went through everything together and I would not change it for the world.) 

Thank you Phoebe for teaching me how to be more giving and caring, for always taking care of us and being our mom, for being there and listening to me. Thank you for everything you have done for me, for the most YUMMY SPECIALTY of yours that I will NEVER get tired of, for introducing us to your family—the sweetest people ever—and for the smallest things you do, like giving me a separate bowl to accommodate my need for (too) salty popcorn. Phoebe you always show your love in the details and that to me is the sweetest thing because that is how you know when someone actually listens to you and actually wants to be your friend and get to know you. It is always in the details, the small things. Sometimes when you do that I am like: how does she even noticeee? Because that is your superpower: you listen, and you care and I am SO grateful to have met you. I love you more than all the times we said to the kitchen: ENTONCES, PUEDES DECIR AL COCINEROOOO. 

To Ava, thank you so much for being in my life too. For teaching me that we can always learn from somebody else and we can always find something to talk about with everyone because at the end of the day we are the same. Thank you for taking me out of bed and getting me into clubs, (this does not include the way you woke me up in el chalten, that was NOT OKAY HAHAH,) for all the fun we have dancing together, for taking it for the team so we can do free stuff, and for your care. Thank you for giving me your food that’s yummier when I don’t like my order and you see my sad face, thank you for coming to see my dance performance and being my family, and for being so crazy and impulsive, I love that about you (and will always support your wild I am in love ideas.) Love you more than all the suits episodes we watched, the popcorn we ate, the sushi you ordered. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you, for the Ava milipili closet, and the spanglish. 

Apart from loving you two, I also admire you and respect you both so much <3

Phoebe and Ava, you bring Pamela out of me. See you in GREECE, the unbeatable trio!

I just want to end this blog post with a quote from Karoll G’s last song release because this is EXACTLY how I feel in this chapter of my life: “QUE CHIMBAA DE VIDAA, ESTOY VIVIENDO LA LIFEE QUE QUIERIAAA.” 

SALUDOSSSS  CAMPEONES, see you next semester <3

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Christina Zogopoulou

I am a travel enthusiast; originally from Greece but have lived in three different continents, including Asia, Europe, and North America. I am excited to live in Buenos Aires and love the constant movement of the city and its vibrant culture.

Home University:
Claremont McKenna College
International Relations
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