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Monday, August 06, 2012

The Science of Neuroscience: Creating a Sense of Connection While Abroad

Neuroscience fascinates me to no end. It is the study of how the brain creates connections with the world around us. It is a branch of science that is still relatively new and discoveries about the brains capabilities of connecting have only been made within the last 10 yrs.  Themes that you'll find in neuroscience are things like the brains ability to regenerate and make new connections after the loss of a relationship or even the physical bodies ability to heal after an injury and become good as new. Neuroscience helps us answer the question to why we do the things we do. Like why we prefer an old shirt or an old shoe that is falling apart as opposed to a nice new one. This is because we've developed a connection with our favorite object, a relationship of sorts.

Coming into BsAs for the third time, I understood the importance of creating connections while in a foreign country. After you've had your Buenos Aires buzz and visited all the tourist sites and the big attractions, if one intends to last long in another country then establishing connections are vital. In previous blogs I mentioned about how upon landing in the country, I realized that some of my previous connections were now a loss. That person had gone downhill and it would be toxic and unhealthy to maintain close ties with them. The moment I realized that the relationship was a dud, I knew that i had to make new healthy connections and started to make contact and make plans with people who I knew were on a healthy positive path.

But connections with people aren't the only thing one needs when attempting to survive and thrive in a foreign land. One needs to make connections with the places around them and develop daily and weekly rituals of sorts. Back home, we all have places that we tend towards or make routine stops at out of habit or simply because we enjoy the place. My ability to survive and thrive in BsAs would largely depend on my ability to create connections with not just the people around me but the places around me as well.

I am happy to report that within a few short weeks of being back in the country, many shops and locals nearby that were once foreign now felt familiar. Around the corner from where I live was a natural health shop where I drop by on a regular basis to buy Chia so that I can live long to write more blogs.  A 15 min walk takes me to my favorite Chinese vegetarian buffet Los Sabios where fresh, healthy take away from their buffet is available at prices that have remained cheap even in inflation.  Walking a few blocks more gets me to my favorite mall, Abasto in case I'm in need of retail therapy :P

But there are also hidden bonuses and neat places I stumbled upon unexpectedly in a mundane moment on an ordinary day. These are the hidden gems that will never appear on any tourist brochure. Places like El Boliche De Roberto tucked away a few blocks from Plaza Almagro. It is a vintage tango bar filled from wall to wall with decor of another another era.  The bar is open on most nites and around midnight every night a different tango singer is featured.

Society teaches us to believe that bigger is better but that isn't always the case and sometimes even the opposite is true. The bar is barely 300 sq feet, the size of a small living room.  But that didn't make it any less of a precious find.  Walking into the bar felt like a trip back in time and stirred up a sense of tango nostalgia within me.  It is my haven in the midst of a foreign land where I can drink my lady troubles away.  And when I mean lady troubles, I don't mean the kind that plague me once a month. No, I mean the kind that plague my mind 24/7 when you've been bitten and suddenly find  the venom of an Argentine Serpentine coursing through your veins at full speed....

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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas