Funny Young Man

Buenos Aires, Argentina
April 4, 2019

This post is a testament of the good times the kids had in Buenos Aires. Even though it is mostly about Nina, the pictures include all three kids. Petra insisted on claiming she missed Seattle that month but these photos are a proof that those moments of sadness were few and far between. Maki, on the other hand, he was happy most of the time (he would have been even happier if he didn’t have to do any school work).

Nina was the star of this comedy show (aka our family) in Buenos Aires.

He was so darn funny and equally frustrating at the same time. He has so many quirky behaviors that he occasionally gets me to laugh out loud out of sheer desperation.

Nina wears multiple hats in this family.

He is our “Safety Officer”. As soon as he gets in a car, he checks if everyone is buckled up. He keeps repeating over and over again ‘You are not buckled up’ until he sees you go through the motion of putting a seatbelt on and hears that “click” sound. He was relentless about educating Uber drivers in BsAs about dangers of driving without buckling up their seatbelts. He was oblivious to the fact that they spoke little to no English. He wouldn’t stop repeating that they needed to buckle up and would attempt to help them pull a seat belt across their bodies. Now you can imagine how well this went with a mom who had to yell at him to keep his hands (and opinions) to himself, with the teenage sister that gets easily embarrassed by our crazy family and the little brother that’s annoyed by everything his oldest brother does.

Nikola is also our ‘Pigeon Chaser’. He chased every single pigeon he saw anywhere – in the park, outside of a restaurant (among tables and chairs where people ate), down a busy street, in front of a store, he even chased one pigeon INTO a store. All this chasing is accompanied by him running around and yelling “Shooooo pigeon, shoooo”. It’s hilarious to all of us except his teenage sister that’s again embarrassed to be seen with us.

Nina is our ‘Subway Seat Finder’. He figured out that as soon as he gets on a subway, someone gets up for him to give him a seat (consistently kind collective behavior). It didn’t take long for Nina to get use to this perk so every time he would get in a subway, he would run over to the seats and say ‘I need to sit down’ looking at whoever was going to give up their seat first. One time, some nice lady got up to offer him her seat but a minute later, I realized that Nina was talking to her and pointing to her breasts. I then heard him spelling out three words on her shirt, letter by letter, all the while he was pressing on each letter (right on her boobs). The woman did not speak English and my Spanish is terrible, definitely not good enough to appropriately apologize for Nina. I tried to stop him from continuing to spell, letter by letter, but with no luck. He insisted on talking with her, pushing on her breasts (letters) and repeating loudly every letter. She was super kind, really funny, she was telling him in Spanish what the words mean, he was telling her in English his translation. They were talking!!! The woman was not bothered one bit by Nina even though his teenage sister, once again, almost died of embarrassment.

Nina is our “Sugar Cube” (aka, he thinks he’ll melt if he gets wet in rain). Here is a funny story about his love/hate relationship with rain (and of course, it’s a lengthy story, after all, I’m writing it, I can’t seem to learn that verbosity does not add to clarity).

One night, Petra, Nina and I got in an Uber to go look for a violin for Petra. It was one of our first nights in Buenos Aires so we didn’t know the subway system yet and we were cutting it too close to the closing time. Pedja and Maksim went to figure out the subway system and were going to meet us at the store later on. While our Uber was taking us towards the store, the traffic got super heavy and we were stuck in it, going nowhere fast. Then, it started to rain so hard that it looked like someone was pouring buckets of water from the sky. Petra and I decided to ditch our original plans to get a violin and we asked the driver to drop us off at a nearby café where we would meet up with Maksim and Pedja. When the driver finally got us to our second destination, he stopped close to a busy intersection for us to just jump out (right in front of the café). Remember, the traffic is heavy, cars everywhere, it’s raining cats and dogs, it’s getting dark, and our driver stopped in the middle of the street for us to quickly get out. Petra jumped out quickly, straight into a small newly-formed river flowing down the sidewalk. I stepped out next holding Nina’s hand, thinking we’ll run for our lives across the sidewalk into the cafe. No can do! At that moment, Nina finally figured out that it’s raining super hard and that there was no way he would get out. I was pulling his arm to get him out but he started pulling harder to stay in. I was yelling at him, he was yelling at me. Our driver seemed confused (and possibly little scared). More I pulled on Nina to get out, more he pulled back inside, wedged inside well enough that there was no way I could muscle him out. Cars behind us started honking their horns but our driver was sweet, thank goodness he didn’t yell at us. I tried to reason with Nina, I tried to pull him harder, but nothing worked. I figured that I needed to put something over his head, whatever, just to give him an illusion that he is covered (but with summer temperatures, we didn’t have any extra clothing, my purse was really small, we had nothing). I then figured that I would pull up his own shirt and lift it over his head. Finally, that thin T-shirt on his head was enough incentive to get him unwedged and I managed to pull him out into the rain. By that time, I was soaking wet since I was outside of the car throughout this whole dance routine. We ran into the coffee shop, and as soon as we got inside, Nina figured out that his shirt (that he had partially pulled over his head) got wet. He immediately proceeded to take it off, not caring at all that he was in a public place completely shirtless. Once again, we provide comedy entertainment for all the casual onlookers. I was urging him to put the shirt back on, he was yelling at me that it was wet (which in his world meant ‘no way in hell I’m putting that back on’). In absence of any solid solution, I just stood there and started laughing out loud. Finally, Pedja ran over with his jacket, put it on Nina’s naked body, and a kind and funny waiter joined him with a cup of hot coffee already in hand for me. I couldn’t stop laughing just thinking of how chaotic and hilarious we must look to the people around us. There is really nothing we can do in times like these and laughing ends up being the only instinctive reaction. People are generally really kind and understanding of Nina and his quirks. The only person that was once again super mortified by all this was his teenage sister. I hope that someday, she’ll also learn to laugh about Nina’s uniqueness. All in all, rain in Buenos Aires has left us with a funny memory and a confirmation that people are generally kind and understanding of unique predicaments we find ourselves in from time to time.

Nina is also our “Linguist”. He was great at picking up a few Spanish words of his interest. He kept attempting to communicate with people saying “Can you get me some leche?, “Do you have any jugo de manzana? I need to find la bandera de Argentina?” He would even tell me at breakfast “Can I get some leche?” He tells everyone “I am Serbian but I am a citizen of the United States” He is very social and he gets kind of mad at me if I try to stop him from approaching total strangers to ask them if they can help him find ‘la bander de Argentina’. He wants to tell everyone that he’ll be going to SE Asia, and that he loves Japan. He is so hard to stop when he has something on his mind.

He is funny, stubborn, frustrating, he is cute, he is lovely, he is unbearable at times. He fits well in our chaotic, bickering, loud, crazy world.

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