Updated: Apr 18, 2020
In an act of continuation from the last blog post that was featured around the ideology of a gap year, I wanted to address this topic of what Instagram does NOT show.
As this year has brought me to Argentina, it has been all things from incredible to abysmal. Naturally, Instagram does not encourage its users to show their life in its full entirety. This includes the rough, unfiltered and vulnerable moments. What it does encourage is the glamour, what you want the world to see. What your desired perception of your life would look like, that is what Instagram encourages. Never would one show the world of Instagram their whole reality. I am an absolute victim of this manipulation. Currently my public Instagram account is complied of the whimsical adventures that I have endeavoured upon, of course in the absence of the intention of making people envious whatsoever (smug emoji face *insert here*). But being vulnerable here for a second, I do not think the audacity lies within me to present my entire reality to an Instagram account. Only snipets. And of those snipets, they are more than often filtered to show the absolute cherry on top of my life's cake. What lies beneath stays beneath. This blog post will address some adventures that I would rather than not prohibit from publicity. Sincerity is scary, but it is the purest thing that we can interchange between one another.
From March to July, I was a volunteer within an organisation in Villa Allende, Córdoba, Argentina. The organisation was built especially for the care of those less fortunate: disabled adults as well as orphans. To give more context, I will leave a video link below where Maia (a fellow volunteer) and I address more of the specifics in regards to this position. In this organisation and as a volunteer, I was submitted to profound levels of pure joy yet at the same time to many harsh realities. For that reason, the placement itself was challenging.
Growing up in New Zealand, a beautifully privileged first-world country, I was never a victim of having a lack of food. Precisely the lack of food selection. In the sense of living within this organisation as well as working there, we ate what was given to us. No complaints were due in face of the magnificent work done everyday in order to preserve the lives of others. Due to the fact that the food source of the organisation was attained by donations, our diet quickly adapted to that. It consisted of: bread, pasta, sugar, REPEAT! Nothing of nutritional value was integrated at all. Our bodies felt the effect tremendously. We (Maia and I) both gained a substantial amount of weight that ultimately led to our confidence hitting rock bottom. Our energy levels were at an all time low in result of our diet's content. Defeated, we felt. It led to the both of us feeling terribly sad for a good proportion of time too. Feeling homesick in combination with the literal nature of physically feeling sick. That lasted for four months, once we were out, it was quintessential that as soon as we had the opportunity, our diet changed. Now, that four month period of physical and mental degradation only encourages us more than ever to be kind to our bodies and minds. To feel your body and mind's states lapse so negatively in such a pressured time period, it now scares me to let my body be affected so negatively. That reality was one most definitely one that Instagram was not being informed upon.
DISCLAIMER: I am ever so grateful that I was still fed. Even when logistically within the organisation it seemed that in comparison to the others, they needed that food more than I did. My body was not accustomed to that specific diet. This was to specify the effect that it had on my body and mind, nothing more.
Another experience that has been prohibited from public display was this specific experience that occurred at the beginning of the Villa Allende placement. We were invited to our friend's birthday party, he was a fellow volunteer from Germany. We had to catch a bus that would take us to his house. At this point, our Spanish level was not tip top so miscommunications were able to occur easily. We got onto the bus and asked the bus driver where we needed to go, he said "Sí, vamos!" Soon, we realised that we had been taken out of Villa Allende, right into the heart of the Argentinian nowhere - we needed to get off immediately! The departure of the bus resulted in us being left at nighttime in a very sketchy neighbourhood as foreigners. Brilliant. Our hearts were beating out of our chests. We had to find our way back without getting killed. Surely not too difficult, right? Walking like we had never walked before we throttled ourselves back into Villa Allende. My stomach was climbing out of my skin and when we finally arrived to the party, I headed straight for the bathroom to have a vomit. That was not even the worst of it. Argentinian parties finish when the sun comes up. We were pooped, not accustomed to this lifestyle whatsoever and requested kindly if we could be taken home. This was probably around 3am. Escorted home we were. It was a brisk run from the car to door as rain was plummeting down. But, we could not get in. Because all doors were locked staggeringly well with steel bars to ensure that the inhabitants could not escape. Oh, they most definitely achieved that intention. At night time, someone should be on guard to watch over the chicos and aid wherever help may be needed. Our phones did not have the phone number of the guard. And our hands knocked until they dropped. That meant only one thing, we had to sleep outside in the pouring rain. This was until they unlocked the doors in the morning at 6/7am. Crippling with cold, we were to admit our defeat. Alfresco, anyone? *Maia and Ella raise their hands.* Certainly not our most elegant experience.
Living within the organisation meant a few things: 1. it would be a communal experience. 2. not necessarily the most desirable definition of 'communal'. For instance, our laundry was done collectively. I had 2 tops stolen and Maia a dress. Also, I had a top shat on. One chico decided that it resembled toilet paper and went on all guns blazing. The culprit was never found.
You know what though, these experiences although may not have been glamorous ones, on the other hand have definitely been character building. These experiences are the ones in which you learn and grow. Draw from the harder experiences to effectively make the brighter experiences shine brighter. Without such experiences, while not glamorous on the exterior, ones that I would not typically share on Instagram, serve a different purpose on my interior. Be mindful in regards to the content that you publish on Instagram and realise the fortune that you have been gifted that allows your life to be seen in such a light. While experiencing the not so glamorous, I learn to appreciate the good. The fact of living, breathing and experiencing this world each and everyday is a blessing. From the harder experiences, gratitude comes in its purest form.
~ LINK to Maia and I's video of Villa Allende: https://youtu.be/ZmL4G-PuHk8
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This blog will encompass the life of a 19-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations, videos and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface.
For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected twice a week. Take this present moment now and rock it!