Often times, when I’m staring blankly at my phone, re-scrolling through all my social media, I get bored and turn my curiosity inwards. Occasionally, I like to reflect on my past. Not on the memories that have forever changed my life (honestly couldn’t really think of any if you asked), but simply on anything that comes to mind. After all, I’m just looking for something to keep my brain busy while the time passes. I could think about these experiences to myself and either half a laugh or a moment to cry, or I could share them with you all, my readers, for some slight entertainment. Perhaps I’ll even make this a new series of posts. I shall call it My Experience Journal.
To start off this wonderful series, I shall share with you a moment in my life in which I believe I was born again – or at least given a second chance at life. I’m talking about a too-close-for-comfort near death experience (I have had 2 in my entire life).
The story begins many years ago, I may have been around 11 or 12. It was the holidays. Not marked by the cold winter weather of Canada but of the warm summer climate of Argentina. My family is notorious for going back home for the holidays and this was just another one of our yearly visits (after all, all our family resides in Argentina). Usually, we hop off the plane in Buenos Aires and spend a few days with my mother’s side of the family for Christmas. We visit our grandmother, who has unfortunately passed away, and we visit my mother’s sister who has 3 gorgeous daughters (my cousins), and of course a loving husband (my uncle). Sometimes we spend Christmas in the city, sometimes we go out to the country and spend Christmas at my Aunt’s lovely weekend home. After Christmas is over, we fly out North to the city of Salta where my Dads said of the family is from. We spend the rest of our visit with my Dads brother, his wife, and his 3 sons (my cousins). Usually, we stay at my Uncles very nice home and celebrate the New Year with a barbecue and lots of fireworks. This time however, we decided to go out for a road trip and celebrate the new year. Our destination was the beautiful Puerto Madryn, a tiny city on the coast of the Northern Patagonia. The city itself was beautiful, but this story is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
Our journey was a long one, so long, it could not be done all in one big stretch. Each day had something memorable. On one day, we decided to travel up the mountains in our cars just to see how high we could go. Turns out, we couldn’t go that high. Before we knew it, we were at the nearest hotel with oxygen masks up our noses. Another day, we found ourselves at a very wide open area that was engulfed by sand. Sand Dunes. My were they fun. We climbed up to the top of the highest sand hill, and either jumped or rolled down like a bunch of animals. The car ride afterwards was incredibly uncomfortable considering we had sand in all the wrong places. On that same day, we found a lovely little beachy area. The water was incredibly cold and no one went in for a swim, except my brother who had dry-suit. His journey into the water was cut short when he was approached by a sea-lion, panicked, and swam as fast as he could to shore. As you can see, our journey was not short of excitement. However one day, our excitement hit a rather dark turn.
We were driving down a dirt road, and I don’t mean those dirt roads you take to get to grandma’s quicker. I mean, in the middle of literally no where, road made of actual dirt, one meter drop banks to both sides of the road, tires picking up and creating miniature sand storms, kind of dirt road. For kilometers it was my family’s car and my uncles car. No one else. No one near. Eventually, going way over the speed limit, we met up with a single driver who was in our way. Naturally, you peer over to the opposing lane, make sure no one is headed towards you, and make a smooth pass ahead of the vehicle. I say naturally because you can usually see the traffic ahead. In our case, you couldn’t. The truck in front of us was picking up so much sand, we could barely even see it, let alone any oncoming vehicles. We figured what the hell, there hasn’t been any care for kilometers, we’ll just go for it. So we did. We turned on our signal and made our way to the left, opposing lane. Sitting in the back, all my brothers and I felt was a swift lane change followed by an incredibly strong jerk to the right, a sense of zero gravity, and a bumpy crash. My brothers and I look up to see my father holding the steering wheel for what looked like dear life. We were no longer on the road. Instead, we were on the left hand bank, one meter below the dirt road. My father whispered to himself eso fue muy cerca (that was too close).
As it turns out, right as we switched lanes to pass the fool going the speed limit, another truck was headed in our direction going way over the speed limit. The car in front of us was picking up so much sand and gravel, we couldn’t see the truck until it was uncomfortably too close. When the truck reached about a meter in front of us, the sand cleared and without thinking, my father jolted the steering wheel as hard left as he could to avoid collision. We flew off the dirt road, to an incredibly hard crash landing at the bank below us. We took a few minutes for my father to recover and back on the road we got.
Every time my father tells this story he ends it with a simple fact: Ese dia, nacimos de nuevo.
That day, we were born again.