Tag Archives | Living

Things I Miss About Argentina

Missing the bidet in ArgentinaWe’ve now been in the United States for the last two and a half months and are quickly approaching the time of our return to Buenos Aires, so I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on some of the things that I miss most about Argentina…

  1. Our nanny
    We had only recently found our part-time nanny Maria, and she has been great! With two kids, she gives us the perfect reprieve from having to give them constant attention. Unfortunately, here in Vermont nannies are few and far between. (And a lot more expensive too.) It will be so great to get back and have her help – plus, the kids miss her a lot.
  2. Our dogs
    While I know they are in the good care of my brother-in-law, its hard to leave behind these furry members of the family. Still, I am quite happy that he was the one who had to walk them all winter, and I’ll get to take over as the spring arrives. Thanks, Andy!
  3. Our housekeeper
    Ok, so domestic help is a lot more common in Argentina than in the United States, but yes, I’m tired of cleaning up after myself. Our housekeeper is a life saver – she cleans, does laundry/ironing and even leaves the fridge stocked with home cooked meals for the week!
  4. The “dolar blue”
    When we left Buenos Aires, the dolar blue was at $11.95. It’s now $14.25! This is great, but the real question (as always) is how much inflation will take a bite out of this increase, and of course, where the country will end up with their recent “technical” default. It’s always fun to leave Argentina for a few months and see how much prices have gone up.
  5. Great restaurants
    Ok, so maybe we’re a bit sheltered here in Vermont and our dining experiences have mostly consisted of chains like Friendly’s and Applebee’s, but I cannot wait to get back to Buenos Aires for some fine dining! Even at the chain restaurants in the US, with a family of four, we cannot get out of there for under forty bucks. I’m still hoping that $570 pesos (U$S 40) in BA gets us an amazing meal at a top restaurant.
  6. Ice cream
    We toured the Ben and Jerry’s Factory in Vermont and let me say, “Argentine ice cream has spoiled me.” I do not think good ole Ben and Jerry’s stands up to Freddo, Volta or Persicco at all. It was actually a disappointment because I used to think Ben & Jerry’s was the best.
  7. The bidet
    Ok, it took me several years of living in Buenos Aires before I got comfortable with the bidet, but now that I have, I cannot imagine life without it. Is this TMI? If I ever move back to the US full time, a bidet installation will definitely be on the “to do” list for any house we live in. I’m not going to expand on this one anymore.
  8. The city
    Country living has been great, but I’m looking forward to getting back to the vibrant city that is Buenos Aires, especially now that our youngest is a year old and much less of a headache. Hopefully we can actually get out of our apartment and do some more exploring now! I’m sure that going from sleeping in complete silence to sleeping in the city will take a bit of getting used to.

That’s my list.

I’m sure that after a few weeks back in BA, I’ll be posting “Things I miss about the US ” and, for some reason, I’m still pretty sure it will be quite a bit longer…


Buenos Aires 2.0: A Re-Introduction

Buenos Aires Life CollageHi, I’m Dave.
I’m an expat.
I live in Buenos Aires.

Yes, I know that if you’ve been reading this site for any time now, you probably know a bit about me. But, to put it mildly, a lot can change in almost two years (and boy, has it ever). I’ve gone from being a complete newcomer, who didn’t speak a word of Spanish to a seasoned veteran, who doesn’t speak nearly as much Spanish as he thought he would!

As I’m about to start what I’ll call “Buenos Aires 2.0,” let me start by briefly recounting “Buenos Aires 1.0:”

I moved to Buenos Aires from New York City in August 2008. After 14+ years in NYC, I was burnt out and needed a change of scenery. Buenos Aires was attractive because it was similar to New York in many ways – large city, good restaurants and nightlife, lots of activity, etc. However, it was about one-third of the cost which was very attractive. I planned to be here for a year or two, living on some savings and doing consulting work and technology projects for clients in the States. I figured that the worst that could happen was that I would have to go back to the States after a year or so and get a full-time job. In the meantime, I would have learned another language and experienced a different culture.

When I arrived, I immediately explored the city, blogged about my experiences, started Spanish lessons and set out to meet other expats. Over the course of  about 18 months, I found my way around the city, wrote a bunch of blog posts that clearly showed my naivety here, picked up enough Spanish to get by and made a lot of great friends. I managed to do some traveling to Iguazu, Ushuaia, El Calafate, and Oktoberfest in Cordoba. I lived on the beach in Florianopolis, Brazil for two months (amazing). I ended some business relationships and started a few new projects that I had been meaning to work on for years. I got more involved in Buenos Aires real estate.  I ended some personal relationships and started others. All in all, I had a great time and it was an amazing experience.

In October 2009 however, it looked like my time in Buenos Aires was drawing to a close. I had a number of business matters that required me to be back in the States. A couple of projects in Buenos Aires had not panned out as I had hoped, and clients in the States were hoping that I would be closer to NYC.  Plus, I missed snowboarding a lot and could live rent-free in Killington, Vermont for the rest of the ski season. So, I made plans to return to the States just before Christmas.

When they say “life is full of surprises” they certainly mean it. Shortly before I left for the States, I met someone who became very special to me. We discussed how to continue our relationship long distance, both knowing that those things rarely work out and trying to plan ways to spend time back and forth between the States and Argentina. I left for the States in December planning that she would come out in February or March. This is where Buenos Aires 2.0 begins.

I’m going to save a lot of the details for some future posts, but suffice it to say that I decided to move back to Buenos Aires full-time.  This time though, I’m not looking at it from a short-term expat’s perspective, but rather as someone who will be here for the long-term. I already spent three weeks here in February and have been here for four weeks so far. I’m heading back to the States shortly to take care of some final things and do some packing, but I’ll be a full-time porteño in July!

As part of the Buenos Aires 2.0 story, I now have a DNI, rentista visa, 2-year apartment lease with guarantia, car and a bit of a different view on things. Plus I have a lot more experience (though still a poor grasp of the Spanish language).  I hope you enjoy the new blog posts and I look forward to your comments and meeting more great people!


Random Observations: A Porteña’s View

I’ve been posting some random observations of my time here in Buenos Aires for the past few weeks.  There have been a lot of cultural and societal differences that I’ve observed as well as many unique ways of doing things here.  It’s been an interesting experience to say the least.

Last weekend I went to dinner with Henry, a new expat, and his friend Nora, a porteña (the word for a BsAs local), who lived in the U.S for ten years.  One of the nice things about having her at dinner was that I could ask some questions about stuff I still did not understand.  One of the questions I asked her is how you’re supposed to order in the local pasta shops here. These small shops have all sorts of fresh pasta on display and a menu of options. I didn’t understand if they made it there or you took it home to cook it and what your options are. (It seems you can do either.)

She mentioned how she found it amusing that things she takes for granted take awhile for foreigners like us to grasp. She also told an interesting story about when she first moved to the U.S. and had to mail a letter.  She went up to the mailbox on the corner with her letter and was a bit confused. She circled it a couple of times. A policeman across the street looked at her with a bit of suspicion.  Finally, after a few minutes, a passerby realized her problem, and showed her how to open the mailbox – by pulling the (nearly hidden) handle down and slipping your letter in.

She knew exactly how we felt here. Something you take for granted all your life can be pretty difficult for someone who’s never seen it before. So, while I may seem a bit naive, I’ll keep posting my random observations.  Hopefully they’ll help someone else be able to open a mailbox or order in a pasta shop.