It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So, what's it like, living in Buenos Aires ?

Friends often ask, what our lives are like, living in Buenos Aries ?
Depending on how the day went, the answer varies.
We are feeling more integrated each day, learning the language helps immensely .. just think of all the good jokes I am missing.
Not to mention the vague worry at times that someone might be warning me of an impending disaster and I will smile and thank them and then go on my merry way.
Not speaking the language has not really stopped us though - we walk everywhere and chat with people we see .. < I will talk to a tree and get it to answer > so we enjoy our wandering and discovering.
Tiny accomplishments for most people, are major breakthroughs for us, considering the way things are done here .. perhaps old fashioned, perhaps just not the way they do them elsewhere.. plus language difficulties... some days are quite fulfilling and some are just plain exhausting.

But then I see someone familiar on the street and they give me a big wave and "Hola!" and I realize it is someone from the pharmacy or dry cleaners or a neighbor and I feel like I am at home ... or at least not invisible. Today we gave an American lady from New York directions, that was nice, we spoke the language.

Just about every day we go to the market. Either the supermercado or the small produce markets on our street. The young man in one of the markets, like to practice his English on us.
We are each good ambassadors for our countries and his partner just stands there patiently waiting for me to remember the word for zucchini. I think of one because it starts with a Z but no, that means carrots , of course, as I walk in the door of our apartment, I remember the right word. But in the meantime, he has not given me a look of disgust, impatience or suffering and waits until I figure things out myself.

He will never know how much that means to us, how much it must mean to anyone trying to speak a language that is not their own. We have had a teacher for the past months and now, I think that these patient smiling people don't realize what is in store for them, when I can finally talk their ears off in their own language.

Going to the market is much what I pictured if we had gone to live in France or Italy, going from small market to market, pointing out what we want and some person finding the perfect one and putting it in the bag, weighing it and waiting for our next choice.
We definitely eat much fresher food because of this .. When we first arrived and I walked through the supermarket, it was both daunting and exciting. Look at this ! they carry Peanut Butter but then not being able to read labels, I worried that we would end up eating the most basic foods for fear of ending up eating lard, pigs feet or chicken brains...who knew what that long list of ingredients said? So if I didn't recognize it, I didn't buy it.
Now I read much more Spanish and so far, no chicken brains have passed our lips. Just one of the many things I am thankful for, that we never expected to even have to consider.

I told my friend that I speak Menu. It is true. When you arrive in a new country, that is the first thing you must learn- how to order something to eat.
I don't have to use the English menu anymore and I must admit this thrills me to bits... and it only took about a year.


  1. I like the content and the length - a little window into your daily lives. A good insight into what it would be like to be an expat. I look forward to reading more.
    C. Halliman :)

  2. Hi Candice, I have enjoyed visiting and reading your BA experiences....quite a change isn't it?? We are from BA, living in California for 20 years and counting the days to go back for good. Our Son will be moving in January of 2011 and we will follow him 6 months later. Argentina is a tough, difficult, complicated but very exciting place that makes you feel awake and alive! BA is looking more beautiful than ever and we can't wait to be back. I will follow your adventures and hope that you two keep having a good time there!
    Un beso y un abrazo grande,

  3. What a nice light treatment of the challenges of your new life.

  4. Candice, you've said it perfectly. Having been here for almost 6 weeks, I can totally relate to what you've written.
    I enjoyed reading it so much...Thank you.


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