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Monday, August 13, 2012

Beginning and Ending Life in Buenos Aires: Don't stop believing.....

In the same way that it is fascinating to watch the seasons change, it also fascinates me to watch how each expat seems to be in a different season of life.  One expat may be at the prime of life here with business booming and everything anew while another expat is announcing that they are leaving and their relationship with BsAs is taking a final bow. Someone in the city is excitedly announcing a new business venture while another person is ending a business venture that was once flourishing.

A big key to life here is to stay grounded and good at what you do. It's fine to see what others are doing and even feel abit of envy when they are having their day while you are struggling to get established. But keep in mind that things change in an instant here and the same expat that is having a great season of their life may be the same one that is announcing that their departure a few seasons from now.

After multiple conversations with different people here it seems that the expats that came to Argentina 20 years ago are very different than the ones who are newly arriving within the last 6 years. 20 yrs ago Argentina had multiple benefits for those wishing to retire or make a life change. The expats who moved here came here because of the various benefits (e.g. good exchange rate) and it was considered a good business move. They weren't necessarily in love with Argentina or Buenos Aires, it was just another country out of the many options that were considered ideal for business or retirement.

However within the last 6 years all the benefits that brought those early expats here have all but vanished. The economy has plummeted, the exchange rate is less ideal, political upheaval is more than ever before with new foreign import restrictions getting announced every other week. In short, there is no reason to come here long term unless you are in love with the city and your life is here.

Taking into account the reasons I just listed, in the last little while there have been a flurry of announcements from expats here that they are leaving and going back to their home country. Alot of these are the people that came 10-20 yrs ago. But what's interesting is that the recent expats that have been coming within the last six years are of a very different demographic with a different reason. They are in their 20's and 30's and are coming here not to retire but because they are in love with BsAs and feel there is no life for them back in their country of origin. I definitely fall into that category.

At this point, the people who are coming here long term or intend to stay long term have to be in love with the city and nothing else because from a business standpoint, there are no benefits left that would cause one to want to settle here. When chatting with people who came here much earlier, alot of them are like "Yeah, BA isn't what it used to be. It's kinda changed and I don't know it I can take much more"  But if you chat with the people who are coming much more recently the tone is very different. It's more like "I LOVE it here and as difficult as it is I can never imagine being anywhere else."

Classic examples of this are like this blogpost done by Liza Puglia to celebrate her 18 mth anniversary in BsAs. A day in Argentina

Hailing from New Orleans and known as NOLAchef, Liza has just opened a new "Puerta Cerrada", a restaurant in her own home with sittings several times a week.  Between her opening her new restaurant and reading the tone of her blogpost about how much she's in love with living here, there is no doubt in my mind that Liza is one of those expats which are having everything blossoming beautifully for them at this season for life in BsAs. 

Her last line in her blogpost says it all:

"It's been an unforgettable 18 months. I want 18 more" 


Whatever season of life you may be in as an expat, whether you're like Liza and the world is full of new horizons or perhaps things have changed and your season in BA is winding down......don't stop believin ;)

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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas