There wasn’t a great deal of thought or planning behind my partner and myself choosing to move to Argentina. Quite simply we were both at points in our lives where an adventure was well overdue. Max’s birthday was shortly after we meet and I bought my new chef boyfriend an Argentine cookbook because he had been talking a lot about Latin American cuisine. He said he would love to learn the South American styles of cooking and my instant reaction was let’s go then! We saved for 18 months and hadn’t gotten sick of each other yet so we booked our tickets. We made Buenos Aires our first stop almost entirely because we each knew one person in the city. Hurray for friends! I was able to get a 12 months working holiday visa for Argentina which took the pressure off our savings. I then turned my attention to learning Spanish. I downloaded the app Duolingo and did it everyday.
We arrived in Buenos Aires in late January, on a hot and sticky day much like all the days that followed until mid march. Anyone who has flown into New Zealand may understand my surprise at the casual nature of customs in the airport. New Zealand has some of the strictest biosecurity regulations in the world so to just walk on through no questions asked felt a tad strange. We managed to rent a room in a house in Palermo, which came with a beautiful terrace and two lovely local flatmates. We loved the house and location however Palermo accommodation can be pricey so we starting looking for something cheaper. This first month consisted of us being uncomfortably hot and bothered, drinking cheap beer and exploring the neighbourhood.
One of the biggest obstacles for me personally in this time was confidence. I found myself avoiding situations where I would have to speak Spanish. I would take the Subte rather than a bus, I would make sure to go to the supermarket so I wouldn’t need to ask for anything through the grate at a kiosco. The day I learned how to change the stereo on the TV to swap between English and the dubbed Spanish versions was a blow to my goal of learning the language. I wouldn’t say I was homesick, there was too much to do to miss home just yet but I wasn’t fully living here. It was like Buenos Aires was this big scary world with strange food and a strange language and I perpetually didn’t know what was going on. Step by step, as I began to orientate myself, my confidence grew as did my Spanish.
The second month brought about a lot of change. My boyfriend Max found work in a restaurant and I found my internship at Vamos Spanish Academy.
We also found a lovely house in Caballito that is less than half the rent of the first. We moved in with two local guys and two girls from Italy. The new neighbourhood is not as hip and happening as Palermo however I do love it and our house is close to a Subte station which is a real perk. I started taking classes at Vamos and my Spanish started to improve leaps and bounds.
Duolingo had given me tons of vocabulary, but the classes at Vamos were another level entirely. Learning how the grammar functions in Spanish meant I could start forming my own sentences. This completely boosted my confidence and I soon found myself venturing further and further afield exploring the city. This is when I also found myself starting to be able to follow along the conversations of my flatmates, even adding to it at times.
Here is a great Blog about: Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires as a absolute beginner
And that brings me to now, nearly 3 months into my year in Buenos Aires. It has gone so fast it is hard to believe that a quarter of my time here is already over. I’m still so glad we picked Buenos Aires, I love this city. Walking along the cobblestone streets, among buildings older than my home country New Zealand, leaves me in awe.
Check this Incredible blog about: Buenos Aires Architecture
There is so much history here, it runs through the streets. I believe it is because of the people that I have grown to feel so at ease here, Argentinians are warm, friendly people and it reminds me of New Zealand. The weather on the other hand is far superior to my homeland. I’m a sun worshiper and not only does B.A. have a ton of sun it isn’t deadly strong like it is in New Zealand and Australia and won’t turn you into a lobster. I feel that living in a flatting situation with locals was the best thing we could have done to start creating a life here. It has exposed us to plenty of people, friends of friends around for dinner etc, and has been an essential part in forming new friendships. The little life I am building here is still a work in progress, there are still hard days, but already I’m positive saying goodbye will be harder.