Why I Love Living in Buenos Aires
This week marks my six-month anniversary living in Buenos Aires. I’m a little blown away by how quickly time has flown by. It feels simultaneously like I’ve just arrived and like I’ve been here forever. One thing that is certain is that this city truly feels like home now. Adjusting to life here has been the easiest thing in the world, much akin to falling in love.
And let’s face it: I’m a hopeless romantic. Not when it comes to traditional love — I don’t have much time for roses, candlelit dinners and serenading — but when I travel to new cities and countries, I tend to fall head-over-heels in love very quickly. Exploring a new place is one of the simplest pleasures in life for me.
Getting a chance to walk unexplored streets, saturating my senses in new sights, sounds and smells, is an intoxicating experience. I love searching for the pulse of the city, sinking into its rhythms, slipping into its skin. And more often than not, I’ll be quickly seduced. Many of these love affairs are fleeting, with the next city replacing the previous one in my adoration. But I’ve been lucky to have two big loves in my life.
I love searching for the pulse of the city, sinking into its rhythms, slipping into its skin. And more often than not, I’ll be quickly seduced.
The first was Mexico City. This was my first solo adventure, while I was young, courageous and reckless and moved halfway across the world to the world’s second largest city without putting any thought (or much research) into it. The city quickly enveloped me and I ended up staying for 10 months instead of my intended three weeks. I loved it but I left it, returning home to complete my studies and to “get back to real life.”
Then I decided to move to Buenos Aires. My second love. The big one. My more mature love. I fell hard and fast, but it isn’t a fling. Mexico City was the Latin Lover that sweeps you off your feet in a whirlwind romance and then it’s over. Buenos Aires is the one you introduce your parents to, the one that makes you feel secure and content.
Why I Love Living in Buenos Aires
The city is softer, less brash and in-your-face than Mexico City. It’s big, but contained, busy yet laid-back, European yet Latin. It’s constantly moving, with a smorgasbord of activities on offer any given day and hour, yet everyone takes the time to stop and enjoy a coffee and medialunas.
Buenos Aires is easy to love, with its Old World architecture and charm, grand buildings, iconic monuments, tree-lined avenues, cobbled streets, café culture, and endless parks and green spaces, always filled with families and friends enjoying the time-out from buildings and concrete.
Buenos Aires is the one you introduce your parents to, the one that makes you feel secure and content.
But really it’s the contradictions I love. Belle Époque architecture stands elegantly alongside modern skyscrapers, art deco buildings and ordinary structures. The juxtaposition between the city’s neighborhoods (or barrios), as you move from Puerto Madero to San Telmo, and from Recoleta to Palermo, makes you feel you’re moving between entirely different cities or even worlds. Buenos Aires is both slow and fast. It’s modern yet seeping with old-world influences; proudly Argentine, yet also embracing of its rich immigrant history and diversity. It’s European and yet very Latin, all at the same time.
But really it is the people that make me love this incredible place. No one is as warm and friendly as Latin Americans, and the Porteños (despite their bad reputation elsewhere on the continent) are no exception. More than the city itself, the people here make it such an exceptional city. I’m reminded on a daily basis why I chose Latin America: the people and the culture.
People here are so incredibly warm and inviting, whether they are simply kissing you on the cheek as a greeting, going out of their way to help you when you can’t express what you want in Spanish, or welcoming you into their homes moments after meeting you. What makes people here even more interesting is their rich heritage, with most people having close links to other places thanks to a history of immigration, as well as freedom of movement between South American countries. It’s amazing to see so clearly the mark of so many different cultures, creating a great melting pot of people.
But I embrace the faults, appreciating a different way of life. Every step of the way Buenos Aires, and Argentina, is teaching me something new, forcing me to grow.
Of course no place, or love, is perfect. Especially since this is a mature love, I am both aware and accepting of its faults. I see the problems and the cracks, I have my moments of pure exasperation, particularly when wiling away time in another long supermarket queue, or tripping over an uneven pavement.
More seriously, I’m not immune to the economic problems and the inflation (particularly because I don’t have a source of sought-after dollars to fall back on), or the social and political problems. But I embrace the faults, appreciating a different way of life. Every step of the way Buenos Aires, and Argentina, is teaching me something new, forcing me to grow.
Maybe I’ll fall out of love one day, or move on to a new big love – goodness knows I have a bad case of itchy feet that makes it difficult for me to stay in one place for too long. For now, however, I am blissfully happy in Buenos Aires, with its beauty, people and buena onda (good vibes). It’s home and I love it.
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Have you traveled to Argentina? What were your impressions? We’d love to know if there’s any important information you recommend adding to this list.
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Why I Love Living in Buenos Aires photo credit by Unsplash.com.