A little over 2 months in BsAs; some observations…

A little over 2 months in BsAs; some observations…

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So, we left our jobs on Feb 26th, got married on 3/4 and arrived here in Buenos Aires on 3/12.  All in all we’ve been on this adventure for a little over 2 months now, so I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and make some observations…

…On Consulting

  • While at first it was weird to not be on-call all the time and we often woke up instinctively reaching for our Blackberries, we have now gone 2 full months without even carrying cell phones with us.  It’s pretty awesome.  You should try it.
  • Trying to explain what it was we used to do for work to locals down here gives a whole new sense of perspective on just how atypical our daily lives used to be–No one here can even imagine why anyone, anywhere would work the kind of hours we worked.  From the outside of an  MBA-type/consulting peer group, it seems at least 100x crazier than it did while we were doing it.
  • We witnessed some of our Spanish teachers get into a debate about which was the proper verb to use in a particular situation and comically remembered how we use to hang out with our friends and talk about work type stuff all the time–the exciting thing is that it took awhile to remember what kind of stuff we talked about (something about market sizes or profit modelling I think)
  • Down arrow: It is fair to say that we do not miss consulting at the moment.

…On Buenos Aires

  • Buenos Aires is an unbelievably beautiful city and very easy to live in; we like it very much…
  • …though it’s not perfect:  e.g., it would be nice if it was safer to walk around at night; it would be nice if the police were trustworthy; it would be nice if there were more diversified food options…
  • …but, all that said, for a large foreign city it is amazingly easy to feel integrated–it helps that we largely look similar to the locals–and has a fantastic energy and general friendly vibe to it.  Also, it’s remarkably inexpensive all-in-all (especially for food, wine and rent)
  • In general, the people here seem very friendly and welcoming–though we were a bit naive in our hope to immediately have local friends;  given our limited Spanish speaking abilities and the uncertainty in how long we’ll be here, I certainly wouldn’t want to be my friend.
  • As I said, we like it here.  Some days we love it here, some days we’re less enthusiastic and eager to try out other Latin American cities for awhile, but we’ve consistently heard from folks that are more widely traveled down here that BsAs is THE place to be, so we’ll see.

…On Learning Spanish

  • Learning Spanish is hard.
  • Sometimes it is hard but fun and sometimes it is hard and very frustrating.  Always, it is hard.
  • Every time you think you are getting a handle on it, there is some new concept/tense/structure/etc. that throws you for a loop and makes you lose confidence in everything you thought you knew
  • It’s much easier to understand than to speak
  • We’ve both made tremendous progress, but there is still a long road and lots of time/effort to achieve anything close to fluency
  • Or, maybe one day we’ll wake up and be able to speak perfectly.  We’re hoping this happens.
  • One way or another, our goal is still to be able to make local friends and not be annoying to hang out with.  Seems reasonable right?

…On the Spanish Language itself

  • I don’t understand why words need genders
  • I especially don’t understand why the words for Dresses and Bras are both masculine
  • I find it entertaining that the spanish word for wife is “esposa” and the word for handcuffs is “esposas”

…On what we’ll do next

  • A very difficult thing to figure out;  we are going to explore Argentina a bit more (headed to Salta tomorrow on a 20 hour bus ride!) and in the very near future we need to decide whether or not to extend our lease here.
  • Also, need to figure out roughly how long this rehab is going to last.  Should we go back in August?  December?  Should we get jobs down here and stay for awhile?  Don’t know.  Suggestions?

…Overall

  • It’s awesome to be here; if any of you reading this are even mildly contemplating doing something like this, stop contemplating and just do it–it’s hard to imagine a more rewarding experience.

Please leave a comment, it will make us feel special!

Comments
  • Francesca and Brendan May 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Ryan and Jen

    We’re writing from Canberra, the little-known capital of Australia.

    We’ve been following your story with lots of interest and have really enjoyed the insights on BsAs. We had just a few days there five years ago and found it electrifying. Right now we are planning a trip there for three months in August or September, and have already taken advantage of some of your tips, in particular re good agents to work with and pushing for a discount for longer stays. It looks as though we’ll probably settle for something in Belgrano, which seems to be a lovely area.

    In the meantime, we’ll continue watching your blog with interest – keep up the good work and enjpoy yourselves.

    PS – congratualtions on ditching the cell phones and blackberries. That’s a great achievement in itself.

    Best regards,
    Francesca and Brendan

    • ryan May 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      Hey guys,

      Thanks for the note! Glad to hear that we’ve been helpful. We really like Belgrano, I’m sure you’ll love it there. Maybe we’ll see you in August!

      Best,
      Ryan

  • AC May 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Ryan,

    Divorce is on the books in most U.S. Commonwealth states as “Divorce a vinculo matrimonii”. To give you an idea of what it means, the famous Roman basilica of St. Peter A Vinculi is the Church of St. Peter in Chains. Kinda makes wee bitty handcuffs seem tolerable.

    Look that up in your Funk & Wagnals.

    AC

  • Mitra May 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I’m so glad I’m able to track all of your adventures from my desk job in SF :) Miss you, Jen!

  • Dougo June 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Hi Ryan and jen

    I found your blog through Tripadvisor and I must say, I can relate to the “married to the job at the expense of everything else” situation.

    I think it’s much better for you to have your mid-life crisis while you’re both young, willing and able, so you can get on with the really important things in life, like running away to Buenos Aires, learning Spanish, drinking cheap wine etc etc.

    Your insights into your daily lives as well as hints and tips such as the day to day living costs etc is really helpful for our upcoming trip in Jan 2011. Thanks a bunch for that.

    Love your “work” guys.

    • ryan June 5, 2010 at 12:39 am

      Hey Dougo, thanks for all your comments! Glad to be helpful for your trip, I’m sure you’ll love it hear. If there are other topics you want us to write about, let us know!
      Best,
      Ryan

  • Lucinda June 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Ryan and Jen,

    Another Aussie here – I’m enjoying your blog from Melbourne, Australia.

    I just discovered your blog tonight and all of your stories and tips are really great. I’m shortly going to be leaving my job in finance, renting out my house and moving to BA to study. I’m pleased to hear that it can be done! Thanks for all the tidbits of practical info; I’ll check back regularly to hear how you’re going and learn more about getting sorted.

    Cheers,
    Lucinda

    • ryan June 5, 2010 at 12:40 am

      Lucinda,

      Welcome! Thanks for your comment and kind words. Congrats on the decision to leave your job and skip town, we’re big fans of plans like that :) Enjoy BA!

  • Cara June 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    hi jen and ryan-
    i love your blog. i am from nyc and am a school teacher with the summers off. i teach a large latino population so i want to learn spanish. i am not that interested in learning how to write it, more how to speak and/or comprehend it.

    i am traveling solo so would most likely like to live with a family and have most of my meals covered. do you still recommend the school vamos? what about their homestay accommadations? i know you are renting an apt, but could you ask your fellow classmates and tell me what they say….such as quality of food, proximity to the school, laundry facilities, internet access, etc.

    my plan is to come down in late july. what temperature would it be then since it is their winter……..is it like north american winters?

    can i start taking classes on a tuesday or a wednesday as i have a wedding to attend on sat july 24 and would fly out til that following monday 7/26.

    thanks for your help-
    cara

    • ryan June 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm

      Hey Cara, Thanks for your comment, glad we’ve been helpful!

      Yes, we’re still happy at Vamos. No one in either of our current classes is doing a homestay, but I have had past classmates do it and they seemed to be happy with it. The school is very centrally located, so I’d imagine there are many homestay options nearby (one girl I had class with awhile back was only 2 blocks away). An apt. may not have laundry, but there are many laundromats that you can just drop your stuff off and they will wash/dry/fold for cheap. Internet is all over.

      In terms of weather, think of something like a Florida winter… probably 55-65 most days in July from what we’ve heard.

      Not sure about starting mid-week for classes, you’d have to ask, but they are usually pretty flexible.

      Good luck!
      Ryan

  • Rafael June 10, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Hey guys!!

    Congrats for everything! Here I am, a crazy consultant from Brazil who’s currently working at 1AM for the 2nd consecutive day… Worst thing is I actually almost ditched this life once but then came back to it… (I guess I’m even more stupid for actually repeating the mistake! :-)

    Anyways, when I ditched my job and tried taking a sabbatical year, I got an offer shortly after for an interesting project in Africa and ended up coming back to consulting life…

    So there you go, congrats for actually doing it for real! And great choice of city, I’ve “lived” there for 8 months in a project and LOVED it! If you haven’t tried yet, be sure to go to CLUB DEL VINO, there are live concerts from young tango artists and great wine, it’s awesome!

    Cheers!

    Rafael

    • ryan June 21, 2010 at 1:19 am

      Hey Rafael, thanks for the note! Sorry to hear that you didn’t make good on your escape :) It’s never too late though…

      We’ll definitely check out Club Del Vino, sounds very cool!

  • Abby G February 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Hey guys,

    My husband and I were married in Sept, quit our jobs and then took off on an 8+ month RTW trip. Just landed in BsAs and have been reading your blog a lot! We’re here for 3+ months and already registered with your recommended Spanish school, Vamos, after a somewhat unsatisfying visit with IBL. Love your posts about the food – it is right on point. Going to use your restaurant recs from now on! Hope you’re rehab never ends, even though you’re back in the States :)

    Suerte! :)

    • ryan February 7, 2011 at 2:59 am

      Awesome!! Congrats on your adventure.

      Say hello to the Vamos crew for us.

      Rehab is still going well for us :)

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