“So how did you end up moving to Buenos Aires?” asks the inquisitive local or traveler passing through. It’s a question that expats are assuredly asked way too often regardless of where there new adopted home is. I’ve been asked so many times that I entertain myself by trying to invent the most unbelievable stories, from entering the drug trade to arms trafficking to even exporting babies. It’s surprising what you can get people to believe if you remain serious and have a good back story.
So I guess it’s time I fess up and give the actual reasons for my move to this country, and more over this city, that I love to love and hate at the same time. So back to the beginning.
I came to Buenos Aires for the first time in January 2005. I wanted to learn Spanish and I assumed that Spain would be a great place to get started but my friend Tom wisely suggested that I go to Buenos Aires to get a taste of Latin America and Europe in one shot. I did a little research and a few months later arrived for the first of what would be several trips to Buenos Aires.
After Buenos Aires, I continued to travel for two years to see the world and to find a place to live and ultimately start a business. I narrowed my options down based on what I could afford and where I would enjoy living to three regions of the world: Latin America, Eastern Europe, and South East Asia. I realized quickly that Eastern Europe would be too cold for my tastes and there was also the language barrier. In South East Asia I thought that the Philippines would be a great option after ruling out Thailand and Vietnam. The Philippines has nice beaches, great food, is very cheap, English is spoken almost everywhere and there is lot of tech talent.
In South America I narrowed my choices to Panamá, Colombia, and Argentina. Panamá and Colombia were both close to the States and very easy to get to from Florida. Panamá, while offering great beaches and tropical weather, lacked a strong cultural or cosmopolitan environment by comparison to the other candidates. Colombia has the most amazing people and is one of my personal favorites but I thought the IT infrastructure was far behind Buenos Aires and I worried about the availability of tech talent; at least in Medellín which was my top choice for cities in Colombia at the time. Buenos Aires offered a cosmopolitan city, low labor costs, and a very lively real estate market which would complement my business well.
I convinced myself that the Philippines made the most business sense so I purchased tickets to Manila. My life could have been very different right now but I just couldn’t let go of the idea of living in Buenos Aires. I already had been there three times, I spoke the language well, and I even knew what neighborhood I wanted to live in almost down to the block. Buenos Aires also has a relatively large middle class whereas in Manila poverty was much more prevalent and the disparity between the rich and poor is much greater.
Ultimately I decided to give Buenos Aires one more month. I flew to Buenos Aires in January 2007 to make the final decision and the rest, as they say, is history.