Sunday, October 13, 2013

Encountering Our First Fellow Expat

My spouse and I have been in Argentina for almost 16 months now. Making friends has been as difficult as finding work. For one thing, money is pretty tight and without cash we really can’t go anywhere or invite anyone to our house. On the other hand, the few Argentinians I’ve spoken to have had a rather grim view of Americans. A friendly conversation usually turns into someone accusing us of being brutal conquerors who see ourselves as perfect. That’s not who we are and that’s certainly not what America is about. Zach and I are peaceful, loving, and friendly, and a lot of our friends and family are the same way. 

I felt that the only people that could really get us and what we're going through were other expats, so I recently reached out to a fellow American living in Cordoba through Facebook. We eventually met for coffee at Patio Olmos. Then she invited my spouse and I to her birthday party. It was such a relief to speak with another American, because let’s face it, no one understands what you’re going through better than someone that’s going through the same thing. It’s been wonderful to sit with someone over coffee and compare expat experiences and discuss what our lives were like back home. 
Finding work is still a challenge in Argentina. Thankfully, my new friend was able to introduce me to an Australian expat living in Cordoba, who hired me to become a freelance writer. The experience has been great because I get to do something I love, which is writing, and get paid for it at the same time. It’s still no substitute for a permanent job, which I hope to land someday, but it’s better than nothing.     
That's me with the glasses
Quite recently, we celebrated my new expat friend’s birthday at the Catre Diem Cultural Hostel here in Cordoba Capital. Zach and I struck conversations with locals, Americans, and expats from other parts of the world as well. Afterwards we went to a club called Dorian Gray. The good thing about this club is that it's friendly to all lifestyles. In other words, it's a safe space for straight and gay people.  I’m a bit of a square, so I haven’t really frequented many clubs in my life. In fact, this was my first club experience in Argentina. Before that I went to one club in Manhattan, and another one in South Florida in my early twenties, so that's a total of three clubs in one lifetime. 
When we walked into Dorian Gray, we noticed the bar right away, but we couldn't really drink because we were both taking medication. There was also a group of actors dressed in aborigine clothing taking clients and forcing them to take part in some kind of act. It was quite interesting. 
Zach's ready to jam!
Then we headed to the dance floor with our expat friend, and her friends, and started dancing. Zach accused me of dancing like a white person. Ha-ha! He’s of Puerto Rican descent, so he’s got dance moves written into his DNA. I on the other hand, only know how to swivel my hips and shuffle my feet. Plus, I suffer from social anxiety, so I was a bit overwhelmed (despite my anti-anxiety medication). Nevertheless, I had a great time! More importantly, Zach had a great time. I haven’t seen him this alive in months. 
Speaking to other expats has broken the social ice for us here in Cordoba, and I wish I hadn't waited 16 months to do this. It not only allowed us to meet people from back home, but it helped us to make friends with English-speaking Argentinians, who were either friends, or in a relationship with our fellow expats. 

No comments:

Post a Comment