Province of Buenos Aires
I came to the southernmost country of South America in February 2010 and lived in Argentina for three years. Being German and used to things being organized, on time and regulated, it was not easy, not easy at all. But I remember I was yearning for an adventure in 2010. I wanted to escape the rainy everyday life in Germany and the moodiness of the people. I wanted to be in a warm, friendly country where I could be somebody else and become somebody else. I did become somebody else indeed. And I learned to appreciate my home country and everything we have which I was complaining about before.
Unlike most foreigners, I don’t live in the capital of Buenos Aires. I live in the province of Gran Buenos Aires and I can tell you the differences are extraordinary. The province of Buenos Aires is nothing like the capital. It is like two worlds co-existing next to each other. The Americans and Europeans coming to Argentina don't cross the borders of the capital. There are basically no Germans or any other foreigners living in the province. According to native Argentineans living in the capital, the province is an extremely dangerous place and should be avoided at all times. Frankly, nothing has ever happened to me in the province apart from an ATM swallowing my money. They money was debited from my German bank account although there had been no payout. I am still trying to solve that issue with my bank but I am pretty sure I will not get my money back. Apart from this issue, I have been safe though (Knock on wood!). The thing is I don’t like big cities. This is why I decided to live in the province of Buenos Aires after suffering 4 months in Palermo, which is an expensive neighborhood in downtown Buenos Aires. I could hear ambulances at night and I had trouble sleeping. I think it is a good thing that I don't like big cities though, otherwise I would never have come to know Argentina the way I did. After having lived in the province for more than 2 years, I really got to know life in the land of the Gauchos. I was not enjoying the nice pubs and bars in Palermo and hanging out in Recoleta and Puerto Madero and the top tourist locations of Buenos Aires. I was living in a real Argentina province, where tourists don't dare to go.
The things I will miss
Argentineans become your friends instantly. There is usually no personal distance between people and they might call you “mi amor” (my love) after having known you for only a minute. It think it is sweet and I love being able to start a conversation about basically anything with a salesperson in a store or just a perfect stranger on the street. You really have the feeling they are ready to adopt you.
Argentineans tell you they don't speak Spanish but rather "Castellano" which is the language with which they associate their accent, their colloquialisms and their modified use of grammar. Argentineans use the second person singular pronoun "vos", not the Spanish "tu". In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, vos is even used in formal writing as well as in the television media. Vos even has a different conjugation. I will definitely miss hearing the "vos". Whenever people heard me speak with my German accent they asked me "De donde sos?" (Where are you from?). In Spain they would say "De donde eres?". You can see the verb changes completely. "Mira vos!" was one of the first words I heard when I came to Argentina. It can be translated as "Wow, look at you!" or "that's pretty amazing". I will also miss the Argentinean accent. In Rioplatense Spanish, the "y" and "ll" are pronounced like the two "s" in the English word mission. Those of you who know some Spanish will understand the difference.
Argentinean Reggae Band using the Argentinean "vos" in one of their songs
Argentineans are very helpful towards foreigners. At least I made that experience. If I hadn’t been offered help many times, I would have left the country a long time ago. Without help you cannot survive in Argentina. Argentineans and people from Latin America in general are group-focused. They believe that the group is more important than the individual and that the group provides help and safety, in exchange for loyalty. This culture is referred to as a communitarian culture. Communitarian cultures include countries in Latin-America, Africa, and Japan. In contrast, in countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, Scandinaiva, New Zealand, Australia and Germany, people believe that it is good to make your own decisions. They believe in freedom and that you have to take care of yourself. I also noticed this difference between my culture and the Argentinean culture. Argentineans are very much emotionally attached to their families and few of them would be ready to live in another country away from their families, even if they had the chance to, financially speaking.They are not lone fighters like in Europe or the US and they depend on each other. I can say that this really helped me significantly. When I needed to rent an apartment, I needed a guarantor who would assume responsibility for my debt obligation towards the real estate company. This is very common in Argentina when you are renting. You either pay an incredibly high rent or you have a guarantor. However, I don't have any family member in Argentina who could have been my guarantor so I thought my case was hopeless. I was talking about this issue with the taxi driver who always took me to the airport and home and wherever I had to go. Without hesitating, he offered himself to became my guarantor, as if it was nothing. I was very grateful to him. This is actually a very generous act as the real estate company legally has the right to touch the guarantor’s property if I weren’t able to pay my rent. I learned that there was nothing I couldn’t have asked my Argentinean friends and I know that when I am in trouble, they are there to help me as much as they can with the limited resources they have. I could count on my neighbors and friends and even my taxi driver. They were always there when I needed them.
Argentineans love to invite people over for "asado" (Argentinean barbecue), a wholly ritual where Argentineans eat fatty meat that is grilled for up to three hours on their "parilla", the stone grill that everyone has in their backyard or terrace. "Merienda" takes place in the afternoon. During merienda, Argentineans drink "mate" which is a traditional South American infused drink. It is very popular in Argentina and Uruguay. What shocked me at first is that several people drink this tea from the same "cup". They pass around the cup and everyone sips the tea through a metal straw until there is no more liquid inside the cup. Then they refill the cup with hot water and possibly add sugar or sweetener and the cup is passed to the next person. Sharing mate with friends is very common among young as well as old people. Argentineans loved offering me mate when I went to their house and if I wasn't a vegetarian they would also have loved sharing the grilled meat with me. My friends also invited me to their house in the province of Cordoba where I stayed for a week during the Argentinean summer and I was able to get to know “the interior” of Argentina, where the afternoon siesta is even whollier than in Buenos Aires and they speak stretching the vowels and swallowing the "s".
Small shops and relationship between salespersons and customers
In the province where I live, the owners of the shops still have a special relationship with the customers. They know each other, they greet the customer by his name and they have a nice chit chat with each other during the entire purchasing process. In Europe and the US, you are just one of hundreds of anonymous people shopping in the huge super- and hypermarkets. In Argentina, every customer is very special and there is no need to rush, even if there are 20 customers waiting in line. And customers wait in line patiently, even hours. You won't hear a complaint from them. This is something I will truly miss. I will miss the place where I buy my fruits and vegetables every day. My boyfriend and I always have a friendly chat with the lady selling the vegetables and she often offers us to taste some of her food from the country where she comes from: Bolivia. She is a real sweetheart and I will miss the way she greets us when we pass sometimes by without buying anything.
Argentineans admiration for Europe
Once I went to buy a watch for my boyfriend and I got along really well with the saleswoman who was also the owner of the shop. She was asking me: “What are you doing here? You are from the first world. Get out of here! Everything is screwed up here!”. Many people I met showed the same reaction when I told them where I am from. Argentineans really admire Germany and Europe in general. They dream of traveling to Europe and seeing all the wonderful places they only know from the media. I was surprised to find out that many Argentineans have never even left their own country. Distances are much greater in South America than in Europe and plane tickets are expensive, especially as the Argentine peso has so little value compared to the Euro and the Dollar. The native Argentineans who are lucky enough to possess the financial resources to travel to Europe are considered to be one of the “better ones” and belong to the upper middle class.
Official and unofficial increase of consumer prices
First they confirm, then they cancel
Argentineans prefer confirming they will show up after receiving an invitation and canceling later then canceling right away even though they already know they won’t show up. This has angered me quite a lot of times and it is something I definitely cannot get used to. I really need people around me that I can rely on and unfortunately, I was disappointed a lot in Argentina. Because quite a lot of times I invited my friends over to have dinner with us and many times, they just canceled on the spot. And this is not pleasant if you prepared a nice barbecue and bought the food and got really excited and then they send a cancellation by text message.
The things I will not miss
No Cash at ATMs
This was one of the biggest and most annoying problem I encountered. Whenever it was time to pay rent, which meant picking up a larger sum than usually, I had a problem. Because no matter how much money you have on your bank account, there is always a limit you can pick up every day. And it is a very small limit in Argentina. I learnt that this is an unofficial way of controlling inflation in Argentina. Now if you haven't exceeded that daily limit and you go to an ATM, full of hope of being able to get money today, that ATM might not be equipped with cash. It could happen that all three ATMs in your neighborhood won't have cash and if you don't have a car, this could really cause problems for you. As it did for me many times.
The inflation is a huge problem in Argentina and prices are constantly rising. Recently the taxi prices were raised by 35% and you really feel this in your pocket. Groceries are also becoming expensive here, especially meat, milk products and grains. The National Statistics and Censuses Institute (INDEC) is an agency run by the Argentine government that is responsible for collecting and processing statistical data, including the inflation rate, the consumer price index and unemployment figures. According to INDEC, the inflation in the first half of 2012 was at 9.7%. However, there are private-sector economists and statistical offices of provincial governments that show an inflation two to three times higher than INDEC’s number. Surveys have shown an inflation running at 25-30%.
Dulce de Leche Muffins
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Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche is a sweet substance made by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that tastes like caramelized sugar. It is very popular in Argentina and Uruguay and is contained in basically any type of chocolate bar, muffin, cookie, alfajor etc. Now if you are not such a huge fan of dulce de leche, you will have a hard time finding sweets that don’t have it. Being German, I am more of a Nutella fan, but unfortunately, Nutella is expensive here and I would have to pay 5 Euros for the smallest glass here.
The Afternoon Siesta
Argentineans don’t like to feel stressed. They really consider their afternoon siesta to be holy. And this is nice if you are one of those people that like to take a nap in the afternoon. However, in the province of Buenos Aires, you cannot buy anything between 1pm and 5pm. Stores are closed and they are really serious about it. And don’t count on them opening punctually. 10 or 20 minutes later is nothing, but yes, they do close on time, maybe even 2 minutes earlier. When I say Argentineans don’t like to work, I don’t mean to offend them. It is just that they have a different understanding of discipline and commitment than Germans do.
The Plastic Mania
Don’t expect to be able to use a cotton grocery bag to carry your groceries in. If you go to a supermarket here, plastic bags are forced upon you, so you can forget caring about the environment. Once I refused to put my groceries into a plastic bag and I was asked: “Why don’t you want a plastic bag?” And I was like: “It is not good for the environment." The reaction was bewilderment. I don't know if we exaggerate with saving the environment in Germany but I still think everyone should join in at least as much as they can.
The meat addiction
“Si no comes carne no podes estar de pie” is something every Argentinean would tell you. It means if you don’t eat meat you don’t have the strength to be on your feet. And this statement really reflects the Argentine meat-eating culture. Argentinean cities are divided into “cuadras” which means blocks. In every block, you will probably find a “carniceria” which is a butcher’s shop. They are more common here than pharmacies, supermarkets, home improvement stores or clothing shops. When I tell Argentineans that I am a vegetarian, a very typical answer is: “That is why you are so white”. Or “And what about chicken?” Yes, some of them don’t consider chicken to be meat. Nevertheless, my Argentinean friends are very understanding when it comes to my special “diet”. When I am invited for an “asado” which is the Argentinean barbecue, my friends usually prepare a salad for me (as this is really all vegetarians eat). And I can see the pity in their eyes when they pass around the meat and dig into a piece of fatty grilled meat. I always want to say: “There is no need for pity. I am a very happy vegetarian”. But they wouldn’t believe me anyway.
All in all, I can say I don't regret coming to Argentina. It is another world and another mentality and you need to go through quite a lot of adjustments in order to be able to live and work here. But I made it and I can say I am another person now, with different expectations and a different view of the world. I am leaving Argentina stronger than I ever was before and ready to take on any challenge that comes. I have learned that there is no perfect country and no perfect culture in this world and that we need to respect and love each other, independent of the country of origin and cultural background.
Shrikant Jadhav from Pune, India on May 25, 2019:
Wow! A lot of in depth information. I also lived in Argentina for almost 4 years as an expat and I have shared my experience in some of my blogs :)
Carl Harper on April 25, 2017:
This website helped me add some information for my research paper so thank you. I have one quick question for you, was there a lot of homeless people and what did the children go through
Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on April 08, 2017:
What an interesting hub. I've always wanted to see the rest of the world, but have not had the opportunity yet. I read Mr Happy's comment 'loyalty and honor are important for Latinos,' What a pity that it is not important to everybody.
South America seems like a wonderful country with lovely people. Thanks for sharing.
Carlos on March 02, 2017:
Argentines are not as warm as you say. They might give that impression initially but it's not so easy to make friends here. I've heard many foreigners complain about that fact.
Joyce on June 18, 2016:
Wow, you have to be brave to write a blog. Lol. I enjoyed this article very much because I am moving to Argentina in August of this year for up to two years. Your insight into the kindness of the ppl there and their togetherness helps me to understand my experience I am already having with the ppl even before I get there. I am being so well cared for even before I arrive. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses I am used to the kindness of my brothers and sisters around the world. But I have been welcomed into the congregation with warm welcoming e-mails and photos of the whole congregation in a way that I have never experienced and they haven't even seen me yet! One of my brothers, whom I've never met, has put a first and last on the apartment waiting for me and said just pay him when I get there. Your explanation of how they are helps me to understand this exceptional kindness. Thanks.
I have a question for you. What visa did you use to stay there?
Ced Yong from Asia on May 15, 2016:
What a detailed and frank article. Thank you for sharing your experience. Reading it truly gives a clear impression of life in Argentina. It's inspiring me to make my way there someday.
Igor Alvez on November 28, 2015:
Hi, Jennifer. Your article was very helpful for me. I am from US living in Brazil for 12 years and about to move to Argentina.
I love all kind of countries, all the cultures and live in the Gaucho's land will be very important to me.
Thanks for the article, congratulations!
Santiago on November 18, 2015:
Well, living in Tres de Febrero was quite... risky, and curious at the same time. I think that living in Zona Norte (San Isidrio, Olivos, Vicente Lopez, Martinez, etc) would have been better for you, for so many things... It's a lot more alike with your german culture than Zona Oeste (Tres de Febrero) or Zona Sur. It mix the best of Palermo or Barrio Norte, with the calm of the suburbs.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on October 04, 2015:
you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina on July 20, 2015:
I'm glad you had the chance to live in GBA, I live outside the center too, and whenever I read foreigners talking about BA they just talk about the mess in Palermo and Recoleta, and they think they know Buenos Aires :P I am Argentinian, was born here and I love living outside the center, whenever you travel there and u are coming back to ur place u can feel the peace, I could never rest with all that noise XD
Hello on April 29, 2015:
Very nice article!!!! i enjoy every word of it. Let me give you an advice that could improve the effect on the readers. Always in this kind of text start with a short but personal information about you, where you born, your chilhood and most important experiences, so the reader don't think (and this actually happens) the worst image of you and therefor missunderstand what you wrote.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 25, 2015:
Jennifer, thanks for sharing your experiences and adventures with us in living in Argentina. Those muffins look delicious! Voted up for interesting!
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on March 06, 2015:
Hi Louisa May,
Yes, I took intensive Brazilian Portuguese lessons for nearly two years :)
It's similar to Spanish so it was easier to learn than the other languages.
Thank you for your friendly comment.
I'm glad you got to know my home country.
Traveling is so rewarding!
Louisa May on February 20, 2015:
I really enjoyed reading your account of life in Argentina. You describe and explain things so well. I've lived in many countries, including Germany. I still miss the broetchen and kirschstreusel, oh, and the Emmenthal cheese. I also felt very safe wandering around my neighborhood - the crime rate was very low there.
I eventually returned to the UK and realised that there were lots of things I had missed and - like you- stopped complaining about things in my own country.
Well done for answering all the comments on here, and for being very tactful in answering some of the more negative ones.
Great that your husband is Brazilian. Are you learning his language as well? I hope everything is going well for you both. Drink a bottle of Dom koelsch for me!!
Agustina Santinelli on February 19, 2015:
Just a small comment about the last section about the things you liked. I know a lot of people, that are not near upper middle class and still can travel to Europe, I don't mean like every year, but they can every once in a while. I visited Italy, Spain and England and I assure you that I'm the average working class. I believe we argentineans focus on feeling too much sorry for ourselves instead of seeing that we have the chances to progress.
Ricardo on January 16, 2015:
We don't like to work?? You have not learned anything then nor have a bloody idea of what we do to get a better lifestyle in a much more harsh economic context than Germany. Please, next time you write a post try not to generalise...
artur josé on December 11, 2014:
I liked your text
Gostei do seu texto sobre Argentina e fiuei a conhecer vários aspetos desse país.
Grato pelo seu trabalho
Vila Real, Portugal
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 11, 2014:
We live in other countries, too, because of work and there are differences among cultures. This is what makes our experience, as you've said, richer.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 19, 2014:
Thanks for reading my article Edith. I have been to Iguazu Falls actually and it was wonderful and magic! This is truly a treasure Argentina and Brazil share and I hope it stays as beautiful as it was when I saw it.
Edith Hein on September 19, 2014:
Jennifer, thanks for sharing your experiences. You have reason in so many things about my country!
As well as the majority of the Latin-American countries look to USA, we look to Europe.
Maybe because, as we say here ' we descend from the ships ' that brought our ancestors from there.
My grandparents came from Prussia and Bremen, and of course, I want to get to know the places that told me my loved Vati, just like so many thousands of descendants of Germans, Poles, Russians and Ukrainians who inhabit my province, Misiones, where are the Iguazu Falls.
I would wish to learn to construct a country preserving the good thing that we have and advancing in what we lack for improving. For it, the first very good step is to have a critical look.
An embrace and I invite you to know the Iguazu Falls when you want!!!
It's an unforgettable experience.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 19, 2014:
Well, I lived in Villa Bosch for 3 years and nothing ever happened to me but then again I followed the native people's advice, didn't go out during siesta when no one is on the street, didn't walk around alone at night, didn't walk into a Villa. But I heard stories from other people that scared me a bit, so yes, it's not the safest place on Earth. But then again, even Palermo in Capital Federal is dangerous.
Val on September 18, 2014:
Oops. I just did a Google search for Villa Bosch and came across this: https://es-la.facebook.com/InseguridadVb
Val on September 18, 2014:
Wow, that is very interesting. I would have never considered that. Thanks for sharing.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 17, 2014:
Val, I ended up living in Tres de Febrero, Villa Bosch.
Val on September 17, 2014:
Jennifer, so did you miss my question above or is there a particular reason you prefer not to mention where you lived?
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 17, 2014:
Tim, I am not making any comparisons in this article with Southern Europe, I am only sharing my impression that I had of Argentina and its people. I lived in Argentina and I lived in the South of France and my experiences were quite different (starting with the number of besos you greet people with) The virtues might be similar but surely not the same.
Tim on September 17, 2014:
You keep making mention to Argentinian's being close to their family (and other such traditions) unlike Europe, yet you are completely disregarding Southern Europe, which holds the same virtues, of which Argentinian culture is ultimately derived from, as are the other 'Latin' Americans. What's your problem?
Val on September 16, 2014:
Jennifer, you did mention above that you lived in Gran Buenos Aires. I was curious because I am myself from the Capital Federal but I often wonder whether gran buenos aires would be a better fit for my life style. I've been out of the country for more than a decade now and Greater Buenos Aires, as you call it, is huge. So I was curious to hear where is it that you chose to settle, you seemed to have a good experience there. For the the whole gran buenos aires is a mystery...but one that I am willing to tackle as I am planning to go back. All my friends and family live in Capital, so I have no idea. I was also particularly interested in your take, I think that for myself, having lived abroad for so long,,,,I don't fit either here and there either, so I often get better avdvice about my own country by chatting to visitors. Anyway, if you feel like sharing, I'd be interested to hear. Thanks for your article. V
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 16, 2014:
I lived in Greater Buenos Aires :)
val on September 16, 2014:
Jennifer, great article. Where in provincia did you end up living?
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 09, 2014:
I feel the same, wherever I go, there is always something I miss and this is hard sometimes. It's because I was away from Germany in different countries for seven years. It's hard to fit in now. I can never really say, this is my home, at least not yet. It's true you have to enjoy what you have right now and make the best of it.
polly on September 09, 2014:
Thanks for your very quick reply! That was so true in my case too: that you understand more and value more aspects of your own culture too when you leave. There's also the so human experience that we miss more what we don't have anymore. I have, and still do, painfully missed so many things about my life back home. The irony is that if I left Britain tomorrow, I will equally and painfully miss so many things too. The key to be happy is to accept that, and try your best to enjoy the people, and the culture you live in. As you said, living in different countries is an enriching experience, no matter what. And people and cultures are hardly perfect, and thanks God for that!
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on September 09, 2014:
Thanks for sharing your experience Polly. I personally think that you only understand your own culture if you have left your country and experienced another one. That is how I feel about my own culture. I am also critical about things we do here and the way people behave here in Germany but I also value things now that I didn't value before. I love Argentina and its people and I miss them.
polly on September 09, 2014:
I'm Argentinean and agree completely with your views. I've lived in Britain for 17 years now, and one thing I really miss is that feeling of togetherness and closeness with family and friends. However, all in all I prefer life in Europe, as there's more security and stability, and you can rely on the institutions, and the wider society, and the law.
As for loyalty, my experience - subjective also, I know - is that Latinos are loyal friends in the here and now. Once I've moved far away, I was sort of "dropped" by many Argentinean friends I considered good friends at one time in my life there.
There's still a strong need for Argentineans to make a big display of family gatherings and closeness, and I now it's true and real when you're there, but if for whatever reason you decided to part from the group, only very few will show true support and understanding.
Anyway, I could ramble on forever. Very insightful and honest piece of writing. I really enjoyed it. All best. Polly
giuli on August 25, 2014:
lol I am one of those guys who say "what are you doing here? you come from 1st world " its like the first thing that it comes to my mind haha. Btw it is strange to me, you did not write a thing about "football" I personally hate it but we are really keen to it, 99% of us. At a level that if you don't like it people will make you hate it (specially on Fifa world cup season). I like reading your post, Un abrazo papa! =D
Indigo Janson from UK on August 23, 2014:
It sounds like you had some amazing experiences in Argentina, even if as a 'happy vegetarian' (as am I, so you have my sympathies) you found yourself in a meat-loving society! Of course, there is good and bad in every country, but the friendliness and generosity of the people must be compensation for some of the more frustrating aspects of life out there. Wonderful how the taxi driver volunteered to be your guarantor -- definitely very different to life here in Europe!
Loreley905 on July 21, 2014:
I really liked your article. You did a great job with the description of your experience living here. It's true we are always willing to help and to begin a conversation even with a complete stranger every where. Thanks for sharing this article.
al on June 26, 2014:
Loved your post on Argentina. I am a Canadian and vegetarian. I enjoyed reading your experiences and observations. Good luck to you. al
kartik on June 14, 2014:
Nice article,I was just curious about life in Argentina and I came across this article. It's good that you have written about day to day life and people over there and the fact that you lived in some place which is not a tourist destination is also good in sense it's more near to true life of majority of people over there.
Anja on June 06, 2014:
Hey I was searching for information about Argentinia, because I really wanted to know more about the country,.. I'm Russian and I live in Belgium, but I really want to visit Argentinia once our twice or maybe also to live there,.. I don't know why but I have a lot of interest in this country, your blog helped me and you tried to explain everything so clear that it made me even more courious,.. I really want to visit Argentinia and I love it that the people there are nice and friendly. I think living there is maybe hard but on the other hand the life there is also very nice, no mather what, people are happy, there is a beautiful nature and if they are really social, friendly and loyal that's amazing . People enjoying there life there and also appreciate it. Of course the problem with the inflation and the bad economics are very sad and maybe to go and live there without any real goals or just at a random impuls is not a good idea but I really am a meat lover, I really love BBQ and I love people who are open and helpful and warm, because I'm also like that. I will certainly go and visit Argentinia and maybe who knows what will happen next :) thanks for your blog,.. I really wonder how it is to be there, to visit the country or how it is to live there,..
Teddy on May 28, 2014:
I'm Argentinian, and I don't know how I finished here reading this, it's very funny seeing how a foreigner tries to explain to their compatriots about Argentina and it's people. When you say "20 minutes is nothing" and the "pity" part or the "mira vos!!" I laughed a lot, but when you say that you suffered Palermo I almost die laughing.
Caro on May 15, 2014:
"First they confirm, then they cancel" UGH! I'm Argentinean and I cannot get used to this either!! haha
Regarding meat, it is so expensive now to have an asado, that there's a whole new "trend" to vegetarianism..and chicken (we think it's so healthy..?)
I love reading this kind of articles, it gives me a different point of view of the things we feel so natural to us.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on May 07, 2014:
I am back in Germany now :)
Art on May 06, 2014:
Great read! Where did you end up after Argentina?
Jerome on May 04, 2014:
Found ,your article very good.My daughter was a Language Assistant in Albi ,France and lived with another Language Assistant from Argentina.She found her friendly ,very honest,but she found some of her attitude strange.I found your Hub and showed it to her.She now understands her friend better.Thank You.
Muebles de jardin from madrid on May 03, 2014:
Living in argentina is totally different as living in an other place. Very interesting hub. thank you.
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on February 15, 2014:
Thank you for your comment Mrs. Calendula. Yes, you are right, the article is subjective, as I am writing about my personal experience. Personal experiences are always subjective. I don't want to tell Argentineans how they have to be and I don't intend to insult them in any way. I enjoyed my life in Argentina very much and it taught me a lot of things about another culture and way of living. I am a different person now because of my experiences in South America. I even married a man from Latin America and we often go back to visit the Latin side of our family. The things I state in this article are merely a point of view. Argentineans like Dulce de Leche, Germans like Nutella. That's a preference. I also believe that any foreigner going to any country will make positive and negative experiences, will experience shock, frustration but also joy and happiness. You like some things, you don't like other things, that's normal, it means being human. In the end, we all want to be happy but everyone achieves that in a different way. Argentina is great, Germany is great too, there are many great places on Earth. I recommend you come to Germany and write an article about its culture and way of life. I am sure you will find many things that bother you but also many things you will enjoy. Life is full of treats and traveling is a way to discover them all :)
Mrs. Calendula on February 15, 2014:
I think your article is very subjetive, it doesn't inform anything objective. It looks like if you want to tell to Argentinians how they must be according what you like o you want. Who are you, the queen of the world?? haha, so funny...
Jorge on February 12, 2014:
Nice article I'm Argentinian living in Canada for about 15 years now and the first time I took my wife to Buenos Aires we rent an apartment in Palermo and after 10 days visiting all the tourist places I told her we going to stay in my parents house for few days before we go back in Lomas de Zamora after crossing el charco she saw the real Argentina life and she was shock on the differences between the places and I must tell you that if you leave in the province of Buenos Aires you can leave anywhere in the word ! I enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.
ELIAN on December 26, 2013:
Hey I don't really know how i get here but let me tell you i feel completely represented in your description of my country and the way we behave so "relaxed" ejmmm i am one of those who confirm taking part in smth and then withdraws... we do look up to Europe and Germany is one of the most admired countries because it represents organization, discipline and a "well runned" state where politics mean improvement and not a synonim of corruption and greediness. Our country has gone through very hard times in history but what lacks it most is education. Hope one day things will change for better. The mando un abrazo!
Alejandra on December 08, 2013:
I am Argentinian and have lived in Australia since I was 10 years old in 1975. I have gone back to visit my family and show my grown up sons my beautiful country. I don't look out place in Australia but because I am part Italian , part French people think I am from those countries until they see me drink mate. After all these years away from my beautiful country I still feel 100% Argentinian. On the outside I might look like other Aussies but inside I am all those things you mentioned about Argentinians. Thank you for your blog. By the way, we were in Palermo viejo in April 2010 and went to the best restaurant in the world - well, to meat lovers anyway. La Cabrera :-)
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on November 24, 2013:
You are right, there is still a lot I need to learn about other cultures. This article is based on my knowledge and the experiences I had living in 4 different countries on 3 different continents. But I know that this might be a limited judgement. I am just basing it on my experiences I have had so far. I definitely want to visit the Northern European countries. Can't wait! Thanks for reading.
RoddyBrazil on November 24, 2013:
A great many Americans are involved in charity and yes they can be very sympathetic. Jennifer, I think you should travel more and get to spend longer stays in the European countries you mentioned in your article before generalising Europeans as a single culture. While I do agree Argentineans are very chatty and welcoming, and that the Germans may well be lacking in such traits, several Northern European peoples do not share such characteristics pertaining those of your countrymen. The English are so very helpful, the Swedes - quite laid-back and willing to engage in conversations with foreigners and the typical Irish many times far warmer and endearing than many Latinos I know.
Miqueli on November 01, 2013:
Hi, I really loved your article, and especially the last comment.
I am from Argentina and moved to the US almost 14 years ago with my husband. It was really hard for us to leave our country and most of all our family. We now have two boys of our own (five and four years old). We do travel a lot to Argentina to visit our family, and our family take turns in visiting us.
After almost 14 years, we still can't get use to the culture here. We still are:, "very much emotionally attached to our families".
It was really hard to start our new life in another country with no one to help us.
It is harder to make friends here than in Argentina, no one helps no one here, (at least from our experiences). We've made a few friends, but they all come and go no one really stays in touch, they say they will call to get together, but they never do, or if you call they can't meet up because they have things to do. Well to make my story short we've decided to go back to Argentina and give it a try for a year or so; so our kids can have what they really deserve, A FAMILY and TRUE FRIENDS!!!
Everything you've mentioned on your article is so perfectly and inoffensively described. I really enjoyed reading it.
Jack Baumann from St. Louis, Missouri on March 31, 2013:
I would definitely like to count Argentina among the places I have lived in the world
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on October 30, 2012:
that is true, I have heard of those places but never actually been there. I have been to downtown Cordoba though which was beautiful and a little town in Cordoba called Carlota
raquel on October 30, 2012:
buenos aires is not part only the argentina is there many places where the german go like villa general belgrano in the providence of cordoba o San carlos de bariloche where many germans live
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on June 30, 2012:
I absolutely agree with what you said about the importance of families in Latin-American countries. I was raised in Germany and taught that I had to be strong, independent, fight for my rights and be successful. You are not taught to support others and be supported. This is something considered to be bad. We are lone fighters in Northern European countries and the US. The individual is the king and collectivism is much less important. In South America, collectivism is what makes them strong. Unlike in Europe, Latins prefer staying close to their families than traveling the world and living in foreign countries. I learned so much from Latins and I am learning things every day from by Brazilian husband which is truly a gift because no one in Germany could and will ever teach me that helping others and being helped is ok. Despite some of the negative things I say in this article, I am very thankful for what I learned in Argentina.
puella on June 27, 2012:
Yeah, I agree, Cordoba (as a mom with kids and that) was really a nice place to be: beautiful parks, a lot of shopping (like outlet prices), good hotels for peanuts, and specially, the best bbq I've tried!!! and the best baked huge potatoes too and not to mention, pasta like, probably and because of their history, like in Italy,maybe or best. A friend told me that for the New Year's Eve, dinner always at her mom's place like tradition has it, they had a Lasagna (that they call pasticho) as a first course..They also have delicious veggies to accompany meats (I remember a fillet: more than one inch thick and soft!). And I love to agree with Mr Happy: yes warm people is the usual standard in Ibero America, but Argentinians are not only warm, sweet, and helpful generously...they are also (I mean average people) somehow naïve, like you would not believe in maliciousness, a difference notorious with countries smaller, poorer, and with lower educational levels (Argentina, together with Costa Rica, are said to have eliminated illiteracy a long time ago); I saw the most inviting bookstores in Argentina, cozy and warm and with coffee and pastries, much better provisioned of literature than any one I had seen before, and... always crowded, Paris-like); and yes, they religiously respect that siesta, like in Spain. And stores close early evening, and they all go home or for tapas, like in Spain, and have late dinners and walk together with kids, as if the next day is not school day ;);)
It's a different pace for life, which holds sacred family togetherness and support and loyalty, and an exhibition that together better than alone we can be happier...regardless of economic woes (working moms can count on grannies, and cousins, and aunties for and these sitters will not expect to be paid, they are paid thru love, support and company, so prized when one is aging...
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on May 29, 2012:
Thanks Yoginijoy! Yes, I have been to Uruguay and it is actually very similar to Argentina. They have a very similar culture. They are actually even more about mate than in Argentina. They carry the thermos jug and the mate everywhere. I met some very nice people from Uruguay. You will definitely get along well with the people if you go there. They are very pleasant and welcoming. Unfortunately, I have never been to Chile. I would love to go though.
yoginijoy from Mid-Atlantic, USA on May 29, 2012:
Great hub Jennifer! I have lived in Spain and had many cultural shocks as well. I am looking into doing a sabbatical in either Argentina, Chile or Uruguay so this has been very useful to me. Did you get a chance to visit Chile or Uruguay? I have heard that Uruguay is very European and that Chile is less organized than Argentina. I have several Argentine friends who love their meat, it is rather funny! I wonder if you could recommend a favorite author, film or painter? Voting up, useful and interesting!
Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on May 27, 2012:
Thanks for commenting on some of the things I wrote Mr. Happy, I really appreciate it and I am glad you liked my article and didn't take my point of view wrongly. Thanks a lot!
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on May 27, 2012:
"I have been living in Argentina for two years, 3 months and 4 days." - The only time I remember counting days was when I was a kid and I was waiting for the summer vacation. I found your counting of days interesting. : )
"I learned that there was nothing I couldn’t have asked my Argentinean friends and I know that when I am in trouble, they are there to help me as much as they can with the limited resources they have." - I honestly think this is the case with most Latinos. I say that with pure Latin blood running through my veins. If you are my friend there is very little I would not do to help You out. It's all about loyalty as You said. I consider myself the definition of loyalty. Loyalty and honor are important for most Latinos, in my opinion.
"The inflation is a huge problem in Argentina and prices are constantly rising." - Inflation is up almost everywhere in the western world, as the banks have run a pretty good number on us here. Even Germany will be feeling the pain, if it is not already. We should certainly thank the bankers/banksters for that.
"When I say Argentineans don’t like to work, I don’t mean to offend them. It is just that they have a different understanding of discipline and commitment than Germans do." - It's not that Argentinians or Latinos in general don't like to work - we just like to enjoy and savor life a little more. Haha ... "Discipline" - that must be a German word to begin with. I have always associated Germans with "discipline" although, You guys can party pretty hard too. Oktoberfest comes to mind ...
When I tell Argentineans that I am a vegetarian, a very typical answer is: “That is why you are so white”. Or “And what about chicken?” - Haha!! That's too funny and true ... chicken is not really like the rest of the meat ... I mean, one feels totally different after eating a couple of chicken legs or one eats a steak. Red and white meat do differ and I guess white meat is almost ... not meat I guess? (lol)
That photo of the BBQ suddenly made me realize that this wolf is starving. That looks sooo good ... Yummy.
I love your last sentence, wise words: "I have learned that there is no perfect country and no perfect culture in this world and that we need to respect and love each other, independent of the country of origin and cultural background."
Thanks for putting this piece of writing together. I enjoyed your perspective on Argentina. Off to find some meat now lol.
Auf wiedersehen! : )
P.S. I just figured-out why You count days: you're German! lol jk