Friday, November 6, 2009

generosity and connections

Argentines are so generous! Last night I went over to this (amazingly beautiful) apartment with my roommate-ish Benja, and met a bunch of nice Argentine girls and an older couple. They were sitting at the dining table eating dinner when we got there, but they all got up and immediately found us chairs and plates and pushed glasses of wine into our hands and loaded our plates with ice cream, and I just kept thinking that if someone tipped up during dinner time in the States, unannounced, it would seen as the height of rudeness. But here, its just one more person for the party! Love that.

One thing I'm learning, and that has been proved to me many times in the past few months, is that in life its not what you know, but who you know, especially in a culture such as this one, where life revolves more around friendships and relationships than on things like work and money. In the months I've been here, I've been introduced to so many people, and honestly, if you have the slightest thing in common with someone you meet, you will most likely "make a connection." In the States I feel like making connections has such an impersonal tone to it--it's just another number to add to the rolodex. But here, connections are real. When Argentines say, "Hey, you should give me a call when you're in Rosario and we can get coffee," or when they tell you that they have a third cousin in Patagonia who has a ranch and sure you can totally stay there for free, THEY MEAN IT. It's not just something polite to say; they will actually take out a piece of paper and pen and give you their number and their email and when you do follow up, they will remember you and things will happen just like they said they would.

Also, this often comes from complete strangers, or from people you've just met. For example, last night I met for the first time about 10 Argentine girls and an older couple who are all old family friends of Benja. In a span of about 4 hours, in which beer and wine and conversation flowed freely (of course), I was invited to play soccer for three different teams, to stay at two different lodges down in Patagonia, to go horseback riding at a polo club, to take tango classes for free, and to come to any parties any of the girls might throw in the future. It's impressive, the generosity and kindness these people show. Definitely one of the things I love about Argentina!


  1. Sounds so great!!! I'm coming to Buenos Aires in about a week and I can't wait! Your blog is actually getting me even more excited about the whole thing. I have a question for you an American who speaks literally maybe 10 spanish words, how difficult will it be for me to get around and how will I be received by the Argentines?? Should I be worried? Thanks!

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  3. Stellar: its great that you're coming, i hope you enjoy it as much as i do! based on several of my friends' experiences, i would say that its definitely possible to function in BA without knowing a lot of spanish. in general, Argentines are willing to help you out if you are having problems communicating, and a lot of them actually speak basic english. its a very gesture-oriented culture as well, so that helps too! and don't be worried about your reception, Argentines are very welcoming and most likely will adopt you as one of their own! suerte!