Foreigners who live in Buenos Aires are asked why they live here almost everyday. Sometimes it’s hard for Argentines to understand why we would leave North America or England for this, but we think it makes perfect sense that an adventurous, creative and globally-minded person would enjoy not only traveling here, but living here as well. But when we have to pin-point what keeps us here, we admit we find ourselves a bit stumped. There isn’t one, big reason – it seems to be the little things that add up day by day; and we slowly become somewhat addicted to those little things, even the frustrating ones, until we can’t imagine life without them.
Some of them are impossible to capture with a camera, but at Foto Ruta, we’ll never stop trying!
Here are some of our foreign friends’ favorite things about life in Buenos Aires.
Jessica Weiss, freelance journalist: That when an older person walks onto the bus, immediately everyone else offers up their seat for him or her. It always impresses me and is a beautiful little glimmer of respect in my day… (of course then there’s also the guy on the same bus listening to cumbia music really loud without headphones, but you can leave that out).
I also love how it’s normal to wake up and hear my neighbor — in the not so far distance — play tango music on the bandoneón as I drink mate on my terraza in the sunshine. That just doesn’t happen anywhere else.
Kevin Dean, of Ya Ya Bean and La Boca Roja hot sauce: You can drink litros of Quilmes on the street and walk by a cop and you can just smile and nod and keep walking.
Mark Sandusky, of Ya Ya Bean and La Boca Roja hot sauce: Each neighborhood has its own personality and distinct feel. La Boca, Abasto and Belgrano are all different. It is as if they could all be separate cities thousands of miles apart.
Juan Carlos Ospina Gonzalez, freelance developer, owner, Piterwilson: That for the size of the city it is incredibly relaxed and it is very socially accessible. It is easy to meet interesting people from all over the world all the time. People seem to gravitate to Buenos Aires for this reason.
David Carlisle, owner, Asado BA: That everyday is like an adventure and your day is always filled with serendipitous surprises even when you have a schedule and a routine. The city never fails to throw something new in your face.
Maria MacDonald, owner, Yo Que Vos: What I love about living in Buenos Aires? I love the coffee culture, the cobblestone streets, the gestures, the value of friendships and family, three-hour long asados, malbec, the entrepreneurial energy, and the mix of cultures and people living together.
Brianne Castro, English teacher: I like that the lifestyle is so relaxed. When I get to a class a little late, my students completely understand. No one has ever told me I inconvenienced them or commented on making them wait. They just understand and value the importance of not rushing and taking your time. In the US we lose that a lot, we are always on the go and put too much importance on the idea of rushing instead of enjoying every minute.
David Askaripour, founder, Circle of Drink: Living in Buenos Aires, as big as it is, is like living in a small town: everyone is so connected, open, and eager to get to know you. There’s an electricity here that I’ve never experienced anywhere else in the world. And, as an avid mate drinker, I walk into Heaven every time I enter the supermarket!
Jocelyn Mandryk, owner, Fuera Foto, Foto Ruta: That the size and diversity of the city offers unlimited opportunities to explore and discover. There are always stimulating and inspiring things to get involved in in Buenos Aires – artistically and socially – and the kind of people you meet while doing them make you feel involved in the community as if you’d been living here all your life. Buenos Aires is kind of like a flame that never goes out.