And just like that, years of planning and waiting have come to this.
Recap for those of you just tuning in:
- decided five years ago we’re done with harsh Canadian winters
- made a very conscious effort to live below our means
- sold and donated a tonne of ‘stuff’
- quit our jobs
- got rid of more stuff
- packed two duffel bags and two carryons and set our sights on a five-month stint in South America – with a home base in Buenos Aires
It’s a strange feeling to be in a new city and not feel like you’re on vacation. After all, it’s been 32 years since I moved from Ontario to Alberta.
After landing in Buenos Aires yesterday, we had to resist the urge to get out and soak it all in — we have plenty of time for that. Instead, we spent our first two days strolling the four square blocks around our building. This gave us time to explore local grocery stores and suss out the neighbourhood restaurants.
Eating out is definitely more affordable than in Calgary, but if we’re to live like locals, then we’ll need to eat some meals at home. That said, there is a restaurant on the main floor of our building that our friend says will deliver directly to our apartment. How very convenient! But for tonight, we’ll stay in with a bottle of red, test our cooking skills on some Argentine beef and see if we can find something good to watch on Netflix.
Several friends have asked what our new neighbourhood is like. It’s hard to draw comparisons with neighbourhoods in other cities. Check out the Google street view from the pin on this map. To supplement what you’ll see there, let me try to describe what I see and hear outside of our windows three floors above the street.
The street life reminds me of the residential areas of Manhattan. Instead of single family houses, apartment buildings abound. Most of the streets are lined with low-rise buildings, many with stores and restaurants on the street level and five to 10 floors of apartments above. The buildings are relatively narrow. For instance, the one we are in has three apartments per floor. We are on a corner, so it’s easy for us to get a sense of what’s going on all around us.
There are several large trees around our building, some of which have yet to leaf out for spring. What look like small sparrows, chirp and flit from branch to branch. Across the street is a grassy space where local dog owners give their pups a taste of the great outdoors. Beyond the that, the tracks of a commuter train and several busy courts of the BA Lawn Tennis Club.
Cars fill the streets day and night. There is a constant din of noise from the street below, which will take some getting used to – a small price to pay for all this area has to offer. As in any culture with traffic, the frequency of horns picks up during the evening commute. For the next five months, we’re glad to get around on foot, by transit or cab – let the aggravation of driving be someone else’s for a while.