Receiving an email, text or call from friends and family takes on greater significance when you’ve been away from home for more than a month.
A visit is even better 🙂
Last week, our friend Judy and her posse came to Buenos Aires. They arranged to stay in Recoleta – a great area that is relatively close to many of the famous sights in the city.
It was great to see familiar faces, to catch up (hear English) and to provide them with our take on things to see, do and avoid. We met up with them a few times including dinner at a restaurant we stumbled upon near the apartment they rented. (The beef at Brut Nature was perfectly prepared and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.)
After several days here, they set off to see Iguazu Falls and then drink their way through a few wine tours in and around Mendoza.
Without getting too heavy, Judy’s brief visit shone a spotlight on some of the feelings of isolation and disconnectedness from home that have begun to percolate. Of course those feelings didn’t happen right away. The excitement of being somewhere new keeps those feelings at bay – for a time. Surfing Facebook keeps us dialled in to the lives of those important to us, but it’s a paltry consolation to being able to call up friends and hang out over drinks, dinner or at an event.
At times it even feels as though these blog posts disappear into a void. (someone is reading these things, right?) The best we can do is continue to lob messages over the equator that have an underlying subtext that says, “we’re still ‘here’ don’t forget about us.” And thankfully those pings don’t go unnoticed – our friends have been great at maintaining the connection.
As important as it is for us to continue to nurture our relationships at home, so too is establishing new relationships here. That can be a difficult thing to do when you don’t really know anyone and complicated further when you don’t speak the language.
Thankfully, our friend Luigi (a portaño living in Calgary) has been a superstar at helping us establish vital connections here. In addition to arranging our great apartment, he connected us with a local expat group.
Xpatlife is the brainchild of the wonderfully extroverted and amazingly vivacious Liana Neal.
After a few warm and encouraging emails, we attended our first Xpatlife event: a wine tasting. As the consummate hostess, Liana made sure we met several people from far flung places.
It was a great night: lots of wine and interesting conversations! We threw in the towel early (at 2 A.M.) as a handful of diehard expats left the bodega to go dancing. Clearly it’s going to take us a while to work up the stamina for future events, but we’re totally down for it.
The next Xpatlife event happens at the polo finals in mid-December. But that’s after our next visitors arrive – Karyn and Dave, we can’t wait to see you and show you the sights!