Why did we leave California on October 1st, 2000, to move to Buenos Aires???? Well, there was this itzy, bitzy problem with the IRS..............! Just kidding! I received my B.S. in International Business majoring in Latin America and it was a goal of mine to live and work in a Latin culture, I love the USA, but it's only one part of the world, I wanted to experience different cultures, ways of looking at life, death, politics, etc. I was working at Xerox and was hoping I could transfer to Argentina and work for Xerox, I'm very technical but I'm not a high level manager or PHD-er, so my job skills were nothing they couldn't find locally. It's not easy to find a good job anywhere, but it's even more difficult in Argentina, so when people find a good job they don't job hop as much as they do in the USA. The fact that my español was “muy mal” (terrible), there was no way Xerox could offer me a position here. I didn't feel like I was moving forward with my goal of transferring here with Xerox, so I talked it over with my partner Ron and we just "quit" our jobs. Ron was near retirement age and he was ready! Kind of scary, I've been working since I was 8 years old, now at 39 I was unemployed! We came down here for a month in July 2000 to locate an apartment, figure out visas, how to get the cats down here, etc. We returned to California in September, sold our house in California (luckily the markets hadn’t dived yet and the house sold very quickly (thank God!)), sold our cars, gave away tons to Good Will, put the remaining stuff in storage, etc. So now we're unemployed, carless and homeless! Hah! We actually like the freedom! We brought our 2 kitty cats with us (another long story).
The original plan was to start a consulting business to do computer consulting, web page design, networking, work flow analysis, etc., This would give us the flexibility to travel a lot, so Ron could enjoy his retirement, and I wouldn't be tied to a 9-5 job. I also have a fantasy to export Argentine art. I have no background in art, I just like what I like and I want to BUY, BUY, BUY art! We'll see. Our website that you’re now looking at is to keep in touch with friends and family. Pej is the nick name my family calls me, so our website is PejNRon, kind of like Guns-N-Roses! Neither of us have any teaching credentials but I would love to look into teaching. I took this one day, "How to get a job overseas", seminar at my college and the teacher had lived in 20 countries in 25 years. Her eyes lit up like a kid on XMas morning when she talked about travel, by the end of the day she had the whole class ready to quit our jobs, grab our bags and leave! When she talked about jobs, of course she said that teaching English is the easiest thing to do, but it's best to get your teaching credentials first. I told her I always hated learning English in school, I'm good at math and science, but I'm not good with prepositional phrases, sentence structure, grammar, etc. She said then I could teach conversational English (so there's no real formal part to the English structure) to people who want to learn "business English" as I teach them about computers, networks, how to use software, etc. Sounded perfect to me!
I consider myself very technical and I also love teaching and (I think) I'm very good at taking difficult concepts and putting them into terms that the "student" can understand. At Xerox I was a technical analyst working with a "salesperson" to sell Xerox solutions in the $500K to $7 million dollar range, so I had to understand their business, do workflow analysis, demo the ideas and solutions to the customer, install the solution and train on the products. I LOVED IT! It was the perfect job for me, both technical and personal. There are very few jobs where you can do both, you're either in sales or marketing, or you're some techie stuffed away in some cubicle somewhere with no human contact. I'm still sorry I had to leave my job as I found it so rewarding. We rented a very nice, fully furnished apartment on Vicente López in Recoleta that you can read about in the following “Diary”. We were VERY happy with it, it is VERY quiet, something we found to be a problem locating in the city. We were on the 2nd floor and it had a nice balcony overlooking a private yard below so it feels like our own little garden, but we don't have to do any of the upkeep on it, hah! It's furnished quite nice, kind of "mom" fashion, comfortable. Now that I think about it, that was probably a ploy by Ron so I wouldn't buy things! The rented apartments here come with everything, linens, towels, dishes, etc., she even had empty picture frames on the tables, so you “just move in” and everything is there. We met the perfect person to help us find an apartment, she had an ad in the Buenos Aires Herald. She's a one woman show, but what a SHOW! This woman is incredible, speaks perfect English and is a KICK, full of life and passion, no one messes with Olga! We paid her a 5% commission on a 2 year lease. However, I feel it was well worth it, she spent 3 weeks taking us out almost daily to see apartments, all in all we probably saw over 45 apartments before we decided on one. She dealt with speaking with the owners (since our Spanish is terrible), she went over every stick of furniture and counted every utensil to be sure it was on the inventory, and she hired a lawyer to validate both the Spanish and English translated leases. Since we didn't have a company to be our guarantor, the owner wanted 6 months rent in advance, 2 of it as a deposit, and 4 of it acting to be our guarantor. Olga insisted on getting a lawyer, saying, "Everyone is all smiles and pleasant till they get your money, then you’ll never see it again, you need to protect yourself!" We thought this sage advice. Olga also rents short term apartments for the same price of a hotel. She found us this great little place for $60 a night when we first came here in July of 2000 looking to find an apartment, the cheapest hotel we could find (that we liked and thought was clean and safe enough) was over $100 a night. We were planning on buying an apartment when we first got here as we hate paying rent. Olga said, "You two are making a BIG change in your life, why don't you rent for 6 months, make sure you like it, then I'll be happy to find you an apartment to buy if you still want". If she was after our money, she would have just pulled a contract out of purse and sold us something right then and there. I can't say enough about Olga.
When we first arrived, we had some fun (ie, frustration) locating ingredients here (like pecans for a pie) and the lack of Chinese food was KILLING me. A friend told us about Chinatown in the neighborhood called Belgrano, but when we finally got there it’s really “China Block”, not much but enough to satisfy our Chinese craving when we get it and to get some special ingredients or spices.
The “Diary” was a way to communicate with friends and family about what was going on with our lives, and a way for me to keep my sanity be documenting our experiences. This was something we worked towards for so long, it’s fantastic that our dream finally become a reality.
After a few years our lives in Argentina became pretty routine, so I stopped updating the "Diary" on what I was experiencing and now I just update it with trips and photo events of our life in Argentina.
Un fuerte abrazo! (A big hug!)