So long and thanks for all the beer

There’s a tear in my beer


Last week a bunch of folks met at Antaires to wish Ken a safe and happy journey back to the States. The beer there is delicious and from 7-9pm there’s a 2 for 1 happy hour on pints. I thought I was being really smart by ordering lots of these but apparently I was even smarter because I didn’t pay for any of them. Thanks to whoever bought me the beer. I would have paid but I don’t remember the waiter ever coming round.

One of the things I do remember is how, when we first got there, we chose to sit down at the tall, little, circular tables. This confused the waitress who realized that those tables are really meant for 2 people who want to talk intimately, not 5 individuals who are set on each claiming their own table. She tried to explain this to us and Alan and I, thinking ourselves the most proficient in Spanish, tried to offer various explanations so that she’d leave us alone.

WAITRESS: You guys might be more comfortable at a single table, all seated together.
ME: We’re happy here. It’s all good. Thanks.
WAITRESS: At another table you could all sit together.
ME: Oh no, it’s ok. We each want our own table. We’re quite happy, thanks. Can I order 4 beers at once?
WAITRESS [looking distressed]: Well… would you like me to move all of these circular tables together so that you can talk to eachother?
ALAN: We’re expecting more people. That’s why we’re so spread out.
WAITRESS [Rallying]: If you’re expecting more people I can push some of those group tables all together.
ALAN: Actually, some of us smoke and we just want to be closer to the door.
WAITRESS: Oh, I understand, why didn’t you say so!!!

But the funny thing is that, while some of us smoked, that had nothing to do with the decision to sit there. I’m also unsure if the waitress ever believed that it did though she certainly acted that way. I suspect she was willing to give up on the 4 extra tables and save herself from the weirdness of people who don’t know what group tables are for. I think this happens a lot when you’re speaking a new language. For the life of me I can’t remember ever having an exchange like this in the States.


dear readers,

this blog is now closed. due to the recent snow, the plea bargain, and my lack of sleep my attorney’s have advised me not to comment. however, to give a little hinty-hint it’s got to do with the NEW BLOG that i’ve got going on. this NEW BLOG is not about travelling and is about being an expat in buenos aires. I highly recommend the NEW BLOG. Please update links where applicable. Etc, et al.

Lots of love,


So how long will you be here for?

Palermo Chico

Expats leave the country for different reasons: from not being able to stand four more years of Bush to trying to ditch that coke habit, from starting up your own third world sweatshop to just needing some fresh air and a change of perspective, we expats troop around the globe. We bring our culture and, more often, our money to exchange for some local flavor.

But for many of us there is an expiration date printed in a place where we just can’t see it. Sooner or later it comes up: that innocent question that hangs like a noose around the neck of every expat. It’s like asking a college graduate: so what’s the next step? It’s a mean question because most college graduates are facing a time of their life where there are fewer clearly defined steps. A better question would be “Do you have another step planned out?”

Either way, like dogs that sniff each others butts, expats ask eachother this question and then judge eachother by it. Keep in mind that part of the expatness of expats is that they’re not naturalized into the country. If you’re immigrating you’re a local that just doesn’t know the language yet. An expat is still keeping their origin as their defining characteristic.   A big part of the definition is that expats are NOT Argentine.*  Expats are always foreigners so there’s a weird status to who’s staying longer and each one of us tries to figure out the trajectory of the other almost immediately.

*Actually this is just one definition… the one I’m using right now….

exnat begins

no sugar tonight in my coffee
no sugar tonight in my tea
no sugar to stand beside me
no sugar to run with me

Welcome to exnat, the blog about MY experiences as an expat in Buenos Aires. In November 2005 I arrived with a 30L backpack and a plan to stay 3 days before heading on to Montevideo. A year and half later I have an apartment full of my furniture and am no closer to Uruguay than I was when I arrived. What makes this city so irresistable? What has turned a one night stand with Buenos Aires into a relationship? Why am I happy to have a 9am-6pm job where I stare at a screen all day? What’s it like to learn Spanish through trial and error? Who is the president of Argentina? These are the mysteries I intend to explore in this here blog.

So buckle up. We’re going for a ride…

Now wait a month for the next post.