A note to future residents of Buenos Aires.

I have noticed a common theme amongst the ex-pats here in Buenos Aires. Many of us have come here to try something new or to do the thing that we always wanted to do. In many of our minds, there was a little voice that said ‘follow your heart’ or ‘don’t stay stagnant’. Some of us certain on what it is we are following and some of us are not.

I suppose that is like everywhere. But here, it becomes stunningly obvious to each and every one of us. We have all chosen to go very far away from home to do something very different than most and no one wants to screw that up. Each of us comes with different stories, dreams and motivations. Fascinating is the individual who is an Ex-pat.

I see some who are very organized, some who are not. Some are assimilating, some are not. It is very easy to get lost in this city and to disappear from everyone or to change who you are. This is the perfect playground to slack off while discovering one of the many secret little doors of opportunities. I believe that you can’t really understand this city within the first year and maybe not even within several years.

Every ex-pat I know would tell you that Buenos Aires has brought them joy and disappointment within the same day, many times within the same hour. Is that just life? Or is it that Buenos Aires is a city with a unique force, strength and a strong deal of character or perhaps a little drama. Residents know that there is consistently adventures or unexpected situations around the corner.

This is one of the few places in the world that you can safely just come and see what happens to you. It isn’t uncommon. Some just come. Many just come. “Just get there”, I remember these exact words were given to me as advice during my last year in the U.S.

You either come to the point in your life where you believe that everything happens to you for a reason or you don’t. Half of that is what you make of it; the other half is actual opportunities being present. Need a lesson on getting yourself up off the ground, trying again and patience? I would recommend spending a little time in Buenos Aires.


True Happiness.

One of my favorite quotes:

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude" –Denis Waitley

I love the simplicity and bluntness it achieves. It also was a very helpful quote during my traveling abroad. It kept me focused on my true happiness and not an external happiness that can many times be fleeting. I really asked myself about this trip before I came, “molly? What are your reasons for this?”

When I was a little girl, I was always the first person to friend the new person at school. I remember making a specific effort to go over, introduce myself and ask them to play. I felt a strong duty to make them feel comfortable. Although I was a from the Chicago-land area, my town did not have a lot of diversity, that I desperately sought. So, at the time, when a person who looked different than me came to my class, I was most certainly going to be friends with them. They were always my favorite because they came from a place that I didn’t understand, yet was eager to learn.

I was raised by a woman who talked very openly about the atrocities of racism and prejudice, describing an extremely frightful state of affairs, specifically between black and white. She also described a world with every type of person, every color, every shape and every size. I had black cabbage-patch dolls and barbies, and tons of books to go along with my imagination. She encouraged me to be open-minded to all individuals, even the ones who looked like me who were considered ‘un-cool ‘or ‘un-liked’ by my peers.

My father, traveled for his job when I was little and he would come home with stories about how people ate or went to the bathroom. He brought me books with foreign words. I remember thinking they were impossible to read, how in the world could anyone read these? When he would first arrive home from a foreign place, I remember, he would have an odd smell on him. WOW!!! These places must smell differently, of course, increasing my imagination.

I was just completely consumed with seeing the world. I used to study maps of the world, by myself. Staring for hours at the little islands or places with strange names, wondering what kind of people lived there. Interestingly, I hated my World History class and American History because I always, even before I was old enough to realize it, thought it was a bunch of (no better way to say it) bull-shit. I was determined to find out the truth about these places and the people inhabiting them.

Back to the quote:

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude" –Denis Waitley

I realize that there are a lot of people who see what I have done and thought ‘I really want to do that!! My life would be so much better’ but I ask you: What are your reasons for doing it?

In fact, I ask myself the same question when I buy something, earn something, wear something, or eat something. It mentions love, in the second half of the quote as an act you should consistently perform. But when deciding to be with one person, it is also important to be sure of ones true happiness. It is impossible to not feel happiness or better said, gratitude, when these things happen. The same is true, when you find the perfect outfit in a little store, tucked away or you get the job that you always dreamed of, maybe you eat the most delicious meal of your life. These things do not happen every day, when they do, I believe they are to be given gratitude, grace, love and honor as little miracles. They are not what stabilizes happiness. They are more like little joys of life swinging us to from one grape vine to the next.


My coldest day in Buenos Aires

I would have made fun of me too just a couple months ago but I assure you, I am not just being a baby. Today was cold, windy and unexpected. Today, I believe, is as cold as it gets. In Chicago, this kind of cold is the sign of a very bad winter ahead. So, for me, I am trained to be a bit nervous. I am extremely relieved to know that this is not getting any worse. Thankfully, everyone here is only terrified of about a month of this nightmare. A month.

I am only a tad scared of not having enough clothes to get through this torturous time. I am daydreaming constantly of my gorgeous array of winter clothes that is living inside boxes in my sister’s attic. Being from Chicago, winter/fall clothes is usually the majority of a persons wardrobe. I never missed my winter clothes so much as I do now.

The reason, I think that I am fantasizing so much about my clothes is that they are of fantastic quality. It isn’t because I shop at fancy places; in fact, most of my best sweaters are from second hand stores. It is the cozy, high quality fabric that I miss. Thick cotton or wool is not common here nor is it cheap. Supply and demand.

I know that I will make it through. I have survived winters, in which, I actually hid once behind a dumpster in an alley, it was so cold. Long story, but I was canvassing door to door for a political campaign. That was over 10 years ago.

The last winter that I lived in Chicago, I woke up at 4:30am, before the snow trucks or people came. I put on long underwear, wool socks, a shirt, sweatshirt, gloves, hat, scarf and snow pants before I left the house. I then walked 3 blocks through a foot of snow to a bus that, hopefully, was coming. It was below freezing, many times.

During those cold mornings, while walking in anguish, I would drift into thoughts of Buenos Aires, a new city and the new life that I would be creating.

Today, the coldest day, in Buenos Aires, I take a look at what this journey has brought me so far and although chilly on the outside, I am warmer than I have ever been before.


De donde sos?

I love the smell of coffee in the morning. I hate to sound like a Folgers advertisement but there is nothing like waking up in a house with a big pot of coffee brewing in the distance. If you add cooking bacon to that smell, I go nuts.

Yes, I am North American. And more specifically ‘I am American’. I have often been curious why we (the United States) are allowed to call ourselves American, yet no one in the America’s are.

One reason, which is perfectly valid, is that we actually have the word America in our title ‘The United States of America’, shorten it and we live in America. Therefore, I am American.

Argentina actually has a little claim to being upset about this because their official name is United Provinces of South America.

Where did they get Argentina from again? (Still researching this one.)

In Canada, they refer to themselves as North Americans. I felt silly that I never thought to include myself with Canada before. We the people of the United States can be such secluded snobs. And being here with my Canadian friends had made me realize how similar we are culturally. We have many similar habits and experiences. So I have taken on the habit of being North American.

But in Spanish they have a word for a United States Citizen. It is Estadounidense. It directly transcends from my county's name The United States, in Spanish which is Los Estados Unidos. We can say ‘Soy Americana but we can also say ‘Soy Estadounidense’. The lather is more difficult to say and there is no direct translation besides American or United States citizen. Which is why everyone, in Spanish still says ‘I am American’. However, all of us from the major U.S. cities almost always introduce ourselves as being from that city (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles…)

At the end of the day, I am from Chicago. I love my town. I love the music. I love the people. I love the language. I love the food. I love the lake and the buildings. I feel extremely blessed for being from there and I can’t imagine being from another place. I love you Chicago and if I decide to live somewhere else, I will always visit……in the summer. xo


Fate or Free-will?

When I was in high school, we had an assignment to write an essay ‘Is it fate or is it free-will’? I have never been able to get over that paper. When I wrote it, I couldn’t decide on one or the other because I strongly felt that the two worked hand in hand. I consequently received a C- because the assignment was to pick one or the other. I took the C- and stood by my claim that it was like the chicken and the egg, there simple wasn’t one without the other.

I have always been a very analytical person but oddly spiritual, oddly because I wasn’t taught any religion as a child. My entire life I have been thinking of bigger than me, outside my backyard. I have always wished to see the world. I have always pictured the universe and the grand scheme. I was always having ‘realizations’ that I would announce to my friends and vice versa. Which, I see now as adorable because I was just a teenager. I liked to think that I spent my time with some deep-thinkers or philosopher type minds.

Many years have passed and many stories in my life have been written but I still think about that essay paper, fate or free-will? It seemed so simple for the other people to choose, why was it difficult for me?

One reason is that if you choose fate, then you are saying that nothing that you do is yours. You have no real choices, it only appears that you have choices but ultimately, even your choices are sketched out already. You are merely a puppet in someone else's show. What is the point?

If you choose free-will then all of the magic that life can bring us goes away. If something works out, it’s just based off your ability or connections. If there is something ‘fate-like’ that happens, it is only a coincidence. It is extremely selfish, cold and empty to me. It says nothing matters universally.

Still, it is difficult for me to commit to one or the other. And looking back, it irks me that we had this paper because I certainly don’t think a teenager has collected enough life data to honestly comprehend this question.

Today, I am still a very spiritual and analytical person. What I have recognized is that when I am really listening to my heart/or spirituality is when I am capable of making more courageous life choices. Is that fate guiding me? There are people who make courageous choices without this process and they also have results. Are those people on an auto pilot of fate?

The question is: Is it true that what is meant to be will happen?

If I answer yes; it makes me feel better and safer.
If I answer no; define what is meant to happen? We don’t know. It isn’t always what we want. This is going back into the hands of fate.

I believe in magic too much to think that we are just free-will running around rampant with no reason to be here. I also believe in love too much. I heavily lean toward fate.

Now the question is if it is fate, then why do we even have choices? What is the point to all of the information that we are collecting, life lessons or personal growth we have?


Viernes. Friday.

Nothing interesting is happening to me today. Sitting in an Internet cafe in Buenos Aires because my client wasn´t at his office. I have another client in the same building in an hour, so I don´t have time to go home. After this I will most likely eat a cheese tostada somewhere and think about my Spanish or my English lessons for the day.

I am working tonight with the kids and I am very excited because they all invited friends over to play. This actually makes my job easier because they don´t want to be bothered and they always think of their own activities. I then become the referee who breaks up fights and helps them solve problems. It´s fun.

My favorite thing is that I am a novelty for the children because I speak English. When the kids without an English speaking nanny come over to play it is an opportunity for them to practice their English. At first, they are always a little timid but by the end of the visit they can´t wait to say ´Thank you, good-bye`. It´s just precious.

Tomorrow is the big game with Argentina vs. Germany. I will be with the family that I work for and they are very serious about the game. I can´t wait!


Canada Day. [day 4]

Lazy day. Being Lazy. This seems to be a common theme in my life. Just last night when I was with my friend, I couldn’t think of the word lazy in Spanish. I wanted to say vago but he told me that it’s better if you say perezoso and for me perezosa because I am a girl. Vago is more of a slacker or a person who just doesn’t want to ever do anything. A slacker I am not. I am Lazy because I am tired and I do a lot. Now, I think I might be getting sick, which inspires me to be lazier but drink water and eat oranges while I am doing it.

Today is Canada Day which sounds weird to say. I want to say Canadian Day or Canada’s Day. But it seems to be Canada Day. To be honest before I came to Argentina I only had really spent time with one person from Canada. She was an artist and very peaceful woman from Vancouver and I loved her strength. I met her when I was living in Arizona. I think her name was Kathy.

For many years after that, working in the restaurant business, I noticed that I didn’t enjoy serving people who turned out to be from Canada. Usually because of the constant jokes they would make. The light hearted attitude they had irritated me while I was busting my ass in a busy restaurant. Couldn’t they see that I didn’t have time for jokes? It became a running joke with my close friends that I didn’t get along with people from Canada.

Over the years, I have analyzed it in my head wondering if it has anything to do with the French influence in Canada. Since, often I meet someone who says they don't like the French.

I have actually been thinking about this for years.

Is it possible that a person could generally not get along with an entire society? I do believe that it is possible. Generally speaking, of course.

Now, I think it is more of an influence of British humor that Canadian’s have. Especially since I have been here, I have seen, that my American mind is not advanced enough to compete with British humor and generally with most of the world in regards to most subjects. However, I get to pull the ‘I’m American’ card out and bash myself. It’s a great tool in regards to humor.

The question still stands: Is it true that I just don’t get along with people from Canada?

Here in Buenos Aires, I do have friends from Canada and my closest friend who is from Montreal is super cool and as we have realized over our conversations, that Chicago and Montreal have a lot of similarities. With music, food and the overall feel of the city. Even the pictures remind me of Chicago. I can’t wait to visit!

In the end, I love the laid back attitude that many Canadians posses and they can be very comfortable people to be around. So, yes, I can get along with people from Canada but maybe I just can’t serve them at my restaurant.