Buenos Aires is host to many crazy landlords and other situations that make it compete with NYC in terms of chaos and craziness. When my roommates and I were kicked out of our old apartment–which was incidentally where my friends and I always threw our parties/get togethers–I found a small studio that was rented by an acquaintance. Though the cost was high and I knew I’d have to work super hard to pay for it I decided it would have to do.
I’ve always wanted to live on my own and I hadn’t slept in a big bed ever since December 2013, when I left the apartment that was paid for by my contract job. At the time I had the money to make the down payment, the owner of this apartment is very nice, and it’s perfect for one person. Plus, it’s still in the same neighborhood in which I was living. I had always wanted to live alone before age 30 so I’m glad I got the chance. I feel extremely grateful, but of course… I gotta hustle.
If you’re an expat in Buenos Aires (and an immigrant/expat anywhere in the world) you WILL run into shitty landlords. I’ve had plenty of these:
- In San Telmo one landlord would come over with his girlfriend, smoke weed all day, take showers that lasted up to two hours, and walked around in his underwear.
- In Belgrano I had a roommate once asked me to cough less in my sleep even though it wasn’t something I could really help thanks to bronchitis.
But this case is far worse here in Palermo. I was paying 4000 pesos for a fully furnished room when I was suddenly told I could either pay the same and they’d stick another bed in my room because I could share it OR I could pay 8000 pesos and stay alone, PLUS give another deposit.
Of course I’m leaving this apartment. There are a lot of memories here because one of my really good friends lived here and I had already been here to so many dinners, chats, and parties. Naturally my friends and I are saying goodbye to this simple space because it was a home to all of us.
In an unrelated note, I made up a manifesto about men in general. Over my time here I’ve had about seven men just randomly kiss me without my consent. (One I was sort of ok with so let’s make it six then). I get hook-up culture and when you’re younger and in college it’s sort of ok. It’s also ok if you’re any age and it happens to be your thing, but it isn’t mine.
I haven’t been actively pursuing a relationship but I know that I would want it to start in a way that involves talking, maybe being friends with and just letting things flow. It’s really common in Argentina for guys to just kiss you after hitting on you and then asking if you want to have sex with them. I don’t judge women who are ok with this, it just means they have a different set of values when it comes to this and they’re happy with this. Not me.
I’ve been told by one guy here (consistently, I might add) that I’m a difficult woman. In my defense he was one of those guys and he wanted to take me home with him on what happened to be one of the shittiest days/months of my life. There’s no way he would’ve enjoyed being with me when I was that much of an emotional and financial wreck. Even though I owe him no explanations I tried to once and he laughed in my face.
I’ve decided I deserve better than this. For the rest of my time here I’m just going to focus on friendships, both with men and women, of course. I’m never going to adjust to the dating culture here. I don’t care for dating apps and realized that I have to make the foundation for the things I want. In the end, I was stupid enough to actually fall for one of these guys and the universe didn’t conspire in my favor but at least I know that I deserve to be liked/loved/asked out for who I am on the inside and not just what someone wants to get out of me physically.
The immigration crisis in the United States has always been an issue, but technology, increased mass incarceration and deportations have surged and it affects everyone’s lives. Recently I ate at a Cameroonian restaurant where I met a couple who was currently undergoing the 2-year bar. An Argentinian woman I met there was married to her Turkish-American husband and had to move to Buenos Aires while she waits for her green card process to pull through. The plan is that he’d visit her about every 3-4 months until this happens. They, of course, married for love.
About a month ago a friend of mine (whom I’ll call Juan to protect his identity because his name is totally not Juan) moved back to Mexico because he also got desperate with the situation. Not all states in the US allow undocumented students to attend their schools or get financial aid for their studies, and Juan happened to live in Georgia, which is and was one of the worst for undocumented students to attend. He had been heavily active in the immigrants rights movement and that’s how we met four years ago.
Mexico is a great country but it’s really only great for those in the middle and upper classes and those who have the option to travel and leave. Juan’s case isn’t like this. Right now he’s separated from his family and friends and the road back is dangerous, expensive, and bound to get worse if Donald Trump is elected as president of the USA. In theory I understand Juan, but it’s true that as a US citizen I really do have more privileges. Maybe I’m not rich, but I can just enter and leave the US with relative ease.
Anyway, Juan asked me to marry him and I said no. It wasn’t easy. In the beginning I told him that I’m Argentina and can’t make that sort of decision when I’m so far away from him. As I thought it about I realized that I just can’t. Anything could happen.
The process for petitioning someone to move to the US with you when you’re a citizen could take years. I’m not sure if I’ll return to the States and when I do I know I’ll want to travel and have a lot of things I want to do. I don’t know if I’ll meet someone in Argentina or when I’m traveling, but petitioning someone is something that’s really only worth it if you love them. This is the one thing I knew I couldn’t say yes to. At the moment my conscience is clear about this. I know I did the right thing and I my friend Juan finds what he needs. I just can’t offer it to him right now.