Vivi Rathbon is a Buenos Aires expat, truly in love with the magical city of Buenos Aires, which she has had the pleasure of residing in for the past three years. She took some time out from running her expat themed website, MyBeautifulAir.com, to talk about expatriated life in Buenos Aires.
I’m sure you’ve never heard this before: where are you from?
I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. Previous to moving to Buenos Aires, I lived in Seattle, Washington.
And what did you do there, then?
I lived in Seattle for a year after graduating college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career, and started to research teaching English abroad.
How did you end up in Buenos Aires?
After researching teaching English abroad, I thought long and hard about what country I should choose. I knew I wanted to go to South America, and the more research I did, Buenos Aires seemed like the most exciting option.
Have you lived abroad before?
I had studied abroad twice in college, first in Pau, France and then in Athens, Greece. I loved both places and experiences.
So what’s so good about Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires is an incredible city. The architecture, the street art and the parks make for stimulating sites. The people are friendly and passionate. The art scene thrives, and the instability of the economy keeps things interesting.
And what don’t you like?
It was hard to be so very far from my family.
Do you feel like an insider or outsider?
I have always felt like a little bit of both, my entire life. Portenos are very warm and welcoming of foreigners in their everyday life, so I never felt alienated. The expat community is extremely supportive and wonderful, I very much felt like an insider in that community.
How do you support yourself?
I work! I worked as an English teacher, as a recruiter and for myself.
Any advice for wannabe Porteños
Bring cash and an open mind. Enjoy the steak and the wine, and don’t take it all too seriously.
Is the move permanent?
Buenos Aires will always be a permanent part of my heart, and hopefully my life in some capacity, but I don’t plan on staying here forever. My next step might lead me back home for a time.
Finally, tell us about something typically Buenos Aires
The pace of life is much slower in Buenos Aires – yet it remains a busy, fast paced city. This can be a strange juxtaposition to reconcile, but I very quickly grew to love the long lunches, lazy Sunday and nights that never ended. The city is huge, and you can find anything and anyone. I started drinking yerba mate while I was there, which is the typical Argentine tea that is shared with friends. Don’t miss that – it is a magical drink.
Vivi Rathbon’s expat themed website, MyBeautifulAir.com, has transformed from a personal blog into a comprehensive resource for local residents and the global expat community in Buenos Aires. Vivi can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @MyBeautifulAir.