Samuel: Good Morning Buenos Aires
A seasoned expert on expat life in general and also this very site in particular, Samuel has shown exemplary commitment to helping the international expat community in Buenos Aires for many years now. Having started out as a forum and information site, Good Morning Buenos Aires has transformed into the biggest English online newspaper and resource for expats in Argentina.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Argentina, etc.
Samuel Wynn Warde is the InterNations Ambassador for Buenos Emeritus, having served for 3 years from 2008 through 2011. Samuel has also served as a Board Member for the Buenos Aires International Newcomers for the 2007-2008 terms and is currently the National Chair for Democrats Abroad Argentina for the 2011-2013 term and works as a consultant for several international expatriate groups and websites. Samuel grew up in the Dallas, Texas area, lived in Frankfurt, West Germany for 4 years in the 1980’s and moved to Buenos Aires in late 2006.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Good Morning Buenos Aires has been proudly serving the needs of the international community of Buenos Aires since 2007. Originally an online forum and information & resource site, in late 2010 Good Morning BA was restructured into an online news & information resource in a news magazine styled format using a customized WordPress blog as its base architecture.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Good Morning Buenos Aires has been researching and publishing a series of special report on the United States involvement in Argentina’s Dirty War. As a matter of background, after the death of President Juan Peron in 1974 Isabel Peron, his wife and vice president assumed power as president of Argentina. However, she proved to be weak politically and on 24 March 1976 she was overthrown by a military coup d’état which resulted in a seven year campaign of state sponsored violence against suspected dissidents and subversive until 1983.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Argentina differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The transition from living in the USA to residing in Argentina was not without its challenges. Not being fluent in Spanish upon my arrival proved to be my greatest challenge creating immediate issues with making purchases, intelligently selecting meal items and ordering in restaurants, getting directions, etc. Having already lived in Europe for 4 years in the 1980’s, culture shock was not an issue as I already had some idea what it was like making the transition from a North American culture to one of a different continent and in a country with a different national language than English.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Argentina? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I do not think that anyone is ever fully prepared for a move, particularly one to a different country and culture. The transition from state to state within the USA can be challenging, much less one from the USA to the southernmost tip of South America. If I had it all to do again, I would not change a thing. One of the great aspects of living in a foreign culture is that it brings back the fascination of childhood wherein every day is a new and wonderful experience, learning new words, seeing new sights, trying new foods, making new friends…
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think one of the funniest anecdotes in regards to life in Argentina (and one that is ongoing) is the fact that so many people identify themselves here as “expatriates” not knowing that in Argentine Spanish and culture an expat is literally perceived as meaning someone who was thrown out of their country of origin (typically as a criminal or political exile). So when I hear people proudly proclaiming their status as expatriates to locals.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Argentina?
Understand that vacationing in Argentina is far different than living here full time. Leave any preconceived notions regarding your new life in Argentina at home – instead let Argentina reveal itself to you in its own manner and time. Do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.
How is the expat community in Argentina? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Estimates of the English speaking expatriate community in Argentina range from the official government statistics of about 40,000 people to the more accurate estimate of other institutions of around 120,000 which take into account the fact that the government figures only include persons with residency and/or pending residency here in the country. With this many English speaking immigrants in the country meeting others has never been a challenge, and of course the ever growing InterNations Buenos Aires Community of Global Minds and their monthly cocktail parties are a great way to meet new people from all over the world. During my tenure as InterNations Ambassador for Buenos Aires, I hosted 41 events with a total of 3,356 attendees representing about 40 different nationalities. What a great way to enjoy my new life in Buenos Aires.
How would you summarize your expat life in Argentina in a single, catchy sentence?
Living, loving and laughing in Buenos Aires.