Molly, fulfilling her dream of living abroad in Argentina
This week we hear from Molly, an American who is currently living in Mendoza, Argentina. Molly is currently having an experience that many of us Americans dreamt about when graduating from university: living abroad, and immersing herself in a new language and new culture. Read more to learn about Molly’s experiences in Mendoza and what surprises visitors most about Argentina!
I think that my friends would describe me as a passionate and driven person.
Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?
I have been happily living in Mendoza, Argentina for the past 6 months. I came to Mendoza shortly after I graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in October of 2011. Although I made a beautiful home in Portland during my college years, there is no place closer to my heart than Berkeley, California. I was born and raised and Berkeley and am a die-hard Bay Area fanatic. My move to Mendoza was inspired by two factors; first, I fell in love, and second I have always wanted to learn Spanish. Since I was a child I have always known that after college I would dedicate one year of my life to fully immersing myself in the Spanish language.
If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.
I have described myself as a multi-cultural individual from a young age. As a child I grew up in Berkeley, a very diverse and multicultural community. Living in Berkeley exposed me to a variety of cultures and backgrounds. As a kid I was regularly surrounded by individuals from different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. These backgrounds and the range of opinions that come from them, taught me what being multi-cultural is about. Today I live as a very multi-cultural individual, not only as an Expatriate living in Argentina, but as an American, a Jew, and a Christian. In all honesty I think the culture I most identify with is being from Berkeley, California. For me my identity as a Berkleyian captures my identities as a Jew, Christian and an American, because each of those identities has been articulated in a unique way within the borders of Berkeley.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
A typical day for me in Mendoza involves me waking up for work at 8:30, walking thirty minutes to my office in downtown. Here in Mendoza, I walk more than I have ever walked in my life! My time here has shown me just how car-dependent we are in the United States of America. If only summers here weren’t 40+ Celsius I don’t think I would mind as much. I work for a Tourism Agency called Malbec Symphony as their Website and Sales Manager. I find it fascinating that my first out of college job is in Argentina, in the field of tourism, and that I am getting paid a third of what I would be making in the States at a job I would never get right out of college. In just over 2 months I have learned a lot about how business works here in Argentina, and have finally come to the conclusion of what I want to get a Masters in: Business. First year out of college agenda: Check! After my tourism job I head to my second job working for a wine magazine called Wine-Republic. My work at Wine-Republic exposes me to a wide range of locals and foreigners involved in the wine industry here in Mendoza. I am steadily building up my wine repertoire. From box wines to Argentina’s finest Malbecs, I have done a full 360 in regards to wine! My third job is nannying for a truly amazing Expat family. After work I spend most of my time with my friends from my Argentine soccer team or with my “adopted” Argentine family.
What is the best part of living in Argentina? The worst?
Hands down, the best part of living in Mendoza is the calm and relaxed style of the people. Although occasionally I do find that people are too relaxed in relationship to business (I don’t know how the economy functions with a 4 hour siesta in the middle of the day, and people’s bed-times ranging from 1-3 a.m). Overall, I really like the calmness and family-oriented style of Argentine life.
What language or languages do you use on a day to day basis?
I speak a wonderful mix of Spanish and English throughout the day. I find myself hopping back and forth between the two languages in a way I had always dreamed about.
Describe a favorite typical meal from Argentina
My favorite meal in Argentina contains; empanadas, asado, matambre de cerdo and salad (tomatoes and cooked onions).
What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know Argentina?
Visitors, myself included, are always surprised by the fact that there is literally never any gas here in Mendoza. People have enough money to buy an Audi, but their gas stations don’t have gas to put in that $90,000 car. Wrap your mind around that!!! We complain in the States because our gas prices are so high, imagine complaining because you can’t go away for the weekend because there wasn’t any gas for you to put in your car.