Work Abroad but earn in USD

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 Questions for Daniel K. in Buenos Aires

EDITORS NOTE: This is another post in our series of Expat Interviews. Let us know if you know someone who would be a good person to interview and we will try to do it. Daniel is from California (US) and currently lives full time in Buenos Aires with his Argentine fiance, he is an entrepreneur.

1. Where were you born, where else have you lived, and where are you living now? Born in Sacramento, California and grew up in Portland, OR. Lived in Los Angeles for 7 years from 1997-2004. Since then have lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2. Who did you move to Argentina with? When? I moved to Argentina by myself on an exploratory level in 2004 and permanently in 2005.

3. What made you pick Argentina? I already spoke Spanish and I wanted to experience Latin America having already traveled through all of Europe and most of Asia. I also wanted to go far away from the US so that left basically 2 options: Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires. I did a bunch of research and everything said that Buenos Aires was the most fun, had the best food, had the most beautiful women (I met my fiancée here) and had a European sensibility. So I picked here and it turned out to be the right decision.

4. What is the best part about living in Argentina? The worst? The best part is the financial freedom for people coming from countries that operate in dollars or euros. You simply cannot start your own business in the US or Europe with very litte money. Here you can. The worst part is the cultural attitude here which is very defeatist. After many terrible governments the people of Argentina have lost faith in their own system and turned quite pessimistic. Coming from a country where the prevailing ideology is "if I work hard, I can do it" it is hard to get used to the frequent comment "es así" in Argentina which means "that's just how it is."

5. How do you make your living? I started a wine club called Anuva Vinos that exports high quality, undiscovered Argentine wine to the US and Europe.

6. What is a typical day like for you? Up at 830, commute 5 meters to my living room to start work. Much emails and phone calling to bodegas (wineries), vendors and logistics suppliers, research on new marketing channels like restaurants and tourism agencies, meetings with those same agencies, tasting wines to see if we should put them in the club. Weekends include lots of asados (Argentine bbq) time with friends, movies and leisure.

7. How has living in Argentina changed your life? Living in the US is like living in a gated community, you never are exposed to how most of the rest of the world lives. I never thought I would pay so much attention to exchange rates, the price of oil, the GDP of Argentina, the housing market in the US, etc. I feel much more attached to the rest of the world out of necessity because I know that it will directly affect my life. I also have a new appreciation for what it means to be patient, appreciate slow cooked beef, well made wine, and great coffee in very small cups.

8. How does living in Argentina differ most from living in your home country? Many little things: subway strikes, massive lines at the movie theater on weekends, not having to use a car EVER (which is great), higher quality dairy and meat, the price of the tomato (read the news in Argentina 2-4 weeks ago for this), and having no direct flight to the west coast of the US.

9. What are your future plans in Argentina? When are you planning on leaving? We are planning on living here for the immediate future and have no plans of leaving anytime soon.

10. What one tip would you pass on to a future expat moving to Argentina? Besides the obvious one which is learn Spanish, be ready to deal with many different ways of doing things that take much longer and are more cumbersome.

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