I with two suitcases in luggage and a laptop in hand luggage went on the route Moscow — Buenos Aires. Not on leave, but in emigration. I was 27 years old. In Argentina, I had never been before and did not know anyone there. At the Vnukovo airport, my parents saw me off with faces like I was flying to Mars, where it’s impossible to live by definition. And I burned bridges behind me. Recklessness inspired and gave strength.
The decision to «bring down» was not spontaneous, it was painfully growing in me the last few years. The social and political course chosen by the Kremlin and (why deceive itself?) By the overwhelming majority of compatriots, was 200% contrary to my ideas of humanity, justice and adequacy. We were not on the road. I could choose from three points: to stay, tolerate, complain and illusions myself; to struggle with the minimal chances of success; leave and try everything from scratch in a more suitable place for me. I chose the third.
It was more difficult and insulting to part with your favorite work and career ambitions. I decided to become a journalist in the fifth grade, and right after the university I was lucky to get on the newly opened TV channel «Rain», where I went from a female trainee writing for the morning news to a correspondent in the author’s program of Pavel Lobkov. From a professional point of view, these were incredibly steep four years, which I will always remember with a smile. But then, one by one, my closest friends left Moscow for different countries. And one day I caught myself thinking that besides work in my life there is nothing more — emptiness. And I was frightened.
By chance, even in the first year of journalism at Moscow State University, I began to learn Spanish. Over time, this has turned into a passion that has spread to the entire yellow-red kingdom and Latin America — history, literature, painting, cinema, music. I became a real fan. I went to Spain many times, so the first thought was: «Everything, I’m moving to Madrid or to Seville.» But, critically assessing their financial capabilities and prospects for a long struggle for documents, with tears in their eyes from this plan had to be abandoned.
Thanks to the work in the news, I basically outlined what is waiting for me in each of the countries of Latin America. And I chose the safest, the most European and suitable for the climate — to the tropical heat and exotic insects I was not ready. It turned out to be Argentina. As in most countries of the region, in the first six months for Russians here do not need a visa. With income, at least for the first time, the question was solved: the remote work for one small Moscow magazine writing about architecture and design turned out very successfully. While I was buying a ticket, looking for a room in Buenos Aires through the Internet and figuring out all sorts of details of everyday Argentine life, it was not at all scary. Anxiety overtook me about three weeks before the flight. And as a sedative and a guide to local slang, I reconsidered almost the entire favorite TV series of childhood — «Wild Angel» with Natalia Oreiro in the title role.
While the plane was going to land, I looked with interest at the porthole of the lights of Buenos Aires, which I knew only from the novels of Julio Cortazar, several films and stories of familiar Argentines living in Italy. In Moscow there was a late autumn and the first snow, and here the night met me with a warm spring rain. When I reached the center of the city in the morning, I went out near the obelisk and saw the jakaranda in the lilac mist of flowers, I realized that this is love at first sight and I will never be able to live without this city.
I remembered Carrie Bradshaw, who went on dates with New York. The next few weeks, after completing the work, I spent hours wandering around Buenos Aires. The multicolored port of La Boca, the dilapidated colonial San Telmo, aristocratic Parisian Recoleta, Italian Palermo, the designer Puerto Madero — each district has its own face, smells, inhabitants, sounds, habits and customs. And, fortunately, no point type building.
And Buenos Aires is a city with a rich cultural life for a zero peso. The number of free museums, exhibitions, performances, festivals, concerts and film screenings for all comers strikes the imagination. And it’s not on the occasion of the anniversary of independence or the city’s day — it’s always like this.
I realized that this is love at first sight and I will never be able to live without this city
With full confidence, I can say that Buenos Aires is not more dangerous than Moscow. As in any large city, the Argentine capital has areas where it is better not to appear at night. Of course, there is a local specificity. In the country, high duties on any imported equipment, so cameras, computers and mobile phones are at times more expensive than in Europe and the United States. New iPhones, which many tourists like to wear in their hands and demonstrate to the public, will certainly be noticed by pickpockets — thieves will try to pull them out. The same goes for expensive accessories: among the local show wealth is not accepted.
After the first few months passed and it became obvious that I was planning to stay in the country, and perhaps for the rest of my life, I began to be afraid to hear in my address: «They came here!» But my fear was completely unfounded. The current Argentinean percentages for seventy descendants of Italians and Spaniards who migrated overseas in the first half of the 20th century. Still remember the great-grandparents who came to seek happiness in the New World. Therefore, new migrants are treated with understanding and without negativity.
To make temporary documents, I went to learn Spanish at the University of Buenos Aires — the largest and most famous in the country. It was useful, inexpensive and gave the right to a four-month student visa, which could be extended from level to level.
From the first trip to the migration service, I did not expect anything good. And I was discouraged when, after an hour, I successfully passed all the documents and I was never naughty. The building, where all this was happening, until the 1950s was a «hotel for emigrants.» Here those who stayed on their arrival had nowhere to go. Part of the hotel was kept in the form that it was at that time, and turned into a museum. Bunk beds, shared toilets, a shower, a dining room, a huge collection of forgotten, lost and abandoned personal belongings and documents. Here thousands of foreigners fell asleep with dreams of a happy future in their new homeland, and mothers lulled children with lullabies in Italian, Spanish, German, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. On the first floor there is an archive department where you can find out if the relatives were there, and even find out the exact date and name of the ship on which they arrived in Argentina.
Argentines in the majority of people are sociable and family. They are easily invited to visit, acquaintance with friends, relatives and maintain close relations with numerous second cousins and four-aided aunts. Local people like to eat and hang out. They are musical, athletic, perfectly prepared and always ready to try something new.
It is almost impossible to run into rudeness, but forgetfulness and carelessness in the order of things. Quickly, accurately and qualitatively — it’s not about the local. Offended and angry is pointless: you either need to keep everything under personal control, or learn how to score. To football and politics are equally passionate. Dissatisfied in Argentina immediately go to the streets, untouchable politicians do not exist. And the right to be yourself, to live, to love and to look like you want is inviolable.
Psychologically, Argentines are still much closer than Italy and Spain, rather than neighboring countries. People under 35 are almost teenagers. They still easily ask for money from their parents, even if they live separately, manage to start and drop a few higher educations and do not worry about it at all, confident that they still have everything ahead of them.
Old age as such does not seem to exist. In Buenos Aires, in the order of things, retire and joyfully do all the things that before did not have enough time: learn to sing, dance tango, draw or play in the amateur theater. In the Pilates class, Argentine pensioners are tied into such spectacular nodules that age seems an illusion. From nobody I here did not hear: «Well, my time has passed. Where are we going? Health is not the same … «The Argentines have everything, and they do not seem to be going to die at all.
It is almost impossible to run into rudeness, but forgetfulness and disorder are in the order of things
All without exception my friends and acquaintances in Buenos Aires actively go in for sports and go to psychologists, and for years, more often still from school. According to statistics, Argentina has the most practicing psychologists per capita in the world. And if the United States, for example, leads the consumption of antidepressants, the Argentines in 99% of cases dispense with regular conversations with specialists. At first I laughed at this local habit, then asked about its causes, eventually wrote about this big report and sat down herself. Now every Thursday I come to Beatrice’s office, I sit down in a dark turquoise velvet chair and try to calmly deal with the herds of cockroaches in my head. After six months of therapy, I began to feel a serious positive effect. The services of psychologists in Argentina are great business, but you can always find a specialist not only for a moderate fee, but, in an emergency, completely free.
Moving to another country and radically changing everything, I was ready for the fact that my standard of living would temporarily decrease and for several years I would have to switch to economy mode. In addition, modern Argentina is absolutely not suitable for those who are eager to make big money. Secured families here are almost always those that continue the business founded by previous generations.
Life in Buenos Aires is not cheaper than Moscow. This was especially felt with the arrival of the new president, Mauricio Macri. His government against the background of 40% inflation at times increased the price of gas, light, water, travel and food. The opposition and trade unions are trying to slow down this process, but not too successfully.
I take on any journalistic and editorial work that they offer me, and also work as a private guide for Russian-speaking tourists — I adore Buenos Aires, and I like to show it to travelers.
Husband from Tinder
«Argentines are terribly long. Years five to seven meet before the wedding, «- warned me at once several Russian girls living in Buenos Aires. I did not burn with the desire to get married urgently, so the forecast suited me. At first, I knew very few people in the city, and it was fun to correspond with Tinder. There were only three visits. The last happened in February 2015. On Buenos Aires that evening, a tropical summer downpour fell, and the center of the city was blocked due to a large march of opposition, which I managed to drop by. All the cafes, pizzerias and coffee shops were crammed with wanting to hide from the rain.
On a date came Franco: 28 years, a beautiful instagram, by profession — the director. After long walks through the puddles, we came upon some strange, completely empty bar in the colonial district of San Telmo. The ceiling in several places flowed, the barman enthusiastically talked with his friend. There were no other visitors except us. Ordering a bottle of wine, we went to a far table, where they quietly chatted until the morning. And exactly one year later they got married in the registry office on the last floor of the shopping center, from where a chic view of one of the main sights of the city — the cemetery of Recoleta, where I regularly take tourists.
The question, whether I remain, was decided by myself. In two years of my life in Argentina, I have a beloved husband, a large Argentine family, an adorable dachshund named Simon, a new job and a clear realization that I found a place suitable for myself on the world map.