What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I dreamed of strolling the cobblestone streets in Europe, sipping coffee in the cafes, enjoying the leisurely lifestyle that included "siestas". I pictured watching children playing in the parks, enjoying fine art museums, rummaging through the craft markets, and going to get fresh fruit, bread, and meats at the local shops. In general I pictured a leisurely lifestyle, enjoying the neighborhood and very little stress.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Well, I did not end up in Europe, but I ended up in Buenos Aires - and at a fraction of the price. This amazing city has all of my dream ideals to offer and more. Many of the buildings have been reconstructed from France - brick by brick - giving the city a very European look along with cobblestone street. We live in the Palermo Soho area of town which features over 1000 restaurants, famous designer and upcoming designer shops, sidewalk cafes galore, a Botanical Garden, a zoo, Art museums, a Japanese Garden, weekend markets, convention center, Rose Garden, Planetarium, and Paddle boats. Each week we go to the pasta shop, the butcher, the fruit and vegetable market and the bakery. We also have laundry services which wash, dry, and fold for about $5 a week. Buenos Aires also has excellent transportation with an underground metro. Excellent private hospitals - ask me if you need assistance with expat health insurance.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Overall the dream was realized but the day-to-day details of paying bills, waiting in lines at the grocery and bank, dealing with "cambio" - meaning never having small change available in the stores - can drive an otherwise sane person to insanity. It has been a test of patience, I don't think the "manana" attitude and overall inefficiencies of the systems in place will ever change. It is up to me to adapt.