Noruega en Argentina

Expat of the month
  • Noruega en Argentina
Published on 2014-02-01 at 00:00 by team
My name is Eirin, I am originally from Oslo, Norway and I currently live on an estancia in Cañuelas, in the province of Buenos Aires, one hour from the city of Buenos Aires. I moved here from Washington, DC, where I had lived for eight years.

My name is Eirin, I am originally from Oslo, Norway and I currently live on an estancia in Cañuelas, in the province of Buenos Aires, one hour from the city of Buenos Aires. I moved here from Washington, DC, where I had lived for eight years. I consider myself a city girl but I am enjoying living in the country.

When and how did you decide to move to Argentina? Is it complicated to settle down there?

After graduate school, I worked in development banking, and while I really liked it, I did sometimes find that the office was a little restricting. I had always thought it would be interesting to work in tourism, and I love horses. In August 2012, I did a horse riding vacation in Italy, where I met Italians and Brits who were doing seasonal horse related work and I thought, hey, I could do that! I had been to Argentina previously, and some of my best friends in Washington, DC (where I was living), were from Argentina, so I knew I enjoyed the culture. That, coupled with all the horse tourism they have here, made it a good choice. I contacted lots of estancias and it only took eight weeks from I sent the first CV to I was on the plane, ready to start work in a hotel in a polo club. Settling down in the formal sense is more complicated, I have for instance not even tried to get a bank account here. Also, the fact that I spoke Spanish made everything easier.

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I have lived in Norway, Panama, the United States, Nicaragua, and Italy. I have been to 27 countries total, all of them in Europe or the Americas. Panama will always have a special place in my heart: I first moved to Panama for one year as an exchange student when I was 17; the first time I lived outside of Norway. That was real culture shock! I adore Nicaragua (I am big fan of Central America in general) and Italy is a place I will always return to. The US is fantastic as well, so diverse and with so much to do.

What do you like the most about Buenos Aires?

I love that it has such a cosmopolitan feel, and so much culture. The neighbourhoods are all quite distinct and interesting. Recoleta is fantastic but I also really like more laid-back areas like Villa Crespo and Chacarita. I also love the bus system – there are over a hundred different lines and you can get anywhere by bus, it seems. Oh, and the jacarandas, beautiful. I live outside the city but go there usually once a week. As for living in the countryside, I love the close contact with nature and animals, and the friendliness of the people. I love sitting outside drinking mate with the guys, looking at the horses, the cats, the dogs.

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with Norway, your home country?

I have lived abroad for so long now that the culture shocks are less, but there is one thing that I still struggle with: in Norway, if you make a plan, that plan is basically confirmed and you don't have to confirm a million times before the actual event. Here, I have to remember to confirm and re-confirm everything, whether it is meeting up for drinks or extra staff for a weekend. The main differences from Norway are things like punctuality and paying taxes. People here are much warmer and more passionate than Norwegians (sounds like a cliché, I know...) and there is also a certain nostalgia or melancholy in the national character, if I can say that, that I find interesting. In general, most Europeans find it easy to adapt to Argentina.

Do you miss anything from your homeland?

I always say that one of the things I miss the most is that people in Norway respect pedestrians! They will always stop. Here, even in a small town like Cañuelas, nobody stops unless there is a traffic light. A zebra crossing or a stop sign do nothing. I like to stop for pedestrians, especially older ones, and they look at me like they think I am going to hit them! And I miss cod. I love fish and as is well known, in Argentina they eat huge quantities of meat! I am fascinated by the amount even a skinny Argentinian can eat.

Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

After moving around to different places, I don't have a lot of souvenirs, because they just make it harder to move! But I do like souvenirs that can be used, such as wallets, purses, or scarves. As for experiences and memories here in Argentina, I find it fascinating to go to the Buenos Aires Central Market, where hotels, shops and others go to buy vegetables, fruits, and fish in bulk. It is gigantic, almost a world in its own, and it is quite rough in a lot of ways. I started going there in the middle of the winter and people were huddling around fires, it was very much an urban jungle kind of feel. Now, I feel very much at home there and have become good friends with the fishmonger, for instance. In general, I am amazed at how kind people in Argentina have been to me and how open they have been to me as a newcomer to their country.

What does a typical day as an expat in Buenos Aires look like?

I run a small hotel in a polo club about an hour outside of the city, so each day is different! Some days I get up extremely early to go to the Central Market, other days I go into town early to take care of purchases (including all the meat for the typical Argentinian asado, or barbecue). I would say an important part of my job is to communicate with staff, with other parts of the club, and with the guests, always trying to make sure everything is running smoothly, whether it is lunch service for 30 people, organizing polo lessons and hacks, ordering wine, or simply making the guests happy and comfortable. On my days off, I will head to Buenos Aires and soak up the city! I try new restaurants, meet up with friends, go to the cinema or theatre, or simply walk around. Here in Cañuelas, we often go to a small and friendly restaurant called La Colomba; they have good food and fantastic customer service, something I appreciate now that I am “in the business”.

When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

I started my blog in September 2012, before I had even quit my job to make the move. I thought it would be a fun and easy way to share my experiences, and also a way of recording my thoughts at different points in the process. It has also become a place for people to find information about Norway or Norwegians in Argentina, which I think is cool. I would ideally like to write some articles about Argentina specifically for Norwegians, so that they can learn more about the country. Coming soon, hopefully!

Did you make new friends with your blog?

Yes! I have been contacted by Norwegians in Buenos Aires, and one of them has become a very good friend. Others I am planning to meet with soon. I am also regularly contacted by Argentinians who are interested in Norway: some that study the language, some that want to travel there or have some other interest in the country. I answer them all and really enjoy sharing information.

Why did you register on and what do you think of the website?

I came across the website and really loved how easy it was to search blogs, so when I realized I could register my blog, I quickly did. It is a good way to get exposure and to find other blogs. I am particularly fascinated by the blogs written by expats in Norway – it is really cool to read what they have to say about my country. It would be cool if there were an Argentina en Noruega blog, someone mirroring my experience here! I did find one blog written by a woman from Argentina living in Norway, but it is inactive now.

Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in Buenos Aires (or Argentina)?

Make local friends – there are a LOT of expats in Buenos Aires and many of them seem to have mainly foreign friends. What's the fun in that? If you don't know the language, learn! Try to learn about the history and the culture of the country, it is fascinating and will also help with feeling at home. Take public transport: it is very cheap and takes you almost anywhere in the city.

Noruega en Argentina