An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
If I Could Do It All Over Again
I left my country in 2001, with boxes of CDs, photo albums, VHS cassette tapes, so many clothes, so many heavy things I didn't need. And each time after that when I would visit Los Angeles, I brought back more boxes of Persian scatter rugs, paintings and pictures, special quilts and blankets, photos, and of course, books.
Nowadays a soon-to-be expatriate can put all their music on an iPod and all their photos on chips, videos on DVDs, have everything on their international iPhone--many pounds less and so much easier. You can also bring your books on a Kindle, but I still can't give up the paper and boards of real books, which I find so alluring and sensuous. Maybe one day I will, but now, I still enjoy handling the real deal.
But if I were to do it again, I would bring my good pots and pans and linens--things I sold at garage sales for a pittance. (I had begged my sons to take them but they didn't and now they're sorry.) I didn't know then that such things were so difficult to find and that if found, they would be so expensive in Argentina. Or that these luxuries would be important to me.
Times change quickly--now it's much easier to be a multipatriate with all of the available miniature electronics that can help you feel connected and at home no matter where you are.
When you're emptying a large family home into a couple of suitcases, every decision is important, but there's no time to ponder the future of each and every item; it's this, ok, this and this and this, the Goodwill, this the yard sale, and this the trash. Folks are lucky if they can store items until they know what they'll need in their new home and then have them sent.
I had planned to ship my beloved grand piano, but thank goodness I woke up and smelled the coffee in time to send it to auction in L.A. instead. Shipping furniture with a tourist visa is a way to go both broke and crazy. So I just brought my sheet music and metronome in my suitcase.
Several of my expat friends say they were glad to rid themselves of material objects to begin a new life here. Unfortunately 10 years after my Big Move, there are many things that I wish I still had. It's not that I'm so materialistic, it's just that my memories are so happy of times gone by that I enjoy the mementos that remind me. And I also miss sleeping on my gorgeous Ralph Lauren sheets and eating off of my grandmother's collection of Fiestaware from the 30s. But you can't have everything. And now I have Buenos Aires.