When Your Expecations Don't Meet the Reality

Our last few weeks in Buenos Aires went by so quickly. We were busy visiting veterinarians getting Posey vaccinated and completing the necessary paperwork for our travel to Chile. Although we had a lot of on our plate, we still managed to squeeze in some of our favorite activities, including our trip to Iguazu Falls and a day in the La Boca neighborhood.Iguazu Falls and a day in the La Boca neighborhood.

In total we spent 3 months in Buenos Aires and leaving was a little bittersweet. I enjoyed my time in Buenos Aires, although it was a difficult few months. As I mentioned in previous posts, I struggled a lot with our AirBNB apartment. I also had to deal with personal drama back in the states. It was very stressful and upsetting, especially since I couldn’t address the issues head on. Thankfully I have been able to put most of this behind me and I am in a much better place.

In addition to struggling with the external forces out of my control, I also struggled with Buenos Aires itself. I had built up this image of Buenos Aires in my head, that it would be this magical place and experience.  I was told and expected to see “Paris of South America”. Unfortunately for me, Buenos Aires didn’t live up to the hype I had created. I thought it would be similar to many European cities due to its heritage, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t what I imagined South America to be either.

Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Buenos Aires and I will be forever grateful for my time there. I just didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I can always tell how much I like a place when I can picture myself living there permanently. For me, Buenos Aires is just too big a city and is too far from other destinations (beaches, mountains, wine country). I am also grateful that Buenos Aires was not our only destination.

Since leaving Buenos Aires, we have been in Santiago Chile and we love it! It has been such a different experience than Buenos Aires. We took a month of Spanish classes, met tons of friends from all over the world, and have been able to explore Chile. We are also really happy with our apartment and the location, which is a huge plus!

While in Argentina, we met a couple from New York, who relocated to Buenos Aires for work nine months earlier. They asked us about our first impressions and we were candid with them saying plainly, “It’s not what we expected”. They told us they felt the same way when they first moved there. They too were in a rundown apartment and struggled to like their new location. The couple told us it took them over six months to warm up to Buenos Aires and now they really enjoy their time there.

I remember when I first moved to San Francisco, it took me a long time to really fall in love with the city. The first few months were really fun but after the excitement wore off, I had a hard time. I didn’t have many friends, I didn’t like my major, and I hated having to walk alone at night after class in the cold from the bus stop to home. I didn’t give up though. I changed my circumstances. I joined a sorority, changed my major, and brought my car to the city.

Similarly, the New York couple living in Buenos Aires had to change their circumstances in order to be happier. They moved apartments, joined “Meetup” groups, made friends, and started to build their life there. For us, we changed our settings by moving to Santiago, cashing in the “authentic” housing for a new high rise, and assimilating more into the culture by making an effort to learning the language. These factors have had a positive effect on our current situation.

I think big changes are difficult for a lot of people, especially when the reality doesn’t live up to the expectation. My best advice it to be honest with yourself about what is making you unhappy. It’s sometimes easier to sweep your feelings under the rug and pretend like everything is okay, but that is not the healthiest way to live your life.

Once you’ve figured what you are struggling with, find out how you can change your circumstances. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the “mountain” in front of me and I feel stuck. If you can break it down into smaller pieces, it’s much easier to achieve. After that, it’s all about taking proactive steps to make your situation a better one! Because no one is going to save you and the only person you can change is yourself. Once you become your own advocate in life, things will get better! 

Has the reality of a situation ever not met your expectations? 

Please leave your comments below! I look forward to hearing from you!

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