Monthly Archives: May 2011

Argentina vs. Chile

Recently I found a bunch of great blogs, written by American women in relationships with or married to Chileans. And honestly, it was surprising, because there’s a TON of them, most with a similar story of studying abroad there, falling in love with a Chilean, and moving back after graduating from college. One girl said that she knows at least SIX people from her study abroad program now getting married in Chile. Whaaat??!

So what’s going on, Argentina?? Why such a huge difference? There are very, very few blogs of Americans in Argentina in (successful) relationships with Argentines — believe me, I’ve searched. Most of them, in fact, focus on other things or complain pretty bitterly about the men. This is despite the fact that there are way more expats in Argentina than in Chile, and probably equal numbers of college students who study abroad in both countries each year.

Are the men just different?? Don’t they come from the same cultural roots in both countries? Is Argentina just too much of a mess, too intense and indecipherable? I actually don’t know that much about Chile; I was only there once for a brief trip to Pucon, in the south, with a big group of Argentines, so I don’t really know anything about chilenos. But what all these women’s blogs seem to say is that on the whole, they’re a pretty good group of guys — kind, faithful, chivalrous, and hard-working. Whereas what the expat blogs from Argentina say about argentinos is that they’re gorgeous liars who will break your heart and mess with your mind. Probably neither extreme is true. But I really am curious about this huge difference in experiences with the men. Chile is much more stable economically (and much more conservative) than Argentina. Does this extend to stability and sanity in relationships?

Another thing that I’ve noticed, though, is that this bitterness seems to permeate  life in Argentina in general. Expats are bitter, Argentines are bitter, everyone is relatively tired and bitter. I was always surprised to be characterized in Argentina as very young, innocent, and naive — because in the U.S., my friends would describe me as very independent and mature. I consider myself a strong person. But I’m not bitter yet, I’m not fed up with life the way I saw so many (even young!) people in Argentina feel. Not everyone, but many. You get on the subway and people’s faces are like death. Honestly, after a day of running around, tripping on broken tiles, getting harassed with piropos, and confronting at least five unexpected obstacles, I felt like death too. This might just be a metropolis thing. Anyway, I wonder if it’s different in Chile. And I wonder what it would take to change that bitterness, what change would look like.