Landed in Buenos Aires after an almost 18-hour flight from Portland, Oregon, I was all tired but ready for beaches, barbecues, and suntans. But Argentina had other plans—winter coats, scarves, and hot cocoa were the order of the day. Stepping off the plane in flip-flops, t-shirt and sunglasses, I quickly realized Argentina had a way of subverting expectations—starting with the seasons.
During my first few days, I was captivated by the novelty. "I'm going to experience a snowy summer vacation," I thought with delight. But the charm of winter faded more quickly than I anticipated, as the cold winter weather started to bite my tanned skins.
The Quiet of the Seasons
Those early days had an eerie quiet. It felt like I was on a solo tour of a ghost town filled with stunning architecture and absent of people. Even the pigeons looked at me as if I had missed the memo. "Why are you here? Don’t you get the memo ?" their eyes seemed to ask, as I wandered through empty plazas and quieter-than-usual streets.
But let's not forget the silver linings. There are many upsides to be in Buenos Aires in the winter. Affordable flight tickets? Check. Entire Airbnb listings to myself? Double-check. Less crowded parks allowed me the privacy to practice my juggling skills—just me and those skeptical pigeons and disapproving dogs. Plus, the cool weather was ideal for leisurely walks and introspective moments.
The main motivation for my trip to Argentina was to take break from my research, and set a new beginning. Over the past three years, I've grappled with understanding probability programming concepts. As someone with a background in computer science, I'm used to quickly grasping new concepts, but this has proven to be an exception. Bayesian thinking introduces a novel way of interpreting uncertainty through mathematics—a concept that those of us in engineering often strive to minimize in our work.
The first month started off slowly, but my research soon experienced a major boost. Fueled by caffeine and solitude of the season, I quickly grasped the difficult concepts of probability density functions and cumulative distribution function, which became the backbone of my new Bayesian modeling. This intellectual leap invigorated me, transforming my intellectual adventure into a fun and productive learning process.
Weeks turned into months, and as time passed, I found myself delving deeper into my studies. Eventually, even the dogs in the park faded into the background as I became increasingly engrossed in my learning journey. The experience with solitude has been incredibly refreshing.
As I get used to the quietness of the winter, as time goes by, I slowly recognized that the day is getting longer, the weather slowly getting hotter. I simply refused to acknowledge that the spring is slowly showing its head.
The Rise of the Digital Nomads
Just when I thought my social life would be limited to discussing weather with local dogs, I experience a new wave of people began to arrive. Slow at the beginning, but getting more and more as the weather heat up.
Digital nomads, like migratory birds, were flocking south to escape the imminent winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The whispered mantra seemed to be "Winter is coming," and no one wanted to face it without a reliable internet connection.
As more digital nomads trickled into the city and Airbnb competition heated up, neighborhoods like Palermo and Recoleta started to change. While I appreciated the increased prevalence of English, I couldn't help but wonder about its impact on local culture. Would Buenos Aires retain its essence, or would it transform into "Brooklyn Aires" due to this influx?
But it's not all downside. The arrival of more digital nomads also brought many benefits. My boredom vanished, and I felt like a modern-day Jon Snow, uniting a diverse group of freelancers and entrepreneurs. We all shared a common need for good internet and the freedom to travel. Our mutual commitments might not have been as formal as the oaths in the Seven Kingdoms, but they were equally binding. From that moment, we were a community united by fiber optics, ready to embrace the coming Argentine summer together.
So here's my takeaway from those first three months: Life is full of challenges. But as I've learned, "Any fear you conquer becomes your superpower that you earned. It is always harder at the beginning.
I am surprised how fast the first three months have flown by. Time has a way of slipping through your fingers when you're busy navigating new landscape, both literal and metaphorical. And here's another thing about time—it’s a lot like the seasons. If you don't like what you're experiencing, just wait. Seasons never last; they ebb and flow, bringing new challenges and new opportunities. Before you know it, the situation has changed, and you're onto the next chapter. If you ever feel stuck, keep on going, don't do it alone, and most importantly, ask for help."
Argentina, with all its seasonal quirks and language traps, has become more than just a place on a map. It is now part of me. It’s a chapter in my story, a lesson in my life, and as winter finally begins to thaw, I can’t wait to see what the next season brings. I’m ready, Argentina. Bring it on!