Love and tango under the Southern stars: An expat’s tale of following her heart to Argentina

The allure of foreign lands had always tugged at my adventurous spirit. From the cobbled streets of my hometown in Brittany to the vibrant pulse of Berlin or London, I’d embraced the expat life, each new city and country was a chapter in my ongoing story.

But Argentina? It wasn’t exactly on the itinerary.

Love, as it often does, had a different plan.

At 31, I was already a seasoned expat, having lived and worked in London, Berlin, London again, Bordeaux, back to London and there I was living in Valencia, Spain.

I was a fundraiser and a marketer with a passion for exploring the world and its cultures.

Within my first week in Valencia, I moved into a shared flat with 3 Argentinians – A girl and 2 boys, a dental assistant from Mendoza, a young male model from Buenos Aires and then Gaston, an athletic trainer from Rosario!

home office abroad

Very soon,  I got very drawn to Gaston –  and his way of getting close when talking to me or touching my arm while speaking.

I didn’t know it at the time but I learnt later that those are kind of normal things to do in Argentinian culture. laughing

There’s a 2017 Coca-cola ad that depicts that very well.

Anyway, one thing led to another, the language barrier didn’t stop us from falling in love. I barely spoke Spanish at the time and he didn’t speak French or English.

He loves to boost that he was my private Spanish instructor back then. I also had a tiny dictionary that followed me everywhere – Remember it was the time before the smartphone!

The 2008 Spanish economic uncertainty, a storm brewing on the horizon, threatened to dampen our optimistic spirit. He decided to move back to Argentina – 18 months into our relationship and it was decision-time for me.

When my heart led me to Argentina to be with him, it wasn’t just a romantic leap; it was a plunge into the unknown, a tango with fate on a foreign dance floor.

Argentina wasn’t in the script, but then again, neither was the charming chaos that awaited me. The language, a melody I was still learning, swirled around me, a constant reminder of the cultural chasm I had to bridge.

 But I wasn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Instead of clinging to the familiar expat havens of Europe, I dove headfirst into the local community.

My Spanish, halting and imperfect, became my passport, unlocking doors to friendships and experiences I never could have imagined.

Argentines, with their warmth as fiery as their tango steps, welcomed me into their lives.

Over steaming mates, I learned their stories, their laughter echoing in the cafes and plazas.

Drinking Mate in Argentina

Theirs was a culture that embraced passion, a vibrant tapestry woven with history, music, and joyful defiance.

It wasn’t always easy. There were moments of frustration, days when the language barrier felt insurmountable, and the economic realities gnawed at my sense of security.

But amidst the challenges, a new strength bloomed within me. 

Driven by my love for Argentina and a desire to empower others, I transformed my marketing skills into a portable business.

“Anywhere In The World,” my first blog (now this current blog) became a beacon for aspiring expats, guiding them through the labyrinth of online marketing and entrepreneurship.

And then there was Rosario, my adopted city. Nestled along the Paraná River, it pulsated with a unique energy.

The scent of grilling food mingled with the aroma of freshly baked “facturas”, a symphony of everyday life playing out on the bustling streets.

But the heart of Rosario beat in its cultural heartbeat, the rhythm of the tango.

In the darkened milongas, under the watchful gaze of portraits of tango legends, I learned the language of the dance, each step a whispered conversation between bodies and souls.

The tango wasn’t just a dance; it was a metaphor for my life in Argentina.

It was about embracing the unknown, navigating the unexpected turns, and finding beauty in the imperfections. It was about passion, connection, and the courage to surrender to the rhythm of life, even when the steps were uncertain.

Fourteen years have passed since I first stepped onto Argentine soil, a wide-eyed expat with a heart full of hope and a knapsack full of dreams.

Today, I stand taller, my roots woven into the fertile soil of this land that challenged me, embraced me, and ultimately, transformed me. I have now 2 daughters who are proud to be Argentineans and French at the same time. 

My story isn’t a fairytale romance with a predictable happily ever after. Tango, like life in Argentina, wasn’t just a graceful dance; it was a tango with fate, filled with missteps and tumbles alongside breathtaking twirls.

Bruised shins and a sprained ankle became souvenirs of my adventures, testaments to the risks and rewards of embracing a new life.

Because as much as love fuels our journeys, unexpected medical detours can derail them. 

That’s why, as an expat who’s tangoed with both passion and misfortune, I recommend travel medical insurance like SafetyWing.

Designed for globetrotters like us, it offers peace of mind, knowing you’re covered wherever your next adventure takes you. So, raise a glass to unconventional love stories, embrace the unknown, and tango with confidence, knowing SafetyWing has your back (and ankles!).

Let’s get back to that dance, shall we?

 This Valentine’s Day, I celebrate the unconventional love stories, the ones that defy expectations and rewrite the script. I raise a glass to the expats who trade comfort for adventure, who embrace the unknown with open arms and hearts.

And I raise a glass to Argentina, the land of tango, where I found not just love, but a family, a home, a purpose, and a rhythm that forever beats in my soul.

So, if you’re searching for a love story with a twist, one that transcends roses and chocolates, look beyond the predictable narratives. 

Seek out the stories whispered in foreign languages, the connections forged in unfamiliar lands, and the adventures that blossom when you dare to follow your heart, wherever it may lead you, even if it’s to the pulsating rhythm of tango in Argentina.