Martin and his partner Lucia moved to Amsterdam from Argentina in January 2021. Martin was born and raised in the South of the country, a region called Patagonia and Lucia is from the Buenos Aires area.
When we asked them for the interesting facts about their home country, they had this to say: “We have very big inflation in our money, we don’t know how much the groceries will cost by the end of the day. People have savings, but it’s not savings for a vacation, it is just to fight the inflation”.
“We eat a lot of meat and a lot is a LOT. You can randomly come to a family house and they will offer you an asado”. Asado is a very traditional dish in Argentina and is meat cooked on a grill or on an open fire. It’s mostly used to describe the traditional event of the Argentinian barbecue, largely common between families and friends on the weekends. Argentinians make it for all occasions - if somebody is happy, if somebody is sad or for celebration’s of any kind. There is a saying “Make an asado for all the occasions”. Martin recollects with a smile during his University years he and his friends would save up money to have “asado weekends”. Martin and Lucia hope to keep up this tradition here in the Netherlands and are planning to cook asado with a small barbecue.
Another very traditional thing is maté (herbal tea, very popular in South America). Maté is a national drink in Argentina and drinking maté is a very common social activity shared amongst friends, family and even strangers. (But now because of Corona, we don’t share it, of course). “You can enter a grocery store and somebody will offer you a mate“. Maté is more than a drink, it’s about sharing, the experience, connecting with other people and making friends. People drink it from the time they wake up till the time they go to bed; everyone has a maté in the house with their own recipe. There is no special time to drink maté, no occasion, Argentinians just drink it all the time. Martin shares their experience smiling “We are always traveling with maté, and security guards think it is a drug and stop us on every border we cross, so we have to explain a lot. In Argentina wherever you enter somebody offers you a maté, this is something that we will miss here” - Martin and Lucia nostalgically say while sipping their maté.
When we asked, what else, except traditional maté sharing, they’re going to miss about home, this is what they had to say with the smile: “Noise. Our cities are very noisy, there is always a lot of people making noise, talking on the streets, when you are walking on the streets of Argentina you can hear other people’s conversations. Over here people are very quiet.“
Also, the couple thinks they will miss the spontaneity that Argentinians have. If someone wants to see a friend, they don’t have to call or plan a visit, they just show up on the doorstep, get in and of course, get the maté. “We are very spontaneous, we don’t bother at all, if somebody shows up at my door. I’m always happy to have guests” says Martin.
When we asked Martin and Lucia what they did in their first few days in Amsterdam, this is what they said; “We walked a lot! On one of our fist days in Amsterdam we had a 5 hour walk, it was very cold. Another thing that we really enjoyed and what was amazing for us, was snow. Lucia saw snow for the first time in her life here in Amsterdam. It was nice for her, we made snow angels, we took a lot of pictures, we really enjoyed that. It felt like my childhood in the neighbourhood with all the snow”.
Big salt flats in Jujuy province, Argentina
Looking for new life experience
Martin and Lucia were thinking about new opportunities and living abroad for a long time but when Corona came those thoughts started appearing to them more often. They wanted to experience something new and different from what they knew. Martin and Lucia are both software engineers, a profession in demand worldwide and could choose jobs in many countries around the world. Martin got an offer in Amsterdam and they went for it. “We didn’t want to be old and regret what would happen. It’s not like we were trying to make our lives better, it was just to try and live through a different experience”.
They remember their relocation experience as super fast, nice and smooth, but still there were some obstacles to overcome. By the time they decided to move the whole country of Argentina was in total lockdown and even the airport was about to close. They had no furniture, no apartment, everything was sold, they started to think what would happen if the flight got canceled, if they could not leave Argentina. Thankfully after a few days of anxiety everything turned out ok.
This is what Martin has to say about their relocation: “Our relocation was super fast. In Argentina all the agencies are very slow and here everything goes so quick. I remember when I contacted the company who hired me, they told me that I can plan to be here in a month we couldn’t believe it. It took us two months actually, just because we decided to finish some things in Argentina. The relocation process was super smooth, we had no issues at all. From the time Settly contacted us, they explained everything from the beginning, we knew the procedure, every step, so there were no surprises. We were just replying to emails and sending required documents. And the next email I got was saying that we can book our flights. Settly helped us with everything and we are very thankful for this”
Martin and Lucia in the airport, getting on the plane to Amsterdam
Meet Martin & Lucia’s Amsterdam
Top tips for newcomers
- Try to walk as much as possible before you get on a bike. We think that walking in the city will let you know places around better. It is a really beautiful city and perfect for walking.
- Don’t be afraid of not knowing a word in Dutch, but try to learn of course. It was a great surprise for us that everybody here speaks English.
Places to go
Vondelpark is our favourite spot right now, we walk there almost everyday.
We haven’t been to any restaurants, but at Albert Cuypt market there is a corner with Turkish food and it is amazing! Also it is very similar to Argentinian food, we really like it”.
What do you do when you’re not working?
- Learning new languages. When the first lockdown came in 2020, Martin and Lucia started to learn Chinese and after moving to Netherlands the new goal was set - to learn Dutch and keep improving English.
- Sports. Before moving here Martin was doing olympic lifting (for 3 years), cross fit, kite surfing and spent his whole life practicing taekwondo.
- Crochet. Lockdown brought a new hobby for Lucia - crocheting, she is cozying their home with her creations (toys, blankets, carpets)
- Besides all that, the couple loves to read, walk around Amsterdam and watch a lot of series, but most of all they enjoy being in their new home :)
Martin and Lucia consider themselves to be very lucky with the move. Just two days after they arrived in the Netherlands the border was closed; they got their BSN numbers, opened a bank account and got their new apartment all on the same day. And after all that the couple got the chance to see snow and frozen canals of Amsterdam.
We sincerely hope that this luck will stick with them for a very long time!
Couple in their new home, in Amsterdam