“Why Salta?” people ask me all the time. Friends. Family. People I’ve met through this blog and even from Saltenos. All want to know why an American family would settle here. The answer is simple.
We left NYC to travel, yes, but we had another motive as well. We left on an open ended journey to find a new place to call home.
So then, get to it. Why Salta?
The weather here is lovely. Never too hot. Never too cold. Salta is a city, big enough to find everything you could possibly want or need. Ok, maybe not maple syrup, but that’s a small price to pay to live in such a lovely place. Still, it’s small enough not to feel overwhelmed and overcrowded.
There’s a well working system of buses. Wifi cafes and local internet make it easy to stay connected to the world outside of Salta, and it has an international airport and bus station making it easily accessible from anywhere in South America. As I explore more, I find unique places and people who show me a different way to view the world.
But really, it’s the people here that make me want to stay.
People here use a particular figure of speech in response to a Thank You that sums it all up for me. You don’t say You’re welcome as is the case in English. It’s not the French Je vous en prie. And not even the de nada you hear in other Spanish speaking places.
Here, they say Aye, por nada and always said with such warmth and meaning that you truly feel that you are indeed welcome, that whatever has been done for you comes from the heart with no strings and from a a complete and utter generosity of spirit.
When Noah was sick last year, our neighbor, who I barely knew, found a doctor who would make a house call to a highly febrile American. When we needed a place to stay but the apartment we wanted to rent wouldn’t be ready for another week, another friend took us into her home while our new landlord, another stranger, stored our bags.
I find the same openness everywhere I go, and at first I didn’t trust it. Fifteen years in New York taught me that words don’t mean what they appear on the surface. Salta is helping me unlearn all that.
It’s a slow process, but over time, we have built a life here, and we have built our NGO Cloudhead ART based on that life with the idea that maybe we can give back just a little bit to this community via photography, art and technology.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the cost of living in Salta is less money and of better quality than just about any other place I’ve been. There’s lots to do and a great school for Lila. All the fruit and vegetables in the market here — the fabulous mercado municipal on calle Urquiza — has been locally grown. The wine region here is incredible. Travel just a half an hour by bus, and you’ll find some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever
Nothing in life is perfect. I’m aware of that, and as easily as I list the positives, I could supply you with a list of negatives as well. Maybe another time. For now, I’ll be a bit more Salteño in that respect and not worry so much about what I don’t have and what isn’t.