7. and 8. Aussie Andrew and Mariela from Argentina

Oh Andrew, my hostel buddy. Andrew moved into the hostel where I was living while I looked for an apartment in Mendoza. He was not another traveler passing through; he had come from Australia to look for a job and live in Argentina. He had been doing this for his early 20s in other countries too, becoming fluent in Spanish and an old soul in the process. Andrew is just lovely to be around, and I don’t mean to imply a crush on him…54 year old Adriana who was also living in the hostel took care of that. He just has that magnetic smile and personality and being in the unusual situation of living in a hostel surrounded by transient travelers, it was refreshing to have a friend around. We’d often get into meaningful chats together about living in other countries, learning Spanish, World Cup plans, our respective loves and even the stars. I still owe him a birth chart reading. He seems so comfortable with who he is and this I admire.

And I got to witness the relationship unfold between him and the lovely Mariela, another beautiful soul. Mariela is always smiling, and not in a “faking happiness” way, but rather in a very genuine way that makes you want to just hug her and try harder to understand her Spanish. It was in talking with Mariela about life purpose, passions, meditation and such that I realized my Spanish had moved beyond ordering at restaurants and asking for directions. Mariela introduced us to her other friends, which invited us into a local experience of Mendoza. There is simply an ease and happiness you feel from each of them and even more so from the the two of them together as an adorable couple. I spent the last of my days living in Mendoza in their company, visiting our friends’ organic farm and then cooking dinner from the fresh produce we gathered while we are there. I was assured that I now have friends for life and am so grateful for that.