Monday, February 24, 2014

We found a place to live!

This is how I found our apartment.
I'd sent out about 20 emails, and stopped by 4-5 rental agents, and we'd seen 3 places. Two of them were very new, with great views (one on the 17th floor, the other on the 18th). These were both about a mile to a mile and a half from school. Both were also quite small, with two bedrooms directly off a living/dining/kitchen area. The one we saw this morning was in a terrific location: right by a grocery, about 6 blocks from the farmers market, around the corner from the bus station. It was brand new, and perfect in every way. Plus, I really liked the rental agent, she was very patient with me and my rotten Spanish.

The second place we saw today is the one that I walked into yesterday to see if there was a furnished apartment for rent, and lo and behold, there was. This is the one we decided on for the following reasons: it is quite a bit bigger with a better layout then the other two we looked at. There is a dining room table, and an actual kitchen as opposed to one smallish living room with a counter seperating the kitchen from the living area. In addition, it is about 60 dollars a month cheaper than the other two places, and the walk to school will only be about 10 minutes. Joel is excited that there is an enclosed pool on the roof. (The view from the roof is terrific!) The only real minus is the apartment faces the parking area, thus, there is no view. On the other hand, because the building is right on Alvarez, a very busy street, facing in and  away from the street isn't so bad. And being on the 4th floor makes for easier egress in case of an earthquake or fire. It is also out of the Tsunami flood plain. I sound paranoid, but hey, I'd think of these things if I were living on the west coast of the US too.

I'll sign the contract at the notary on Wednesday, then pay our first month's rent and the deposit on Saturday when we pick up the keys. We'll then walk our bags and bundles across the street and settle in. I am very, very relieved. This was pretty hard for me, because while I can communicate in basic Spanish, there was so much vocabulary I didn't know, so it was stressful. I am going to drink a glass of wine now :-)

So to sum up, in case any readers are in the same situation as I, and need to find a place to live in Viña or Valpo, here is where I located the 3 apartments that we liked. (aimed at expats, can communicate with them in English) A real estate listing service
Walk in and ask. Every apartment building has a front desk of some sort, even the small ones, and the guys who work there (only men in all the buildings I've been in), know everything. In the case of the Mira Mar (our new building), the front desk had a book with a list of names and phone numbers of rental agents that represented landlords in the building. The concierge even called one of them, and she walked over to make an appointment in person with me.


  1. Cecile, I am very excited to know you found a nice place to live and within 10 minutes of Joel's school. Will he walk to school ? Ride a bus ? Trolley ? I am awaiting news and photos of Joel's school.

    Is home schooling an option ? It seems Steve would be an outstanding educator/dad. The classroom(s) would be Chilean villages, cities and countryside and, possibly, the surrounding countries. What great experiences for each of you !!
    This like reading a book, but I cannot read ahead to see what happens next. I guess I am "hooked" .

    1. Hi Jim,
      One of us will be walking to school with Joel-it isn't far, but this is a big city, and he doesn't speak Spanish, so for now we are staying with him. Later, we'll see if he wants to walk on his own, or if there are kids in our neighborhood who walk together. We are not interested in homeschooling Joel because he needs to be able to have friends his own age. Also, can you imagine being stuck in a small apartment at the age of 12 with just your parents for several months? :-)
      Joel does have work to do from Washington Gifted back home, which he will do in the afternoons, as well as work preparing for his Bar Mitzvah a year from now. We are going up to talk to the headmaster of the upper division of his school this morning.


  2. Cecile,
    Yes, I agree socialization is a key component of our learning. I am certain he will enjoy his classmates and they will definitely enjoy him. ( I would enjoy being a little "bird" listening to his stories of his school and peers.) When I was 12, I did not want to be stuck inside- summer, fall, winter, or spring - no way.
    I am anticipating your next blog of more new experiences.