Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our new apartment

This past weekend was a 4-day weekend due to national holidays on Nov. 1 and 2 (if you’re thinking “boy those chileans sure have a lot of holidays!” remember that they don’t have Thanksgiving coming up). We spent the weekend in the coastal cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso, and I’ll have another post to tell about that. However, before we could head to the coast on Thursday, we spent the first half of the day moving to our new apartment!
This is the whole living room, right there. And yes, it is a bit messy.

The kitchen might look nice, but everything is pretty cheaply made

We would not have planned to move during a 5-month stay, but the apartment that we had at first was only available through Dec. 15 so a move was inevitable. We found the first apartment through Caroline’s MISTI program – the coordinator at MIT had family in Santiago that had a spare apartment to rent. The place was beautiful and the family was very nice, but the location was pretty distant from public transit and it gave both of us VERY long commutes.

Flash forward to today, and we are in our new apartment! The new place has some upsides and some downsides, but on net we are happy to be here.

The Upsides
The location is much better, as we had planned. Now we are just a few-minute walk from the nearest metro stop, about the same as our apartment was in Cambridge relative to the T. That’s especially helpful because the nearby Metro is the same line that goes to Caroline’s work, so now she has no connections. Mucho mas rápido!
Our new place is much more central!

The location is also better in a more general sense – we are now a quick walk to many restaurants and bars, including a small vegetarian/natural foods place just a block away! At our old place, we pretty much had to walk 20 minutes to get to the happening area. We are also much closer to the other Americans we have started to become friends with (we are going over to one of their places to watch election results tonight).

The other AWESOME benefit is that this place is a 23-story high rise with a roofdeck that has a pool, hot tub, BBQ area and an amazing view. I am actually sitting on a pool chair on the roof in 85 degree weather as I write this post! Check out these pics:
This view gives you sense of just how HUGE Santiago is
Hard to see in the photo, but there are nice mountains in the distance there.

The pool isn't large enough for laps, but it sure works for cooling off on a 90F December day!

The Downsides
The apartment itself is MUCH smaller, even smaller than our place in Cambridge – which I actually thought was a pretty good size. The whole apartment is smaller than the main open room in the old apartment. It’s fine for us, especially since we will spend a lot of time on the roofdeck. The problem is when we have people come to visit, we are going to be quite cozy!

The other downside is that the build quality of this place is terrible. The building is only about 5 years old, but everything in the apartment is on the verge of falling apart. You can just tell that everything was built on the cheap. That’s fine for us for only 3 months, but very noticable.

The truth is, since we are staying for only 3 months, it almost feels as though even the downsides are sort of positive learning experiences. We are getting the chance to live in a smaller place, which is good experience to learn to make the most of our space. The cheap-o quality isn’t exactly a good experience, but now we will be more knowledgeable about what to look for when we are eventually buying our own place.

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