House hunting in Santiago has not been what I expected. I very soon realized that I was spoiled in our 300+ sq. meter apartment in La Paz with five bedrooms was HUGE compared to what we could afford here. We don't pay for our rent but the embassy gives us a very STRICT budget of about $3,500 USD for rent. We can't go a penny over and we are not allowed to pay the difference...let's say that we find a house for $38 more a month...which happened to us with this house above. This house is very roomy with TONS of closet space, but the ownder wanted $38 USD more than our budget and the deal fell through. It was also in a gated community with trails and playgrounds close by, oh and did I mention the short 10 minute commute to Luka and Sam's schools...so I am very sad.
Our second choice is great...this house here...but the house is not available until August 5th or so. As you can see the style of the house is more our cup of tea...high ceilings, concrete finish...way cool! My Eames chairs will look fabulous. One of the downsides is that you need to go down a flight of stairs when you go home (the house is built on a hill) and there are steps EVERYWHERE in the house. I am a little apprehensive with Sam, but the current renter that has three small daughters assures me that he will get used to it. I just wonder how many falls before that....Also it doesn't have a lot of storage space, but that will give me an excuse to purge and organize!
So that is where we are at. We have a couple of other houses that are also modern, that we like but not sold on. But they are good backups. I thought that our "generous" housing budget would get us a mansion...or at least enough space to fit all our stuff that we had in La Paz...but reality check...Santiago is WAY more expensive than La Paz or Maputo. Yesterday at Subway JJ and I spent $20 USD on two subs!!! But hey not being negative. I am sure this city has MUCH to offer but being a new, a little lost and homeless has be a little negative.
Santiago was sunny the day we arrived but since then it has been a permanent shade of grey and I have not been in the best mood, but that also has to do with our current hotel/apartment accommodations. With JJ, the two kids, the nanny*, nine suitcases and our big FEET we don't have much space to move around. We are also on the 21st floor and the windows and terrance don't lock properly so I am on constant watch with the boys. But the good news is that this is only temporary...thank goodness.
That is my update for now and i hope to have more permanent news about a house in the next couple of days.
* We flew our weekend babysitter from Bolivia to Santiago to help us with the kids. The idea was that she would be here for one month and help us take care of the kids while we moved and got the house ready. We didn't know anyone and hiring a nanny is a bit more completed in Santiago so we wanted to make sure we had someone to help while we "set up house" but that is not going to happen since she leaves July 29th and we won't get a house until August. Sam is very active these days and needs an eye on him at all times. Not having any family close by means we need someone to help. This week I will start calling and interviewing potential candidates.