Tag Archives: housing

To Further Confuse You On Where I Live

21 Dec

The apartment I saw yesterday was nice with an excellent location. It’s right in front of the Botanical Gardens and on the 13th floor, has a panoramic view from the east to the west. It’s not exactly a penthouse with the luxury that might bring out millionaires, but it was just what I was looking for. Still not totally furnished, the guy from Bariloche who studies and plays piano in the house seemed alright and like a good fit for me. It was a musical house, but also a place to relax and feel comfortable. I saw a mate sitting on the table and thought that this could work.

But as he was explaining the details on the place, I got a call from the previous apartment saying that they could let me back in, giving me something else to think about. Something about their new deal just didn’t feel right with me, and though I think it would be a far stretch to say they were trying to scam me, but the trust was definitely gone. It’s not a good way to start off a relationship in the apartment aside from everything else. Today I got an email from the guy at the other apartment saying he liked me and I was welcome to live there and move in on Sunday, the same day that I’d bee preparing to move in originally at the other place.

My friends gave me the same advice, and my mind was pretty much already made. In the end I decided to go with the new place rather than take a risk on a sketchy owner and a situation that could devolve once again. So now, as planned before, yet not according to plan, I’ll be moving to a new apartment on Sunday. This place will be close to where I once lived in Plaza Italia, and I’m interested in seeing how things have changed in the 5 months that I’ve been “gone”.

Crisis Averted

20 Dec

The last post was troublesome–I had just been given the terrible news that yet again my housing situation was falling through and it looked like I was going to wind up in a hostel by the end of the week unless I could find a new apartment immediately. Yet even while feeling bummed out over Saturday and Sunday, I couldn’t help the smile that came across my face when seeing the support that my friends were offering me. I posted a quick note in frustration on Facebook and suddenly messages came in with advice and suggestions. Even people I’d never met were offering a place to crash for a few days if need be.

I began the search for a new apartment quickly and yesterday went down to Monserrat. The neighborhood is on the other side of San Telmo but has a similar feel. As my friend Fernando from BA Cast put it, “it’s the perfect mix of centro and barrio.” The apartment was set up exactly like the first one I lived in in La Boca when I arrived almost a year and a half ago, and while it seemed okay, it was basically just that. It would suffice for a few weeks or a month maybe, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be thrilled living there. The neighborhood was comfortable and quiet with the sound of birds in trees and children playing in the street. I could see myself happy in Monserrat, but in the right apartment. The search continued.

Today at work my co-workers showed their support, and even though I was exhausted from sleeping badly and feeling lousy about the situation, help was offered which offset the general feel of despair. At the back of my mind I could at least take comfort in that no matter how uncomfortable it might be for a few days, weeks or a month, I wouldn’t be in a hostel. After leaving the office I went to check out a nice apartment in Palermo just a few blocks from where the other apartment was located. It was better than just okay and the guy told me he would let me know on Wednesday if it would work out. Oddly enough, while I was still at his place the girl from the other apartment gave me a call.

Apparently their contract was ending and the owner wanted to sell the apartment rather than renew the lease, which is why he gave such short notice to leave. But they talked to him and said they wanted to keep living there, so evidently he changed his mind and agreed to renew the lease. So now I find myself in limbo again, unsure if I should trust this owner who flip flops or go with the other place, contingent on being invited to live there. Wednesday will most likely be the day of reckoning, and that’s when I’ll have more news to report.

On another note, tomorrow night Dan and Fernando of BA Cast will be recording a live episode from Sugar Bar in Palermo on Costa Rica 4619 (y Armenia). If you’re in Buenos Aires and want to come down for cheap drinks and a chance to get on the air, give us a shout out.

I Think I Found a New Place to Live

22 Nov

I’ve been trying to find a new apartment for over a month now and the search has been difficult. I don’t want to move again, and this will be the 5th time, but inflation hits hard and I need to find a cheaper apartment in a cheaper neighborhood. Even just a change of a couple hundred of pesos can make a difference, especially since I live as frill-less as possible. Lately, my search winded down because of a false sense of success. A couple weeks ago I checked out an apartment and everything seemed fine. I felt comfortable, the price was good, and all was well. I just needed to meet another roommate before they could sign off on it. This process proved difficult, and though I asked again for an update, I finally went to meet the roommate last Thursday after work.

The roommate from Panama was friendly and serious, and we both agreed on points and made good impressions on each other. He told me I was most likely welcome to live there but would just need to check in with the other girl, and would let me know by Saturday at the latest. Saturday came and I still hadn’t heard, so when I contacted him again and said I needed to know yes or no so that I could at least give ample warning to my current roommates. He apologized and said they still had to figure something out and he would let me know in the morning.

This was all weird because as far as I was concerned, we were all in agreement that we felt comfortable with each other, the price was agreed on, and in my opinion, that’s all you can hope for. I shouldn’t have to write an essay on my core beliefs or anything else, save submitting a letter of recommendation. Sunday night and I still hadn’t heard, so again I ask what the deal is, and finally they say all is good, you’re welcome to live with us. “Bienvenidos!” Good, great, (finally) thank you, we’ll talk in a day or so the hash out details and settle the deposit.

But this morning I got a surprising text saying sorry, but things have changed and we’re going to rent the room to a friend of the girl. Sorry we made you waste two weeks, head all over town and dick you around saying we’ll let you know, we’ll let you know. If that had all happened and they said no, so be it. But they told me OK. That’s just bad form. My frustration and difficulty in renting in Buenos Aires now has a new story to add to the bullshit I’ve had to put up with.

So seemingly without options again, I quickly scanned some other apartments I was looking at and called up the girl in the morning. She said to come by in the afternoon, and after getting a nice lunch in Chinatown with my old roommate Linde who came back to Buenos Aires the other day, I checked out the place in Alto Palermo. It’s a bit farther away from the office than the other apartment was, but had a nice living room, balcony, and still affordable price. A roommate from Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina round out the place, and though the room is small and I’ll have to ride the subway in the summer again, it’s a nice place and worth it. It won’t be available until January, but I’m going back on Friday to leave a deposit. Barring any other setbacks, hopefully on Friday I can say surely that I have a new place to live. Until then, it’s a matter of keeping fingers crossed.

Es Un Tema

31 Oct

Those of you who have followed along throughout my time in Argentina know that one main struggle I’ve had is finding stable housing. In a year in Argentina I’ve already moved four times, with various problem in just finding a place which is affordable with sane people, semi-close to work and nice places to go out, with a close enough park to run by. It might seem like a lot, but what it all comes down to in the end is feeling truly comfortable in a home, rather than just like being in transit in a hostel. There have been many sacrifices on these points. First I had a cheap place but in a bad neighborhood, then living in an uncomfortable situation and no where near a park, followed by way over my price range.

Even on the 4th move to Recoleta (admittedly odd considering how expensive the neighborhood is) it was slightly cheaper than what I was previously paying. But with inflation continuing, the problem now becomes that planning ahead is nearly impossible. If I look at my monthly salary and what I need to get by, X, it unfortunately morphs to Y by the end of the month, and now even though I scrimped and saved as much as I could, I still don’t make it easily to the 31st. This is what happens when you live in a country with an unstable economy. For example, on the rare occasion that I don’t bring a small sandwich to work (cheapest option) I buy a couple of empanadas from a bakery around the corner from the office. In one week the prices of the empanadas, which were cheaper than most places for months, went up twice. Now they’re no longer a cheap and delicious option.

So with these things in mind, I’ve been looking for a new apartment yet again. The idea of moving for a 5th time makes me sick, but since paychecks don’t adjust for inflation, I’m left with few choices. It wouldn’t be my own fault if I barely worked, but I work too long and too hard to be so poor, so something’s gotta give, again. I began looking a couple of weeks ago and have seen many apartments already, but with little success. It’s always the same catch. One apartment is well-located but it’s a dump where I could possibly contract cholera. Another is a great apartment, nice location and affordable, but some odd rule like I can never have a friend over and need to be quiet most of the time. I might have a friend over once every two months and I’m quiet anyway, but I like having the option at least. Plus, if I’m paying to live there I want to feel like it’s my apartment as well, and not that I’m just a guest.

I was also burned twice on two other apartments where everything was great, but after talking with the guys they told me they preferred girls, despite the fact that it wasn’t in the ad. No worries, they just wasted my time and enthusiasm. Thanks. Jumping around town looking for the right place by the end of the month drained me and my body fell exhausted all week, and eating something bad on Monday night didn’t help, making me remember the good old days on the Ecuador diet.

But last night I was hanging out with my friend Pablo and a friend of a friend told me about a Web site which is better than Craigslist, the source I’ve been using. Craigslist for apartments in Buenos Aires is more for foreigners, I was told, but another Web site, CompartoDepto is for Argentines. As much as I hate revealing a secret which could then cause the site to be trafficked by too many people, it’s worth noting. These apartments are for sharing with people in the area, mostly students or young professionals, meaning the prices are all in pesos and very reasonable. I’ve only started to go through it today, but already sent out a few messages. I have to wait now to see if they get back to me and if it works out. But either way, I’ll let you know if this process proves to be successful.