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.