Tag Archives: moving

Settling In to the New Place

27 Dec

Last weekend took a toll on me, but it was highly worth the exhaustion it caused. After Friday’s Christmas Eve bash in the park that lasted until 7:30 am my body was pretty much destroyed lasting all the way up until now, and I’m still trying to recover. The ongoing heat wave isn’t helping any, and yesterday was the long-awaited move into the new apartment which I just found a week earlier. I’m a bit too tired now to go into details and haven’t got any photos yes, but I feel very comfortable and at ease here. On the 13th floor we have an incredible panoramic view of the city. Right in front of us to the east we have the Botanical Gardens, from the kitchen we can see to the domestic airport and the river, and from the laundry room as well as my bedroom we see far to the western horizon of Buenos Aires. It’s hot now but with the windows open we get a great breeze blowing in after the sun has gone down.

Sitting in the well-lit living room we have a few comfortable chairs, a baby grand piano and another electric piano. A bookshelf houses volumes and movies, while artwork adorns the walls. Little things like a bookshelf and some artwork makes the greatest difference between a house where someone lives and a place that someone rents out. It’s the kind of thing I’ve been looking for all along. When I came in yesterday I noticed that in my room there’s a print of a Salvador Dalí painting hanging up. He’s my favorite painter, and I immediately thought, “I’m going to like it here.”

My roommate Tomás is a concert pianist from Bariloche, which is why we have such a musical house. Yesterday I listened to him play for a bit and we talked for a bit before he headed out. He’s heading south for a month this week but a friend of his will be staying here while he’s gone, so we won’t really get to know each other for a while. But the most important thing is that I’m in my place, in my home, and I feel good. More photos need to be taped up and random things arranged, but for now, the biggest step is over.


My Last Night in Recoleta

25 Dec

It seems like only yesterday that I was moving out of my own apartment in Palermo to a shared one in Recoleta. It was the beginning of July and winter was picking up steam. After living alone for six months I was looking forward to having some company again and hopefully getting some more friends out of the experience. It would be slightly cheaper and closer to work, allowing me to walk to work, which is a gift in this giant city. In better weather it would also give me the chance to go running right out of the front door and down a stretch of road perfect for a street runner. The 4th move since arriving less than a year earlier in Buenos Aires, it was supposed to be my last, but now at the end of December I find myself spending the last night in Recoleta before moving back to Palermo tomorrow afternoon.

Again, the choice to move out was made by financial reasons, and as inflation continues to rise, it became necessary to find something more stable. Living hand to mouth while working so hard got too old, and knowingly paying way too much for rent was no longer something I could consciously do. So this is my last night in “the most exclusive neighborhood in Buenos Aires.” I never felt totally comfortable here because in reality it’s just not my kind of place. The upper class-snooty-boutique world makes for a nice pass through occasionally, but it simply wasn’t for me on a day-to-day basis. Of course, the part of Recoleta that I live in is considered the most elite part of the whole neighborhood, so not all of the barrio is like this. You won’t find many small shops or businesses that actually suit your normal needs. This proved difficult to me. Transportation was slim because most people have cars.

Now I’ll be moving back to Palermo, but this time in front of the Botanical Gardens. With more transportation, stores and little cafes that are in my budget, I think I’ll be happier. With the possibility to enjoy myself more comes the improvement of the quality of life. So goodbye Recoleta. I’ll still have some fond memories, but it just didn’t work out.

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”.

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.

Recoleta + 1

30 Jun

Well, I no longer live in Palermo. This morning I took a couple of hours off to pack up the rest of my stuff and head over to Recoleta. It wasn’t totally easy, even though I’d already moved some of my things a few weeks back. I had my giant backpack filled to the top, my smaller laptop backpack on my stomach, and two giant bags in each arm as I awkwardly bumped through the doorframe and into the narrow elevator. Then I waited by the corner for a minute until a cab picked me up.

The cabbie thought I was a backpacker and expected to take me to the airport, so he was surprised when we started talking and I told him where we were headed. Slowly he opened up and told me that he was originally from Córdoba, and once he realized that I too liked the Boca Juniors, it was like we were old friends. I couldn’t have picked a better day to move, with the temperature getting into the 60’s and a bright blue sky, so that as he left me in front of my new home I was starting to sweat under my jacket and baggage.

At the new apartment I could only drop my bags off and look at the mess, wondering where to begin. I could have taken the whole morning to fix it up, but I didn’t want to get to work too late. Even though Argentine law allows two days off for moves, I only asked for and wanted a few hours from one morning. I’d rather not take advantage of the system and hope that one day if I really am sick those days will be there for me without question. With so much clothing and other things I’ve acquired (limited though they are) my new tiny room simply can’t fit it all. I need to find a way to put the rest of my things away in a place where I can easily get to them, which will no doubt take me a few days to do.

I’ve still got that bed bud problem that I just mentioned in the last post, but had done my laundry just before leaving Palermo. I took the remaining “dirty” clothes and prepared them for the Laundromat here. The last thing I want to do is bring the bugs with me. After emptying the big backpack and arranging some things in the kitchen I decided to get to the office and take care of the rest later. Only an hour into my Recoleta life and the first price increase smacked me in the face. I dropped off the laundry, not even a full bag, and they told me it would cost $34 pesos, $17 per load. In the Microcentro I used to pay $18, and in Palermo I paid $20 until recently the price rose to $22. So it’s a huge hike, even without inflation considered. This is just the beginning of these kinds of changes.

With the beautiful day I took advantage of my ability to walk to work again and wove through Recoleta quickly, getting hot under the leather jacket. I made it a short walk, passing by embassies and beautiful Parisian-style architecture, and it really felt like spring. Like a new start, to get cliché for just a moment. So tonight I’ll pick up my laundry, square away the rest of my room, and maybe even buy some food so I can eat dinner. If time permits I’ll try to get to know my new roommates and begin the next chapter in my Buenos Aires experience.

Get Out of My Apartment Now!

28 Jun

Well it’s not nearly that serious, but hey, had to drag you in with a catchy title, right? This morning came the news from my friendly real estate agent, Santiago, that they had found a new renter and I could leave when I wanted. The contract is set to expire on July 11th, but if I leave early the owners would give me back the remaining amount of rent which I already paid. Shortly after confirming with Santiago that I’d be out on the 1st of the month (Thursday) and calling my new apartment owner to make sure I could show up on the 30th, Santiago called back to discuss options.

In place of giving back the 11 days worth of rent (roughly $880 pesos) they were simply going to give back the deposit in full (1 month rent). I don’t feel like spilling how much I pay, but if you have a calculator you could figure it out anyway, so it’d be $2,400 pesos. I went with Door #2. However, this leaves me with little time to pack my life together again and get the hell out of dodge. Though I’ve already moved a good portion of my stuff, I’m not there yet. It’s amazing how much junk you can fit into a backpack and suitcase when you live abroad, and this is the 4th time I’m moving now since living in Argentina alone, not even counting Ecuador.

Though it’s mostly clothing, it takes up space and time. Argentina legally gives you two days off of work when you move houses, but I’m not even sure what my status is here (don’t forget that my citizenship went through a couple of weeks ago). But without papers and getting paid under the table, I’m not going to scream for worker’s rights if they don’t let me get a day off. All I really need is permission to be a couple of hours late anyway. I’m not trying to abuse the system, and I just might be the only shmuck in the whole country, unfortunately.

Tonight I started by finishing off the last of the food I have in the house, making some nice chicken parm cutlets and sauteed onions and red peppers. Next I threw some clothes in my over-sized backpack, hoping to avoid bringing the bed bugs which have been plaguing me for the last few weeks. Yep, I forgot to mentions those guys for a while now. My old arch nemesis from Ecuador seems to have followed me to Buenos Aires, and I have no idea how they got my address seeing as how I’m unlisted. It’s a nightly struggle, waking up to find new bites. I brought the majority of my clothes to the cleaners in the hopes of drowning them away.

I took some time to talk with my friendly old neighbor Ana, who I promised to have coffee with on Friday night after handing over the keys and doing the check-out with the owners. She swears that I’m the best neighbor around, never making a sound and all, and that it’s a shame I’m leaving so soon. But I’ll be back someday. I have to come back because my DNI is going to be sent here in six months to a year or whenever it might arrive. Plus, a package of mine is lost somewhere in the black hole of the Argentine postal service, and maybe that too will someday surface.

So it’s finally come to this. After six months of living in Palermo, taking advantage of the parks during the summer and fall, and the new experience of living alone, I’m on the move again. It’s a shame, but you do what you can, and though it was a failed experiment in living alone, it taught me a lot at the very least. When I arrived I lived in La Boca for one month. I then lived in the Microcentro for four months. Then six months in Palermo. I keep increasing in time stayed. Next is Recoleta, and I’m so sick of moving. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 11 months.