Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our new apartment!

I'll go ahead and tell the story of how we got into this apartment in this post because it really was a blessing that God had in store for us at just the right moment.

When we arrived in Chile, we decided to go straight to Vina del Mar, which is a coastal city about 1.5 hours away from Santiago, but only about 20 minutes away from David's sister and mom. We had some leads that there may be work there for David and we felt like we had to give it a shot. We spent 4 days in a temporary apartment that was spacious but sub standard in it's amenities. During those 4 days we searched for an apartment to rent and for a school for the kids. Right when we found a school and a potential apartment, David had a meeting that indicated that he'd need to be in Santiago to pursue the work he was interested in. That same day, we packed a few bags and headed to Santiago to figure things out there. We left most of our luggage behind at David's sister's house. We arrived in Santiago without a plan, or a place to stay for that matter. After sitting in the upstairs of McDonald's (which happens to be the nicest fast food chain in town and all stores have 2-3 levels and an espresso/ice cream cafe attached) for a few hours, we eventually found a temporary apartment that was very comfortable, but not in the best part of town. That apartment was available for 3 nights, which was our time frame to find a place to live in Santiago. Thursday night would be our last night in that apartment and by Wed night we still had no potential apartments. We found that an apartment in the area of town that interested us and that we felt safe in would be way over budget for us....not to mention we were hoping to find a furnished apartment.

There were no apartments that even came close to our wish list: certain part of town, close to the metro but not on a main street, furnished, with a parking spot, preferribly with a storage space, safe for the kids, and it had to be within budget. Thursday morning was difficult for us because we were down to the wire with no direction yet. We had been praying and believing that God was going to open the doors and provide a place for us, but by Thursday morning doubt crept in and we started to feel desperate and discouraged. I believed still, but was starting to doubt and fear that we might not find anything that we could move into the next day. It seemed somewhat impossible at that point. The good thing is that God is a God of the impossible.

David made call after call to agencies that list apartments for rent and then we got a bite! The agent said that she had an owner that was renting her apartment for much more than our budget, but that she said she'd really like to have a family rent her place and maybe she would go down. We set up an appointment with her and found out that the apartment had been rented until the day before, but that the person backed out last minute from moving in. If we had called even one day beforehand they would have never mentioned this apartment, but since we called Thursday morning, we were the first to the punch once it became available. When we arrived at the apartment, we quickly saw what a fabulous location it was in; Residential, but w/in walking distance to the metro, and in the part of town we preferred. The owner agreed to rent the apartment to us for $400 less than what she had intended to rent it for....and furnished! She left everything! And....she agreed to move her stuff out and let us move in the next day!

In front of the apartment complex there is a plaza with a playground for the kids. There is a little boy playset and a big boy playset. The apartment complex is gated and has a 24 hour consierge. The owner rented the apartment to us with an assigned parking spot and a storage room!. She left EVERYTHING in the apartment for our use. We have not had to buy anything! It is literally everything that we had on our wish list!

The space is very small compared to the states, but adequate for big city living. It's probably 300-350 sq.ft. total. There are two bedrooms and two baths with a balcony that overlooks from the 6th floor towards The Andes mountain range. In the kitchen there is a compact washer to wash our clothes. There is actually sufficient closet space, but you just have to close one door to open the other since all of the storage is in a corner behind a door somewhere. There is no central heat/AC, but that is standard. Basically you just open or close the windows. We won't be here during the winter, but during the summer it will be hot on some days.

We are very thankful for this apartment and we already feel very comfortable here. I will be thankful when we can afford to put up a protective screen on the balcony because then I can leave the sliding doors open and that will give us another 50-75 sq.ft. for the kids to play. Right now the balcony wall is too low and it is not safe to let Ty go out there. We have to have a screen installed to make it safe. Luckily the owner is not opposed to us having it installed eventhough she does not intend to use it. Other than that, we need to figure out a bed/sleeping arrangement for the boys because they will not be able to share a bed the whole time we're here, and I really want a coat/bag rack to put at the door....details. Haha!

Pretty cool, huh? It's amazing what will come along when we're not in control but God is!

*Note: These are the pics I took the first day. We've since rearranged a little, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What I Miss The Most

Apart from my family, friends, and the space in our house, what I miss the most is our dryer and our dishwasher.
Luckily we have a washer for our clothes (it's in the kitchen under the sink), but we don't have a dryer. The clothes dry within about two hours hanging outside and it's not even that hot outside.
We're having serious issues with keeping up with our dishes. We have to figure out another system! Ideally we'd each have a glass and a plate and that's all we'd use, but with kids that gets difficult. Especially because the kitchen is a seperate room with a door, so it doesn't lend itself to washing dishes while you watch the kids or while you talk about the day. You have to be close din the kitchen to get the job done.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chile Adventure 2011

Well, I have been an utter disappointment to the blogging world. I was pretty sure that I would not be very successful before I even started, and my inclination has proven to be true. Once again, I am going to give it a shot. The Cabrera family has embarked on a new adventure that I would love to document and maybe blogging is the way to go. We'll see!
Two weeks and two days ago, on September 9, 2011, we arrived to Chile for an 8 month stint. How we got to this point is another post, but here we are. We are now in a two bedroom apartment in Santiago, we're driving a 4-door Mazda 2, and we're ready to see what God has in store for our next 7.5 months.
Although I do want to document the really important stuff, I also just want a place to put the funny things that I come across on a daily basis.
What has impressed me the most so far?
ANSWER: Parking garages!
These people have parking garages down to a science!
  • They are all under ground. Under the mall, under the city streets, under the hospital, under whatever (I mean, they even have a turnpike that is under a river!)
  • Every parking spot has a sensor above it. When there is a car parked in the spot, a light that hangs above the end of the spot turns red. When the car pulls out, the light turns green.
  • At each intersection there is a sign that indicates how many available spots you can find in that row. When all the spots on that row are full, the sign turns into an X.
  • There are pedestrian walkways in the parking garage: Instersections where you cross, lanes that you walk in, etc. (This makes sense b/c people drive crazy and you could easily get side swiped if you're not standing in the right spot)
  • There are car washes in the parking garage. If you need a car wash, oh...just park in the car wash corner! For an extra $4 you can get your car washed while you shop!

Not to metion other cool things like the magnetic grocery carts that you take up an down the moving sidewalk ramp. Or the grocery store/wal-mart entrance that you have via the mall. Talk about a one-stop-shop! The mall, dinner at a restaurant, the grocery store, oh...and a car wash....all in one!

I'll take pics and post!