Probably one of the most daunting aspects of this exchange, prior to arriving, was the thought of having to find my own living accommodation independent of any university help. One could say I like to challenge myself, deciding to try flatting for the first IN MY LIFE in a foreign country, with a foreign currency, and worst of all a foreign language. As it turns out that it was a lot easier than I expected (that’s the way things usually go I suppose). I am now settled in an awesome house right in the city centre with 15 other people and things are going great.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing to begin with. In fact, I was living in a different flat for the first 10 days in Santiago, which I had found online before my arrival. On the internet it looked fantastic (typical), however I didn’t realise that the location was less than ideal. With a 45-60min commute to the city centre and no direct bus to my uni campus, I decided the best course of action was to go flat hunting for something more central, quickly coming across my current house! Unfortunately, this led to a rather uncomfortable debate with my first landlord about giving back my prepaid first month of rent (which he obviously won as I am a passive enough person in English, let alone in Spanish). I decided to cut my losses, pack up and move into the centre, where I am today!
Onto the the happier topic of my new house, it is an incredibly large, old-fashioned house in the middle of Santiago central. At this exact moment we have 17 people living here – 1 German, 3 French, 2 Colombians, 2 Nicaraguans, 1 Mexican, 7 Chileans and obviously 1 kiwi! As you can imagine, the house is its own mini melting pot with a mix of cultures from all over the globe. We are also all a mix of students and workers, with ages ranging from 20 to mid-40s, so this balance of diversity means that there is a super buena onda (good vibe). Because we have so many people living here it means there is a birthday basically every weekend – and therefore, obviously a party to go with it – to the point where we have justified turning one of the spare rooms into a discoteca (club), fitted with lights, music and all. Another spare room we have turned into a cinema, fitted with mattresses and a projector! There is always someone around to chat with, cook with or drink with depending on your mood.
My bedroom is on the 3 floor (5 flights up, which I consistently think are too many) and I have a beautiful view from my window/balcony of the street outside, especially during twilight when everything turns slightly pink. My favourite part of the house is when I climb through a window on the 3rd floor and sit on the roof top, because our house is one of the tallest buildings on the street, granting it a great view of the Santiago rooftops.
On a final point, I could not write this blog without mentioning the arrival of our newest flatmate! We recently adopted an adorable kitty named Tomy, who at the time was only 40 days old and the size of my hand (although he’s growing bigger every day!). Being a cat crazy person, who misses my cat in NZ like crazy, this gatito (little cat) brings a little more happiness into my life every day.