I sit here on a lazy Saturday in the living room of my new apartment, reflecting on how large an effect one's residence has on one's outlook on life. My old apartment felt old, decrepit, and uninviting. The people I knew there were friendly, but in no way welcoming. I spent all of my time outside of cooking in my room, with its faded nature painting upon the wall and mason jars with taxed candles inside lining my shelves. I slept on an uneven mattress, with a frame that would occasionally shift out of place and leave the mattress unsupported in the middle. The chair/couch that accompanied my room had become a fancy clothes rack, as it was really no more comfortable to sit on than my desk chair. I couldn't open the windows at night on pain of large moth invasions, and I couldn't leave the window fully closed or the room became stuffy all too quickly.
I now sit at the dinner table in my new apartment. The sliding door to the patio is open behind me, and a breeze gently rolls over my shoulders. Occasionally a louder than average car passes by on the street below, but the noise isn't as abrasive 4 floors up. My room is down the hall, and is principally used for sleeping and changing only. The rest of my time is spent in the open, often with the other tenants of the apartment.
The two other tenants are Bastian and Sergio. Bastian is from Germany, and just finished his studies at a local university for the summer. He's a tall, skinny kid who helps me to explain to people what blond hair actually looks like. He took off this past week on a trip to Patagonia and southern Argentina. He's been here for 8 months, and despite not knowing Spanish before he came, he now speaks quite well. We only converse in Spanish, and I actually find it easier to understand him than most Chileans. I definitely communicate better with fellow academic learners of Spanish. There is unquestionably a difference in thought patterns and speech between people who grew up with the language, and people who learned the language in a classroom.
Sergio is the other roommate and official renter of the apartment. He's about 5'4, and somewhere around 110 lbs. He grew up outside Santiago in a little town where his graduating class was about 30 kids. His school also included more indigenous kids, who spoke a completely different dialect of Spanish. Those indigenous kids would also use the meat of fresh bread to erase pencil marks from their papers. It's a life that I really can't relate to.
He's incredibly nice, and likes to operate our apartment as "a small family". We share whatever food we have, and eat together when we can. The apartment also stays surprisingly neat, which is nice. Chileans, for the most part, keep their living areas pretty tidy.
Anyway, here are a few shots of the place:
My new address is:
88 Curico, Depto 404
And yes, I am still accepting birthday presents.