We’ve been in Arica for a little over a week now. We spent our first six nights here at a hotel owned by one of the church members. The hotel is in the center of the city, so we were able to get to know that area well. That’s good because all of the stores are in the centro. This past Thursday was our first night here at the church. We’ve got a room with a twin bed and all of our luggage. The quilt that Myrtle Kinyon made for us makes the room feel more like home. The egg yolk yellow walls are warm and welcoming.
We’re comfortable here at the church, but we are really looking forward to having a place of our own. We’ve been “in transition” for the last six months and we’re both ready to begin settling somewhere. We started looking for a place to live last week, but the process here is a little different than what we’re used to. Let me explain…
We started our search with the local newspaper, La Estrella de Arica. There’s a section for rental properties, and it made sense to start there. The problem, however, is that every place we call has already been rented to someone else. Every. One. We continued our search with one of the church members here. Rossana drove us around several neighborhoods near the church and we looked for signs that indicated places were for rent. I was encouraged because there were so many signs. What we didn’t know is that since we’re headed into summer here, people rent their homes or apartments to vacationers by the day. Every one of those that we called were willing to rent by the month until December 15th, when they would switch to renting by the day or week at much higher rates.
There are apartment complexes here, but they don’t function like the ones back home. Apartments are more like condos, with individual owners and no central office for renting.
We did find one place that we both really like and that will be available soon. It’s the second level of a house and the rent includes everything—utilities, Wi-Fi, etc. We expressed our interest in renting, but the owner is still doing repairs and painting and such. She doesn’t want to make a commitment with a renter before everything is ready, which makes sense. The problem is that we’re nowhere near the only people interested and that she doesn’t know exactly when the work on the apartment will be done. She told us that it would be around two weeks and I’m sure she’s told the same thing to all of the other interested parties. So, it really comes down to who contacts her first once the apartment is ready. I told Blake we should walk by the house or call every day, but he thinks that borders on stalking. : )
Yesterday and today have been holidays, so we’ve been unable to do any looking this week. We’ll start again tomorrow. Blake’s found a website with properties listed and we’re calling them first thin in the morning. Please keep us in yours prayers as we continue our search. We’re ready to be home, wherever that may be.