A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We had just returned from our trip back the US two days before, energy was low and so were our spirits. Leaving family is difficult; so is returning home to the reality that our dear dog ran away during our trip. Blake also had some kind of bug or jet-lag that day and didn’t feel like going out for a nice meal he knew he wouldn’t enjoy. Incidentally, we didn’t plan anything to celebrate our anniversary.
Since we didn’t have anything planned, I figured we could at least start the house search. As I’m sure we’ve said on here before, finding rental property is next to impossible here in Arica. When we moved to Arica last October, Blake would pull out the paper every day and call every house listed only to hear the words “It’s already rented.” Knowing this is the norm here, we made it our goal to find a place to live by the end of October.
I decided that since Blake made all of the calls in October and wasn’t feeling well, I’d do all of the calling this time. Besides, who wants to feel sick AND discouraged in the same day? I pulled up the paper online and wrote down the information and phone numbers for five or six houses that looked like they might work based on what the ads said. I was certain I was setting myself up to be bummed the rest of the day, but also knew that we had to start the process at some point.
I called the first person and was shocked when he said that the house was still available and we could go see it any time before lunch. I didn’t really understand the name of the road he said, but that’s not unusual for me. Normally I hear part of the road name, get the person to repeat it six times, then decide that I’ll know it when I see it–whether on a map or driving around in circles. Encouraged, I called several more places. One lady only rented to members of the armed forces and one of the houses was so huge and expensive that I knew we didn’t want to see it. I set up an appointment to see one right after lunch and two more on a drop-by basis.
I could hardly believe that we’d be able to see FOUR houses in one day. In May when I started making calls, we saw two houses in the entire month. Four in one day is completely unheard of–unless, of course, there’s a whole army of people praying that you’ll find a place to live.
After driving in circles and figuring out that the word I didn’t understand was “paisaje,” which just means “side street,” we arrived at the first house. It was a good size, but was a fixer upper and was quite a distance away from the churches and children’s home we serve. We were kind of torn because it was a good price and decided to see the other houses before making a decision. Sometimes we’re not sure if we’re too picky or if we just need to wait until someplace feels like “the one.” We both really wanted a place to live, but we also didn’t want to settle.
At the second house, we were blown away by how perfect it was. Secure parking, some yard space, plenty of laundry line space, a big kitchen (!!), space for guests, more than one bathroom AND only couple of blocks away from one of our partner churches–all of this for cheaper than our first one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta! We didn’t want to make a rash decision, but also didn’t want to lose the house (we were the first to see it, but others had appointments for later in the day), so we called a friend to come look at it with a more critical and Chilean eye. When he started asking if the owner would ever consider selling, we knew he thought it was perfect, as well.
After a very long 4 hour ordeal we finally were able to sign the rental contract yesterday, and we’ll get the keys the second week of September. We are so grateful for your prayers and that God honored our prayers and yours.
It wasn’t a “normal” anniversary (whatever that is), but was one we’re not likely to forget.