The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

House Hunting in Valpo: An Update

Readers, as it turns out, putting up a post about the difficulty of finding a house in Valpo was all it took to seal the deal.

I must have offended the housing market on some level because the housing option #4 I mentioned in my last post turned out to be the One For Us. Not only did the deal seal easily, we didn’t have to fight, prod, poke, or otherwise manipulate to get it done. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little surprised.

I live in this house with my boyfriend Jorge and two others (another couple) — Martin and Amanda. We are officially residents of Cerro Carcel (Jail Hill…it’s not as bad as it sounds, really — it’s only named that because the old city jail was here until the city grew so large they had to relocate it further up into the hills. Now the old jail is a cultural center), on a little winding (and sometimes vertical) street that has an abundance of street art, greenery, and ocean views.

I am happy. We are happy.

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS!!

My bedroom. Seafoam green walls, ample sunlight, and lots of room for writing, yoga and happy pondering.

The enclosed patio. The house came with mandalas painted onto the walls. That’s a pretty good sign, right?

Jorge, looking out from out front door to the Valpo scene beyond.

Our landlord is beyond cool — he is considerate, “green”, friendly and communicative. Furthermore, not only did the house come with mandalas (something I’ve been harping on for Art Nights here in Valpo for over a month), but it also came with a butt-baring gnome painted on the bathroom wall and a fully-loaded compost bin on the patio. SAY WHAT???? Oh — you mean the compost bin I’ve been lamenting leaving in Ohio for almost a year now? It’s here in front of my face? Okay. Fine.

On another note, the house is unfurnished, which seems like a problem in both financial and backpacker terms, but I’ll explain why it isn’t. Here’s a list for our listicle-oriented eyes:

1. We are 4. There4(fore), we are splitting costs 4 ways. MATH, I KNOW! But when you break down the basics — some sofas, a fridge, stove, washer, and various household accessories — and split it between 4 people, the price is quite economical. Plus everything is used and found via the equivalent of craigslist here in Chile. What it adds up to, for my math-deficient readers, is: Quite The Deal.

2. We signed a 6 month lease. This means we’ll be renting and living here for 6 months (obviously), but the cost of investing in Objects For The House evens out over time. In renting and investing in Objects For This House, I am still saving money overall compared to what I was paying for a furnished ROOM before.

3. We are transients. This means that while we are renting a house and settling in, it’s “for a time”. We have not closed the doors to future moves, endeavors, ideas or adventures. The 6 month lease can be extended if we decide, or it ends there. All of the Objects For This House are being selected with this goal in mind — that they are for our use, for a time, until we decide that we no longer want to be here — in Valpo, in Chile, in South America, etc. They can be resold, gifted, or left on the side of a street.

This venture in fact has been part of my overarching goal of the Ex-Patriot Drift: to go forth, to discover, to settle in, and then move on. To continually cultivate that which nourishes me, to find this source in new places, new settings…and then to let it go. I have long suffered from an attachment to Objects, Places, Routines and More. Part of my work here involves cultivating sacred home spaces, pouring love and attention and work into them, and then…leaving them.

This doesn’t mean, however, that my time anywhere has a limit. While my Ex-Patriot Drift includes various countries and cities over time, I do not have a plan. I feel the need to stress this, because what ultimately guides me is what feels right. If I end up staying in Valpo three more months or three more years, then so be it — if I’m following my heart, the wind, good consciousness or whatever you want to call it, that’s all I can ask for in this life.

In several more months, I will know what the next step will be. But for now, I’m excited to upcycle, recycle, compost, and create new collaborative works within the walls of this delightful house in Cerro Carcel.

And, for those of you reading who feel like buying a plane ticket to Chile, your room is already waiting for you.

2 Comments

  1. I love the approach to furnishing the house- it's like a living mandala in that it is created, and then dismantled, existing inpermanently in a specific place and time, wiped clear by the passage of time, change is our only constant

  2. You're lucky to meet an approachable landlord, Shan! Four people inside a new house makes it easier to renovate and purchase the stuff that you need. At the same time, you'll have less rental payments! Well, house hunting may been tiring, but I'm sure that you'll enjoy your new place. 🙂

    Levi @ Virginia.ChurchillMortgage.com

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