Archive | Housing RSS feed for this section

The New Home Office

15 Mar

We haven’t shared with you yet that we moved again in January (#5 since August 2011). There’s more on that to come, I promise. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek.

This is my new home office/table. Maggie painted the chairs and table.

The New Home Office

Our New Apartment in Buenos Aires

12 Feb

We love our new Buenos Aires apartment. We have experiences here that make us feel as though we’ve stumbled upon a secret.

On a daily basis, we are stretching out on the couch, getting lost (in thought) on our patio, roaming from front to back through the spacious kitchen, looking awkwardly at the bidet, and resting in something called a bedroom.

You see, as much as we appreciated our first apartment in Buenos Aires (especially our landlord), our new apartment has elevated us to a new realm. We now have seating options! We now have outdoor space. We now have a shower with pressure (too much, in fact) and room to move. We now eat dinner anywhere but in bed. And we now enter and leave without having to go through someone else’s home.

These things seem so normal, but I’m coming to appreciate how significant they are. It took us an extra $350 per month to regain these luxuries. Maggie’s hard work in finding teaching jobs has made it all possible. For a bit of comfort and rest, the $350 is money well spent.

Check out our great studio apartment of luxuries.

We found the apartment on Craigslist after 2-3 days of incessant hunting. We rent directly from the landlord, who is awesome, and were able to talk with the previous tenant before signing the contract. We do have to pay in U.S. dollars, which is difficult until Maggie can get her work visa and DNI process started.


Hooks Make a Home: Our Buenos Aires Apartment

20 Nov
Our Buenos Aires apartment

Entrance to our apartment from the street.

Before we arrived in Buenos Aires, we had set up to stay in a small studio apartment for six weeks. After weeks of some investigative searching for another apartment, we’ve decided to stay right where are for at least another 6 months. So happens that our apartment costs about half (US $400) of what the lowest rate seems to be these days for temporary apartment rentals. And we’re stuck to looking at temporary rentals, because we don’t have the Argentina equivalent of good credit — we don’t have a “garantia.” I write about this so easily now, but we beat our heads against many walls trying to find a way to get an apartment at the lower “garantia” price.

Since we’re sticking around, we’ve gone into nesting mode. We had to make some adjustments to best use the little space we have. One of the best purchases we’ve made were these two packs of hooks that stick to the wall. We’ve popped up 30 of those suckers.

We’ve made a coat rack to prevent us from just throwing our sweaters on the bed.

Coat rack

Custom-made coat rack. 8 hooks worth.

View from the kitchen

The bedroom / living room / office / kitchen table.

The bedroom / living room / office

The bedroom / living room / office.

It also helped that we added a few more inside the wardrobe.

View from the "office"

View of the wardrobe closet and kitchen from the office.


An organized wardrobe. 7 hooks worth (3 not in view).

We love to cook, which is good, because for us to make it in Buenos Aires we need to. However, we’re used to a bit more counter and drawer space, so a few well-placed hooks have made all the difference. Now the drawers are tidy and the counter is free from clutter.

The kitchen

The kitchen.

The efficient kitchen

Our efficient kitchen. 8 hooks worth.

Kitchen counter space

Our kitchen work space.

With a bathroom this small…

The reading room.

A very personal reading room.


Shoulder room shower

A daily experience.

Maggie says the four hooks (2 for caddy, 2 for towels) in the bathroom were my best idea.

Counter-less bathroom

Thank you, Judy B., for the awesome handing travel kits!

We still have some nesting to do. Another budget saving tip is to ship the goods you need from the U.S. (many things there are cheaper and of better quality) to your unsuspecting friends or family who have booked the first trip to visit. Mom, Dad, Marcus, you’re the best! See you in December.

“Just Look it up on the Internet”

17 Oct

Stephen and I walk through our landlord Graciela’s kitchen to get to our apartment.

Walking up the stairs

The family's rooftop patio used for drying laundry and the occasional cigarette

Our apartment is above their patio

The view looking straight out from our balcony

Graciela is the type of person you hope to encounter soon after landing in a foreign country. She’s welcoming, cheerful, and extremely happy to help, although for many of our problems, her advice ends up being the same. If we want to know a good place to eat, Graciela has ample recommendations. But for trickier problems, from hunting for apartments to finding the right subway, to buying a phone, she has one, universal response. “Búsquelo en el Internet,” with an Italian inflection close to, “It’s simple (you uptight American).”

Graciela is working on installing Internet in our apartment. Every day she brings up a new piece of the necessary tools for this to happen. One day, she provided a router. The next, a modem. The next, an electrical line, although it failed to connect with either of the latter. She has decided to install wifi this week, and we’re crossing our fingers that this goes smoothly.  It seems to be a much more complicated process than in the U.S.

From Stephen’s recollection, wifi was not even an option in the city five years ago.  If Porteños wanted Internet away from home, they had to rent computers by-the-minute at Internet cafes.

Like most of the world however, they’ve latched onto the service pretty quickly. The “rogue” candidate for president has even centered his campaign around a promise of free wifi to the entire country – Obama 2012 anyone?

He is also promising everyone free houses and bags to clean up after their dogs (which they don't).

For now, lacking access to the Internet has provided Stephen and me an excuse to explore many of B.A.’s neighborhood cafes and develop a taste for their café con leche, which is perplexingly better than the American cupa.

Happy after ordering my first café con leche successfully en español

Stephen happy because he just found the coffee shop he spent the past six years in L.A. searching for

It's in the neighborhood Colegiales, where we're hoping to end up

View of "The Oldest Bar" from the outside

There’s no click-of-a-button cure to missing our friends and family in the states, but we feel very lucky to have all of you and we cannot wait for you to visit this beautiful city. Worried about the cost of airfare? Todo tranquilo.  Just look it up on the Internet!

Click here and enter your e-mail address to set up a monthly price alert for the best deals to come visit us: