Hola estudiantes! I want to share Alison’s article with you. (She moved to Peru a few months ago) – Enjoy!
A Place to Call Home
In my last post, I described the circumstances surrounding why and how we came to land in Trujillo, Peru. With the big move finished (a 16-hour journey to Peru consisting of 3 flights: Calgary-Houston-El Salvador-Lima, then 3 days in Lima and the long-awaited transfer to Trujillo), we were ready to get on with finding our new ‘normal’.
A month in a holiday apartment sounds like a long time, but after a week spent looking for an office desk and chair just to get plugged back in and start working, we realized everything takes a lot longer in Peru.
We put our plans to relax, visit the coastal town of Huanchaco and generally soak up the atmosphere on hold to start house hunting straight away. While we could have stayed in the apartment longer, we had only seen it online before we booked, so it was not an ideal long-term option.
Be prepared for the unexpected
Renting property in a foreign place can bring a lot of surprises. Our short-term apartment had three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room – what could possibly go wrong? Here in Trujillo though, some apartment blocks are built with rooms that have windows that open onto the downstairs apartment. For example, one of our bedroom windows opened onto the kitchen area of the apartment below. Put it this way, we always knew what our downstairs neighbor was having for dinner…
When it came to looking for a long-term house to rent, we were disappointed and sometimes outright shocked on a number of occasions. Many of the available properties were in disrepair, with light fixtures missing, holes in the walls, and broken windows. Apparently, the landlord waits until they get a sure tenant to get the work done, which is eventually what happened when we found a house we liked.
There are plenty of furnished apartments to rent, but on the flip side, unfurnished houses come with absolutely nothing. Unlike the UK or North America, empty means empty. Luckily, unlike some places, ours at least had a hot water tank. We had to buy everything else – a washing machine, stove, fridge, and all the furniture items we had just finished selling or giving away in Canada.
Stop the press: gringos seen acting strangely in local mall
During that frantic week before our move-in date, we became a local curiosity – a couple with two young boys, minimal Spanish, shopping for the entire contents of a home – what could be odder than that! Luckily, the Peruvians who helped us were warm and friendly and very forgiving of our language attempts, and we managed to pull it off.
You heard it here first
A tip for those who might be considering a similar move, and especially with children. PACK A TOOLKIT. I sacrificed clothes and other personal items to fit this vital kit into our luggage. Not only was it essential to have basic tools to swap all the locks in both properties (to prevent our son locking himself in various rooms several times a day), but duct tape is really useful for sealing sliding second floor windows that a three-year-old suddenly gets the hang of. Add to that ready-to-assemble furniture, washing machine installation, and electricity outlets in strange places – you get the picture. You heard it here first!