It’s always tricky renting an apartment from overseas. When I did it for Chennai, India the whole transaction was done via e-mail with me sitting in my apartment in New York. I booked it never having seen the place and all in all, it worked out fine. For my first few weeks in Buenos Aires, I found an apartment using Airbnb, again looking at photos posted online and communicating with a woman who managed the apartment for the owner. I loved the little place and I had a great stay, but I purposely rented the apartment for a few weeks so that I could get to know the city better and decided exactly where I wanted to settle down for a few months. So after a couple of weeks of walking around different neighborhoods and looking at a half dozen apartments, I decided to move… about 10 blocks west of where I was living. Yup. 10 blocks.
I packed my bags the night before and tidied up a bit before I went to bed. So on the day of my big move, all I had to do was take my bags, hand over the keys to my landlord, walk over to my new building, get keys to my apartment, and drop my bags off. It took less than 30 minutes. I’m in Palermo Soho, on a quiet residential street a few blocks away from all the shops and restaurants. I’ve got a doorman/security (completely unlike the doorman/concierge I used to have in Manhattan in that they really just sit there and open the door for you), weekly cleaning service (not totally necessary in my opinion but it was thrown in), and all the amenities I need (mainly just wi-fi but there is a phone, cable TV, etc). It’s clean and modern, but not as cozy and personal like the first place I rented. The other apartment was decorated by Flora, the owner who put in her own stylistic touches and made the place very homey. I’ve given that up for a place that feels more like a hotel (I have a key card for my apartment door) filled with mostly beige furniture, for a slightly better location and a bit of additional security. It’s all good and it’s where I’ll be living for a while.
I was thinking back to around this time last year when I moved apartments in Chennai. Even with all the mosquito drama and the lack of privacy, I loved that little place in India. I wonder if Mrs. Lakshmi has renovated it like she said she was going to after we left. I laughed when I looked at the photo of how my friends put all their luggage AND squeezed themselves into a tiny rickshaw for the move. Since I left New York 16 months ago I’ve lived in… I don’t know how many apartments and hotels. I love and appreciate a gorgeous hotel or an apartment just like anyone, but I think I’ve become less picky (or less attached?) about what and where I call home. As long as I feel safe and comfortable, I’m happy. I’ve rented this place for 2 months and after that I’m thinking I’ll travel around Argentina for a few weeks, over to Mendoza, Bariloche, and maybe to Salta. Will I be moving to yet another apartment in Buenos Aires? I’m not sure. For now, this is home.