Nichol and Matt go to Chile!

Archive for February 15, 2012

Getting Underway

Now that a lengthy-delay-between-posts precedent has been set, it’s about time for some sort of update.

With 6 sleeps left before wheels-up, Nichol and I are getting pretty close to being ready. Strangely, no panic has ensued yet, but as I just mentioned, there are still 6 more sleeps.

Our visas have both been approved, albeit not without at least a little drama. Avoiding a long and mostly boring story, Nichol’s visa is still physically in Vancouver so it looks like one more trip over there is in order. Oh well, we should probably expect a few more wrinkles like that.

Our airline tickets are booked. Conveniently, Air Canada has a daily flight between Toronto and Santiago, so getting a flight with few layovers and no touching down in the States was no problem at all. Victoria to Vancouver, Vancouver to Toronto and then adios Canada! I have to admit, it was a little strange to book a one-way ticket. Something tells me that booking the final one-way ticket home in 4 years will feel just as strange. The longest leg, clocking in at a little over 10 hours, isn’t quite as bad as I expected and the total flight time weighs in at around 19. Still, it’s a far longer journey than Nichol or I have ever undertaken!

We found an apartment through an agency called “Contact Chile!”. One of a few, it is a German company that specializes in helping people make the transition to Chile. For a not-insignificant commission, they book an apartment and offer to help with paperwork if the language barrier presents an issue. We booked a nice looking furnished apartment in the Providencia region of Santiago, a neighbourhood that is allegedly popular with ex-pats and which is suitable for those who are still, let’s say, ‘new’ to the Spanish language. Unfortunately we will need to pay the commission fee again if we want to rent past our original 3-month reservation, but we feel that it’s a small price to pay for the option to leave after 3 months if the apartment is not what we would like. If we like what we see, we can always re-book for much longer at a smaller commission.

Anyway, one of us will update the blog after we get settled, as we have a number of goals to achieve when we get there. Briefly these would be:

  1. Find a food/grocery/supply source in the neighbourhood.
  2. Find a local watering hole. In particular the one nearby that caters to foreign sports fans, leading to…
  3. Figure out a method of watching our Vancouver Canucks. Missing some of the regular season is tolerable, the playoffs are not.
  4. Obtain a Chilean ID card and bank account.
  5. Oh yeah, maybe I should figure out where the school is too…

Watch for further updates after we get settled in, for now it’s back to gutting the apartment…