By party, I mean get permission to legally work in Chile and have someone rent you a decent apartment when you have hardly any legal ties to their nation. Things have been a little tough. But we are up for the fight (because we came all this way! We are going to party!). Sure, I’m using sunscreen as face lotion because I get overwhelmed in the pharmacy aisle at the store. And yes, my hair looks so healthy because I haven’t conditioned it in a week as I’m trying to avoid buying shampoo and conditioner until we have our own place (luckily Jeff’s anti-balding stuff is terrific!). And no, we are not dieting, we just don’t eat much because there is no Chipotle, we have gone through all the snacks I packed us in Colorado, and as long as Rayna is getting enough to eat, we are doing OK.
Jeff spent half of our first week here trying fervently to get permission to work while his visa is in process. One morning, he waited in an immigration line for one and a half hours before being told to go home and get the original of that little piece of paper they stick in your passport as you pass through customs. He had a copy, he explained, and it was notarized. “NO!” they told him (ok, I’m sure they were nice about it, but still, it was awful to be told no). He then made the tiring trek back to where we were staying, got the tiny sheet of paper, and returned to immigration. This time he made it through the process (after waiting another 2ish hours), but by the time he was finished, the banks were closed (because why stay open past 2 in the afternoon?!). That meant he couldn’t pay for his temporary work permit, so the next day, he had to go back a third time. This is just one example of the struggle that has been his daily pursuit. The whole thing is so ridiculous that when he comes home exasperated because he has to get every page of our passports copied and his feet hurt from walking 10k in dress shoes, I sometimes break down laughing. Because really, it’s so ridiculous!
It’s possible that we came down here expecting things to go a little too smoothly. We rented an air b&b place for a week, feeling hopeful that certainly we could find our own apartment during that time. Turns out, we were a little overly optimistic. After spending a whole week sharing the tiny bed, we have now relocated to another air b&b (much nicer though MUCH smaller…but who cares, the bed is huge!). We have looked at 10 apartments in four different parts of the city. It took a LOT of walking blocks and blocks to see different places before we realized what we (think) we want in a place. We are in talks with a broker about an apartment that meets all of our wants (except there will be no spare room, SORRY!!!! Seriously, I feel terrible about this!). Unfortunately, when you don’t have a visa, a bank account, or an ID from a country, there’s a little bit of doubt about how stable you are. Us? Unstable?!!?!?!?!? Ugh, we really need to get more snacks.
So while Jeff is at the University finally trying to do his actual job (he starts classes in a week!), I’m trying to coax this broker and apartment owner into believing that we will actually pay the rent for the entirety of the lease. I’m about ready to give him all of Rayna’s toys (we only brought like 5) and my brand new blowdryer (had to get one that worked with their electricity) as a sign of our need to move into this apartment. Because as you can imagine, I do not want to move our little family of three people, 7 suitcases, a carseat, huge stroller, and pack and play again.
And yet we are doing OK. We have each other (and that’s a lot!), Santiago continues to be enchanting, and we will make it through this muck. We are trusting that God didn’t bring us down here just to land us on the streets with no visas and no home. That said, please continue praying for our direct needs, and that we may be able to continue laughing when things are rough. Love!!!