How did we end up here in Santiago?
I suppose the story starts about 16 years ago in Ireland when my passion for the expat life started, so let’s rewind.
At age fourteen, I moved to Ireland to attend an all-girls Catholic boarding school that has since shuttered. It opened my eyes to what was out in this great big world, and ever since I’ve been looking for ways to explore and learn.
The United States is my home, and always will be, but my extended periods of absence have grown to define me. Since 1999 I have lived in (in order) Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, France, South Korea, France again, India and now Chile. All technically for different yet really the same reason: exploring is my middle name.
My husband and I graduated from university in Nashville, TN in 2007 after which I moved to South Korea for a teaching position and then later Paris, France to complete my Masters. He completed his Masters in Houston, TX in 2011 and we were married in Ireland in 2013 settling in Texas.
While in Texas I’d been working in chemical sales, and my husband in finance. When the opportunity for him to be transferred to Santiago, Chile came up we knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’d previously visited Santiago as part of a South American grand tour, and fell in love with the tree lined streets, the pisco sours, the contrast between glittering sky-scrapers and old Spanish architecture, and of course, the friendly welcoming people.
So now we’re here. We arrived in June 2016 with our darling cat, Cohiba, and have been exploring new neighborhoods, markets, cities and regions in Chile, restaurants and more. It has been a whirlwind with many things being much easier than planned (our apartment hunt) and many things being much more difficult than planned (the bank account).
For anyone planning a move to Santiago, I highly suggest waiting until you are in town to search for an apartment. There are many services online, but they are much more costly and you won’t have the full view of the neighborhood or the building.
Finding an apartment here through portalinmobiliario.com just takes a few days, a good pair of walking shoes and only rudimentary Spanish skills. Bank accounts take several days and are full of a mind boggling amount of paperwork, finger printing and waiting.
Come prepared with everything from your work contract to your passport. And if you’re an American with a Citi account, I suggest skipping the hassle and going straight to Citi affiliated Banco Edwards.
Through this column I hope to bring you reviews of our explorations that will help you as you explore this city. If you have suggestions on areas to see, or want to know more about certain areas please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to personally explore and report back!
Sarah is a native Floridian. She is joined in Santiago by her husband and cat.
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