May 202011

First things first: We got the apartment!  You remember, this one here with the cool Badenzimmer and the Küche:

David went down to sign the contracts yesterday, but since I have to sign as well, we will actually wind up completing them next Thursday.  We can move in on the 1st.  So, looks like we are moving again!

How do I feel about this?  Well, not surprisingly I am excited!  The apartment seems great.  The location, while less picturesque in the suburban way is much more convenient in a more urban way.  And, it means I get to go on a shopping spree.  So, that could be fun!

On the other hand, though, I was startled to discover how much anxiety I have over the move.  Doubtless, some was the result of the 13 pages of German legalese that David brought home for us to peruse, translate and generally check over between now and next week’s signing.  No matter how good Google Translate is, some of it just really doesn’t make any sense.  And some of the clauses are potentially troubling (for instance, does the fact that the buildings are “generally closed” after 8PM just mean we need our keys to get in or that we will be locked out if we have a late errand?  I never attended a college where the dorms would lock you out, don’t want to start now!)

But, I think more of my creeping dread is simply the fact that after living here for a month, I was beginning to get just slightly comfortable.  I know how to find my way around town.  There are two families on the block with whom we are neighborly (not “Freunds” yet, but certainly social progress had been made).  The kids had even been playing with our landlord’s sons and their friends.

DD and Lawrence, he is 2.5 and quite bright
DD & DS playing soccer with local kids, who do call it soccer- at least around us
DD walks a line in the back yard while Louis watches

Also, I have gotten better at using our current kitchen.  Latest triumph:  Challeh

Not quite as good as in the States, but pretty decent for off the top of my head with limited resources

Of course, we have only begun to meet some of the neighbors:

This guy is more impressive in RL, about 2 ” long and fuzzy

So, I guess the short story is that the idea of relinquishing the minor amount of settlement that we have achieved has me all askew inside.  But, the opportunity to start building a more permanent home for ourselves is pleasing.

Today I will take the kids to the local Home Depot/OSH stores in Offenburg (Bauhaus & Obi) and we will pick up paint chips so we can decide on colors for the new rooms.  We apparently have to paint the apartment either before we move in or after we move out, so we are choosing to do it now.  We are not fond of some of the garish red and orange walls anyways.  I am not looking forward to the painting project itself (my shoulders are still a little sore), but I do like being able to personalize our space!  

I am trying to plan out the rest of the furnishings, but it is hard without exact measurements on the livingroom.  I am going off the estimate that it is 4 meters by about 6 meters.  If I am significantly off, things that barely fit on paper will almost certainly swell beyond capacity in RL.

Interesting things I have learned this week:

  • When you order things online from Ikea in Germany, it is cash on delivery!  The drivers take your money, up to 8,000 €.  Cash transactions seem very common here.
  • Our apartment requires you to be quiet not only from 22-06 Uhr (10PM-6AM), but also from 12-15 Uhr (12-3PM).  No one seems to know why.
  • German mail carriers don’t care about apartment numbers, they just deliver to the Family Name.  We will technically be apartment 12, but that isn’t listed on our address.
  • 30 € per month of our rent is for the kitchen (great deal as far as we are concerned!)
  • Big stores don’t always look like big stores.  There is a place next to a local supermarket that I assumed was just a littler market (for some reason markets here often come in pairs.  Like Albertsons and Safeway sharing a parking lot).  But, on advice of our landlady, Zybella, we went inside.  It is a HUGE furniture store!  Sort of a low-end Ikea clone.  Boggle.  It is even two stories- one of which exists entirely over the supermarket next door!
  • Driving in France is even harder than driving in Germany.  I got lost both going To and From Ikea,  mostly, I think, because the streets seem to change names more often than Lady Gaga changes her wig.
  • Graffiti does exist in Germany.  After getting lost coming home from Ikea, we wound up driving up to Kehl from a different direction than we had been before.  Each town we passed, while otherwise typically German Clean, had patches of colorful graffiti along the main route.

More adventures soon!

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