The best laid plans…

At risk of boring you all to death, here are my plans for combining work and flat hunting this week, at least until we (hopefully!) get offered one of the places we’ve already looked at. Jan is in Munich for work, so I have to do it all on my own.

Monday: Start work at 7:30 (this didn’t happen… I got caught chatting to a colleague and it was 8 am by the time I actually started working – so I’ll have to have an extra short lunch break instead). Leave work at 4, catch a train to Basel (pray for no delays!) and view a flat at 7 p.m. Arrive back in Karlsruhe at 10 p.m.

Tuesday: Start work at 8:30 a.m. (normal time), work til 6 p.m., then go straight to pub quiz from work.

Wednesday: Work from home from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Afternoon off! Take train to Basel and view two flats in two different small towns just outside the city (one at 3 p.m., one at 5:30 p.m.). Possibly view a third flat in yet another small town between 6:30 and 7 p.m., if the person gets back to me.

Thursday: Work from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. I have no evening plans, so I’ll either work some more from home later or finally get round to doing the dishes that will have been waiting for me since Sunday!

Friday: (Current plan) Work from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (First normal working day of the week!). However, if somebody offers me an appointment after 6 p.m. on Friday, I’ll be doing the same as Monday – start work at 7:30 a.m., leave at 4 p.m. and catch a train to Basel.

As of now, I have no appointments for the weekend, but this may change if I find the time to phone people or if anyone else responds to my emails.

Things I will not be doing this week: eating, sleeping, finding time to breathe!


I should be celebrating…

We have the contract! It’s here, sitting on top of Detolf, waiting for us to read through it, which will happen later this evening once Jan returns from playing football with his friends. We met at the flat to pick up the contracts, so I got to see it again. It’s still as nice as I remembered 🙂 Jan even admitted to me that he’s excited (I asked if I could have it in writing!) and of course I’m overjoyed. A flat with my boyfriend! An actual home together. I thought this day would never come. So it should have been a day of celebration. Instead I’m sitting here attempting to work on my dissertation while nursing a spectacularly awful cold. It started yesterday with a sore throat and a runny nose and today has progressed to constant sneezing, aches and pains, a head that feels like it’s full of wet cotton wool and a nose that’s sometimes blocked, sometimes running. Not that it matters which version it chooses – either way I can’t breathe properly! Oh, and I’m also freezing despite the fact that it’s quite warm today. But apart from that I feel fine.
I need to get better by Monday. My colleague is off next week, which leaves me as the sole English translator, and there’s lots of work to be done. Anyone know any quick fixes for a cold? And please don’t say sleep… dissertation, remember?

Nearly there…

We went to view a very nice flat yesterday. Three rooms, close to the train station (only 2 tram stops away), gorgeous wooden floors, and a brand new kitchen just about to be installed.
Today, the man called Jan and offered to us. We had to make a decision by 8 p.m. After much umming and erring and working out of finances, followed by a phone call to Jan’s mum for advice, we decided to take it. We have a meeting at the house tomorrow morning, where we shall be given the contract. Then we have the rest of the weekend to look over it and make sure everything’s satisfactory. If all is to our liking we’ll sign it then, on Monday, return it. And then the flat shall be ours. Finally the search is over! I think a bottle of sparkling wine shall have to be opened tonight…


Too tired to type

I am going to tell you about our experiences with various flats at some point – promise – but it’s been such a tiring week (despite my half day on Monday and the fact that it’s only Thursday – tomorrow being a Good Friday and therefore a holiday) that right now I’m too tired to think, never mind form coherent sentences. I’m very much looking forward to four whole days of lie ins! Not so much to all the dissertation work that’s waiting to be done during my long weeknd, but you can’t have everything, and I’m hoping to persuade the boyfriend to drive me to Roller on Saturday so I can buy a wardrobe. We’re supposed to be saving up for the move and the big holiday in August but I’m getting €445 back from the electricity company (I knew I hadn’t been using nearly as much as I’ve been paying for!) so I think I can spare a few euros for a wardrobe. And maybe a few more if I happen to see a bedside table I like.
Right now, though, I really must do some washing…

Take a deep breath…

I’m home from work, have eaten my lunch and soon it will be time to go and view the first flat.
The one Jan is probably not coming to view with me (he has now said he’ll try). the one where I rearranged the appointment so he could come with me.
I currently feel sick with nerves. I don’t want to go and view a flat on my own. Usually I let Jan ask all the questions while I just smile and try to look friendly. I’m useless at talking to people I don’t know – even more useless if they’re German and I need them to be impressed by me so I can have the flat I’m looking at. The person showing me around this one is (I think) the current tenant – I got my current flat because the people who lived here at the time recommended me to the landlady. Jan was with me then and did most of the talking. This time I’ll be all alone…
Cross your fingers for me please.

Had enough

(Warning: Rant ahead!!)
I am so sick of flat hunting, and it’s not even close to being over yet!

For the past week, while Jan has been in Spain with work, I’ve been replying to adverts for flats. Since Jan is back tonight (or really early hours of tomorrow morning, but whatever) I took the afternoon off work tomorrow and managed to arrange two viewing appointments tomorrow evening. The first person to write to me offered me one at 6:30 pm. I e-mailed Jan to see if that was ok, he told me it was. So I confirmed. Then somebody offered me an appointment at 5:30 pm. I e-mailed Jan again, asking whether he could make it that early… whether he thought an hour would be enough time to view one flat then get to the other. He did not answer.  The next moring, I sent an email back to the person with the flat asking whether we could possibly come a little earlier. Within a couple of hourse he replied saying that he couldn’t make it any earlier, but he would be sure to turn up on time. At this point I still did not have an answer from Jan. So I topped up my phone and sent him a message asking him to call me, which he then did. He said he would be able to make it. Hurrah! So I e-mailed the flat guy again and said we would be there at 5:30. Two appointments sorted.
Then yesterday I had a reply from somebody else. He offered me an appointment to view a flat today at 3pm. I sent a reply saying my boyfriend was away with work, so could we please have an appointment next week instead. He offered me one tomorrow, at 4:15 pm. I accepted and sent Jan a text telling him we had a third appointment. I had told him on the phone that I was taking a half day and would be informing people that we could only take appointments before 5 pm on Monday, otherwise it would have to be after 6 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday (purposely keeping Thursday free so he wouldn’t have to miss choir!!). Half an hour later he called to inform me that he can’t make it that early on tomorrow. After spending an entire week in Spain with work, only getting back at stupid o’clock in the morning, you would think it would be possible to take that afternoon off work. But apparantly not. “Well, that’s ok” Jan said. “You’ll just have to go on your own and tell me afterwards what it’s like”. Oh, ok then. So I’ll turn up there ALONE, having refused an earlier viewing becuase my boyfriend couldn’t make it. Because that’s not going to make me look stupid at all! And besides that, what is the point in me looking at a flat that we are potentially going to live in? Maybe so that I can get the blame if we then take it and Jan decides it’s not good enough after all?
Also – and this is something that Jan will never, ever in a million years understand – I don’t want to go and look at flats on my own. I don’t want to have to be shown around by complete strangers, who are going to notice within the first five seconds of me ringing the doorbell that I’m foreign (if they hadn’t already gathered that from reading my name in the e-mail) without anyone there for moral support. I don’t want to think of all the relevant questions and remember to make a note of what’s important without any help. But apparantly that’s what I’m going to have to do.
I was looking forward to tomorrow… now I’m dreading it.
Just one more thing for me to lay awake worrying about I guess…

Taking the easy way out…

I’m tired today. And once again stupidly busy (flat viewing this morning… then home to laundry, dissertation. Now it’s almsot time to cook tea…). But I feel bad that I’ve been neglecting my poor blog again. So I’m taking the easy way out with a meme that I meant to steal from Hails ages ago. You know you’ve been busy when you haven”t even had time for a cheat’s post! Ah well, I’m doing it now…

A. Attached or single? Attached. Although I prefer to think of it as “in a relationship”

B. Best friend? I don’t think I have one. I used to have one, but then my sister moved up to my dad’s and most of my friends suddenly realised they liked her better. Anyway, I live too far away from most of my friends now. And the people I know here are mostly just that… people I know. Three of them I would refer to as friends, but best friends? No. They already have one.

C. Cake or pie? Right now definitely pie. Preferably meat pie. I miss pie! And pasties. Why do German bakers not do pasties?

D. Day of choice? Strangely I think right now it’s Monday. I love my job (even though it’s stressful and tiring at times), Monday is early enough in the week for exhaustion not to have kicked in yet, and it gets me away from the dreaded dissertation of doom which is currently taking up every minute of my weekend that isn’t spent on housework.

E. Essential item? Train ticket, to get to work.

F. Favorite color? Red. But don’t tell my family, or they’ll buy me so much red stuff I’ll get utterly sick of it and never want to see it again. That’s what happened with my old favourite colur (purple). My old bedroom at my dad’s is still full of purple candles, purple ornaments, purple items of clothing.  Aargh!

G. Gummy bears or worms? Sour worms.

H. Hometown? Mostly Karlsruhe. Although part of me still thinks of the North East of England as home (I know that’s not a town but I just can’t bring myself to call the actual town I spent my teenage years in “home”. I was too pleased to get away from the place!)

I. Favorite indulgence? Eating ice cream on a cold day.

J. January or July? July. I love the summer (despite that fact that it hates me) and January is all dark and cold. At least in July I still get to see some sunlight… in January I leave for work in the dark and by home time it’s dark again.

K. Kids? Love them. I always wanted three, but with each year that passes the chances get slimmer (and my Grandma’s pleas to be made a Great-Grandma get louder…)

L. Life isn’t complete without? Friends, love and travel.

M. Marriage date? Possibly never.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? One sister. Two half brothers (who are not related to one another). All younger, although in the sister’s case nobody believes it.

O. Oranges or apples? Oranges I guess, although I prefer satsumas… which you can’t get here.

P. Phobias? Moths. Ugh.

Q. Quotes? Lots. I collect them. In fact, I have a whole page of them. If you really want to see a quote go there.

R. Reasons to smile? I love my job and soon I’ll (finally) have a flat with the boyfriend. Once the dissertation is handed in the smile will get bigger.

S. Season of choice? Spring, if it’s warm. I love summer, but it hates me (I get sunstroke reeeally easily). Autumn is nice for about three days (when it’s still warm and the trees are pretty colours), before turning grey and miserable, and Winter means Christmas which is not the favourite holiday of my family.

T. Tag 5 people. No. Anyone who wants to do it may feel free to tag themselves.

U. Unknown fact about me? Umm… what haven’t I already told you? No idea. Tell you what… anything you want to know, ask and I’ll write a post with answers. (And now it’s going to be really embarrassing if nobody asks anything…)

V. Vegetable? I’m not good with vegetables. Most of them make me feel sick. But I LOVE aubergines. Which is probably strange when you think about it…

W. Worst habits? Biting my nails. I’ve been trying to stop for years! Also, sarcasm. And an inability to stop buying books (curse you Amazon!)

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Huh?

Y. Your favorite food? Potatoes! Mashed, roast, baked. As chips, in soup. Prepare them any way you like, I will eat them.

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo, the lion. Which makes my birth stone tiger’s eye. Much better than my month birth stone, which is peridot.

Just five more minutes…

I have not wanted to get up the last two mornings. It’s not even as if I went to bed particularly later, or slept particularly badly, but for some reason when my alarm started beeping at me I was just too tired to do anything but hit the snooze button. Then, five minutes later, hit it again… and so on and so forth. Until it got so late that I was forced to skip breakfast and run for the tram. Not the best start to the working day!

Jan is away again this week, so I’ve been ignoring the dishes, the rubbish and the wash pile for the past few days. He’s back on Friday though, so I already know what the plan for tomorrow evening is… Nevertheless, I’m hoping the next two days go by fast. We’re going to view a flat on Saturday and I’m very excited about it. It’s not free til June, but we need to get in early before the selection process starts (welcome to flat hunting in Germany…). Apparantly it’s a nice place, and it’s closer to the train station than my current flat… which would mean an extra five minutes in bed without having to resort to the snooze button. Fingers crossed the current tenant likes us 🙂

The last night

It’s my last night in the student residence.
By this time tomorrow I’ll be moved in to my new flat. I’ll even have a little bit of furniture.
Wow. I can’t believe I’m actually moving out. 2 and a half years I’ve been here. It’s been a while since I’ve spent that long living in one place. Even at uni I lived in various different places (halls in first year, house with friends in second year, then year abroad in Germany and in final year a different house with different friends).

I still have soo much to do. I need to finish packing. I need to clean. I need to take out the rubbish, sort out which food is coming with me and what can be given away or binned. And I only have until 11:30 tomorrow to get it all done. So of course today had to be the Friday that I wasn’t able to leave work on time. Some of you may remember me mentioning that we get to leave work at 4pm on Fridays, provided we work til 5:15 every other day of the week…
Well,  today I was lucky to catch the 22 minutes past tram (I ran and reached the platform about 30 seconds before it did). Yesterday it was nearly 5:30 when I left. And on Tuesday I stayed for an extra 15 minutes so that I could leave early on Wednesday for Spanish. The one week that I would have liked to get home and get things done I’ve ended up spending more time at work than ever. The Law of Sod as my dad would say…

I have the power!

I went to pick up the key to my new flat today, which meant I got to see it freshly painted and without other people’s furniture in it. It was most exciting. Of course, I took a few things over there with me. Nothing big or important – just a couple of books and two white candles with golden stars on them. Things that would fit in my handbag. With that pathetic amount I can’t really claim that I’ve moved some of my stuff in, but even just having those tiny little things there makes me feel good. It’s as if the place is now really and truly mine.

The first thing the lady from the housing association told me when I arrived was that I would have to call the Stadtwerke (dictionary translates it as public utility services) and arrange an appointment to have the elctricity back on. Then as we were leaving she mentioned that they were just around the corner if I wanted to pop in instead of calling. So I made my way to Stadtwerke. Once there I was absolutely amazed to be greeted by someone who not only pronounced my name perfectly first time (not sure that’s ever happened here before!) but was also incredibly helpful, phoning his way through 4 or 5 different departments to find out what was going on before asking me if I had time to go to my flat right away as they could send someone round within the hour. Wow! Talk about service! About 40 minutes later a man turned up, but unfortuantely the cupboard thingy where the electricity meter and switches live was locked, and I had no key for it. We then between us went to every door in the building but nobody seemed to know anything. Then he called his work to see if they have a key (apparantly the housing associations do that sometimes) but nope, no joy. He even called the housing association for me as I had no credit but the woman didn’t answer either her mobile or the landline. *Sigh*. At that point we decided to give up and I was about to leave when he decided to try his boss one last time. He’d had an idea… You see, usually he is responsible for another part of town. The only reason he’d turned up at my door was because the person he is usually responsible for the area was ill. So he got his boss to ring this poor colleague at home and find out what he usually does. Turns out someone who lives in another part of the same building (a part with a separate entrance strangely) has a key. So we rang her bell and she came down to open the cupboard. Phew. I then headed upstairs to check whether my lights were now coming on and the Stadtwerke man rang my bell on the way out so I could tell him through the intercom whether it had worked. It had – my electricity was there. Yay! I’m not sure why the woman couldn’t have just told me where to get a key while she was there and saved me the hassle, but all’s well that ends well as they say. And how nice was the Stadtwerke man for hanging around for that long to help me out? Most public services people would have been gone as soon as I said I had no idea where to find a key. My life in the new place is getting off to a good start I feel.