Money matters

I spent an hour at the bank this morning. I am now officially skint. I had to open a very specific bank account, a Mietkautionskonto, into which I paid the deposit for my flat. The point in this account is that it belongs to me but I am not allowed to take any money out of it. The owner of the flat is allowed to take money out of it, to repair any damage I cause to the flat, for example. I could just have given the money to the housing association directly, but the advantages of doing it this way are a) I am informed if she requests to take money from the account, so she can’t spend any without me knowing why and b) I get to keep any interest that is earned on the money. Good stuff – if anyone out there ever plans to live in Germany you might want to make a note of it. But of course I couldn’t just open the account. In order to get the keys for my flat I have to prove that the deposit is actually in the account. So I handed over all the money that I had taken from my English bank account plus an extra 50 that Jan lent me. Then, having borrowed another hundred euros from Jan to pay into my normal account, I headed to the other bit of the bank, where the machines are, and transferred the rent for March to the housing association’s bank account. So I now have a total of 70 euros left in my German account. I just hope my wages go in before the student residence takes the rent for March out…

And now, having taken today off to sort out flat stuff, I’m going to have to arrange to leave work early one day next week so I can go back to the bank. You see, before the account with my deposit in can be opened properly I have to get some forms signed by my landlady then bring said forms back so that the bank can countersign them. And of course the bank closes before I get home from work every single day (and isn’t open on Saturdays – what’s that all about?). And since the only appointments you can make to see someone at the bank are for a whole hour (even if you only need 10 minutes!) I’m going to have to leave work about an hour early. Provided I manage to get an appointment on Monday or Thursday, when the bank is open til 6pm. The rest of the week they close at 4pm. I’m sure work are going to be really impressed with me…

I have made a decision…

I was going to move out on Saturday, but since I’m going to have to pay rent for March in both places no matter what I’ve now decided to do it a week on Saturday instead. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have so far managed to pack exactly one small box, but also means I can go to IKEA next Saturday, after handing over the key to this place,  and buy me a bed. I will have been paid by then so it will be possible (I shall just have to ignore the fact that my English bank account is now almost over its overdraft limit and really should be paid back before I even dream about spending any money). The alternative would have been sleeping on a borrowed airbed for a week … while still getting up at 6:30 for work every morning. Perhaps not the best solution. This way I also get an extra week of internet access, which means I can (hopefully) get my assessment done for uni – and keep up with everyone’s blogs of course 😉
It is kind of frustrating though – now that I have the flat I want nothing more than to move into it!
Oh well, I’m sure the extra week will go by fast enough considering all the things I have to squish into it.

So I have a flat…

That’s the good news. I signed the contract on Saturday. No going back now.
The bad news is I have to pay the deposit on Thursday, when I go to pick up the key. This is bad because the deposit is 3 months rent, or in other words almost all of my wages. I could manage it though, just about, if I actually had my wages. Unfortunately they don’t go in until the beginning of next week. So I’m resorting to plan B, which involves taking the cash from my English bank account. Yes, that would be the bank account that is already in the minuses and which no longer comes with an interest free overdraft because it’s been too long since I graduated. Not exactly the ideal solution, but the only one I have. Unless some rich relative decides to die in the next 2 days and leave me lots of money. Preferably lots of money that I can have immediately. Hmm, maybe that idea is slightly unrealistic…

The never-ending week

You know how some weeks just seem to go on forever? Well, this is one of them. Is it really only Wednesday? I’ve only been back at work 3 days and I already feel like I could use a break. Mind you, I did end up staying for an extra half an hour yesterday because there was something urgent to be done. Then we had a floor meeting last night that started pretty much as soon as I got in and didn’t end until 10pm. This may explain a lot.

In case anyone’s wondering how the flat hunt is going my reply to you is “don’t ask”.
I tried to call the woman about the last one I looked at 4 times on Monday. Nobody answered, but three out of four times I got the answering machine. I left one message with my number – no call back. Yesterday I emailed the current tenants to ask if they know another way of contacting the woman. No reply. I tried calling again and left another message. Still no reply. It’s like a bloody conspiracy! So now I’ve given up and resumed my search. I can see this  going on for a while…

The hunt for a place to live continues

I didn’t get the flat I went to see yesterday. At least I assume I didn’t. The girl never called, and if I had got it she wanted me to go and pick up the key today, so I’m thinking that’s a no. Actually I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get it anyway. Another girl was going to look at it yesterday who is the daughter of a friend of a friend of the landlady, or something. Fairly obvious who the landlady would choose then.
But, but, but… this evening I spontaneously went to look at another flat. I happened to look at the quoka website 45 minutes after the advert was placed online, answered it and received an email almost straight away inviting me to come on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday at any time. I then wrote back explaining that afternoon is no good as I work and asking if I could come on Wednesday evening at 6pm, or would that be too late. The girl replied that time was really no problem and in fact I could come this very evening before 9pm if I had time. So I called the boyfriend, got him to come and meet me, and went to view the flat. I like it a lot. It’s full of little nooks and crannies. There are two fairly big rooms, one for living, one for sleeping. The shower is hidden away in a little corner in the bedroom. The kitchen is in between the bedroom and the living room. It’s quirky, more spacious than most of the other ones I looked at and (very important this) within spitting distance of a tram stop that I would be able to use for getting to work. It’s run by a so-called Hausverwaltung, a property management scheme, who I have to call tomorrow morning. Then it will once again be a matter of waiting to see who they choose. So don’t’t go uncrossing those fingers just yet guys…

Back to reality

Just a quick blog post today cos I have to go out in a minute. I’m meeting Jan and some friends to go the cinema.

So, I disappeared for a few days there. Here’s why:
On Thursday I went to the bar here in my student residence for the first time in.. oh, I don’t even know how many months. I got incredibly drunk on way less alcohol than it used to take me to get incredibly drunk. Clearly I am becoming a light weight in my old age. *Sigh*. I finally made it to bed at 5:30am, waking up poor Jan in the process. Actually it’s entirely his own fault – nobody made him stay here that night! I then slept until about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, ate a huge bowl of potato croquettes and spent the rest of the afternoon lying around with a book. In the evening I headed over to Jan’s where we ate spaghetti bolognese and watched a film with his flatmate. I have no idea what the film was called. This random group of people who wanted to be profilers have been sent to an island to complete a test. Something to do with simulations of murders and they’re supposed to try and make a profile of the killer. Except there turns out to be a real murderer on the island, and members of the group gradually start dying. It was… interesting. Weird and confusing but definitely interesting.
And today I went to look at a flat. One room for sleeping/living, a separate but very small kitchen and a tiny bathroom (no bath, just a shower. Does it still count as a bathroom then I wonder). The landlady is supposed to make a decision tonight because the girl who’s moving out wants to hand over the key tomorrow, so we’ll see. If all goes well I may have a flat by this time tomorrow. Fingers crossed please…
And now my time off is pretty much over. Tomorrow is Sunday and the day after that I’m back at work. The four days have gone by so fast.
But it’s February tomorrow so no more January blues. Hurray for that!

Finally over

Well after racking my brains for so long yesterday trying to come up with interesting things to be honest about yesterday inspiration seems to have deserted me today. I have absolutely nothing to write about. All I know is I’m soo glad it’s Friday! I think this may just have been the longest week ever. I actually thought I was going to fall alseep today… and that was before lunch time. I was sitting there reading my way through a contract and my eyes kept trying to fall closed. Not good. Then I spent the afternoon reading through the computer instruction type texts that I’ve been translating all week. I found hundreds of mistakes. Literally. Aaarggh! Other than that it has been an incredibly slow day. The phone rang exactly once, and even then it was someone to speak to the boss. You’d think having nothing much to do once in a while would be nice, but instead it’s just boring and makes the day seem never ending. I was actually relieved when the boss came in at 3:30 and said we might as well go home. It has also been chucking down with rain all day today, which led to the discovery that my boots, that I just had reheeled over Christmas, are apparantly no longer waterproof. My socks got wet on the way to catch the tram this morning and remained wet all day. Most uncomfortable. Pity my poor feet please.

There is one good thing about today though (apart from the fact that it’s Friday) – I’m off to look at a flat in an hour. Finally I feel like things are moving forward! Stay tuned for a detailed description of it (I bet you’re all really looking forward to that incredibly exciting post…)

What, where?

I’m currently looking at flats on a website called Quoka (www.quoka.de in case anyone out there is in Germany and looking for a flat). It’s most interesting. I searched for 2 room flats in Karlsruhe and it’s coming up with things in places I’ve never even heard of. Like where on Earth is Hambrücken and why does this website seem to imagine I might want to live there?I’m also loving some of the things people write on their adverts. “Ideally situated 2 1/2 room flat” (ideally situated for who exactly? And what pray tell is half a room?) “Light-flooded, generous-sized 2 room flat” (Light-flooded huh? What, even at night?), “Interesting flat in Knielingen” (Uh, is it just me or does the use of the word “interesting” really make you not want to go and look at that flat?). Some of them do sound pretty good though. I can’t wait to start visiting them. It’s going to be so exciting! I’ve never actually had my own flat before.

It seems this is going to be a year of firsts.