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!

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Friday letters: the end of February

February is over! Well, practically. There’s still tomorrow to get through. Then it will be March… the month that Jan was supposed to be moving. Actually, the month Jan has to move seeing as he starts his new job on the 1st of April!! Today I am leaving work early to go to Basel again. Jan is already there, and has about 10 flats to view today. I wish I was exaggerating! Then we’ll be staying overnight because we have another viewing tomorrow… at 8 a.m. In the meantime, we’ve had our second rejection. Oh joy. Here are this week’s letters. Apologies in advance for any negativity.

letter box

Dear Basel flat owners/agencies. Please could one of you just offer us a flat?! If I’d known it was going to be this difficult I would have started looking in December, and then taken a week off just to go to viewings.

Dear February. I know you’re the shortest month, but you’ve gone by way too fast this year! Between work and flat hunting, I’ve forgotten what a social life even is… and I still haven’t been to 90% of the places in Karlsruhe I wanted to visit before we leave.

Dear boyfriend. I know it’s your birthday on Sunday, and I’m very sorry, but the main part of your present hasn’t actually arrived yet. I’m hoping it will be waiting for me when we get back from Basel tomorrow!

Dear weather. How kind of you to be sunny/warm all week then start to rain just as we reach the weekend! (//end sarcasm)

Dear books. When did you get to be so many? I packed 2 boxes with you last night, yet anyone coming to our flat for the first time would assume all my books were still on the bookcases! I think we may need another bookcase once we’re in the new flat!

Dear work. Thank you for letting me leave early today (and last Friday). I will make it up to you once we finally find somewhere to live!

That’s all folks. I hope your weekend is less busy/stressful than mine is shaping up to be.

Slow progress is progress too…

So far we have viewed a total of seven flats. In Basel. Where we currently do not live. This has involved three trips to Basel so far – a two hour drive from Karlsruhe. And we have written to many, many more. For some, we get an auto-reply saying to call a number. Others respond with “sorry, no viewings on weekends!”. One said the flat in question was already gone, another that they’d already had more than 40 applications so it wasn’t worth us taking the trip to Basel! And one of the seven we’ve viewed has also rejected us. Jan has now arranged another 4 viewings on Friday – he’ll be attending those alone because I have to work. Then I’ll go to Basel straight from work on Friday and we’ll stay overnight because we have another viewing on Saturday. At 8 am! Yes, you read that correctly. Now Jan is phoning more people to try and persuade them to let us view flats on Saturday. Are you exhausted on our behalf yet? If any of you ever decides to move to Switzerland, this is what you’ll have to do to find a flat! (And this is just Basel… we’ve been told it’s even worse in Zurich.)

The next thing on my list...
The next thing on my list…

Meanwhile, I still haven’t packed more than one box. And I did that back in January when it was bulk rubbish day and I took out a bookcase that I no longer wanted. I have managed to sort msot of my crafting supplies into various containers, which will make it much easier to transport, and I’ve sorted out the many bills from my Internet provider that I never got round to putting away properly because they weren’t pre-holepunched and I’m lazy! I’ve also written to cancel said Internet contract and received a response saying they’ll accept my special termination if I send them my re-registration form to prove I no longer live in their supply area. Unfortunately, I can’t do that until I actually have de-registered in Germany and registered in Switzerland (yes, the Swiss make you register as a resident as well!). So, not much progress has been made, but I have managed to cross two things off my list (cancel Internet and cancel Bahncard 100). Oh, and I’ve handed in my holiday form to make sure I can get the last week in April off to move – I’m just assuming we’ll actually have a flat to move into by that time! Even slow progress is progress, right?

Basel zoo and a “hedgehog” for lunch

On Saturday, we were up bright and early to drive to Basel again. Our first of three flat viewings was at 11 am, meaning the latest possible time we could leave Karlsruhe was 9! And that is why we spent Valentine’s Day driving and looking at flats. Good job neither of us actually cares about the day of lurrrve 😉 We did, however, manage to stop for lunch in between the first two flat viewings. We went to a little baker’s/cafe where we each drank a home-made hot chocolate with chilli and I couldn’t resist eating an “Igeli”. Der Igel is German for hedgehog, but the Swiss like to diminutise (is that a word?) everything, and so it becomes Igeli. The English equivalent I suppose would be hedgehogling – in the sense of duckling or gosling (or maybe it would be hedgehoglet? Piglet… hoglet… hedgehoglet? You get the idea, anyway). Before I ate him, I had to snap a picture. Just look how cute he is!

Igeli

Later, we had a slightly longer gap between viewings and the sun had come out (after pouring rain in the morning), so we decided to check out the zoo. Sadly, there are no red pandas there, but they do have meerkats, orangutans and some interesting birds. My camera battery was low, so I didn’t take many pictures, but here are a few:

As for the flats: the first one was most suitable, the second was nice but not in the best area and the third was expensive and also the available date has been moved back, but was very large and central. We took forms for all three of them anyway. And now, we go back to waiting… and in the meantime continue to try to arrange viewing appointments. We’ve managed to get 2 more for Friday afternoon, so I’ll be working overtime from now until Thursday and taking Friday afternoon off work. *Sigh* Flat hunting is exhausting!

 

Friday (the 13th!) letters

Hi everyone! I’m very glad today is Friday… this week has been exhausting! So much going on at work, and I haven’t been getting a tonne of sleep either (thanks, boyfriend who grinds his teeth in his sleep!). I won’t have much of a chance to relax over the weekend either… tomorrow we have three flat viewings in Basel, the first of which is at 11 a.m., meaning we’ll be setting off at 8 a.m.. *Yawn*. Anyway… I’ll try and think of some letters for you, even though I haven’t been doing much of interest this week. Most of my free time has been spent scrolling through flat websites trying to figure out whether we’ve already replied to that particular ad (and getting accused of being a robot for my pains!).

Mail box

Dear tomorrow’s flats. I hope either one of you or last week’s works out because I really don’t feel like spending another Saturday running round Basel (or another week desperately trying to find new adverts to respond to that aren’t only available from 1st May, i.e too late).

Dear boyfriend. Please go to the dentist and get a new bite guard or I may have to murder you in your sleep!

Dear tea. You have been my saviour again this week. Without you, I would either have frozen to death or fallen asleep at my desk ❤

Dear weather. I know February is statistically the coldest month, but could we at least have some sun? I’m so sick of clouds!

Dear self. Here’s a reminder: buy stamps! Also, find your customer number and write a termination letter to your Internet provider.

Dear friends/family with birthdays coming up. All of your cards and gifts will be late. I apologise.

Dear fellow bloggers. Once again, I apologise if I haven’t been by to say hello recently, but if you read the introductory paragraph you have your explanation.

That’s your lot for today. It’s supposed to be my lunch break, but I need to cut it short so I can get a translation finished by the end of the day. Have a great weekend, everyone!

I am a bad blogger…

The Lebanese flag
The Lebanese flag

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to look at a flat in Basel on Saturday. The appointment was late afternoon, so we decided to stay the night in Lörrach (on the German side of the border, where hotels are cheaper) and take some time on Sunday to drive around all the areas of Basel where we have inquired about flats. On Saturday night, we went out to eat at a Lebanese restaurant in Lörrach where I failed to take a single photo. Bad blogger! I can assure you that Lebanese food is very tasty, though. For me, it seemed like a mixture of Greek and Turkish cuisine, which is interesting seeing as it’s nowhere near either of those! The menu contained lots of aubergine, chickpeas and lamb dishes. Making a decision was difficult, so we chose a four-course set meal to get a bit of everything. There was a mixed starter plate followed by salad then a main course of meat, meat and more meat served with a spicy tomato cous cous. Dessert was some kind of coconut/cream cake plus a plate of different fruits. It was all delicious and I can highly recommend Cedar’s Lebanese Restaurant if you ever find yourself in Lörrach. You might want to reserve though – it was busy! We were initially sent away for an hour and then asked whether we minded sharing a table with another couple.

In other news, the flat we looked at was nice but much smaller than our current one! It’s in a nice area and has a big balcony out the back, though. We’re currently in the process of filling out forms for the (potential) landlady and gathering evidence that, should we move in, we can actually pay the rent! It seems there are many hoops to jump through before you can actually rent a flat in Switzerland… Meanwhile, we have 2 more appointments arranged for next weekend and are still frantically checking rental websites for new ads every day. Fingers crossed something works out soon!