Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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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?


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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 <3

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!


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11 years

Lady and the trampJan and I have been together for 11 years today! A long time. Unfortunately, he has choir practice tonight so we won’t be celebrating until the weekend.

Apparently, if this were a wedding anniversary, it would be steel.
In German, numbers made up of repeating digits are calles Schnapszahlen (in maths, they use the English term repdigits. Boring!). The term Schnapszahl comes from the fact that in lots of dice games if all the dice added together make a number with all the same digits, the person who rolled it has to drink a schnapps. Sounds like a much better gift than steel to me ;-)

So much has changed since our last anniversary, and I’m really looking forward to starting a new adventure together. Here’s to (at least) another 11 years!


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The story so far…

This post probably won’t be interesting to anyone but me – and possibly a few members of my family who I know have recently started reading (hi mam!), but writing this stuff down is a way for me to figure out what we have actually done for the move so far… a kind of checking off of the to-do list, if you will. Feel free to skip this one if it bores you ;-)

  1. I have cancelled my Bahn Card 100. I received confirmation last week that, as of 1st May, I will no longer be a Bahn Card 100 holder. So no more spontaneous travelling in Germany without a ticket for me! This was the first occurrence that made the whole “moving to Switzerland” thing feel real. Scary and exhilarating!
  2. We have given notice for our flat. Well, sort of. We wrote an e-mail on Saturday evening to make sure we were within the notice period, but the landlady wants it in writing because she isn’t sure whether it’s valid without a signature. I gave notice on my last flat by e-mail, but whatever she wants. She agrees that by e-mailing we adhered to the notice period, so it’s all good.
  3. Jan has been in touch with a tax advisor and the Basel Ausländerbehörde (foreigner’s office). Apparently I can get a residence permit for Switzerland… I just need to fill in a particular form and provide a work contract and bank statement, presumably so they can check whether I have enough money to be allowed to live in the land of banks!
  4. We have started the process of looking for flats, and man is it tedious! We’ve already had one response saying “you can contact the current tenant to arrange a viewing, but please note that we’re looking for a quiet, single person”. And why couldn’t you have said that in the advert and saved me the bother of e-mailing you? Plus isn’t that discrimination?! Naughty Swiss!

Aaaand I think that’s all so far. Still to do: actually find a flat, sort out my German bank account, sign a new contract with work, cancel the Internet at our current place, sort out and get rid of things we don’t want to take, arrange for a removals company to come and take most of our stuff away, clean the entire flat like it’s never been cleaned before and, finally, pack! phew. Am I missing anything?


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Friday letters

Guys… this is my final Friday letters post for January. How did that happen?! I’m kind of freaking out right now because it’s February on Sunday and we still don’t even know what country we’ll be moving to. And Jan may or may not be spending Monday-Thursday in Munich for most of Feburary. The good news is the tax advisors got back to us. The bad news is they didn’t have all the answers, so now we have to contact the Ausländeramt (foreigners registration office) in Basel and some people who know about insurance. Ugh, so much to sort out, so little time! Anyway… letters!

Postkasten

Dear train conductor. If we haven’t even entered the tunnel yet, we will not be reaching our destination in a few minutes. Shut up and let me sleep!

Dear weather. I can cope with cold, I can cope with rain, but does it really have to be a mixture of both plus wind to blow it all in my face?!

Dear spare room. You currently look like you’ve been hit by a hurricane. I promise to do something about that this weekend!

Dear shredder. I hope you’re prepared for some action – I shall have lots of papers for you when I’m done with the spare room!

Dear readers. I hope your weekends are more relaxing than mine is shaping up to be!

Happy Friday, everyone. Have a great weekend!


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2015 goals

I mentioned a few days ago that I was working on a list of resolutions, or goals, for the year. I know traditionally you’re supposed to have resolutions all ready to go from the 1st of January so you can start making yourself feel bad immediately ;-) but I decided not to do that this year. A few of mine are more goals for after we move anyway, rather than for 2015. Others I already had in mind at the end of last year and have actually started working on. And now, without further ado, I shall get on with it…

  1. Make an effort to get out in the fresh air more. This will be especially important after we move, when I will be working from and won’t even have my daily commute to get me out of the house, but it would have been on my list even if we were staying in Karlsruhe. I spend far too much of my time sitting around at home or in the pub, which may be fun but it’s no good for my health! This year I want to make more of an effort to get outside and enjoy the fresh air… especially when it’s sunny! I waste so many beautiful weekends lolling around in my PJs. If I’m going to avoid the housework anyway, I might as well avoid it somewhere where it isn’t staring me in the face! Also, once I move I will no longer have to leave the house to go to work, so I’m going to have to make a real effort to at least go for a quick walk every day to avoid going mad!
  2. Get more exercise. By which I mean get any exercise at all! Apart from when we’re visiting a city, which always involves a lot of walking, my only exercise consists of bringing the shopping home from the supermarket and walking to the pub. That’s something I’m determined to change this year. I’m sure my health (and my giant backside!) will thank me in the end.
  3. Throw away less food. I’m afraid I have to confess that a lot of what I buy either goes out of date or turns green before I actually get round to using it. Not only is this a terrible waste of resources and the exact opposite of environmentally friendly… it’s also not exactly good for my bank balance. I want to stop wasting food anyway because of the first two points, but the money aspect will become a very real problem once we move and start having to pay Swiss prices for things. It’s time to start paying attention to what’s in my fridge and actually using food up in time!
  4. Save money. Which mostly means curbing my Amazon habit (cheap books are my greatest weakness!) and avoiding buying clothes that I don’t actually need just because they have cute animals on them. Switzerland has a much higher cost of living than Germany and I’ll still be earning the same wage! Saving desperately needs to happen.
  5. Once we move, make an effort to get out and meet people. I am terrible with people I don’t know, especially large groups of people I don’t know. In Switzerland, I’m not going to know anybody and it’s not as though I can make new friends through work. My natural instinct would be to hole up in the flat with my cross stitch and my blog, but I’ve done that before and it was a horribly lonely existence. Making friends as an adult is hard, but I know I need to do it if I’m going to be happy in my new home. Obviously I’m not expecting to find a whole new group of friends straight away, but I want to at least be able to say I tried!
  6. Read 70 books. This is a goal I’ve set for myself on Good Reads, and normally I would say “easy-peasy”! But after March I will no longer be commuting every day, which means I’m actually going to have to purposely make time to read. Wish me luck!
  7. And finally, a goal for the first three months of 2015… i.e. the time I have left in Karlsruhe. While I’m still here, I want to make an effort to visit all those places I’ve been meaning to check out for ages, as well as revisiting places that I enjoyed once but never went back to. Among other things, I need to have high tea at Sukie’s, drink cocktails at Kofferaum again and try the Portuguese restaurant that’s supposed to be really good. And of course it would be nice if we could win one more pub quiz before we go!

I think that’s it. Seven seems like a lot of goals for one year, but I think they’re all realistic enough. Here’s to a fabulous 2015!


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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I hope you sang the title while you were reading it, because I certainly did while writing it ;-)

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. But 1) it wasn’t entirely my news to tell and 2) it wasn’t actually official until just before Christmas. Obviously I couldn’t say anything on here until things were 100% definite and all my real-life people knew! However, now contracts have been signed, bosses have been spoken to and family/friends have been informed, which means I can also blog about it without any risk of someone who should have been told by official means stumbling across my news via my blog (unlikely, but possible).

At the end of last year, Jan was offered a job in Basel (he wasn’t even applying for jobs at the time… he had worked on a project with them once and when a position opened up they called him). After paying a visit to the company, negotiating a few things (such as a few days off during the probation period as he will still have students to supervise here) and working out whether the pay really is as good as it sounds (Switzerland being an expensive country), the decision was finally made that Jan would take the job and the contract was signed and sent off just before Christmas. (Phew, complicated sentence there. Sorry!) (Also sorry for the overuse of brackets).

Basel town hall

Basel town hall

Although Basel is close enough to Karlsruhe for a day trip, it is definitely not close enough to commute! So some time around March/April we shall be moving to the Basel area. Jan starts on 1st April, so he’ll go first, probably in March, then I’ll join him at the end of April. Whether the move will actually take us to Switzerland or whether we’ll stay on the German side of the border is yet to be decided, but either way it will be an adventure! While I will miss my friends and some other things, having lived in Karlsruhe for longer than I’ve spent in one place ever in my entire life, it feels like a good time to move on and try something new. In the meantime, the next few months will be dedicated to trying out all the places in Karlsruhe I never got round to visiting, and also making sure to check out all the old haunts at least once more. There are a lot of places I need to day farewell to!

Our next step will be to meet with an adviser who specialises in cross-border employment. He will hopefully help us with the decision on where to live, then we’ll be flat hunting, packing and dealng with bureaucracy for the next few months (and then more bureaucracy after we move!). As for what I’ll be doing when we get there… well, I should be able to telecommute. My (new!*) boss likes the idea and has said he sees no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. All we need to do is work out details. So keep your fingers crossed that works out!

*Just to make things extra complicated, my company was sold at the end of last year so I now have 2 new bosses! I only spoke with one of them as the other wasn’t there that day. Oh, and when I wrote the e-mail asking for the meeting my female boss assumed I was pregnant! (I’m not, before you ask.) Male boss correctly guessed I was quitting because he remembered that my boyfriend was due to finish his PhD soon. This probably says something interesting about the differences between men and women.
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