Why must everything be so complicated?

Once I move, I will no longer be able to have an account at my bank in Karlsruhe… because Germans are awkward and only allow you to bank at a specific branch. But I will still need a German bank account for my wages, so I decided to open one at the online bank where Jan has his account. I got all the forms, filled them in just fine and was ready to send them off… or at least I thought I was…

To send these forms, you have to use a procedure called “PostIdent”, which means you place the filled in form in an envelope then take it to the post office, give a separate little card to the post office employee and show your ID. The post office employee uses the extra form to confirm that you are who you say you are, sends your completed form plus the PostIdent thing to the bank and your account is set up. Easy! I had planned to do that tonight after work, but then I noticed the small print: “If using a passport for ID, you will also need to include a copy of your registration confirmation that’s no more than 6 months old”. So now I need to go to the citizen’s office (which is only open while I’m atwork!), pay 8 euros for a copy of the bit of paper that says I’m registered as living in Karlsruhe, put that in the envelope and then I can finally go to the post office and send off my form.

Could just one thing in this moving process not be complicated?!

Preparing to move: a photo post

I don’t really have time for blogging at the moment, but I felt the need to give a small sign of life, so here’s a quick dump of the photos I’ve taken recently. Some were taken on my tablet, so the quality is correspondingly not great.

Lunch on the train a few weeks ago on my way to yet more flat viewings. Totally healthy, right? 😉

"lunch"

I’m trying to use up as much stuff as possible because the removals company said it can be difficult getting food into Switzerland. Here’s a cake I made for my colleagues in an attempt to get rid of some instant coffee.

cake

All our boxes need to be given a number and we need to provide detailed packing lists for customs (the joys of moving to a non-EU country!). Here’s a note I wrote to Jan the other morning. I wasn’t sure what number he’d got up to the night before and the file with the packing list is on his computer.

Packing note

Boxes, boxes everywhere! The current state of my living room (also apparently the white balance is off on the tablet? My living room isn’t actually blue!).

boxes

The removal men are coming on Tuesday morning, then I’ll be spending roughly a month living with next to no furniture and one of each kitchen item! The computer is leaving too, so other than at work I’ll only be able to access the Internet via our mini tablet, meaning my posting will probably continue to be erratic for a while! Then, as of May, you can expect plenty of pretty pictures of Switzerland 🙂

Lucky Friday the 13th…

WE HAVE A FLAT!!

We went to Basel yesterday afternoon and sign the contract… I didn’t want to mention anything beforehand in case I jinxed something. But we made it there, handed over 6,000 francs(!!!) in cash for the deposit and picked up the keys. It seems Friday the 13th is lucky for some. Afterwards, we had enough time before our train to briefly head over there and see if it was as nice as we remembered. It was. We have 2 bathrooms – one with a shower, one with a bath, both with a toilet. Two toilets! How convenient? There’s also a balcony and the kitchen comes fully equipped with a dishwasher. No wooden shutters, but you can’t have everything. Here’s a crappy photo of the doors leading to the balcony:

Balcony

Now we just have to sort out all the bureaucratic stuff… closing bank accounts, opening new ones, de-registering from German, getting residence permits for Switzerland…
And, of course, we have to pack. Not looking forward to that one! But we have a flat. Woo hoo!!

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!

Friday letters

Hello! I’m off work today (using up some holiday from last year that needs to be taken before the end of March) and we’re hopefully going to look at a flat or two in Basel this weekend. We’ve definitely got one to view tomorrow anyway. Exciting! I hope you’re all having a nice Friday and not working too hard 😉 Now for today’s letters.

Friday letters

Dear Deutsche Bahn. In the last two weeks, you’ve managed to pull straight into the station in the morning exactly twice. On every other day, we’ve been on time throughout the entire journey only to stop immediately before our detination because the section of track at our platform was still occupied by another train. This kind of thing should not be happening 3 days in a row! Sort it out! I’m tired of missing my tram to work and having to walk (and arrive later).

Dear guy eating a chocolate muffin on the train. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks cake is a suitable breakfast!

Dear flat advertisers. I wish you would just get back to me already! Also, automated replies saying “phone the current tenant” are annoying. Does nobody out there do e-mail? How am I supposed to find the time to make phone calls?!

Dear fellow bloggers. Sorry if I haven’t visited your blog recently. I’ve been trying to get round to everybody but life (or, more accurately, work) keeps getting in the way!

Dear readers. Thanks for all the congratulations yesterday.

Now here are some links.

Cecilia in the Rain recommended this blog and it’s amazing! basically, this person takes her favourite books and creates food based on them. If you like cooking, books, or both you must check this blog out!

Are any of my readers Doctor Who fans? How about Lego fans? Then this will interest you: Doctor Who is getting its own Lego set later this year.

I recently came across this news article and I’m fascinated by it! This woman – going by the name of Lori Erica Ruff – committed suicide in 2010. When her husband and his family were going through her stuff, they found out that she had stolen the identity of a dead baby then legally changed her name from the baby’s name to another. Nobody seems to know who she really is. It sounds like the start of a mystery/thriller, except it’s real life. What?!

 Have a great weekend everyone! I’m off to try and track down some more flats to enquire about…

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?