Moving day in Monday, finally. It’s taken about three months to get to this point. Most of this time Olli’s been in Nurnberg and I’ve been here in Munich, with both of us trying to figure out how to get back together in the same place again. It’s definitely been interesting, if not total fun and games.
First, I’m probably more surprised than anyone – especially my husband – to find myself still employed. I worked myself up to getting a meeting with my boss and rehearsed what I was going to say. I went to work that day ready to quit and at the last minute thought, ‘Well, hell, I can him ask him about it first’.
So I just asked him if he had any ideas about what I should do before I made a decision either way. What he suggested didn’t sound half bad with me reducing to a four day work week, splitting the time between home and office down the middle. I walked out of that conversation feeling pretty good.
This was quickly damped a bit by the difficulty in finding an apartment. We’d just assumed that Nurnberg, being a smaller, less metropolitan area would have more vacancies, cheaper rents, and a better selection than Munich.
Hear that? That loud braying guffaw out there in the distance is Oliver reading that last sentence.
This assumption of ours turned out to be (excuse me) so fucking not true at all.
Germany may be a renting kind of place, but in Nurnberg, unless you’re looking for a little place to start out in after college, you mostly buy. This we hadn’t expected. After almost three months, we couldn’t find an apartment. We just couldn’t manage to find a decent place anywhere. There were a few good ones available at the beginning, before we were really looking, which may have lulled us in to a false sense of security. But then months went by with only two possible apartments coming into question, both of which we didn’t get.
This was a shock in itself. In Munich – a tough market – we’d never lost one to someone else. One apartment went to someone who was willing to buy more furniture off the departing renter who was buddies with the landlord. It was some pretty awful Italian stuff and a short man’s Ikea kitchen, which he wanted to let go to the tune of 40K+. The other one, well the the other couple got it because the woman was pregnant. In Germany they have a Joseph and Mary complex, show a rounded belly and everyone offers you their manger. Seriously, they consider it part of their civic duty to support those who reproduce, which is all well and good, but come on. We actually had realtors tells us that we didn’t need – read: deserve – that much space. I actually considered some deception to even the odds.
Four weeks ago we were starting to talk contingency plan and I was trying to figure out how long we could co-habitate in Oliver’s little bachelor pad above the butcher shop, surrounded by the smell of meat, before killing each other.
Every free moment was spent looking online, going through the new listings on the phone, me ready to jump the train at a moment’s notice to come look at places, Oliver often ducking out for a quick Go See during business hours. When 9 out of 10 times the apartment you go to this kind of effort to see is a shit hole, this can get old really fast. Olli kindly and practically sifted through most of the crap and then set up appointments for me to see the rest.
Most of those still had a major “But…” included. Beautiful altbau (historic) place with crazy stucco details on all the ceilings with castle-view, but… located on the loudest, busiest street with no parking for blocks; huge altbau apartment with painted stucco ceilings in a gorgeous jungendstil neighborhood, but… no hallway so all the rooms connect through one another (with the bathroom at the very end, giving the added bonus that if you left all the doors open you could see your partner seated on the throne from the front door about a football field’s distance away); beautiful altbau apartment with a working fireplace in a charming building with a little Italian bistro in the ground floor, but… fourth floor, no elevator, no parking nearby, no balcony and the current tenant wants you to buy all his crappy stuff for a small fortune.
I’m cutting a segue of my rant and making it into a bitch post for those who love to read how miserable and expensive renting and moving can be, find it here. For the rest, I’ll cut to the chase. We finally found something just in the nick of time. It’s modern, quite similar to what we have now. It is in a nice old neighborhood near the park. In four minutes I can be at the train station to go to Munich for the two days a week I have to be in the office. We have a parking garage and an elevator. All is well.
Best yet, we’ve more than tripled our balcony space. One off the bedroom, about twice the size of what we have now and one off the living room, which is the same size (or larger) than the bedroom itself. Booyah! Oliver is gleefully looking at patio furniture across the table from me right now.
But… we have to build a kitchen, which meant we had to first buy one. This is a post on its own. For now, two words: not cheap.
About 36 hours to go…