Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Every rose has it's thorns

We are loving the new apartment. Really loving it! The garden is lovely, the furniture is comfy, the big screen TV is perfect for watching the olympics, the hard floors (no more spills on the carpet!) are amazing, and the dishwasher has revolutionized the way I feel about being in the kitchen. We really, really like it. Of course, no apartment, or house, is without it's flaws. The biggest one here so far is the laundry. In Boulder we spent $1 for wash and $1 for dry to do our laundry. That seemed a little expensive/annoying to me but it was cheaper than the laundromat, so, whatever... Our last apartment had free laundry. Which would have been really nice if it wasn't so far away (3 flights of stairs and around the building). This apartment however, does not have free laundry. Nor is it $2 a load. The laundry here is 1€ for 20 minutes. A normal cotton wash with this machine is 2 hours (?!). That means 6€ (roughly $7.50) just to wash. Drying usually takes about 60 minutes, so that's another €3 for a total of 9€ for ONE load of laundry. There's absolutely no way I will spend that much on one load of laundry. I could almost buy new clothes for that much (well not really, but still...). So I've taken up line drying my clothes, and I've been washing them on the super short cycle. So far I've done three loads of laundry on the super short cycle (it says it takes 15 minutes, but actually takes 27, weird...) two of the three loads came out completely sopping wet. The other one was fine. I'm not sure what that's about, I'll have to look into it more I guess. The line drying has been fine. The super sopping wet load took a couple days to dry, the other one dried in an afternoon.

I have very little experience with any laundry washing that doesn't involve dumping into the washer and then transferring to the drier. There's a big square clothes line thing in the yard I've been using for drying the clothes, and I've just been hanging everything out there. I have no idea what I'll do in the winter. Are there enough sunny days in the winter to line dry your clothes? Do you really stand out there in the freezing cold and pin every shirt and pair of underwear up? What about weeks where it's rainy all week? I have a "winter garden" a kind of sunroom/porch thing that's all enclosed but with windows all around and on top. Would that be a good place to dry clothes? Or would it take years for them to get dry since it's inside? It's also pretty humid here, how is that going to effect things? Is there a way to make the super short cycle more efficient, like something I can add to make the clothes get cleaner faster? We're talking about pretty dirty little boy clothes.  These are all questions for, well, I guess for you. Surely there are some experienced launderers amongst my blog readers, right?! Email me, Facebook me, Skype me, comment, I need some serious help in this department!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New apartment

These pictures are not fabulous, I haven't moved the camera stuff yet, so I just took them with my iPad, but this is the new apartment!

There are two bedrooms, a normal sized one for Dylan and I and a small one for the boys. The bathroom is huge, and the kitchen is big enough for a small table and chairs. The living room/dining room is big and sunny and there's a sun room/veranda and a big yard. So far were really liking it!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We're moving!

It looks like I'll be able to post pictures sooner than I thought. I decided to email them about the move in date, because you know, "the worst they can say is no". I asked if we could move in a few days before September first so we could be settled before Sandy, Brendan and Wes come to visit (August 29), and they're letting us move in Monday! That's so much better than I ever hoped for. Apparently the current tenant is going to be traveling a lot in the next months anyway, so he'll just stay in some temporary housing while he's here, and save himself the trouble of spending a whole months rent. We're so excited!!! I guess I should get to packing!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New apartment

Eek!! I'm so excited! We just finished looking at an apartment that would be absolutely perfect for us. I'm sure you can tell from my earlier posts that we don't exactly love our current apartment, and it's probably affected our opinion of Germany. Anyway, this new apartment is just perfect, it's ground floor, all one level has a huge yard, a dishwasher, eat in kitchen, comfortable furniture, hard floors, just everything we could have imagined. It's a little more expensive than the place we have now, but I think it will be well worth it. It's even a little closer to the subway station and James' kindergarten. If all goes according to plan, we should be moving in September 1st. I can't wait to share pictures!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

We aren't on vacation

I know, I know, you all have known for quite some time that we are not on vacation. Clearly a move half way around the world (or a third) for 2-3 years is not a vacation. However, I've been living my life like it was. Or trying to make it one, or something.

We moved here with 6 pieces of luggage stuffed to the brim with clothes and toys. That is all. We got a furnished apartment, and  were lucky to have it come with dishes, towels, bedding etc. Sort of like a vacation condo. When you rent a vacation condo, and you don't have everything you need, you just tough it out. And that's ok, because you can live for a week, or two weeks, or even a month without muffin tins, or a blender, or a microwave, or whatever it is your vacation condo is lacking. However, when you move somewhere and it's supposed to be your home, and you find yourself constantly longing for your return trip to the US because "when we go back home I can have ice cubes and muffins again". Well, to you that might seem a bit ridiculous, but for me, that's what I've been doing. For some reason I had it in my head that we couldn't buy anything that is not "absolutely necessary" and so even though it's a huge pain, we haven't had a microwave, or a freezer, or muffin tins, or cookie sheets, or a comfortable piece of furniture to sit on. (plus like a million other things, you get the idea) That's ok. Honestly if we were still in Boulder, I think it would be a good exercise for us to live more simply and eliminate some unnecessary things. However, when you've just moved to a new country, it's a little different. Moving is stressful enough without trying to radically alter your lifestyle as well. I don't want our time here to be something I have to "get through" counting down the days till I can return to all the comforts associated with "home". We need to make this place one that is comfortable and inviting. Because for now, this is where we're at. This needs to be "home".

This week I bought a freezer, and a microwave. They have revolutionized my life. I had almost forgotten how handy it is to heat up lunch in just a few seconds, and let me tell you, on a hot day, nothing beats a glass of ice water!

Yep, the freezer and microwave are in the living room, because there's no room in the kitchen. But you know, it is TOTALLY worth it!

mmmm.... cold and delicious.

So a tip, for anyone thinking about making a big relocation type of move. Everything outside your home will be different, so try to keep your home as comfortable and "homey" as you can. It really helps the homesickness if you don't upheave every little thing in your life all at once.