I really wanted to blog about the move right away while it was fresh in my mind, but let’s face it, I was too busy moving and adjusting. Now you’re stuck with my 6-month old memory – almost to the day.
The move on the sending end was uneventful, but a little nerve wracking to see almost everything you own crated up to be put on a ship.
Of course I was excited to move to Germany, I’ve always wanted to try living in Europe, but I was nervous and sad about leaving my kids. (They’re both in college, they’ll be fine, but I miss them… also my cats… but this is about Germany.) On the day I left, I kept thinking, Holy shit, this is it, I have a one-way ticket to Germany, I can’t believe this is really happening. I was fortunate enough to have a sponsor and good friends in Germany so they’d already prepared me as much as possible.
When I arrived and my sponsor picked me up at the airport, I was too tired and jet-lagged to be as excited, but it was still there. Jet lag is easier to overcome if you get on your new time zone right away and don’t sleep during the day, so my sponsor drove me to various appointments such as setting up a new bank account, but a lot of it was a blur to me. He drove me around to show me different things, but his plan to keep me awake backfired when I fell asleep in the car. Oops. I also remember the next day he took me to get my ID which includes a picture which will be shown every day at work for the next 3 years. After I had my picture taken and got my ID, I stopped in the bathroom and glanced in the mirror and realized, “I forgot to put on make up today.” Are you kidding me? I put on make up almost every day, but the day I get my photo ID…. Ugh.
I loved my hotel suite, where I lived for 7 weeks, to the point where I could have lived there the entire time except there wasn’t enough room for my kids to visit and other guests. I even had a heated floor in the bathroom! I moved in October and the fall was just beautiful, so I went on frequent walks around the hotel. I also walked to work every day, down a path surrounded by trees that grew more yellow every day, until the leaves fell and I walked to work on a yellow brick road.
I was very busy my first 7 weeks there. Two things seemed to take up the majority of my free time: Looking for a place to live, and transferring my cell phone to a German carrier. As for that second one, it was ridiculous. Before I could transfer my iPhone to a new carrier, AT&T basically had to “release” me. First I paid over $100 because there was a mere 2 months left on my 2-year contract. Once that was complete, they had to somehow unlock my phone (the details are vague now). I don’t know why it was so difficult, but it took multiple phone calls, then they’d send me an email 3 days later and I’d have to do something online in order to get to the next step. Of course every time I’d call they’d try to talk me in to staying with AT&T. I didn’t feel the need at first to tell them where I lived, but finally I just said, “I moved to Germany!” Oh, we don’t have coverage there. Didn’t think so.
Moving is always hard, even if staying in the U.S. Every time you move you need to find everything new: hair stylist, dentist, doctor, etc. (yes, I realize after typing I put those in an interesting order). You have to find new places to shop (for groceries, clothes, and everything else). Now add in a couple little wrinkles like, everything is in a different language, and I don’t have a car. Let’s also throw in different currency and the metric system. Every. Single. Thing. Is Different. You get the idea (more on other differences in another post).
I wrote about my apartment search on another post, so I won’t repeat that, but will talk about the move itself. I was allowed to ship a small, partial shipment that went by air and arrived while I was still at the hotel. I debated about shipping my bike early and decided to do so since I didn’t have a car, but then after it arrived I think I only rode it once and that was mostly to test it out. Other items I thought were important enough to have right away included additional clothes (such as winter clothes, I didn’t know how long it would be since I got the rest of my stuff), a pillow and blanket, my favorite slippers, and some vodka.
My move into the new apartment occurred right after Thanksgiving weekend. I moved out of my hotel on Wednesday, went skiing in Austria for the weekend, then came back and spent Sunday night in my apartment with no furniture. I was going to sleep on my air mattress, but I couldn’t blow it up because I didn’t own an electric transformer yet. I did the best I could with a flat air mattress, yoga mat and some towels. I also discovered that the radiators in my apartment didn’t work, so not only was I uncomfortable on a hard floor but I was freezing. I slept in multiple layers including my ski jacket.
However, my furniture arrived the next day, with very little damage (despite some fairly crappy packing techniques).
Now I’m settled in, I’ve purchased new furniture, and it really feels like home.