10.19.2007

Day 1 - Househunting

Typically, air travel is a bear these days unless you’re flying first class. Because Max’s company offered to fly me first class to Germany for my house-hunting trip, I enjoyed the best Lufthansa air had to offer-- fresh scented towelettes, a massaging passenger seat, and, of course, unlimited alcohol. I even managed to get about 4 hours sleep during the trip over, making it easier for me to adjust to the time difference.

Max isn’t with me for this part of the voyage because of an important business meeting, but he arranged for a driver to pick me up at the airport, as well as a paten to take me around to see apartments. I’m not exactly sure what the definition of “paten” is, but mine’s name is Roswitha. She’s a lovely German woman who spent many years living in India. She knows from experience how difficult it can be for foreigners to settle in a new place, so she decided to set up a business and serve as a personal assistant to ex-patriots during the moving process. Based on our preferences, she’s been scouring apartments and has reserved four full days to take me around town. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been successful in finding a flat in the heart of Mannheim that accepts pets. And, so I have expanded my search to include smaller towns such as Speyer and Neudstadt. Leaving my dog Charlie behind is NOT an option.

Roswitha will also be our guide for 6 weeks after we move—helping us to register with the city, set up bank accounts, call to have our utilities switched on, and purchase a car. I cannot imagine what this experience would be like without this support, and I am grateful the company is willing to pay for us to have her.

Thursday night, I met up with some of Max’s co-workers. Thavvy, an American who also works in Germany, invited me to join a group for a champagne tasting in Heidelberg. The club, called the Print Media club, was amazing. A local band playing R &B classics from Earth Wind and Fire to the Black-eyed Peas, blew me away. Had I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t have thought I was in a foreign country.

Still, I was--partying with people from all over the globe including Italy, Brazil, Holland, Mexico, Bulgaria. I also met several Americans, who were very open in sharing their experiences as life as an ex-pat in Germany. Even though I know it’s going to be have its ups and downs, I think I can handle it.

10 comments:

Me said...

I think you are awesomely equipped to see the challenges as opportunities....and Germany isn't a third world country..that helps...and there are many awesome things about Germany.....I would always ask landlords that if you throw more more money in a pet deposit at them,whether they'd be interested in taking you in. :)

Good luck with the search adn DAMN, I am so jealous you got to fly first class!!!!

LZ Blogger said...

What! NO PAJAMAS on Lufthansa? BUMMER! 1st Class is about the only way to do flights longer than about 8 hours. But "going out to party" to get rid of jet lag is something I've yet to try. MAY BE that you are on to something here? Keep us posted! (no pun intened)! LOL! ;-)
~ jb///

AmyD said...

Sounds like you are having a blast so far! How wonderful that you have already met some nice people to welcome you and help you with this transition.

Good luck finding a place that will accept Max as gracefully as your fellow ex-pat's have...what does Germany have against pups, anyway??!! SHEESH... ;o)

Thanks for the update!

kenju said...

It's sounding better and better! I hope you find a place that will accept your dog. Send Roswitha over here when you're done with her....LOL

Dan-E said...

"thavvy?" no seriously, "THAVVY?"

egan said...

It sounds like his company is trying to make the transition as smooth as possible which is a damn good thing. Charlie is such a cute name for a dog.

I feel you on the feeling like you're in America thing while in Europe. I was at a bar in remote Finland and they were watching 90210 and Jerry Springer on tv.

By the way, I loved your most recent podcast. You have such great voice inflection.

Cheryl said...

Sounds like a pretty good start to Germany. Good luck on your house hunt. I know those can be exhausting, but exciting too.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I am so glad the company has provided someone to take you around and help you apartment hunt...I know that you'Ll acclimate just fine once you'r there...life is an adventure and you're living it to the fullest!

M said...

handle it? Sounds like it's going to be wonderful, once you work out the nitty gritty stuff.

utenzi said...

Max's company sounds great. You're definitely doing the "other country" thing the right way, Diane. Roswitha sounds wonderful.