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Month: January 2008

First Week

In my previous post I mentioned people wanting to do things with me. I think I should clarify that. The barracks here remind me a lot of college, where everyone would gather around a room or hang out and tag along on mini adventures. It’s nice to have that again (living vicariously through my brother at least).

Still a lot of learning to do here. Apparently leaving cars unlocked (including windows being left open), not buckling up, not giving the right of way, and passing on the right are all felonies. Yup, that’s right. You have a passenger not in their seatbelt, and you could end up imprisoned for up to five years. You also need to have a lot of cash on you. A lot of places do not accept credit card or American money, and if you do get pulled over with a fine, you must pay it on the spot.

The health insurance is the same way, unfortunately. We pay everything out of pocket, then get reimbursed a certain percentage. Talk about messed up (but that one is the U.S., Germany’s health care is universal; anyone who says universal health care sucks is an idiot, I am sooo jealous… what if one of us broke a limb or something… how am I supposed to pay for that out of pocket? German health care we could be in and out without a thought about the bill).

I’ll be giving an hour and a half session the first week of February, then pairing up with my supervisor for the following session. Being unfamiliar with the format and what exactly to talk about, I am a bit concerned. At least I have another few weeks to figure it out. 🙂 In the meantime, just wrapping up some of the paperwork and learning the software here.

Living spaces and friends

Finally the weekend! After a week of figuring out what needs to be done, lots of paperwork, getting rides to all different locations to do things I am not quite sure what the purpose was, we finally get a few days to sit down and organize everything that has happened. On Friday we toured several apartments that we could rent, and Herr and I saw two that seemed potential. Actually, he only liked one, but it’s a bit farther away than I would like. It’s nice though, a penthouse with wrap around terrace for a view of the city north, east, and south. The castle is visible from there. It comes with a built-in sauna and kitchen, but only two bedrooms (it’s more like one and a half, the second one is extremely small). That’s a concern for visitors, of course. We’re looking into that last place a bit more.

After we finished up the work day, we met up with my brother and a couple of his friends to meet my colleague and her friend for some food. The party grew by a few people as we were leaving, so it made for a good making of friends evening as well. This is something I really missed from Madison that just didn’t really happen in Kansas. People who want to go out and do things with me! Yay! 😀 I am about to head out to go shopping with them too, yay! And there are plenty of people here to video game with, so I think we’ll be happier when it comes to our lifestyles. We’ll be happier just to have our things back so we can organize our lives a bit. 😛 Still weird to be living in a German setting (with a furnished German apartment).

Germany

A quick update. Herr and I made it into Germany on time with everything in tact (we haven’t checked everything yet, though). After staying a night at the Hotel Rose (it was more like sleep all morning/afternoon, then an evening with my brother playing Legos Star Wars on PS3 and grilled dinner, then sleep again until being picked up at 7:30 a.m. on Monday for work), we were moved into a temporary apartment pretty far away. I’ve been lucky enough to get a ride from a coworker. We have some permanent living quarter selections we’ll be viewing tomorrow. They all look promising from the photos. 🙂

We’ve done a lot of paperwork with a lot of back and forth from base to base trying to get things straightened out. Poor Herr is in a loophole right now, but we’ll have that ironed out soon with the help of my mom and brother. Yay for them! No Internet at our current apartment, so updates will be sporadic until then. I think things will work out very well in the end, although there is a lot of learning to do at my job. Not bad, but I feel out of the loop still. Such it is with new places and beginnings. 🙂

My Last American Day

At least for a few years. 😀 Friday was hectic. On Thursday, the packers came by and boxed everything up. It was a new experience to sit and watch everyone else do the work. Friday they came early. Herr called the bank to get the lien release faxed (each call requires us to go through the automated system, then sit on hold for a minimum of ten minutes). The three people had everything inventoried and in crates by 11:30. Herr and I started the cleaning process as rooms cleared out, so we were done cleaning by noon. Bea stopped by to pick up miscellaneous items that couldn’t be packed.

Calling the bank again to get them to fax the lien release, we finally decided to drop off our keys and the cable modem. That took twenty minutes standing around (although I like that Time Warner has a waiting room with Internet and television, how appropriate), we go to close out Herr’s bank account. I get dropped off to pull out money while he goes to get the release.

My pay check doesn’t show up in the bank, so I run over to the library. Seems that the last check is always mailed instead of DDed, so I’m a bit concerned as we don’t live in the States anymore. Luckily, HR was able to pull it from mail delivery before pick up. Two checks! Yay!! 😀 That was such a relief. I had enough money to pay for a temporary apartment, but not food! Now I do. 😀 Very very lucky. Got the cash from the bank, and Herr informs me we still don’t have the fax.

After more waiting, I call up the bank. I decide we need to have them fax it directly to the state department. We start for Topeka where the title is while I’m negotiating with the bank. Get a call that it was sent to the wrong number. Have to call the bank back. We’re in Topeka by the time I am off the phone. At the state department, we find no lines and the release had already arrived. Woohoo!! Five phone calls and three fax numbers later, of course. She hands over the title, quick stop to the post office to try to fix the change of address (not resolved), and then we meet up with Herr’s grandmother for a farewell meal before driving the hour back.

Around 7:30 we were able to meet up with the new owner of the vehicle to hand over the title and get the rest of the payment. Things finally panned out. We get to Herr’s brother and sister-in-law’s who graciously lent us a vehicle to do all this as well as let us stay the night. The last thing we did? Watched Michael Moore’s Sicko. I hadn’t heard of it, but now I can’t believe how terrible America’s health “care” system is. Having a pharmacist in the room, I asked her thoughts. She said a lot of what he said is true, but there’s extremes and some storytelling to make it more dramatic. Still sad about the entire system.

Get to bed after midnight. Herr’s stomach is terribly upset, so we didn’t sleep much at all. Finally just got up little before 6 a.m. Herr got sick and may have the 24-hour flu. We’re at the airport now; me on the ubiquitous Web, and he on the floor trying to sleep in hopes of it going away.

Aye, it was a strange and full last few hours in the States.