Wednesday, February 6, 2008

About that apartment...

So, I signed the contract thingy and got my keys and stuff to my new apartment today, and it's not nearly as icky as I remember it being. The kitchen is awful, yes, but the bathroom is reasonable nice, if small. The shower has actual water pressure, which is fantastic. The shower at my current apartment has about the same water pressure as the kitchen sink, only diffused over a larger area. I'd get a better shower from a plant mister. So, a shower with decent water pressure will be a welcome change. The living room is also bigger than I recall, although it's still teensy. If any of you want to visit me, you'll have to sleep standing up in the shower or outside. Yes, outside! I have a terrace! ...unfortunately, my apartment is underground, so it's really a cement-walled cell attached to the apartment. There's ivy growing down the sides, though, and if I look up I can see sky, so that's nice. The walls are neatly beveled, ostensibly so that any wayward kitties can climb out to safety instead of dying a horrible death trapped on my terrace. Pictures are here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I am the absolute height of awesomeness.

So, I've seen three apartments in the past two and a half days, and conducted business entirely in German, and I have an apartment! Woo!

The apartment search was interesting, to say the least. On Sunday I went out to the outskirts of the city to see an apartment in Cotta. The area was really cool - it's one of the oldest parts of Dresden, and there are cottages and stuff, and it's very interesting. The apartment itself was nice. Really nice. Nice enough that I wondered how the hell it was in my price range. It had four large rooms, heated floors, a big kitchen, two bathrooms (with a giant bathtub and a bidet!), and was fully furnished, including a big-screen TV and American-sized fridge. I had a very nice chat with the landlord, had some tea and cookies and discussed politics, and then figured out that the place that was in my price range was the apartment under this one, which was unfortunately not available until March. So, damn. That's one off the list. Ah well, it was a nice trip to a new part of town, anyway, not to mention some good language practice.

(on the subject of language practice: This has been great for my vocabulary. C'mon, say it with me: Mietschuldenfreiheitsbestätigung! This means something like "Confirmation of freedom from previous rent obligations." Any reasonable language would, of course, make a sentence, or at least a decent clause, out of that, but the Germans are wild! They're all like, "Hey man, you only live once! Let's make it one word! Yeah, I said it: ONE WORD!")

Yesterday I saw two apartments. The first is in quite a nice part of town - close to where Clemens lives, actually, and surrounded by little parks, pretty buildings, and all the niceties of German life (a Konditorei on every corner!), plus it was no more than fifteen minutes from pretty much anything in the city, and just around the corner from the Garten and zoo. The apartment itself, tragically, completely sucked. It was literally about a 3 meter by 3 meter underground cell, with a teeny kitchenette and bathroom, and no bed included in the furnishings.

The second apartment was quite nice - nicely furnished, reasonably large, pleasant and bright, and had a bathtub (what? bathtubs are important to me, dammit!). Unfortunately, the area was depressing as all heck. It was what everyone would think of upon hearing the word "soviet," I think. Picture a half-hour train ride through a scenic mix of bombed-out buildings, abandoned storefronts, and grimy factories, ending at a charming block of old-school GDR apartment buildings, one of which was still proudly emblazoned with "Volks Solidaritaet - Miteinander, Fuereinander." (translation: Peoples' Solidarity - With each other, for each other) The area was basically one big splotch of gray concrete, with a few spots of grungy yellow to break it up. Frankly, the train ride left me depressed for the rest of the day.

So, I picked the crappy apartment in the nice part of town. I'm going to do it up all Middle Eastern style, with some cool lamps and big pillows and stuff. I think it could be quite pleasant, and the area is really nice to walk around in. I move in tomorrow, and I may not have internet for a couple days, so if you don't hear from me, that's why. I'm really glad this apartment change happened right now - I'm in the middle of a two-week break from school, so I have lots of time to get all settled.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The adventure begins!

So, today my apartment building manager informed me that there's a time limit on the stay in this building and so I'm going to have to move out. In five days. So, I have to find a new apartment and be moved in in five days. That's bloody hard to manage in America, let alone in a foreign language with customs that I don't completely understand yet. Ah well, learn by doing, yes?

So, I'm mostly pretty lazy, but when I'm forced into action, by golly, I'm spectacular. I've been typing my fingers to the bone, finding classifieds and apartment sites and firing off emails like a SUPERHERO, dammit. I think I'm going to manage this.

Either that or you can all come visit me and I'll show you around Schloss Kardbordbochs.