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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 19, 2007

A moving experience (1)

Filed under Life in Europe

For Americans who have built in closets in bedrooms – even walk-in closets – and kitchen cabinets it is somewhat of an adjustment to live in Europe where not much of anything is built in. I haven’t had much time to write this month because I have been occupied with my move to a smaller apartment.

I had been looking for a new apartment for over a year. new apartment in Troisdorf There were several reasons for wanting to move. First, since Monica lives most of the year with her dad in Alabama, the old apartment was too big for me (4 rooms and about 90 m²). It was located in a building with six apartments, and in the last 18 months or so there were several changes of tenants. With the new tenants, the house is no longer as neat as it was. When we moved in 13 years ago we dealt directly with the owner, a pleasant older fellow. But now he utilizes a facility management service, and there are new rules like strict enforcement of cutting the grass in the large backyard (large for German standards). Even though I never use the yard and the families in the building practically camp out all summer there, I had to cut grass (something I get plenty of practice doing in Alabama). The water usage is also not metered. Instead, it goes by the number of persons living in the flat. Since the families all have small children and run their washing machines frequently, it meant that with my lengthy absences I was paying for part of their water usage.

I had found a couple of interesting places in the last year, but the owner chose another tenant. new apartment in Troisdorf My requirements for the new apartment were no yard work, metered water and heating usage, less rent and located on the top floor (less cleaning to do in the stairwell!). In September I was out visiting members all day when the free local Wednesday weekly paper was delivered. My friend and colleague Jesmina saw an ad for an apartment in Troisdorf-Bergheim, which is only about 1000 meters from where I was living. It also had the advantage of me being able to keep my old phone number. However, the next evening I had the time wrong for a viewing appointment and missed the owner, not a good way to start off. But when I called him Friday morning he didn’t seem upset, so he came over (he lives nearby) and I was able to see the flat. It has two rooms with the kitchen directly opening into the living room, and a small loft under the roof where I am putting my office. I told the owner I was interested, and he said he would call me after the weekend, since other people were coming to look at the flat on Saturday. He called on the following Monday and said I could have it. It would be available on December 1, so I gave the required 3 month notice on my old apartment. That gave me one month (December) with double rent, but made the move easier – if moving is ever easy. :-)

When talking to a member’s son after services one day, Jesmina learned that Michael Wilsberg had done some kitchen transfers for a couple of his friends. He offered to help me with my move, and he disassembled our custom-built kitchen and with a few adjustments (like a new counter top) and Jesmina’s help he reassembled the kitchen in the new apartment (top photo). With Joerg Habich’s help I was able get all the furniture moved. We had to downsize so I threw away some old furniture and lots of other stuff. Over the summer I had also gotten some 20,000 UCG-Germany booklets out of my basement storage room, which was being used as a warehouse of sorts. So the first part of the move was completed. The second part is restoring the old apartment to its original condition so we can get our $1300 security deposit back. That job will be the subject of my next post. :-)

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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