Jul 18, 2011

Fifty-Seven

The number of days we've been living out of suitcases. So far.
...and...

26 and counting

The number of of days we've been living in a hotel in Germany.


Ugh. Thank goodness this place is so nice and close to the commissary or I'd be pulling my hair out by now. We found this AMAZING apartment downtown but can't move in until August 1st. Well worth the wait, I promise you. There is a definite end in sight and the reward is sure to be great! 

Luckily, the whole house finding process was a breeze compared to what I had envisioned. Before we left the states, D and I had heard stories of how competitive it can get finding housing on the economy. I'm talking sneaky competitive. For example, this one couple I heard about had been looking for a home for over 40 days. The reason for their ridiculous delay in obtaining living quarters on the economy? Crazy, sneaky Germans. The landlord would book multiple viewings at the same exact time leaving the possible tenants all fighting one another for the apartment! They said one couple, not even having seen the entire apartment, walked right up to the landlord, shoved 5000 euros in his hand and told him there was more for him (plus rent) if he would give them the apartment! Holy moly. So, you see why I was freaking out about the house hunting. I was not at all prepared to be cutthroat and conniving. Just not our style. We'd were leaving it up to the housing office too push us in the right direction...and they were fabulous! 

We went to the housing briefing and they laid all my fears to rest. They informed us they were going to be by our sides the entire way making sure we weren't going to be hassled or drained of our money with shady landlords. I liked the sound of that! The next day we had our first meeting with our housing counselor. We had to come with a list of our top three housing choices from the listings they gave us and then the counselor would book appointments with the landlord for us to see the place. I, of course, spent 3 days researching possible homes and found my absolute favorites. I was kind of freaking out the day before our first meeting because a few of my "maybe" choices disappeared from the listings overnight. With it being PCS season, apartments and houses get scooped up...sometimes right out from underneath you. Thankfully, the top three I had chosen were still available for us to view when we went into our meeting. HALLELUJAH! 

It was the 4th of July when we went to our meeting (German housing office still worked because, well, you know) and I was expecting to book these go-see appointments for the next few days. No way. If you want to have the best chance to get one of these places, you go now! So, that's exactly what we did! The housing office offers to attend up to three go-sees with you, in case you don't have transportation yet or if you are unsure about meeting with your German landlord. I was totally hoping our counselor would be going with us to at least 2 of our go-sees just to ease us into the whole process, but D opened his big stupid mouth and told her we already had a car...and she said "PERFECT!" So, we were on our own to go see our potential home. Cue the freaking out. First of all, we had NO idea how to find these places we'd picked. We'd only been in the city for 10 days. So with only 2 hours till our first meeting with the first landlord, we went and bought a GPS. It's completely been our saving grace.

With GPS in hand, we drove ourselves a measly 5 mintues down the street from the hotel into downtown Wiesbaden to our potential new home. We arrived about 20 minutes earlier than we had wanted to, but ended up taking a walk around to get a feel for the neighborhood. Nice. Real nice. Finally it was go time. In my head I'm totally freaking out...D was a cool as a cucumber. I will never understand that about him, but I'm thankful he is the way he is. He completely balances out my anxious craziness. I was so nervous about dealing with a German landlord. I was counting on that housing office buffer, but now, we had to do it on our own. No looking back! 

We walked up to the ginormous house...a home that houses the landlord and has two apartments above his quarters. The house was nicely gated and you must be "buzzed" in. Very cool...and safe! Right before we got to the gate, we saw a man hop out of his black Porche Cayman in a spiffy business suit. He walked right up to the gate, stuck his key in the lock, and opened the gate. BINGO! Houston, we have landlord! D and walked up and peeked around the corner of the gate (just to make sure) then made our way up to the landlord who was unlocking his own front door. We said hello, exchanged names and handshakes, and then he led the way to our future home. 

The apartment was everything I hoped it would be...and more. The listing hadn't done it justice! The place is beautiful. Now, I don't want to give away too much because I plan to post photos later...but this place has a super spacious master bedroom, crown moulding that is incredibly ornate and must be over 100 years old, and 2 balconies. TWO! I basically melted into the beautiful hardwood floors at the thought of getting to live here. What's even better? The landlord is fabulous. He was incredibly welcoming...so much so that he took us to his apartment, showed us around, and allowed us to meet his kids and wife! They are the cutest little German family! He told us he only ever rents to Americans. At first, I thought, uh oh...why's that? Because we're gullible, because we exude and image that we tend not to use our money wisely, because we're easier to "take for a ride?" Nope. Because we're nicer. Because we aren't demanding to the point of lunacy. Because when Americans leave, he feels like they've lost part of the family. Seriously! He said all of those things. If I wasn't sold on that place before, that conversation solidified our decision. 

I don't know what I was so worried about. The landlord spoke English pretty well and was absolutely charming. He even asked D if he liked football because he loves to go play at the park. D chimed in "Of course!" Then we both realized he meant European football...also known as soccer for us Americans. D's never played a game of soccer in his life, that I know of. This could eventually get interesting! :) Anywho, the next day we went  back to the housing office and signed the lease on the apartment downtown! Did I mention it is downtown? Yeah, it's a 10 minute walk from the Opera house, dozens of restaurants and shops, and 3 minutes from the park. SCORE! Just call us city mice!

The girl that is living there now (who is also a military renter...as is the guy in the 3rd floor apartment) leaves the end of this month, then the apartment is ours! I promise, as soon as I get those keys in my hand, you'll see pictures! We're beyond excited! Until then...

{I refuse to unpack and put things in drawers. Partly because I'm so sick of packing things and partly because we have no hangers. They are on a boat in the middle of nowhere and I'm NOT buying more!}
{The "pantry." Please excuse the Spaghetti-O's.}
{Home sweet hotel room}
{The "kitchen." Go ahead. It's ok to laugh. We do.}

...here's to 14 more days of hotel living! Kill me now.


4 comments:

  1. Glad you're doing well considering the circumstances! Can't wait to see pics of your worth-the-wait apartment :)

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  2. I love your blog! My husband and I are stationed in Germany, also. We are at Ramstein.

    LOL. We did actually have some of those meetings with other people looking at the same time, etc. We probably looked at 20 plus homes, before completely lucking out with our house!

    Oh, and those FiberOne bars are sooo good! They taste like candy bars, but so much better for you. And, hey, everyone needs spaghetti-os every now and again. Except my husband, he is so ashamed that I actually eat and LOVE them. :)

    Take care!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello! Hello! Oh my goodness... We are on month 7 in Wiesbaden {and loving it!} but holy smokes does time fly! Looking at these photos of Home Sweet Hotel maaaybe brought on some flashbacks. We were there almost 2 months... Happy to have found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Haha We are in Wiesbaden as well. We've been here for 9 months. How fun to see familiar pictures!

    ReplyDelete

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