First real snow

27 11 2010

It snowed for the first time a couple days ago.  It wasn’t that exciting of a first snow, however, because the snowflakes fell gracefully to the ground and promptly melted.

Thursday night, however, it snowed again while we were indoors in a place with few windows.  So when we walked outside, we were pleasantly surprised to find a very light dusting of snow over everything.  It was quite lovely.  I consider that the first real snow of the season.

It has been snowing off and on for the past few days, but only very lightly.  There is still no more than a light dusting, but it’s cold enough that the snow is still there.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be sunny, though it’s very cold (in the negatives — Celsius).

Progress on unpacking

Today is another IKEA day for Tobi and I.  Our stove is finally installed (after some very incompetent craftsmen and a pretty blasé, imprecise electrician) and we need some new pots and pans, as we currently have only one that works with the electromagnetic waves.  Our refrigerator is also here, as well as our washing machine.  We’re still waiting on the dishwasher replacement from IKEA – they sent us the wrong size last time.

There is still a lot of unpacking and arranging to do.  Not everything has a place yet.

We’re going to pick up the Christmas tree today, though, before we go to IKEA.  That way we can decorate it tomorrow.  🙂  I’m so excited!


All settled

23 11 2010

Moving went really well yesterday morning, especially thanks to some friends who showed up to help us out. We did it all in under 4 hours, and with only two trips with the truck.

Now we’re all moved in, and we’ll have lots to do to unpack in the next week or two. (Especially because all of the boxes are currently sitting where my Christmas tree will go!) Our big electrical appliances are all arriving either this week or next. We really had to make a big investment – dishwasher, oven/stove, washing machine, and refrigerator. We’re getting an induction stove and our refrigerator is American-sized. It makes me feel like a real adult, purchasing these types of things! I knew this before, but even more now: being an adult is really quite expensive!

Ready for the holidays

I’m talking a little bit about Thanksgiving in most of my classes this week. Last year we did a big Thanksgiving meal for a bunch of friends, but this year with the move and everything, it’s too much effort. Plus the fact that our kitchen isn’t quite ready yet. So we’re skipping the traditional Thanksgiving this year, but I’ll at least make a pumpkin pie to get in the holiday spirit.

Monday, the official Christmas season began here in Germany, and all of the Christmas markets opened. So last night we went to the Christmas market in our neighborhood for a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine). Some random guy at the booth convinced us to get it “mit Schuß” (with a shot of rum) and it made us extremely tipsy, having not eaten dinner beforehand. But we wanted to celebrate our first night in our new apartment, and it felt very festive standing there on wood chips and next to bales of hay in this wintery village they set up.

In the Dammtor S-Bahn station, near the big Hamburg conference hall, they’ve got Christmas decorations up already, and I’m ready for it. The weekend after Thanksgiving is typically when my family sets up the Christmas tree. I don’t think we’ll make it for this weekend due to the boxes, but we’ll definitely do so next weekend. Tobias and I are going to make some ornaments together, and we have a few special plans for our tree, which I will share more about later!

Today I decided that I feel ready for Christmas music. Time to turn them back on in my iTunes!

Finally an update

20 11 2010

I caught the cold that’s going around here, and it really knocked me out this week.  I even even had to cancel Tuesday evening’s classes and laid in bed from 1 p.m. until the next morning when I had to wake up for work at 5:45.  Thanks to some TLC from my boyfriend and drinking lots of fluids, I’m starting to feel better.  I actually feel a little worse today than yesterday, but perhaps I’m just tired from all the packing we’ve been doing to prepare for our move on Monday.

Our move involves four parts.  1) Putting all the IKEA stuff together in the new apartment.  2) Packing up things in our old apartment.  3) MOVING those things from one apartment to the other.  And 4) Painting the old apartment back to white.

We’ve been collecting banana boxes from local supermarkets.  We now have approximately 30 of them!  Certainly no need to buy cardboard boxes here.  We spent all morning and afternoon packing things up, labeling boxes, and stacking them up out of the way.  But of course it’s kind of chaotic, as you can see in the picture!  Moving wouldn’t be moving without having to climb over boxes for a week or two.

Progress in the new apartment

Things are coming along quite nicely.  Tobias has impressed me quite a bit with his building, plumbing and carpentry skills.  I was pretty good at figuring out the instructions to put the bookshelves and kitchen drawers together, along with other smaller items, but the stuff we did tonight was totally out of my league.  Using a circular saw that a friend generously let us borrow, he cut the countertop for the kitchen this evening.  Now we just have to wait for the big electrical appliances….

The drawers aren’t really blue, don’t worry.  That’s just the protective plastic cover.  It’s starting to look like a real kitchen, though, isn’t it?  We’re so excited!  There is still a lot of work left to do on it, though.

I’ll definitely be M.I.A. the next few days again.  We move on Monday from 10-2, and then I have to go to work after that.


Apartment tour: living room & office

14 11 2010

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Next up: our lovely living room and office.  These rooms are connected by a set of double doors.  When opened, it’s almost like the two rooms are one big room.  It makes things feel so nice and airy.

The room directly to the left of the bedroom will be our living room.  This is also the room where guests will stay.  There’s a gorgeous bay window, which is one of our favorite things about the apartment.  We’d like to keep the space open so we can stand there and look out over the train tracks that run parallel to our apartment.  But I can totally imagine pulling over a chair and curling up with a good book by the heater.  (In all my free time, yeah.)

The room closest to the front door (and directly across the hall from the bathroom) will be the office.  Tobias and I got the same desks at IKEA yesterday so our office space will look nice and coordinated.  In the picture below, look out through the window – you can see a train!

We spent all day yesterday at IKEA, and we spent a lot of  money there too…yet we walked away empty-handed!  That was such an odd feeling, but seriously – thank goodness for their delivery service.  Especially for the dishwasher and kitchen cabinets we bought…and the desks…and the table and chairs….  All those bulky items would be hard to take on the S-Bahn!


Apartment tour: bedroom & bathroom

13 11 2010

This is the end of the hallway, and the bedroom is there on the left.  We’ll have to get some sort of small shelf here to put things on – this is where the phone and router will have to go because that’s where the connection is.  Our bedroom is not rectangular.  It has been a while since 9th grade geometry (in which I got really poor grades anyway and needed tutoring), but I believe our current bedroom is somewhat shaped like a trapezoid.  Except I think it has more than 4 walls, so I guess it couldn’t technically be a trapezoid, could it?

Anyway, it’s got one wall with 3 windows, and another shorter wall at the normal 90 degree angle.  Then we have a strange slanted wall that is 5 meters long and is the longest wall in our house.

Yep, there it is.  That tiny piece of wall that gives it one more side, so it can’t be a trapezoid.  Any geometry nerds out there who know what shape my bedroom is?  Rhombus?  No wait, that’s also four-sided.  So it’s a Pentagon, right?  Whatever.  I love it.


Since the bathroom is small, I’m putting it in here with the bedroom.  I love the shower.  We’ll have to buy a medicine cabinet/mirror, and perhaps some shelves, and definitely a towel rack.  I love that there is a heater in the bathroom (behind the door) and that there is also a window near the shower so things won’t get too humid.


It’s official, we’re moving.

9 11 2010

The meeting tonight with the realtor and the landlord went really well.  The landlord is a super nice old man who is very talkative and kind of a physics nerd.  It was really great, and I feel like my German rocked tonight (that’s not a feeling I have often).  His wife was there too, and they were both so friendly to us.

We went over all the details and signed the contract.  And THEN he gave us the keys to the apartment and said we could start moving stuff in as early as tonight if we wanted to, though our lease doesn’t start until December 1.  This is just so incredible!!  We already have the keys, almost a month in advance – it will be so nice to be able to move things over gradually over the next few weekends.

Since we have the keys, we’re going over there tonight to have a glass of champagne to toast our new place together.  I’m so thrilled!  We were so excited after the meeting that we kept saying the street name over and over: Scheel-Plessen-Straße.  (Sounds kinda like “shale plessen shtraw suh”, for those of you who aren’t so familiar with German.  I had to get Tobi to teach me the pronunciation of our new street name!)

And yes, our street overlooks the Altona train station.  This is the view from the street.  I’ll be sure to share a view from our window up on the 3rd floor (American 4th floor).  It’s quite a special view, watching the trains go by.  (Hopefully it’s not too noisy!)

Interesting fact I just learned about the street name: I believe it’s named after Carl Scheel-Plessen, who seems to have been a member of the Danish nobility back when Altona belonged to Denmark.  The house itself was built in 1864 and has survived both WWI and WWII.


We’re moving!

8 11 2010

We said yes to the apartment.  (Or rather we said, “Ja,” of course!)

We’ll be moving from a two-room, 36 sq. m apartment to a 3-room 82 sq. m apartment.  The kitchen is about 10 times bigger and the bathroom is also a bit bigger.  The floors are real wood, not cheap laminate like we have now.  And, as I have stressed to my dear Tobi how important this is to me, we will have plenty of space for a Christmas tree. 😉

We sign the papers with the realtor tomorrow, and we move in December 1.  We’re so excited!

More details to come later, but here’s a first glimpse of our new place!  Ours is the middle window in that jutting-out section.  (Does it count as a bay window?)


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