Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Operations Have Ceased

Of course there is lots to say, but due to being unable to reliably access the internet, the blog will be down. I have been writing on our laptop, so once we have a connection there, will be multiple posts to wade through! GERMAN BEURACRACY! It exists. And it's a monster.

All is good!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Laggin'

Woke up at 2:15am. Jenna woke up at 3am and Mayzie woke up right around then too. We just got out of bed at 6am and it's still dark. Oh well, should give us a full day at least!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Germany is Fun"

The title was a quote by Mayzie as we were collecting our bags in Frankfurt. 10 hours later and I just asked her if she still thinks so, and she does. Must have been that Haribo candy we just ate. I am amazed at how easy everything has been for us, as I sit here in Heidelberg in our old hotel over looking the Neckar river. The 4 days leading up to leaving were beyond hectic and stressful. Up to the last minute we were cleaning and moving things. The storage area we built is completely maxed out...if we had kept our couches or our desk or the ping pong table, or if my friend Devin had not taken the kegerator off of our hands, the stuff would not have fit, it was that tight. I am thankful for Jennas parents being in town to help us out. Anyways, we arrived at PDX airport already exhausted and ready to be done packing. After some tearful, sad goodbyes to my mom and Bill and Jenna's parents, we all boarded the plane. We ended up having to pay $200 for Oskar to be on the plane, I am not sure why since all he did was sit in his box under a seat the whole time just liek a regular carry on bag. Doesnt make much sense, that one. Oh well, we were glad he was not overweight and his box was the right size and all 6 of our bags were not overweight either. You should have seen the luggage cart--that would have been a good picture.

It is so nice taking a single flight to Europe--this was the first time either of us have done that. Much easier with bag transfers and feels like more of a time machine....10 hours on a plane and you are in Germany. Awesome. Anyways, it went pretty good. Mayzie did not sleep at all, which menat that I did not sleep at all either. Jenna slept a bit, but that was more the drugs than anything else--she despises flying and Mr Xanax provides much needed assistance. All seats had the in flight screen in front of you, so Mayzie watched Wall E twice and she played with her Tag reader thing and did some drawing with her pens. We attempted to get her to sleep at one point, but she squirmed and acted up and became difficult so we just let that go and suffered through the rest of the flight. No turbulence or anything. Oskar was great under the seat--we didnt hear a peep out of him. Jenna gave him some Benadryl so I am sure that had something to do with it. So, we landed EARLY to a snowy, cold (25degrees F) Franfurt at 11:30pm Portland time, 8:30am German time. Tired but buzzing about being in a new country.

First thing was making sure Osky was ok, giving him some water and giving him some love...what a trooper. Immigration was no problem--they didnt say anything about my work permit, didnt ask what our address will be, or what we will be doing. Weird. Collected our large bags with 2 carts and proceeded right through customs--no one was even working. What? after all that paperwork for Oskar? damn! of course, if we hadnt done all that stuff for him, someone would have checked.  I was surprised about how easy it all was upon arriving.

Picked up our rental car to transport all of our crap. I had zero intentions of dragging all this stuff onto a train. Our reservation was for a compact car, but upon seeing our luggage the guy upgraded us to a large van, a very non-Euro car....luckily, though, because a small car would never have handled our travel gear. I am used to travelling semi-light, and this is ridiculous. This car we got has a GPS on board so we put in "Heidelberg", where we had a hotel booked right on the Neckar river. Driving over here was not too bad....the autobahn has no posted speed limits and there were some cars going 120mph easy. I got up to 90 and felt nervous. We got off the autobahn pretty quickly since we were in no hurry and immedietly were trapped in fantasy land. These german villages and towns are so pefect--nestled on hillsides, curvy roads leading to wooden barns, cobblsetone roads. Awesome. We made it to Heidelberg by 1pm.

Heidelberg is known for its castle perched up on the hill, overlooking the Neckar...its a beautiful, historic town, with tons of pedestrian only zones and bike lanes...a European paradise. Mayzie passed out on the drive over and fell asleep as soon as we made it into our room, which is pretty nice, too. So we all took a nap until 5pm. Then we wandered around the town and had a meal at a classic german restaurant...I had Smoked Pork and potatoes, Mayzie had spetzl, and Jenna had steak and cheese sauce with noodles. We had gluwine and a couple local beers--felt great after what seemed like an eternity of hecticness.



I can't believe we made it here as easy as we did. Let's hope the rest goes smoothly. Tomorrow we will tour some more of Heidelberg and head to our new apartment! We are set to meet there at 2:30pm. Who knows what time that is in Portland, we are all screwed up. Better get to bed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Honey Roasted Peanuts

The lady who has been helping with the apartment search and with my work permit and such (her name is Bettina) requested I bring her over some Honey Roasted Peanuts. No problem! We should probably take them some other gift as well, I am thinking something local, maybe the classic Oregon gift--smoked salmon. Something like that. Got me thinking about what we will miss while we are over there. While in London, we missed Mexican food and Olive Garden...I bet we will miss those this time too. The first thing that comes to my mind is late night drive thru's, which is funny because I never go to those. But I will miss them, just because I know that if I get the late night munchies, I will be screwed. I will for sure miss hoppy Northwest beers and oysters from the coast. I will not miss working on the house though! Maybe I will miss velveeta, which I also never eat haha.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Apartment Confirmed

Our contact in Germany has confirmed our apartment in Ludwigsburg, starting January 15. Here's the webpage for the listing with pictures:


Gotta love two single mattresses on a double bed--we have encountered this before and I seem to always end up in the crack in the middle. Jenna is packing a nice bed pad so that should solve that one. Hope that vaulted ceiling won't be a problem, and it's on the fourth floor, so lots of stairs...let the weight loss begin! Don't worry, I will offset any exercise I may get with beers and brats. We informed them of Oskar (I felt guilty about not saying anything) and have heard nothing, so no news is good news on that one. Here is the exact location:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pack Man

Happy New Year!

The packing onslaught has begun! You always have so much more stuff than you think. The more space you have, the more crap there is to fill it. Progress has been good, amongst the get togethers with friends and beer drinking, most of the daytimes have been spent packing since christmas.  My cousin Darren came over last tuesday and put up the wall in the garage in record time. 
Darren is a stud--I really appreciated his help. We had the wall up in 1.5 hours and then we went to THE DEPOT with his truck and picked up some sheetrock and hinges for the door. Another hour later, DONE! I started loading boxes out there yesterday and there will be plenty of room. Its much bigger than any space we would have rented. And it only ended up costing about $140 to build.

Darren also left his trailer for us to use, so we have been throwing away tons of old stuff and left over construction debris. It is very liberating pitching things into that trailer knowing you never have to deal with them again. This is a good chance for us to thin out all our crap. 


My beloved ping pong table is gone--freed by a craigslist ad. Hope he finds a happy home, even though he had physical health issues. At the least he would make good fire wood. We are going to sell our couches and our desk yet, so hopefully they will also go to good homes.

We leave in 9 days. Hard to believe. Most nights will be visiting friends and family, and all days will be spent finishing packing and touch ups on the house. We are very excited to be heading out on our adventure and are very happy to not be working for a little while...it feels good to have time. 

There are lots of detail stuff that we have to do...get Oskar his travel papers from the vet, cancel all the utilities and get our house insurance switched to rental insurance. Haven't heard anything from the property management office...kinda nervous about that. We will pay January's mortgage anyway, so that leaves us til mid February when I hope we have it rented out or we will have to make some decisions.

No 100% confirmation has been given on our flat over there north of Stuttgart, but I am hoping all that gets worked out this week. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and stressed by all of the details, but if we just keep picking at the mountain of stuff to do, we should be fine. I keep telling myself that. It will sink in when we are on the plane, I suppose. We bought Oskar his travel carrier so that we can have him stowed under the set in front of us. He barely fits in the thing, he cant even turn around. Poor little guy. I hope he can handle 10.5 hours on that thing.