Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mental Update

I feel that I could write funny things or little tibits about life over here, but someone reading would still not know the reality of how we are coping and know that just like at home, of course, there are multiple struggles. I also am a natural optomist and believe that even bad situations end up working out OK in the end. So, I often have a hard time admitting when things are going wrong, or I am blinded when I am on the wrong path. You never really know if the path is wrong, unless you take it, right?

Well, we are going down a path which I know is the right one, I am just in an unusual circumstance, in that I do not know where it is leading. If it was just me, fine, it doesnt matter where it ends up, but when I have Jenna and Mayzie and a silly little dog to worry about, it feels more real. 

I am still in limbo about a job. I am getting paid, of course, but until I am actually sitting at a desk working, it all feels very temporary. There has been no news lately. Soon we will need to start looking for a new place to live, since the agreement was that my company would only pay for 2 months of accomadation (they actually have us in this apartment until the end of March, so thats good).  Our place is too expensive, so we will need to move. There are multiple problems with is that furnished apartments are few around here and they are too expensive for us. So that would mean finding and renting an unfurnished apartment and having to buy furniture, pots pans, silverware, and maybe a kitchen. That will be expensive. Also, most places want a year lease at least, so how can we do that if they end up not finding me any work? Then we are stuck with furniture and a leased apartment. Another problem is location. I would hate to sign a lease on a place and then it ends up that my work is in a distant town, creating a gruelling commute. This makes us all uneasy. There is pressure to find a more permanent place to live because once we are more settled, we can begin langauge courses in our area, and start finding a place for Mayzie to go to school. How long do we wait for them to find me a job? Or the better question is, how long will they pay me without working? Who knows. I hate not being in control of the situation, and it is important for us to anticipate the next move, so we are figuring out what plan B is. It would not be going home. Priority is staying in Germany, then Europe, then we can look to New Zealand, which would be easy for us, but not ideal at this point. 

I am peeved about travel costs around here. Yeah, we are in the center of Europe, close to so many amazing sights and history, yet we can barely afford to get to any of them. When we were in London from 2000-2002, budget flights were numerous and cheap. They are numerous here, too, going everywhere we want to....but are no longer cheap. Taxes and surcharges are often 3-4 times the amount of the flight! For example, a flight to Birmingham, England (where our friends the Tomlinsons live...we need some proper Indian food!) from Stuttgart, for the 3 of us, on a random weekend in late March, is 550 euro! That is on "budget" airline Flybe. Who can afford that? That is like a 1.5 hour flight. Train prices are not much better. You really have to search around to find a good deal on trains. There are many many types of discount train tickets, but wading through them all is a pain, and they seem to change daily. And when you do get a good deal, they force you to travel on the slow trains, so it takes forever to get anywhere. Imagine 8 hours on a slow train with Mayzie? No way. It would take 4 on a fast we end up paying more. And then we have to find a place to put Oskar when we travel. It's ok when we are driving, but we cant take him on the plane; the train would be ok, I suppose. We found a doggy daycare place that was recommended to us, and it is rather close, but no busses go out to it, so we would need a car. I was very adament about not having a car over here ("public transport in europe is amazing", I would say. It is, but its not amazing when you have a kid and a dog!), but its becoming more and more likely that we will get one. Thats OK, it will make life easier in many respects. Just more money to spend. Whats more important--seeing the world, or being broke? Much easier question to answer for a single guy, or a guy with a girl like Jenna....we've been broke multiple times.

Many things are cheaper here---groceries, beer, doing kid stuff... but the main thing that we want to be doing when we have all this time off, traveling, is not so cheap. So the money is dwindeling ...we are still living off of our savings, since I have not been paid as of yet (once a month). I am thankful that our house is rented out and that I am getting paid, but living for 2 months on our savings has been tough.

It still feels really great being here, and I guess I am frustrated that I do not know how long it will last--I was hoping 2 years at least. The castles, the cobblestones, the scenery, the little forest at the end of our road, the smell of the city at night--all of this stuff is still fun and fresh for me. I am eager to have bikes and we can explore with much greater ease. I want to learn the culture, learn the language, see as much as we can, and expose Mayzie to all the crazy things that we are experiencing. This is what its all about. Can't let money and jobs get in the way of that haha.


Troy said...

Bummer. I was running into the same prob over here recently... time or money? I was job hunting so had all sorts of time on my hands to go skiing but I had no job and therefore no money to pay for lift tickets. Now I have a job but less opportunity. Oh well, such is life.

Yo, you can't go to New Zealand. Aren't they all like 3 feet tall over there with hairy feet? You'd be like a giant wizard. Wait, that actually sounds pretty rad.

DarrenDriven said...

Maybe you can try to negotiate for your employer to pay part of your rent past the two-month period? It seems reasonable since your alternative is to make such a time commitment.