Around Easter we should be able to move into our new apartment that is being built. As much as we love The Weckschnapp, we’re looking forward to being able to finally unpack everything and set up our own place. Every time we tell anybody from Köln where we’ll be living they usually just look at us like, “how the hell did you swing that?!” We got super lucky- that’s how.
The lack of apartments in Köln is a real problem. During a recent local election I saw advertisements for a politician running under the slogan of “More Apartments!” A co-worker of Simon’s, who makes a great salary and has no pets has been looking for a place for 8 months. He has been commuting from Bonn, and is thinking he’s just going to have to get a place there. A childhood friend of Simon’s who lives in Austria would love to move back here with his family but doesn’t want to deal with the whole searching for apartments headache. There seem to be certain things that are hard to accomplish here without connections. There’s even a term for it here- “Kölscher Klüngel”. Simon’s parents (and Grandparents) have lived in the Köln area their whole lives, so luckily for us they have lots of “Klüngel”.
When we told Simon’s parents that we were planning on moving to Köln they immediately started asking their friends for leads on apartments for us. They asked the architect who converted their attic into an apartment (Achim). He said that he was gutting and renovating a building that’s been in his family for around 70 years. He and his family would be living on the first floor and they were just starting to look for tenants for the other floors. One of their requirements was that the tenant have a daughter around 6 years old, so that their own 6 year old daughter, Ella, would have a playmate who lived in the building. Simon called him and he agreed to hold the apartment for us!
So not only did we find an apartment, it was on the same street that Simon grew up on, and our backyard was going to be the same beautiful park that he played in every day growing up! It is also located on the cusp of the amazing Belgian Quarter neighborhood- where there’s lots of culture, art, and nightlife (but just far enough away that we don’t have to hear the nightlife when we’re trying to sleep!).
A few weeks after we arrived in Germany Achim and his wife Claudia invited us all over for brunch. We had A GREAT time and Quinnie and Ella became fast friends (despite the language differences), and go to the same school. Ella has an adorable younger brother, Louis, who is the same age as Kiera, and they loved playing together also! We are so glad that we’ll have such lovely neighbors. A few weeks later I brought over pumpkins to their place so that Ella and Louis could carve jack-o-lanterns for the first time (they had never heard of that tradition). Ella was pretty disgusted by the feel and smell of the pumpkin guts (lol!). It’s funny to see traditions we take for granted through fresh eyes.
Quinnie and Ella
Quinnie and Ella with their Papas. This is their first time playing and they are already holding hands. They don’t even speak the same language- it’s amazing how kids always find a way to have fun and become friends despite differences. We all went for a walk in a nearby park. The kids collected chestnuts and then we went back to Achim and Claudia’s place to roast and eat them. Five more months- we can’t wait!!