We moved into our new apartment at the end of September, and then lived in chaos for the next five months while I unpacked all of our belongings and did my best to make our new apartment a home (along with juggling the rest of our lives- homework, laundry, cooking, sicknesses, etc.).
I had to get the bulk of it done before Grandma and Grandpa’s visit for Christmas, so we were scrambling! Simon was working his usual crazy hours, and when he was home I always had a “to-do” list for him, so it was a stressful time all around. We managed to get the bulk of it done before my parent’s visit, but without decorations- literally not one picture hung up. Oh well!
Opa Friedel was a HUGE help to us- making countless Ikea trips and putting together almost a whole apartment’s worth of furniture. Without his help, we would probably still be living in chaos. Furniture-wise, this is all we brought from America…
The girls really wanted to bring their own beds (which we made into bunk beds since they are sharing a room in Germany). We also had to bring the mattresses since mattress sizes are different here. And stock up on sheets as well since we wouldn’t be able to find the American sized ones here. We figured it was worth the hassle if it would help the girls with this huge life adjustment/ move.
The transition from them having their own bedrooms in San Diego to sharing here has gone pretty smoothly. Before we moved I would say things like, “Wow- you get to share a room in Germany! You get to have bunk beds!” So I think they were looking forward to it.
The few times it’s been a problem is when Quinnie has a friend over for a play date and they want their privacy. Also, if Kiera is having a crying jag at night (thankfully not too often anymore), Quinnie can’t take it and will end up in our bed. I shared a bedroom with my sister growing up and have lots of great memories of that, and wanted the same experience for our girls. It’s so nice to hear them talking and giggling with each other in their bunk beds at night.
Lots of apartments in Germany (especially brand new apartments) come with NOTHING. I’m not kidding- bare down to the walls. No closets or storage of any kind- you have to provide your own wardrobes. Not even a light fixture or light bulb!
This was our kitchen a few weeks before we moved in. We were responsible for adding and paying for everything else we needed- which you can see is everything! I knew this was coming, but it was still shocking. The amount of money we had to sink into this place as RENTERS is insane. Supposedly, in Germany people take their kitchens with them when they move. This makes no sense to me- how often are kitchens in a different apartment going to match up measurement/ space-wise?! Sometimes you can “sell” the kitchen to the next renters if it’s in good condition and they like the style / aren’t bringing their own kitchens with them. But there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back.
On top of the kitchen we had to buy all other appliances as well- washing machine and dryer, and anything else a family uses that plugs into a wall outlet (currency and plugs different than in the States). As I mentioned earlier, we hardly brought any furniture with us, so we also had to buy a whole apartment’s worth. Ikea sure loved us!! I’m going to stop writing about it because when I think about how much money we had to spend it makes me feel a bit nauseated. Simon said that unlike Americans, Germans tend to stay put in one apartment for a long time, so the investment makes more sense (especially in Köln, where apartments are so hard to come by). But still…
A pic of our new kitchen (minus the fridge). We now have an almost-American sized fridge with an ice maker! Before we moved I hadn’t had a drink with ice cubes in over a year!! That’s s very hard for an American 😉 Our fridge at The Weckschnapp was tiny (think college dorm sized), and didn’t have a freezer at all, so we couldn’t even buy frozen food or make our own ice cubes. So now I feel pretty spoiled! When the girls have play dates at our place their German friends always ask for ice cubes (Eiswürfel) in their drinks- they love it!
Of course all of these home improvement projects gave this guy an excuse to go to his favorite store lots…
The joy on his face!
Simon drooling over huge levels
I have to say I enjoyed it also- I felt like I was in the States! Huge Home Depot style stores are fairly unusual in Germany (in the cities at least).
the girls loved these rugs
kind of wish I’d bought this Dom doormat
I’ll spare you the hundreds of pics I took at Ikea while trying to figure out how to furnish our apartment. I’ll just post this Ikea ad of a typical German breakfast- very different than the States!
All complaining aside, I realize we were VERY lucky to get this apartment. The location couldn’t be better, and we love our neighbors. A friend of Simon’s (from Köln) just came to our place for the first time. He looked around kind of wide eyed and said, “You know how lucky you are, right?!” By American standards our apartment is small, but for the city, it’s a decent sized place. It’s just big enough for the four of us to live comfortably. And it forces us to live with less (and not buy unnecessary things), which is refreshing!
Some of you may have noticed that our blog has been redesigned. I came up with how I wanted it to look, and Simon made it happen. One of the perks of being married to a computer nerd! He sent me this photo (below) that he took of the code he wrote for my blog and titled it “Love Poem”. Definitely his version of poetry 🙂 Thanks honey!!
So now I have 9 months of blog entries to catch up on. I’m not feeling too inspired to blog about Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter now that it’s June. But since this blog is mostly for our girls (kind of like a scrapbook of their childhoods)- I’m going to go full steam ahead and get it done. I’ll try to get all of the holidays (especially the winter ones) done ASAP so that I’m not blogging about winter in summer! Hang in there- I’ll try to get up to date as fast as I can.