At Home in the Black Forest

Yet again I’ve neglected to write here. My last very beaten down post got out everything I had been holding in for so long, that I didn’t feel the need to come back and rehash/nurse old wounds.

I suppose I can’t exactly say that I hate complaining per se, but I do hate whining. On the other hand, I suppose I won’t be embarrassed for trying to paint an honest picture of my struggles as I prepared for a new transition.

At least now I can provide an update and describe how things in every area of my life are looking up. 🙂

In some ways there have been many unexpected positives which have come my way. For instance, having come out the beginning of Aug. to Freiburg to find a flat, I felt very skeptical the first couple of days, meeting housemates that I didn’t want to live with, but terrified that all the places I would like to live would be out of my price range and unsure what compromise to make to ensure a place to live before flats really got scarce in the fall. I barely made the visiting hours at the student housing office, on the last possible day, came in and was offered, on the spot, what must be one of the cheapest alternatives in the city at the student dorms. I had to sign the contract sight unseen and pay for half of August, but considering what it would cost to come back, and/or a higher rent every month, I knew when to not look a gift horse in the mouth.

So I do have a flat and am so grateful for it, esp as I witnessed the Greek tandem partner I found here decide to leave for another smaller city since his months-long apt. search got him nowhere. Granted as a Greek man with reduced German and English skills, he might not have made a favorable impression on German landlords, and he was against living with others which would have made the search easier, if not his life. But still flats here, scarce on the ground.

Just a simple dorm room.

My place is small, just a room but with a nice window looking out into some trees, which makes sitting at my desk lovely and it’s also located next to the man-made lake, which means I can get out and go for a walk and watch the ducks and swans and turtles and little squirrels and feel more connected to nature and outdoors than the small parks and fields in Nuremberg ever did for me.

The little lake I live right off of.

This funny little building sits right next to the lake.

Happy ducks begging around the lake.

Walks under beautiful willows? Yes please!

Cute little turtles out sunning themselves.

Still in the process of moving in, but here’s the room from the window.

Klein aber fein!

Besides my room, I share a kitchen and bath with a roommate. The bath in German is translated as “wet cell” and that basically sums it up. It’s covered in plastic and is barely large enough to turn around in, but the shower has fantastic water pressure and all the less to clean I guess. No complaints here.As for the common room/kitchen it’s actually bigger than my old kitchen, but of course, I have to split the storage space between 2 people. I haven’t yet moved all my stuff in cause my original roommate was moving out and the surface of everything is covered in food stains. Yeah I may not be extremely tidy, but a kitchen has to be sanitary and I didn’t want to take on the project while all her stuff was still in there.

So besides my hard-to-find, low rent, I also got the surprise of my life going back over the information the University sent with my letter of acceptance. It seems that the German state of Baden-Württemberg has decided that tuition fees are bad-news-bears and done away with them.The were already low to begin with (about 500 per semester) and I was more than happy to pay them but in two years would still be 2000+ Euros and now I just pay some low administration fees. I mean I can hardly believe it! I’m getting my Masters program for just the cost of living plus health insurance. I never imagined anything this low! I am a fan of German universities for life!

For the first time in 8 months I feel like I have room to breathe again. Granted I still need to make my 2011 tax payment 😦 but I did chew the company out and that did wonders for my mental well-being. They need to call with a reduced tax-bill number, but as of yet I’ve heard not a peep from them and I’ll enjoy their silence for as long as it lasts.

I’m still waiting around for my student visa. I did have an appointment this past Thurs. but the person I was supposed to see got sick. And much as it sucked, couldn’t do anything about it, so will have to wait til later in Oct. Everything except the student visa, matriculating, and being insured (officially) have been taken care of and these last 3 steps have to be done sort of simultaneously anyway.

Meanwhile I’ve managed to secure one private lesson with a nice family who is moving abroad and need intensive help. I’ve got also a few bites on the flyer I put up around the Uni and have also put up some online notices for after-school help.

It remains to be seen how I can manage to balance everything when school starts, but atm I desperately need some uptake on my cash flow issues. I will also try to send in my resume to a couple restaurants in town. I’d prefer to run around and be a bit more active so I can save my brain and sitting down for my studies.

I guess that’s enough of an update for now. I’ve cleaned my room and almost gotten rid of all the boxes I had and sanitized and moved in my dry goods into the kitchen (for the first time since moving in at the end of August!)

I love the black forest. When I walk outside I am stupidly happy to be here. Even when it poured last week, watching to clouds hang over the forested hills was absolutely beautiful. I have my forested “mountains” (OK not the Rockies, but I can live). I have the sun shining, if not all day, at least when it’s cloudy, they pass over quickly, giving extended sunny periods. And lastly everywhere there are mountain streams and creeks and lakes. Just the combination of the 3 makes me feel so peaceful and so much at home. I’ve never felt this at home in Germany. It remains to be seen how my studies are but I would be quite content to stay in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg for quite some time.

I’ve already told the bf where we are going house hunting later. It’s hard being apart. But not that hard because we found a plan to talk unlimited and the things we are doing now, or trying to do, have taken a lot of planning and they are the best steps to ensuring a happy future together. Without getting too romantic 😛 I can only say that the longer we are together, the better it gets and the more secure we are in our hopes and dreams. There, cue the AWW button.

But life for me has always been so much more beautiful and complicated than any movie. I told the bf that I didn’t like myself without him. And without missing a beat, he responds “That’s fine Rachie, I’ve never met you without me anyway.”  ❤ ❤ ❤

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