Officially a German Resident
No matter what country you’re in, long work weeks after fun vacations are always tough! We could barely drag ourselves out of bed each morning and, after working late a few nights, we spent most evenings being total couch potatoes. In a way, I think that’s the beauty of living abroad. It’s living life, realistically, in another country. It’s not a whirlwind vacation or 3 months of nothing but travel. You don’t feel like you have to cram in all the sight-seeing and all the adventures. Trust me, I’ve been on enough short trips to know how that goes, and it’s fun; it’s carefree and exhilarating! But I really think living abroad is something different. It’s managing to maintain the same lifestyle (long weeks, power naps, and all) as you would at home and so far, we’re loving the opportunities that it presents us with.
On Saturday, Taylor was asked to work a few hours (something we NEVER expected to happen in Germany, as their employment laws are far more strict than that of the USA.)
We spent most of the day Sunday wandering around town. There was a festival this weekend, which is par for the course. All throughout town there were various stages set up in parks, alley ways, and parking lots. Concerts, dance competitions, and comedians entertained mass crowds while everyone drank and ate to their hearts content. During events like this, Taylor and I could sit for hours just people watching- something we love to do in the States, made ten times more interesting by the change in culture. It’s always fun to observe and witness the cultural differences- everything from their weird hair ties to their communication norms peak my interest.
We also met with our perspective future landlord over the weekend. I say perspective because we have a verbal agreement but nothing in writing. Her name is Sonja and she’s only a few years older than us. She was born and raised in Germany, but lived in NYC for 3 years on a contract with Siemens and just recently moved back. We’re lucky that she not only speaks fluent English, but that she understands the complications of living abroad. (Coincidence or God’s plan? You decide.) Sonja just bought the apartment after the entire building went through a complete renovation. As they went through inspections, they came across a small problem with the floor boards and (per German law) all of the apartment owners have to sign a document regarding the inspection before any of the owners can sign rental agreements with their tenants. This could push our move-in date out to September 1st. (Ugh!) But once again the moving process threw us a curve ball and a nice German has stepped in to help us out. Sonja has agreed to let us use her mailing address (as she lives in the same building) until we move in. This was a big concern of ours, because the immigration office has not been able to send us important documents since we’ve lived in our current apartment. In order to let us use her mailing address, Sonja had to give us a key to her mailbox and sign a government document saying that we intend to move into her apartment. That’s pretty trusting on her part and makes us pretty confident that she really is holding the apartment for us, even though we don’t have a rental contract signed, yet. Thank God for nice Germans coming to the rescue. We sure are thankful!
In order to change our mailing address with the government, I had to go into the immigration office and take them the document, signed by Sonja, saying that we’ll be moving in. Much like the DMV, the immigration office is run on a “pull and number and wait forever” system. The office opened at 8:00am, I arrived at about 8:10am, and I was number 42. I waited 2 and half hours to hand someone a document and sign on a dotted line. It took 3 minutes, tops. Since I was already there, I thought I might as well stop into the visa department to ask about the status of our visas. We were told we’d get a call or email when they arrived, but we hadn’t heard anything and it’s been almost two months. In fact, we didn’t even get confirmation that they’d received some additional paperwork we’d sent in. Again, I waited at least an hour. When it was finally my turn, I asked for an update and the lady behind the counter gave me an agitated glare. (They ask you not to ask for updates, as they’ll likely be bombarded. But, true to my American heritage, I can be a little pushy.) She scanned my passport and, much to both of our surprises, MY VISA WAS READY! Why I never got a call or an email is a great question that will forever go unanswered. Chalk it up to German customer service. Regardless, our visas have arrived and I could have cried from excitement mixed with relief. I’m officially a German resident until March 2017. (Then the renewal process begins.) Taylor’s visa was also there, but he has to be there in person to pick it up, so we’ll be doing that later this week. Man, what a weight off our shoulders!
In 2016, our founder, Bailey Smith, finagled her way into moving abroad with her husband. In their off time, they were able to travel all around Europe. Many of Bailey's travel experiences during those two years have shaped Indie Travel Design into what it is today. Follow along with their story of negotiating jobs, applying for visas, and living in Germany.