Monday, March 18, 2013

This Month's Frequently Asked Questions

How is the move going?

Ehhhh it's going.  Our landlord is making us paint before we leave.  This seems rather unfair as it was not painted before we moved in.  In the US a professional cleaning and painting between tenants is generally considered standard and the responsibility of the landlord (this varies by state of course) but here tenants must provide this as slave labor for landlords while also paying them rent.  I can't wrap my head around it. On top of that my landlord has been engaging in some other behavior I don't find appropriate so that makes me even less fond of spending most of my last days in Heidelberg painting around windowsills and scrubbing between the ridges of the radiators.  For those about to suggest the Mietverein, we talked to them and the lease stands because it is worded vaguely enough.

The packers/movers arrive tomorrow sometime between 10 and 12...a little vague.  I'm not sure what they'll think about our place.  Nearly all of our furniture was sold or given away, meaning anything stored in said furniture is all over the floor in piles.  Does that make it easier or harder? ;)

Closing things down has gone okay.  O2 was the worst because at the time we signed our contract we understood it to be month-to-month with a three-month notice necessary to cancel, but it turned out it wasn't and we have to pay fees almost equivalent to our monthly bill each month until the contract ends.  We also have to mail their modem back to them which is another really annoying task to be shoved into our last day here.  Sparkasse was not too bad - someone sat with us and went over all our accounts and insurances individually with us to give us our options.  Unregistering with the city was not bad.  Many places need evidence of this unregistration - for example, the GEZ (TV tax people) - in order to actually cancel things.

Mail forwarding could be ugly.  When we moved across town in 2006, they failed to forward about half our mail.  Between that and the fact that they could not accept our UK address in the proper format, I'm hoping that nothing important will end up addressed to our German address!  We may never see it.

No idea how setting things up in the UK will be yet!

What are you going to miss most/least about Heidelberg?

1. My friends. The people I know here are among the best I've known anywhere.  I'm glad that it's easy nowadays to keep up online, but it's not the same.
2. Quiz at the Brass Monkey.  A comforting weekly ritual. :)
3. Eis at Schmelzpunkt.  In general, Eis here...Germans are pretty into it so there are a lot of options and it's done well.
4. Falafel (the restaurant near the Jesuitenkirche). So delicious, so appropriately priced, such a pretty room.
5. The views.  I have definitely come to take it for granted.  Let's face it, Birmingham is only marginally prettier than your average American city.  Heidelberg is gorgeous.

1. My apartment.  UGH, I can't believe how long we've stayed in this cave. It should be condemned.
2. My landlord and German tenancy in general.  As I mentioned in the previous section of my post, I think the system here is nuts.
3. Conservativeness. Heidelberg is pretty bland. Not a lot of restaurant variety. Everything too expensive.
4. German.  I love it in theory, I hate it at the doctor's office.
5. My apartment.  GOD I HATE THIS APARTMENT.

Why England?

This is just where D got a job.  There was no concerted effort to move to the UK.  The job search was limited to German- and English-speaking countries in Europe or North America.  If anything the US seemed most likely just due to sheer size,'s England.  There you go!  I think it's pretty exciting, but I'm aware that there could be a lot of sucky aspects and it's not going to be all some little Anglophile fantasy. can be near Europe and have everything be in English? That's cool!  Also, the BBC.  Sticky toffee pudding, people.  Sticky toffee pudding.


  1. I can totally relate. I had a really psycho landlord before I left.

    Some contracts even have it written into them that you have to renovate your flat at your expensive every 5 years.

    That landlord was so awful that I fired landlords when I moved back to the USA and now own.

  2. I never thought I'd want to own property - too lazy to want to spend my weekends cleaning out gutters and fretting about resale value. The trauma of renting here has changed that and we're definitely looking at getting into the housing market once we've spent a few months getting more familiar with Birmingham.

  3. Ugh, I hate the rental system here. The only good things about it are that after living somewhere for a while your risk of being suddenly forced out by the landlord drops drastically -and it's also hard for landlords to raise the rent. That said, it's made us hesitant as we've sometimes played with the idea of buying here...but then we see "Comes with renters!" and we freak. If we didn't like them, or wanted to move in ourselves, we'd have a major battle ahead of us.

    My BIL is some kind of renter/building manager for a huge property association in Bayern and has been our unofficial 'Mietverein' consultant. We had major poop from our last landlord about the walls. The new people actually loved our colors and wanted them, but the landlord insisted everybody start with white, so we got cheap paint and did a crappy rush job...which I'm sure the next people loved, but that's what we got when we initially moved in. Thank goodness we didn't have to do anything with the tapete!

    Anywho, you don't have to deep clean the place, just 'besenreinigung' - broom swept. Anything more is illegal, even if it's in the contract. We had Irish friends who were hoodwinked into believing they had to use a certain (expensive) cleaning service the landlord indicated, but no, you don't. Anything more than sweeping is a courtesy.

    Yick. Have fun and think of the lovely horizons ahead of you!

  4. When we moved, we had a month's overlap in rent, so I had most of that month to deep-clean the old apartment. I knew that nothing more than a dust-bunny-eviction was necessary, but my mom is a champion cleaner so it just felt like that's what to do.

    I'm sorry you spent so long in an apartment you hated. But you'll dine out on stories of the cave for years to come!

  5. Sticky toffee pudding and bangers and mash. Pubs with fabulous names. A really rather decent mass transit system. All kinds of killer accents. Great Indian food (at least everywhere I have been in the UK). ... And English! (Okay, sort of.)

    Hope the move goes smoothly and your new place is a vast improvement!


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