amw (amw) wrote,

looking for a home

Well, here i am, sick as a dog. Not stomach-sick, but straight-up honest-to-God flu sick. Hot flashes, chills, watering eyes, coughing, muscle pain... Of course i went to work this morning anyway, but pretty much everyone just told me to go home - i could barely hold a conversation. The worst part is, this afternoon i had a Besichtigungstermin (apartment viewing?), so i couldn't come home and flop into bed, i had to stay dressed, made up and awake. The even worster part is, after several emails and calls i didn't hear anything back from the rental agent, so i just walked down to the general area the building was (several blocks over from my house) and sat in a tram stop sweating and shivering until i decided i had probably been stood up and fuck everything. Can't believe they didn't even send a text.

The one up-side to today is that after the Besichtigungstermin let-down, i went for a walk around the neighborhood and stopped into the post office to send off my application for a German credit check, and also a 90€ dividend check my health insurance co-op sent me a month or two back. I also received a call from ADAC that my Canadian license has been translated. So soon i should have some idea of my undoubtedly pathetic German credit history, a bit of extra cash and a local ID.

What i may not have soon is a home. The unfortunate thing about wanting to stay in Friedrichshain is that, while not as hip as Neukölln/Kreuzberg, and not as trendy as Prenzlauer Berg, it is still one of the top 4 boroughs that every tourist/immigrant wants to live in. Apartments go up online and are taken the same day. Furnished apartments are all over the place, but only available for short periods (<3 months) and for insane amounts of cash (by Berlin standards). The bartenders at my kneipe who are well into their 40s suggested i move into a WG (share house). Apparently it's pretty common here, even as an adult. I'm not sure if i could handle living with someone else again, though. On the one hand, a WG would save me a ton of money and leave me much freer to live "minimal" and just disappear whenever i want. On top of that, i would learn German faster and probably make some new friends. On the other hand, there goes my anonymity. Yes, i want to live cheap and minimal, but i also like having my home as my fortress of solitude so i can meet people on my own terms out at a club or bar or something. If my home becomes a social place then there is nowhere left for me to relax.

One interesting thing i discovered after spending 2 weeks trying to find an apartment and only finally getting bites this week is that you can't talk German like a Brit or a Canadian. I had been writing nice flowery vague replies saying, "i am interested in the place, would love to talk further, please contact me on xyz". This apparently doesn't work in Germany. Once i changed my replies to "i am interested in the place, when can we make a Besichtigungstermin?" suddenly things started rolling in. I actually noticed this after an experience at work where in a code review i wrote "you know, it would really be a bit nicer if you did xyz, and it's generally more effective to do abc instead of def" and my colleague replied saying "seriously, this is textbook passive-aggressiveness!!!" Say what??? I thought i was just being polite by suggesting instead of telling. I try to point to better options and explain why they are considered better, not lay down the law without context. Do people really want me to say "this code is wrong, change it"? With a certain breed of German, apparently so. All those years of living in English colonies where i un-learned the brusque and direct speech patterns of continental Europe so i wouldn't offend people, and now i'm offending people for trying to be tactful. Weird.

Now, i canceled a second Besichtigungstermin tonight because i am way too fucking sick. Everything hurts and i can only hope i feel better tomorrow. More tofu, more chili. I don't have any tea because i never bought any. I need a Wohnung.

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