It’s coming up on three months since we moved to Germany. We’re in our proper flat now, and are slowly unpacking, and possibly the more annoying part of the equation, recycling the boxes and paper.
I’m very glad we had moved to the UK first, because seven years there was like a crash course in dealing with bureaucracy. Now that we’re dealing with it here, in a different language, I am not surprised by any delays, or the random hours a given office or bank is open. Thankfully I’m not working at a traditional office job, so I can trundle around to the drivers license place at 10am on a Tuesday, to hear we need an eye test that no one told us about the first time. But at least I didn’t have to wait two hours in a queue to hear that.
Things are both easier and harder, being in a medium-sized town rather than a big centre like Berlin or Munich. About 150,000 people live in our city, but it’s part of a long stretch of towns and cities around the rivers Rhine and Neckar, along with wineries and farms dotted all over. A smaller city means people are friendlier, but also means there isn’t a big English-speaking community. We’re not really into cloistering ourselves in an ‘expat’ community, though when there is a language barrier, it can be a bit harder to make friends. Our German is improving slowly, even before we’ve started lessons – Christopher and I managed to buy three carpets, and even get a couple cut to size and edged, all in German. Don’t ask me to say my phone number in German if you’re in a hurry though, it takes me nearly 2 minutes to get it all out.