Slowly but surely we are getting there organizing the apartment. We know the first round of guests are coming soon! Fingers crossed, there might be a bed for you when you arrive. No furniture bought yet, just what we had from the US, and it was an unsuccessful chandelier seeking trip in Italy this time around. But, we are now the proud owners of a European voltage automatic espresso machine that we never realized how much we missed (or needed in the mornings) until our other one was put away in storage.
We have a very modern apartment compared to the houses lining the streets in our neighborhood. We like it because we have the feel and view of an old neighborhood with everything new and clean inside. Not what we expected when we moved here but it’s really nice. Any votes on what place we should frame in the last missing living room picture? Hawaii, Greece, Belgium, Ireland and one more to go, just can’t decide.
The only downside to selecting an area near the city center, we didn’t realize how bad the traffic would be to and from work. Google Maps lied to us and our car hadn’t yet arrived in Germany to test it out beforehand. In Stuttgart, you have to be cautious because there are tons of speed cameras and traffic lights with cameras. Everyone goes really slow to avoid a ticket, we generally don’t drive over 30 or 40 mph here. We used the Waze app to help learn where the cameras are. It’s not what we pictured when thinking about driving in Germany. It takes about 45 minutes to drive less than 15 km. There are also many ways to get to the same place all of which end up circling where you want to go before you can actually get there. There’s a lot of conversation getting lost in the car here: “I see it over there, but how do we actually get to there?”
Many missions accomplished so far:
- I passed and got my German drivers license too! Also registered for a Car2Go card though I haven’t actually driven anywhere yet, but at least I can if I need to. The train has been fine for what I need so far and is especially convenient living downtown for traveling to the airport and main train station, the Hauptbahnhof.
- All moving boxes but 1 are officially unpacked, sorted and away.
- Light fixtures and covers are up in 4 of the 5 areas we needed them.
- Toom (Fellbach location is our fav.) is a good Home Depot style hardware store here in Stuttgart.
- Curtains bought and hung in every room but the Gym where we put in window film to keep the natural light.
- Mobile car detailer found. MyCleaner comes to your house by online appointment and takes credit cards.
- Got the recommendation of a good house cleaner through one of the Realtor’s we met. Step 2: still need to actually call them to schedule an appointment.
- Travel budget confirmed! On track at one country/trip a month.
- Cooking herbs planted and growing. Waiting till the snow melts to plan the garden and the outside patio.
- We finished the first round of German class, but have a very long way to go. We are no longer confident we will actually be able to speak German by the time we leave here in 3-5 years. Oddly, it’s made me want to go back to Italian school even though no one speaks it here. At least I would have 2 languages down. Everyone here has at least 2. We will of course keep trying German and are signing up for another language round.
- We think we have finally figured out the recycling here in Germany, where to get the right bags and where to take the glass and refund bottles for money.
Recycling on the Economy in Germany
In Stuttgart Bad Cannstatt you must recycle the following in separate bins (varies by neighborhood), we have 6 in our apartment. We’ve heard that if it’s not done properly, the trash men will put a sticker on the bag and leave.
- Anything Plastic and Foil
- Plastic must go in a special yellow plastic bag with writing on it. They sell yellow bags on the shelf in the grocery store for recycling (easy right?) but those are not it. After searching the city recycling site and expat blogs with no luck on where to find these, we asked our local friends who advised we would need to go to the Rathaus (City Hall? so weird). We finally made it there and they pointed us to a household goods department store across the street on the 3rd floor. There were no bags to be found on the shelves. Thinking this is almost a lost cause, we waited in line to ask the checkout lady in our very best German “Haben sie geld… plastic bags?” and wouldn’t you know it, behind checkout they keep a box of the correct rolls of yellow recycling bags which are free, you just have to know they are there and ask. The gal gave us 2 rolls and it made our day, but what a hunt that was!
- Paper – this can go all together, no need to separate magazines and newspapers etc like in some other areas.
- Bio – egg shells, fruit peels, etc.
- Bottles – Glass separated bypfand (plastic bottles also havepfands) and color glass
- pfands are a deposit paid when you buy something automatically at the local grocery store and shown separately on your receipt. In the US, bottle refund is only a state thing, we did this in Hawaii but it was not that much, usually 5 cents a bottle. In Germany its a huge difference, you pay up to 25 euro cents per bottle so it adds up fast and definitely benefits you to return the bottles back to the store for your refund. You don’t have to return them at the same store. Any store that has a refund machine will do. You get a slip and take it to the register for your money back.
Look for this symbol on plastic bottles so you know if you get a refund before throwing them out:
The glass that isn’t refund worthy, you do have to take out yourself to the glass bin in your neighborhood. It took us forever to see the bins, but once you see one, now we see them everywhere. Its a blue looking round dumpster with 3 color coded spots to insert each kind of glass for recycling.
Italy Next Week – Promise! PROST!
Alles Gute zum Valentinstag!