Today I unpacked my last suitcase. I sat there, clothes strewn across the hard wood floors, Millie and Hugo sniffing my wrinkled shirts and dresses, and breathed a loud sigh of relief. For the past 5 weeks I've been living in a hotel. For the past 3 months I've been living out of a suitcase. Let me tell you, this nomadic life has not been easy. I literally lugged my life from Nashville, to Dallas, to 3 different hotels in Germany.
One such hotel had a mannequin at the front desk that we affectionately named Helga. That hotel also had the single worst bathroom I've ever come across in my life. From bad water pressure, water that went from tepid to burning hot (and nothing in between), to a toilet that constantly smelled horrendous. Despite these things, I can't help but still feel like I'm living in a fairy-tale.
On Saturday, Michael and I were handed the keys to our new apartment, right in the heart of our new home city.
To say I was excited was an understatement. We had been searching for a place to live, every day, every week since we got there. Some of the places we saw were downright ridiculous. We looked at a place for only 450 euros per month but upon opening the door saw that the place was the size of Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs. The “oven” was a toaster oven. You can make this up.
Then there was a guy who said he, “hoped the dogs wouldn't get poisoned.” Then somehow found the hotel we were staying at and asked us to go ahead and move in. We kindly declined but he wanted to know why. He proceeded to stamp his feet and demand an explanation. Oh, and he was kicking out his current tenant because she had dogs.
Then there was the time we waited patiently 25 minutes to let the real estate agent know that, yes, we would like the place, while he showed another couple the place. But when he came back out he told us nope, that they already signed the contract.
Two weeks ago, I was feeling terrible. We had only one night left in our hotel until we'd have to move since there were no more rooms available. We were moving to the hotel with the awful bathroom and weird front desk and still no place to live. I had a horrible cold and told Michael just to go see the property himself.
He came back, sulkily.
“We didn't get it,” he said.
I assumed that would be it, and pulled up my computer to start searching for a new place.
He then came back, bottle of wine in hand, “Just kidding! It was AWESOME and it's OURS!”
I screamed with delight. I hadn't even seen it, but I knew the location was exactly where I wanted to be. And I didn't care, we had a place to live.
On Saturday, I got to see it for the first time. It's a lovely, updated apartment that flanks the bank of the Neckar river and right outside my front door I have access to my favorite area of Heidelberg and a view of the castle.
The good news? We could move in immediately. We scooped up our four suitcases and the two dogs and hopped in a taxi to our new place. The bad news? One thing was clear, we needed to get some stuff. We only moved over the essentials. Which, for me, was mostly oversized sweaters, tennis shoes, boots, makeup, and a few books.
No silverware, no plates, no toilet paper, no chairs, no couch, and no bed to sleep in. We don't have a car, so it wasn't possible to get a bed. Luckily, Michael brought our roll up “camping” blow-up mattresses. We purchased a few blankets, a pillow, a pan, some food and then set out to nest a bit in the house.
We couldn't wait to make eggs in the morning. One problem. We forgot the silverware, kitchen utensils, and plates. And we signed up for Germany's Amazon Prime asap.
Heading home the other night from dinner, I watched as we passed by the rows of colorful houses, changing trees, and the lit up castle on the hill. It feels like I've been living here much longer than just 5 weeks. It already feels like a lifetime.
We aren't finished yet. We have lots to accomplish. And I'm sure more details that might give me a headache. But I can't help but feeling this was the best decision ever.