Everything is Going Wrong, Part 1: House Hunting

Ok…maybe not everything. But in the spirit of keeping it real, I thought I’d share some of the latest musings as we close out our second month in Germany.

Now that all the newness and wonder has worn off, the frustrating bits have become more pronounced and noticeable. Someone pour me a stiff drink!

It’s kind of funny. When you talk to people who have done it before and they share the trials and tribulations they faced, it’s so easy in the moment to go “yeah, yeah…that’s to be expected with an overseas move.” But you can’t truly empathize unless you’ve done it yourself. It’s also easy to take those stories as single instances, as if that’s the ONLY thing someone is dealing with in that moment, when really it’s a just one single thread being woven together with a thousand other threads swirling around them at the same time.

My friend Rachel said there was a point when she wanted to “pack up all [her] toys and go home” and that absolutely resonates with me right now – except (as in her case, too) there’s no “home” to go back to. So you just keep going, hoping that stability and security will soon be yours.

That’s where we are now – in a happy little dumpster fire, praying that the firetruck is on the way.

In more precise terms, we are:

  • Scrambling to pack up all our stuff to move to another apartment this weekend
  • Waiting on pins and needles to hear back about our absolute favorite house
  • Wondering if we’ll ever get the vaccination records we need to fully register the kids for school
  • Curious if Phoebe’s giant crate will fit into the car
  • Doing nonstop laundry
  • Hoping not to destroy the rental car any further

So…ready for a little more detail?

The House-Hunting Saga…

You might know that I’m the kind of person who likes to nest and get settled ASAP.

I always want to find the right place and make things feel like home. It helps me stay sane in the midst of all the change. That’s why I’ve been prioritizing the home search since March. I started scrolling Bookoo (kinda like Craigslist), I downloaded ImmoScout24 (and paid for the Plus membership!) and basically started each morning seeing what was available in our timeframe. That may sound extreme, but many homes posts 3-6 months in advance of when they are vacant, so it’s more practical than it seems!

We almost got picked for a lovely home before we left the States. I took one look at it and fell in love! It had the vibe of a Frank Lloyd Wright house with big meadows across the street for Phoebe to run around in. We even did a video walkthrough with the property manager, which is a huge deal because it can be hard to get a response back to an inquiry since dozens of people reply to each listing. Needless to say, the competition out here is fierce and the home went to a German couple who wanted to rent it for 10 years. And not to just any German couple, but the retired fire chief of the state of Baden Wu¨rttemberg. We didn’t stand a chance.

As much as that hurt, I let it go and resolved to wait until we arrived. Shortly after we got here, we found a house that was a diamond in the rough. We decided to drive to the village to check it out, and on our way there, the landlord called to respond to our inquiry. It felt like it was made to be! Even though she lived in Munich, she coordinated with the caretaker to let us inside, so we were the very first people to see it. And that seems to be part of the strategy – BE THE FIRST. While it needed a bit of TLC, new floors and a new kitchen, I figured we could make it work. The views were amazing and there was a lot to love about it, so we started the process. Well, we’d been waiting to move in for the past month when we learned that it would not be possible to move in after all.

Long story short, it’s jointly owned by 3 sisters who got into a disagreement. It was pretty devastating since I’d already gotten attached, explored the village, and done all that “home Tetris” in my head, thinking of what would go where. Plus, my friend Nikki lived in the village, and the idea of having a friend to hang out with was just too good to be true.

So after we’d been living out of suitcases for 61 days, we had to start the home search all over again. To make matters worse, I gave up the cute apartment we’d been staying since we arrived thinking we’d be moving in by the end of July. And that’s why we’re spending this weekend moving into another apartment with all of the 220v appliances we’ve acquired along the way. 😬

The Latest Update…

In spite of all that, there have been some good developments. We found two houses we really like, both out of the school bus zone. That was something we didn’t want to compromise on in the beginning, but now, desperation has set in.

House #1 backs up into a vineyard and has the most stunning views. The upper floor is basically a guest apartment, which would be amazing when people come to visit! But, it doesn’t have much in the way of a backyard and it’s larger than we expected, meaning we’d need to buy a few more pieces of furniture. It’s about a 15-min stroll into the village, and not far from a large outlet mall. Ralph is excited that it has a two-car garage, but getting to the school bus would require someone driving the kids there. Hmm…

That said, we met the landlords Wednesday night and they agreed to rent the house to us. However, there was one major thing on my mind: House #2. Yup – I had a showing scheduled for Thursday afternoon and after Ralph and I drove by this house and spent some time in the village, I knew we had to see it first to make our decision. So we asked the landlord to give us three days to decide, and he graciously did – but our deadline is today.

I bet you can see where this is going…

House #2 is, well, absolutely perfect for us! The boys and I went to see it on Thursday and it’s got a huge yard for Phoebe, a vegetable patch, and even a chicken run. The layout is ideal for everything we’ve brought with us, it’s a 7-min walk into a terrific village with farmer’s markets and all that goodness, and half the distance to the school bus stop. That means in a pinch the boys could ride their bikes. Yes, it only has a single car garage, but that isn’t a deal-breaker to me. (Ralph may feel differently!).

So…what to do? Because here’s the hitch: It’s 1130 over here and I haven’t heard anything from the realtor yet. And now I’m realizing the error of my ways. I don’t think realtors work on the weekends here, or at least, they aren’t responding back to my email. In fact, I think I’m delaying the inevitable by writing this blog post. My plan will be to ask the other landlord for one more day…and I hate doing that. If he says no, then what? Take House #1 without hearing back about House #2? Or make him mad and perhaps be left with no house?

It feels like I’m on some crappy version of House Hunters International, where I could barely sleep last night and the tension headaches are kicking in…

Put some good juju out to the world for us, that what will be will be. Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have our answer.

BTW…I’m hoping to look back on all this drama a month or two from now with a deep sense of gratitude that it is all over!

2 thoughts on “Everything is Going Wrong, Part 1: House Hunting

  1. Tons of good juju being sent your way! I’m sorry y’all are going through this. If it helps any…think back to the stressful time you had deciding to move to CA before you were accepted into Stanford and Ralphie passed up the NY assignment. Is this more stressful than that? If so, please disregard! 😘😘😘😘

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