Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our shipment arrived!!!

Hello All,

I am happy to report that we received our sea shipment on Thursday and have been unpacking and setting up ever since. It has been a lot of fun making our new place feel like home. There is something very comforting about having all of your belongings with you....especially your bed. That brings me to a question that I would like to put out there. Does anyone know a good substitute for a box spring? Our master bedroom is on the third floor and the movers where unable to get our queen size box spring all the way up to the top floor. They suggested that we just get a piece of plywood to lay over the slats under our mattress. If anyone has any other ideas I would greatly appreciate the help. I want to make sure that we do not ruin our mattress.

Everything else went off without a hitch. Not a single item was damaged and we believe that everything arrived that was packed back in the States. Several of you have asked for us to post pictures of our new place. I promise that as soon as we are unpacked I will start snapping away and post early next week. Thanks for sharing in our excitement!

Today we are waiting for some friends to come over to help us hang a few lights and pictures. I just finished baking a batch of "American" brownies to enjoy together before we get started.

We can't wait to have family and friends visit so that we can share this great flat and city with you all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is here!

Upon our return to Erlangen we were greeted by the spring festival (Fruhling Festival)one block away from our new home. Another reason to celebrate!

The Easter Market in Nuremberg

The snow has finally melted and signs of springs are popping up everywhere. Since it was finally warm enough to venture out without a hat and gloves we decided to explore the markets in Nuremberg. We had a great time exploring castles, tasting delicous cheeses and nuts and talking with the locals.

I also love the fact that Germans love to celebrate. Whether it is someones birthday or a national holiday...there is always reason to celebrate. This is seen now in the streets and store front windows as we get closer to Easter....there are bunnies and eggs everywhere. I love it!

Here are several pictures from our trip:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Exploring the Berg

Over the weekend we had the chance to explore the Berg (a large hill that is the location for several spring and summer festivals just to the north of Erlangen). We had a great time hiking the Berg, taking pictures and tossing the frisbee.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our little area of Erlangen

It has been a lot of fun exploring the area around our new home.

We found out that we have a guard dog.

Our beautiful library that is also part of the local university:

As well as an incredible Gasthof (an authentic German restaurant) half a block away. This dish was delicious. This is also why we are currently trying out several different gyms in the area.

This morning I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning. As you all know we are still living in our hotel and will be moving into our home around the 18th of March. Today I am meeting our painter at 11am at our new home. I am so excited because I have not see our place since the realtor walked us through the home three weeks ago. I can't wait to get in there with a tape measure and start the planning process. Next stop.....Ikea.

I was so prepared to be bored in Germany. I had spoken with several different people before leaving the States and they all said the same thing, "prepare to be lonley and frustrated." Now I know that we have only been here for three weeks but I am amazed at how blessed we have been so far. Yes, not knowing the language is frustrating but our classes will be starting soon so that will get better each day. As far as the loneliness goes we miss our friends and family back in the States and can not wait to visit but have also started building a support group here. We have been spending a lot of time with three other expat couples which has made a world of difference. I can not imagine going through this process without the support of others that are facing the same challenges and experiences that we are facing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to live in another country at this time in my life.

Well, I am off to meet the painter and then I am meeting one of the girls for lunch. We are planning out our next couple of trips outside of Germany. I am looking forward to sharing more adventures with you all. I will leave you with a picture of one of my favorite fountains that sits in the middle of our park.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What an exciting day!

Today we are signing our housing contract and I could not be more excited. Although this does not mean that we can move in tomorrow, it does mean that I can start planning. This house has three stories and as I mentioned before it is over a little vacant shop. Don't let the picture fool you, it is tiny. However, it is a lot more space than we had expected to be able to find in the middle of the city. It was built in the 1700s and it is filled with character. That being said it needs a little tlc in the form of paint and new lighting fictures. I am excited to be able to see it again, take measurements and pick out paint colors. Please keep in mind that I am not working right now so having a project to work on is thrilling.

After we sign the contract we will be able to move in as soon as the floors on the third level are finished. We have been told that this should be completed by the end of March. Since our sea shipment will not be arriving unil around that time this works out really well.

Here is our new home!

Although you can not see it there is a very tiny floor above the top floor as well. What a blessing! We are so excited to have it set up and to hopefully have some of you over in the future.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This is our local market which is a short walk from our new home. This particular market sells flowers, fruit, vegetables and a wide variety of cheeses.

I was checking out the local department stores in Erlangen when I came across these pants.

To the left is a great example of how beautiful the local architecture is in this area.

We're here!

I can not believe that we have already been in Germany for 15 days.
We are currently staying in a hotel waiting to find out if we are going to be approved to move into a gorgeous flat in the Theatre District of Erlangen. I really wanted a place that looked and felt like I was in Germany and this place fits the bill perfectly. It is located on a cobble stone street surrounded by little Italian restaurants and little home goods shops. It feels like I am walking through an Anthropologie catalogue (sigh). The flat was built in the 1700's and is located above a small retail space. The space is currently vacant which, for me, adds to the excitement of the big move. I am hoping that a bakery does not move in below us. The idea of having fresh pastries and pretzels and the bottom of our stairs is just too tempting. For those of you not familiar with the area bakeries are like Starbucks in the States, they are literally on every corner.
As soon as we have confirmation that we were approved to move in I will post pictures.
Besides the house hunting Phil and I have been exploring the area, working on our German and sampling the local cuisine. We are still adjusting to the culture and can't wait for our language classes to begin. I really miss being able to walk into a grocery store or restaurant and understand what the people around me are saying. It is also nice to know what we are ordering/buying. It is a challenge but a good challenge and I am excited to see where it takes us. These two years are going to fly by and we both want to make sure that we make the most of each day.