Flat!

Oct. 16th, 2010 09:17 pm
extemporanea: a picture of the Trifid Nebula (Default)
I got my flat! On Thursday, the lady who has been helping me find a flat (she has been calling up places so that the initial contact is a) in German and b) from the MPG, to make a good first impression) asked how the viewing on Tuesday had gone. I told her that I loved the place but wasn't sure if I would get it and she offered to call the estate agent for me to find out more. Apparently there was another person also interested in the flat and the only possible problem with me is that I would want to flat for a short time only (3 years! This is the upper end of a short-term contract in the UK and not considered to be that short at all!) but she assured them that the department always has new people in need of accommodation, so she had no doubt they would be able to fill the apartment again if need be. The estate agent seemed happier about this and said that they were trying to get through to the owner but had been unable to reach him, and they would let me know by the end of the day, if possible.

A little later in the afternoon, I got a call from the owner to ask if he could meet me - which we arranged for today. I still didn't know at that point if this was a case of basically having the flat, as long as I didn't punch him in the face or let slip that I kill babies in my spare time, or if he was also seeing the other person and he would then judge us both from the meetings. Either way, I thought it wouldn't hurt to go to the other flat viewing I had organised; it was an our before the meeting, and a five minute walk from the other flat so hardly an inconvenience. And I'm really glad I went - because it was fine and would do at a push, but it wasn't nearly as nice as the place I saw on Tuesday. The bedroom was tiny, barely room for a double bed, and the lounge was large but quite dark and the balcony overlooked the high street. So I was all at once feeling better about the prospect of going for the first place I viewed, and terrified I wouldn't get the place I wanted.

But it was fine! I turned up five minutes early to the flat downstairs where the owners parents live - the owner wasn't there and his mother was lovely but didn't speak a word of English and my German is still not good enough to actually have a conversation not lifted straight from the textbook on a very specific topic. But then the owner arrived and he was lovely and seemed to like me and so I got the flat! It was a bit of an awkward meeting because there wasn't really anything to do once he had realised I wasn't an axe murderer or a complete nutcase. The estate agent will deal with all the details, contracts and where I should pay money and all of that stuff. He did show me pictures of the school in Sri Lanka where the rent money goes - it turns out he and his wife have an adopted daughter from Sri Lanka and as a result of this they set up a girls school in Sri Lanka to promote the education of women; I think they spend a few months of the year there teaching. And all the rental money from the flats goes to the school, which is fantastic. Education of women of something I feel very strongly about and support a number charities that focus on the education of girls and women, so that my rent will be helping to fund the school is kind of awesome.

After the meeting, I wandered around the local area and fell even more in love with it; I'd had a good general impression from February when I'd gone for a short potter around the day following my interview after finding out that it was a popular place to live to see if I liked it and could imagine living there. And an even better impression from when I'd seen the flat on Tuesday and had walked from the tram stop to the flat. It's such a gorgeous area; loads of quaint, beautiful, buildings, lots of little shops and pubs, and a little market too - though I guess that is probably just Saturday. And I discovered a little park too, not five minute walk away from the flat. I HAVE A FLAT AND IT IS AWESOME!

Flat?

Oct. 12th, 2010 09:54 pm
extemporanea: a picture of the Trifid Nebula (Default)
I spent this morning in bed. My cold is really not that bad, I've had worse, but I slept maybe an hour last night - my sinuses were so blocked I couldn't breathe and that meant I couldn't sleep and that meant I felt pretty awful this morning. And then there was no point in going in to the department once I was finally up and moving, as I had to leave early to go to a flat viewing and I would have spent more time travelling to the department and having lunch than I would have actually working. And I can read papers at home just as well as at my desk anyway.

The flat I saw was amazing. I loved it! It's perfect for me. It's a two-room apartment on the first floor (or second floor if you're from the US), the living room is at the back with a balcony that looks over a garden and the bedroom is at the front with another small balcony that looks out over the street - can't see myself using that one so much as it is a) small and b) looks over the street, but it'll be nice to have the air flow in the summer, I'm sure. Both rooms are a nice size, not too big, but big enough for what I need and fantastically light. The kitchen is a little small, but perfectly adequate, and the bathroom again is small but I don't really need anything more anyway. The flat is 5 minutes walk from two different tram stops (though for the same tram lines) - two trams stop there, the first goes to Bizmarckplatz and Neuenheim (and the market I found on saturday) and the other goes to the main university campus (which is not where my department is but I will undoubtedly go there for talks and meetings occasionally). It's also close to quite a major route into/out of HD, but it's set back a couple of roads so it's nice and quiet. It seemed to be a very quiet street. I really, really loved it.

So, of course, I said to the estate agents that I wanted to take it. The viewing appointment I had was a block booking and I had been lead to believe that these things were done on a first-come, first-served basis so I made sure to arrive at the start of the block (early, in fact!) and I had also dressed smartly so as to make a good impression. Only the estate agent said that there were four other people viewing that afternoon and the decision would ultimately go to the owner. But could he take my photo and get me to fill out a form with my info to send to the owner. Given the picture-taking, I half-wondered if the form would require such gems as my hobbies and my favourite colour, but actually it was the understandable name, contact info, place of work, salary etc etc.

A part of me is a bit wary at the prospect of taking the first place I've looked at, however, while it may be the first I've seen in person, I've done a lot of looking around online. I started all the way back in February when I first accepted the job offer and I wanted to see what sort of things were available and for what sort of prices. And periodically over the intervening time, I have had a little look at some of the property websites occasionally to see what was there. I obviously didn't start looking in earnest until I got here - I knew I would have accommodation sorted for the first 6 weeks, so there was no point in trying to accomplish from a distance what is far easier done in person. So I feel like I do have a fair idea of what else is around.

I really, really hope I get this one, because I loved it. KEEP EVERYTHING CROSSED!

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extemporanea: a picture of the Trifid Nebula (Default)
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