Sunday, June 10, 2007

House Hunting Trip

Ben and I went on our House Hunting Trip the first week in May. This was our first time to Germany...ever. Let's do a little reality check: we agreed to move to a country to which we've never been, we don't speak the language, and now we have 3 whole days to find a suitable house to live in for the next 2 years. Yep, that sounds about right.

There wasn't much available on the market thanks to DHL just relocating most of their European employees to the Koln-Bonn area and the 30 other Ford ISE employees from the US who arrived before us and picked the market clean. We saw some pretty unacceptable places the first two days and we were starting to panic (or at least I was). There was a nice apartment located in Bonn just upstairs from my boss. No offense to Chet and his family, but I don't want my boss for a neighbor...puts a big damper on work-life balance.

Just when I was starting to feel desperate, we found our house! It's a Doppelhaushälfte (aka, town house) in the Poll neighborhood of Koln (Cologne). It's a 3 story town house with a basement, built in 2003. Yes, it's on the "wrong side of the river" but it's large by German standards and has a huge back yard (again, by German standards). The third floor is for guests -- there's a full bathroom up there and we will have a queen size bed. Visitors are welcome!

In addition to house hunting, we spent the week experiencing German culture. We quickly learned that the beer (Kölsch) is delicious and very easy to drink. We also learned that the restaurant menus are lacking in beef and chicken. There appears to be no shortage of Pork in Germany. As many of you know, I am not a fan of pork. Notice the menu offerings on the left: Pork and More Pork. Not that I'm against embracing German culture, but there are a few more food issues: no Cheerios, no peanut butter, no black beans, and no skim milk. Sure there's lots of dairy -- buttermilk, whole milk, 3.5% milk, and 1.5% milk. Skim milk is extremely hard to come by. In some cases, the trade-offs are pretty good, for instance coffee shops are replaced with Eis-Cafes (ice cream parlor). This city is obsessed with ice cream...and fancy stuff, too. For every coffee shop that you would find in a big city in the US, there's an Eis-Cafe in Cologne.
Overall, it was a fabulous trip and it served to make us even more excited about our adventure over the next two years.

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