I'm not quite sure how we managed to do so much last Friday. The day began around 7:30 am, when we boarded a tram to head to the local government offices. After three months our residence/work permits had finally arrived! (right in the nick of time - since I think we're only legal for three months in the country without them). They had been sent to the office near our Marienburg place, and since that was the last day we'd be there, we figured it had to be done that morning. One hundred Euros later we had our new shiny addenda to our passports, and managed to register our move too (something every citizen must do).
Chris headed off to class, and I headed back to our place to finish packing for (hopefully) our last move. In comparison to US moves, we still don't have that much stuff (ie no furniture) but we thought a car for the day would be in order. I rented the cheapest economy car from Budget and managed to get a fairly large four door Audi. Unfortunately all that they had was an automatic (something the Budget man was very sorry about and I was a little too). Leaving the rental place, some old man came up and started telling me about how the car wasn't allowed to be parked in the spot I was picking it up from and stormed into the office. I think I only made one questionable turn getting myself back home. By the time Chris got back, I had about half the stuff in the car and we managed to fit everything in one trip!?!
At 3:30 we were hauling our stuff up 4 flights of stairs at the new place (we always seem to have the top floor flats). The new place is furnished and has kitchen stuff (including an oven!), towels, bedding, etc.. However, after some conceptualizing, we decided we still needed a few pieces of furniture and other accessories, and we had a car, so it was off to Ikea for us. Fortunately, on Friday nights, the Ikea is open until 10 pm (much later than many grocery stores). We had our very descriptive Köln road map, but managed to get on the Autobahn in the wrong direction (if you call heading towards Belgium the "wrong direction"; sadly there was no side trip to a monastery for some beer). The next exit wasn't for about 30-40 km, so I took that opportunity to do fun things, like drive in the left hand lane. I think I frightened Chris for a minute, but then reminded him that the speed was in km/hr, not mi/hr. German Ikea is basically the same as American Ikea, and I think I forgot for a while that I was in Germany, until I saw all the queen sized beds with two single comforters and big square pillows. Chris and I decided we were sick of the two singles, so we had to splurge that whole 25 Euros to get a queen sized comforter to share. This also means we have lots of (single) comforters for visitors - our first of which will be arriving Sunday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon we began the building of furniture. Unfortunately, we managed to get pieces that required a hammer and screwdriver in addition to that handy Ikea tool. None of our three toolkits we had in Seattle managed to get overseas with us, so it was off to Bauhaus, not a design school or a mopey rock band but more like Home Depot, only much more compact. What we really wanted was one of those "single girl moving into her first place" tool-kits, but that didn't seem to exist. What we did find was a cordless screwdriver/drill that was less expensive than a screwdriver. This may well be the one and only electronic device that is cheaper in Germany than the US. And here is Chris with our snazy new hammer.
It doesn't really take out nails, but it does open a bottle of beer, so what else is needed.
Sadly, I could not find the advertisement Bauhaus has for this item; it really is fantastic. Picture a construction worker, with no helmet or harness, sitting on scaffolding using his hammer to open a bottle of beer. If you can find three things wrong with this picture, then you must not be from Köln.