Das deutsches Leben

Guess it’s long past time for a blogular update.  I moved to Germany a little over a month ago, and a heck of a lot has happened since, and I have hardly had much time to think about producing more bloggy goodness, though I’ve kept my Twitter feed updated.  Spent the first week or so setting up my status as an immigrant to Germany and employee of the University of the Saarland.  Some of this is not even done yet; I have my appointment with the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Bureau) in a few days to get my medium-term residency permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and foreigner’s ID.  I made the slightly foolish decision not to accept the housing offered by the university and look for something myself while staying in temp accomodations.   The search turned into a crash course in German real estate, which is quite different from renting in the US or Canada, let me tell you.  Even other Europeans apparently find it strange.

Living at about 50% German immersion has certainly forced my high-school German to improve.  Particularly my renting vocabulary.

Anyway, I finally found myself a place in the very heart of Saarbrücken with an excellent, unbeatable view.  When I get around to it, I might post pictures.  Ordered a ton of furniture; probably ill-advised, but I got tired of living completely like a student.  Even then, I mostly got the cheap stuff that will be easy to get rid of, since this is just a postdoc job.  So I have to go through much of the paperwork all over again to change my address with the city resident register—this is rather alien to people from English-speaking countries, the idea that the government has proof-positive of your whereabouts, and no, this is for all residents, not just foreigners—change my address with the bank, and so on.

So as for Saarbrücken itself, it offers a pretty high standard of living, and is not very expensive to live in.  Rents are less than half of what one finds in Washington DC.  It’s a city of about 200,000, but it serves a much larger metropolitan region, as well as being the main metropolitan centre for all of the Saarland, a good chunk of the Palatinate (the Pfalz in Rheinland-Pfalz), and a big chunk of Lorraine.  I have so far managed to make day trips to places in the Saarland and Lorraine; the farthest I’ve gone in Trier, which is well worth visiting.  I shall be back.

Now y’all are probably wondering what I’m doing at work, aside from filling out forms.  That, I will get to in the next post, if I have time to post it.  Unfortunately, with no permanent address, getting a stable Internet connection has been a challenge, and I’m blogging from work (and it’s pretty late here).


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