Tag Archives: Hausfrau

Moving in with a German

Earlier this year, Manfredas asked me to move in with him. This was actually a brave move on his part as I’d previously told him that I’d set fire to my kitchen while making a ham and cheese toastie. Twice.

Still, from my point of view, it was a great idea for a number of reasons:

  1. Germans have better insurance than I do – i.e. they have insurance.
  2. I’d accidentally flashed my boobs at my elderly neighbour while I was getting dressed and he was having a smoke on his balcony. He’d been very unfriendly to begin with, but it turned out that all it took was an impromptu peep show to lead to daily invitations to his apartment for a drink. I politely (then not so politely) declined.
  3. I’d managed to clog my shower drain with hair beyond what my questionable abilities as a plumber could cope with. Loath to go and tell the Hausmeister and watch him pull a yeti out of there, I tried (and failed) to use my own methods.
Not to be confused.

I decided to leave my slightly blackened oven, randy neighbour and hirsute shower drain behind and accept Manfredas’ offer. (Sometimes I can be just as romantic as the Germans.)

Manfredas lent me some boxes from when he’d last moved and I assured him I would be packed up and ready to go that weekend. Unfortunately, it seemed that my box-putting-together skills were about as developed as my cooking and plumbing skills. Never fear – after about half an hour of arsing around on youtube, I found what I was looking for, put my first box together (with a lot of pause/play/swearing) and it was plain sailing from there.

Utilising a woman’s touch I didn’t know I possessed, I adorned Manfredas’ (sorry, OUR) flat with cardboard boxes, clothes and shoes, cosmetics, toiletries, and four wineglasses and a packet of Bisto – the only things worth taking from my old kitchen.

Me: (upon closer inspection of my new kitchen) I’m afraid I have to move out.

Manfredas: You just moved in! What’s wrong? 

Me: I can’t reach the wineglasses. This could be a deal-breaker.

German kitchens are not made for Irish people.

Luckily Manfredas – being the resourceful sort that he is – quickly remedied the situation and disaster was averted.

The Linda shelf!

While I could cope with living out of a suitcase for a week or so, I kind of needed to hit the ground running on the work front so the first priority was a desk, chair and shelving unit for my brand new home office. Yes, home office. I am now fancy.

An hour or so in Sconto and I was the proud owner of all of the above. In flat-pack form.

Urgh.

While Manfredas was happy enough to let me bash a dowel (I just had to ask him what the word is for “the little wooden things that you hammer into other things to make furniture stick together”) every now and then, it was decided that my unique skill-set would probably be better put to use in keeping the music going and the wine flowing.

Manfredas: Hmm, I don’t think the tools given are good enough for this bit. I need a drill. (Produces a rather nice Black & Decker drill set.)

Me: Bah haha! You own drills! 

Manfredas: Well, of course I own drills. How else do you think things get on walls? 

Me: Oh yes. Right. That makes sense.

Sometimes I forget that I’m a grown-up dating a grown-up.

Anyway, in a few short hours – for me, at any rate – the office was complete.

Don’t worry – the screwdriver is just for show.

Once I had everything in place, it was time for the next phase – showing me how to use the TV, the heating, the dishwasher, the washing machine and various other gadgets that Germans love. Amazingly, Manfredas has undertaken to do most of the cooking so a cooker tutorial didn’t really come into play.

This probably explains why the flat is still standing and we’re rubbing along nicely together. I guess he should probably put the ham and cheese on the top shelf of the fridge though…

 

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My 1st Germanniversary

This time last year, I was sitting on a bus from Riga to Berlin, my worldly possessions safely stowed in the hold (I hoped), with around 16 hours stretching ahead of me to contemplate what exactly I was doing; moving to a city where I didn’t know a soul, with no job and no long-term accommodation lined up. All I had was about five words of German and a roof over my head for the next two weeks. Little did I know I’d end up sharing with a septuagenarian who would have a penchant for dry humping me while I cleaned his fridge.

I still did a bloody good job on the fridge though.
I still did a bloody good job on the fridge though.

Looking back, there were a lot of things I couldn’t have predicted. And while I’m not saying six flats, three jobs, leaving the Catholic Church, and endless rounds of bureaucracy were a walk in the park, they certainly made for an interesting year. In between all of this, of course, I did have some fun. I’ve been to museums, festivals, lakes, book launches, football matches, Christmas markets. I’ve been to Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Potsdam, and Marzahn (shudder). I even managed to get my name on a plaque in Humboldthain Park.

You have to look very closely, but it's there.
You have to look very closely, but it’s there.

I’ve done my best to unravel the mysteries of the German poo shelf. I’ve been sold on the idea of two single duvets on a double bed (that probably also has two single mattresses). I’ve battled with the German language and am now an expert absolute beginner at business German thanks to “Die Höhle der Löwen”*. Or at least I can almost pronounce “Die Höhle der Löwen” – it’s something like “dee huhhluh der luhffen” if you want to give it a go. (Germans, feel free to laugh now.) I’ve tried – and failed miserably – to be a good German Hausfrau, but I do still rinse out my pasta sauce jars. The fact that I use pasta sauce from a jar explains a lot about my failure to be a good Hausfrau.

Because you can never have too many poo shelf pictures in one blog
Because you can never have too many poo shelf pictures in one blog

I’ve made some fantastic friends, and some colossal mistakes. Thankfully, the former helped get me through the latter. The thing about Berlin is that she’s a slippery little sucker. Every time one thing slips into place, something else slips away. For the past year, it’s all been a bit one step forward, two steps back. Or, sometimes, more like half a step forward, have your feet ripped from under you and end up flat on your arse. But I’ve realised that the trick is to keep getting up again, a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. (The similarity would probably be more apparent if the Terminator liked a glass of wine and busting out Dusty Springfield tunes.) Aaaaanyway, the point is, one year on, I’m still here and I’m still standing.

Because this is my life, this is Berlin, and this is home. There’s always something amazing around the corner. And even if there isn’t, there’s only a few months to go ’til Glühwein season…

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So, I hope you’ll all be sticking around, because I know I will be.

*The German version of Dragons’ Den/Shark Tank. The 50% I can understand is massively entertaining.