Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Country

Sorry I haven't posted in a while folks, but judging by the dearth of hits on this site, I'm just a tree falling in cyberspace with no-one to hear it. Maybe I should start name-dropping celebrities so people will stumble onto my blog in Google cross-searches. Anyway, this past week has been playing havoc my nerves really. I wasn't sure when my Zwischenvermieter (the guy I'm subletting from) was coming back, and since he showed up one day a few weeks ago unannounced (for Barack Obama), and at that point said he'd return in 2-3 weeks, which had already passed, I thought it best to go ahead and find a place post-haste.

After a couple false starts I received three offers from potential roommates here in Berlin. The first offer came from a professional dirt biker who is famous in his profession here in Europe. He and his motorbike can fly 50 feet in the air at great speeds. The flat was cozy and clean. The second was a great huge airy flat in Kreuzberg, but it turned out to be with a couple -- middle aged theatre fags. Won't live with a couple, been there done that. Does the term "triangulation" mean anything to you people? The third was a rather short term lease (1 month) in a WG with 4 others. I opted for the dirt bike guy (he was sweet, soft-spoken and we got on like a house on fire); he's also nice to look at and that's always a huge plus. Oh, and he's always been flown all over Europe by his sponsors, so he'll only be there half time. So in a few days I'll be moving to deepest Neukoln (immortalized in song by David Bowie). It's interesting neighborhood, not the hippest by any stretch of the imagination. The part I will be living in was formerly known as Rixdorf, originally settled by the Czech, now it's more Turkish. Anyway, it's going to be a deeply urban adventure, like what I'm experiencing now, but different.

That sussed, and since I had completed my job training, it was time to go ahead and take care of my work permit. This is not a user-friendly process, but at least I was familiar with all the steps, the final one being finding the right health insurance, because the Germans require everyone to have it, an admirable goal, but it took almost a week to complete this step, seeing as how most of the websites are all in German and to navigate them is a real chore for someone who doesn't know the business and legal terms of this language. I mean, it's hard enough in the US to find insurance. At any rate, I'm waiting for my verification, then it's off to the Auslanderbehorde once again for more fingernail pulling.

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