Saturday, January 29, 2011

A dog's life in Nuremberg

One of the funniest things of the past week, has been watching Lucy get used to German life.

Bringing her over was definitely one of my biggest fears and the thought of her being in a kennel for 15 hours made me break out in a cold sweat. This is after all a dog who’s never spent an hour in a kennel and who cowers at the noise of trucks on the street.

I was advised against drugging her so went with the natural alternative my vet recommended. It didn’t really calm her per se since she was playing Frisbee and wrestling with J right until she had to go in the kennel. Once she was put in the kennel and wheeled away by the luggage crew, I almost started crying. My poor girl, in the cargo hold of the plane for 15 hours!

When I picked her up at the luggage caroussel in Nuremberg 15 hours later, she looked a little shaken up but was no worse for wear: I was thrilled!

Since then, it’s been a grand adventure for her. Every morning we’ve gone for long walks along the river or in the moat of the castle.

One of the great things about Germany is how dog friendly it is. Dogs can pretty much go anywhere except for groceries stores and most restaurants (I say most because some let dogs in as long as they sit quietly under the table)

Cue the first grand adventure. We went to a huge electronics store to buy a blow dryer. It didn’t occur to me that she’d never been on an escalator before. She locked up all 4’s and stood in front of it and looked at me with an “are you nuts” look on her face. She very hesitantly stepped on to it but everytime we’d walk past it, would lock up all 4’s like one of those shopping carts you take past the parking lot.

Next day, time to find the closest pet store. There didn’t seem to be one directly in the city, and I don’t have the loaner car yet so we took the subway. Dogs are also allowed on the subway here (and need a special ticket) so off we went on the subway. With more escalators. The escalator was still the enemy but she managed. Then came the subway, with the gap between the platform and train, the noises, the announcement and the movement (oh and the drunk German guy who kept talking to her in German)

It’s been funny to watch her get used to German life. So far, she’s in heaven. Hour and a half long walks every day along the river, snow, sticks and now she gets to go almost everywhere I go.

Starting Monday, there’s a dog walker coming to walk her everyday to alleviate some pressure off me while I get used to the new job and commute.

Nuremberg could just be Lucy’s heaven!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moving to Germany!

After months of planning, thinking and saying goodbye, the day had come for me to get on the plane and make the biggest move of my life: to Nuremberg, Germany.

Saying goodbye was hard.  Conciously leaving your friends, family, co-workers and newly met guy of my dreams behind was emotional.  For a fleeting moment, I wondered why on earth I was making this move when I was leaving a pretty good life behind, but as much as I was going to miss friends, family, co-worker, guy of my dreams, I knew this was something I had to do.

So after an emotional and tearful weekend of goodbyes, I was on the plane. With Lucy and 3 suitcases of my earthly possesions.

We got picked up by the relocation consultant.  One of the things that makes this move bearable is that I get essentially a "personal assistant" for 6 months.  The relocation consultant's job is to find me a place to live, do all of the work permit/tax card/registration running around, help me buy a car and basically help me get settled into life. 

After dropping off Lucy and my baggage, it was time to look at the first apartment.  Talk about no time for jet lag to set in or to pine for the life you left behind! Tuesday was packed full with apartment viewings, picking out health insurance, personal insurance, dog insurance (Germans sure like their insurance! There's even glass insurance) and town hall registration.

My head is still reeling from all that's going on, but after 3 days, I "may" have found a place to live.  It's a cute 1 bedroom apartment in a great residential neighborhood walking distance to the old city and the castle.  fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Moving day

As I type, there are 3 men loading all of my worldly possesions into a moving truck.  As exciting as this new prospect is, there is something quite melancholy to see all your life's possesions be packed away not to be seen for months.  I've been in this place for just over 6 years which is amazingly, the longest I've been in any one home.  As many times as I've moved, I've only had movers once.  These movers have been hired to not only load my stuff but pack it.  It is a little odd to see 3 burly guys pack your nighties away, but other than that, I'm enjoying my post on the couch watching as they work.

For the first time during this experience, I've experienced fear.  Well, more like scared shitless.  I'm giving up absolutely everything/everyone I know for a new life in Germany.  Thing is, my life here is/was pretty good.  No complaints.  Good job, good family, good social circle, the works.  But when this opportunity came along, I know I couldn't pass it up.  Yes, it'll do wonders for my career, but the experience of living and working overseas is something I've wanted to experience.  Thing is, doing it (alone nonetheless) is one hell of a nerve wracking experience!   I have no doubt this will be an amazing experience and I'm not getting cold feet.  But there is something to be said for abandoning everything you know when it's not that bad to begin with....