Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Click. Click. Click... It's just like Tetris!

It's almost eerie, how everything is falling into place for us. This morning, we got word that a space has been reserved for Amelia at a preschool that's a five minute walk from our future home. She'll be attending from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. The class sizes are very small: 5-7 children each, and it seems like a sweet environment. I am SO thrilled!

So, you may be wondering what I'll be doing there, since I won't be staying home with Amelia or working... I'm going back to school! I am enrolling in a degree completion program through PSU that can be done completely online. I don't have a lot of options as to which degree I'll end up with. If I did, I would probably do a Psychology degree. But Sociology isn't too far from it, and I'll have a minor in Women's Studies. I'm not sure exactly how this will interact with the type of work I am already doing, but I know that my work is taking a turn toward the psychological anyway, specifically working with the experiences of women in today's culture.
Anyway, I am SUPER excited. I have always had my lack of a degree kind of hanging over my head. I felt so disappointed that I had gone to school full time for six years (including summer school and winter terms) without actually getting a degree. In addition I was always working at least one, and up to three jobs at the same time. I should really have a degree by now, for all of the effort I put in! I never imagined a situation where I could go back to school without having to be juggling various jobs and roles. Sure, I won't be a single "student" anymore, but in many ways my load will be lighter than it was while I was in school before.
The part that is sliding into place nicely here, beyond Amelia's school schedule, is finances. Another benefit of having a taken a significant loss with my business last year is qualifying to recieve several thousand dollars of Federal Pell Gant money! This will definitely cover all of my courses this year, and I am going to try to max it out, course credit-wise. Next year will be a different story, but hopefully I can get through the bulk of the work before then. Click-- another piece!

OK, so so far we have: our home to live in until we move, our ideal location in Germany, a beautiful home there, a great landlord, major appliances (we're buying them from the previous tenants, so they'll be in our home when we get there), Amelia's preschool, a way for me to finish my degree, time and funding for that, a great job for Jeff.... Amazing! I cannot think of a time in my life where things have ever come together like this before. It feels weird, and it's a bit of a struggle to wrap my brain around everything, and BELIEVE it's really going to happen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Family Time

Believe it or not, we had never taken a family vacation until this past weekend! I am not exactly sure why, maybe it had to do with simply working hard at surviving for the past few years. Anyway, with all of the craziness that is going on in our lives right now, it was definitely time to reach that milestone! We stayed in a little cottage at Cannon Beach for two nights. Although the weather was a little disappointing, we had a TON of fun!

On the way, we stopped at Target for a few supplies. I am usually totally against plastic toys and junk, but let me tell you-- that $7 set of sand toys was worth every penny! We also bought a $5 owl kite that we flew for hours. Somehow, the whole family left heir flip flops at home, so we fixed that right away as well. I brought food to prepare for all but one meal, and the whole trip was incredibly easy and low-stress. We all had so much fun just hanging out and doing whatever the weather allowed. In spite of rain and cold, we were able to spend some frigid hours in the sand and waves.

I am trying to work harder at actually documenting events, so I went a little overboard. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Living in the present...

While I was showing you my future German kitchen, I was also showing my current Portland kitchen to a design blog I follow. They are having a little show-and-tell style contest on small kitchens, and mine has been entered! It's really fun to see it there, looking so official, and also fun to enjoy my kitchen of three years just before we go. This is the link.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Kitchen.

Fun! This seems pretty roomy for a European kitchen, and I love the floor tile design. I couldn't help but scan for a dishwasher right away-- that will feel SO amazing to me (and especially Jeff!) More details gradually trickling in...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Moving Right Along...

Well, we are almost at the two month mark, and plenty has happened since my last post. First of all, after MUCH drama with our home, we are in the clear to be here until we move. It looks like a short sale will be made, and we are of course extremely relieved. The bank is currently processing an offer, and I hope this also means that we can stop showing it-- that has been quite a hassle!

I have two more weeks of work before I close my practice, and the timing seems just about right. I am enjoying working, but will soon be so preoccupied with logistics and future adventures that I wouldn't be able to do much good anyhow.

Here is a very interesting wrinkle, speaking of logistics: Jeff's employer will pay us a very large bonus to NOT ship our belongings over to Germany. The sum is easily thrice what our things are worth, so we accepted. The other side of this is that we actually get to SELL almost everything we own, so we will be able to start fresh with financial ease.

Speaking of ease.... We already have an apartment waiting for us! Not only is the apartment itself large and beautiful, but it's in the town we wanted to live in. Moreover, it's on the main pedestrian street of downtown Amberg, so everything will be very close by. The train station is a couple of blocks away, and of course shops and cafes are just downstairs. I look at the pictures of the apartment and at photos on Google and am in total disbelief. I have the "don't count your chicks before they hatch" philosophy deeply embedded into my brain, so it has actually been a little hard to enjoy all of this. I need to "have a little faith" that good things are really coming our way!
This is a picture from Google Maps of the block we'll be living on!

The odd thing is that there is so much I don't know about our place. It has three bedrooms, but I don't know how many bathrooms or what the total square footage is. I don't know what the kitchen looks like, but I have caught glimpses of red and white checkered tile on the floor and walls. The one bathroom I've seen is fully tiled, which I love! As for the picturesque little courtyard, I don't know if we share it with another unit or not. We have two staircases, so does that mean that we have three stories? Or is the entrance at the bottom, just going right up the stairs? I look forward to finding out more. My number one requirement is lots of light and windows, and so I am very very happy! Here are some pictures...

So-- how did all of this happen? When I showed her pictures of our new home, Amelia suspiciously asked me if I'd gone on an airplane to Germany to find it while she was sleeping. The real story is that Jeff's future teammates have just been incredibly kind and helpful. One family will be leaving at the end of June, and they contacted us to see if we might be interested in taking over their rental, which just happened to be in the town we were hoping for. The landlord has been very agreeable and accommodating as well. It can be really really hard to find an available apartment in this area, so we are ecstatic. Can you imagine how much more difficult it would be to arrive and have to start looking for a place to live in several different towns? Now we even have an address! Also, they have been helping us to find a preschool (Kindergarten there) for Amelia so we can get her settled into a routine quickly. Next, we hope to find a car-- a cute, speedy, German one, of course.

What else?... Well, I think the biggest thing on my plate right now is just selling our things. The DoD will pay for storage, but we only plan to put some heirloom furniture and boxes of mementos in there. We'll ship things like sheets and towels, kitchen tools, and clothes. Apart from that, we plan to sell it all. We had one yard sale already, and next is a party where we turn our home into a little shop and invite our friends over to get first pick of everything. Then it will be a huge Craigslist push, followed by a few more yard sales. Wow! Needless to say, the next couple of months will be crazy. I am thankful that we can enjoy a part of what Portland is best at-- summer! It seems like a really nice way to leave, eating our meals outdoors, going to farmers markets, attending concerts in the park, etc. Lots of good stuff coming our way!