Friday, July 16, 2010

HOW many hours left in this day?!

So, it's about 1:30, but it feels like forever ago that I woke up at five a.m. Once we had breakfast and Jeff left for work, this is how our day unfolded:

1. Meet with a friend (Yosef) of our landlord's who will take us to pick out some carpet-- but need to make a couple stops on the way.

2. Go to the bank, take out some money for lunch and carpet buying, etc.
For some reason, I can't get money from the ATM. It says 0.00 available, but I know we do have money in there.

3. Try to call the bank in the US on my cell phone. (The phone was passed on to me by someone who left.) I get messages in German about the call I am making, that I cannot complete it, but I can't understand the instructions. I also gather that I am about out of minutes on the phone, and that I need to buy more. Ah, yes-- that's another reason I'm trying to get money out of the bank! Most businesses will not use my Visa card-- they need a Euro card, which we don't have yet....

4. Go into the bank to change the American dollars I have, so I can buy time on my phone.
The teller tells me that I need to come back once the till opens, in half an hour. I don't want to be late to meet the guy taking me to the carpet store, so I head over to the apartment. He arrives shortly, and I tell him I need to go to the bank.

5. Stop by another bank that is closer to the apartment. They will not change my money, and instruct me to walk to the first bank.

6. Walk to the first bank and wait in line for 20 minutes. Amelia is whining and trying to lay down on the floor the whole time. She is not used to walking everywhere, and it's very hot. Finally, it is my turn. I give the teller my money, he does some slow calculations and... Asks for my passport. I don't have my passport with me. We go back and forth a bit, and he tells me he absolutely cannot help me.

7. I manage to call Jeff to see if he has my passport, or if I might be able to go back to the hotel and pick it up. Unfortunately, he has it with him on the army base. I have a few Euros, but not much, and still need to be able to buy lunch for Amelia and me.

8. I make a very wise decision to halt all activity and buy a scoop of watermelon gelato for myself and my tired, cranky, hot little girl. We sit down and eat it, I wipe a few tears away, and we both soldier on.

9. I go to a T-Mobile store and ask if I can buy some more time with my Visa. They say no. I ask the girl helping me to at least listen to the message I keep hearing from the company on my phone and try to tell me what it says. She tells me I have no minutes left, then talks to someone else. They decide there IS a way for me to buy some time with my Visa. She even does the adding of the time from the card I bought for me. I feel a little better.

10. We go back to the apartment, and I tell Yosef I don't have any money today to shop with. He says it won't be a problem, that we'll pay when the carpet is delivered.

11. We drive to the carpet store, and, naturally, everything is very expensive. It will cost us almost $1000 to put carpet in two bedrooms, including labor. Everything just costs so much more, especially with the dollar being so weak. But we HAVE to put something down. I call Jeff, and he says to just go ahead. But, I don't have the special form with me to use to skip the German taxes (19%!) on this purchase. We can make the order and reserve it, but we'll have to come back soon to bring the form and make the payment. This will delay our move-in date for our apartment.

12. Yosef insists that he must take Amelia and me to an Italian gelateria close-by. Amelia can't believe her good fortune! We sit and chat and eat chocolate gelato-- the day is getting a bit better.

13. The original plan was to go to a furniture store after this to compare prices, etc. but it's getting too late now, and I need to meet our landlord at our apartment soon. We return to the apartment, meet with our landlord to give him a check. (Side note-- here, it is customary to pay a deposit of 3 months rent, in addition to the current month's rent, although it is later returned with interest.) We get that done.

14. I ask Amelia if it would be OK if I just gave her a Lara bar for lunch, and she thinks this is a great idea. We walk home, she eats, and now she is taking her nap (thank goodness!)

This afternoon we will be going to IKEA, thanks to a co-worker of Jeff's. Fortunately, Jeff was able to pull cash out of the bank while on base today. I am SO glad that tomorrow is Saturday, and Jeff will be able to spend two days with us while we try to figure it all out!!


ShackelMom said...

Ay-yayai-yayai! Hang in there babe, you'll make it! Sounds like Yosef was your angel for the day!

Nathan said...

great adventures... your updates are really interesting, thanks for posting so often!

Grandma Seelye said...

Oh Bless your heart! Sorry for so many difficulties! Hope next week is better. Have a nice weekend. love you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! What a morning! I hope things get smoothed out quickly! Those first days in a new place can be so crazy.


Great Aunt Gretchen said...

I can't imagine doing all that with a language barrier! That's so hard! Hand in there, Girl!

Alysha said...

They always took my Mastercard in the stores. :) Try that. Euro cards are for german bank accounts and its a bit tough to figure that one out if youre not german. My mother is german so of course she had a european bank card.