Can y’all believe that it will be Fall- officially- on Wednesday?! I don’t know about you, but it feels like summer just came and went for us. I think it’s because we were here in the spring where it stayed cool well into May and then we got back here in August where it was already turning cool again. We’ve been in pants and jackets since the day we got here! John’s favorite time of year is fall, so he’s super pumped and already enjoying the leaves changing colors and being able to see his breath most mornings. Me, on the other hand, I’m a summer girl and I didn’t get enough of it. Give me sundresses and flip flops ANY day. That being said, my biggest problem here five years ago (same time of year) was all the rain and gloomy skies ( so much so that John even bought me my very own sun lamp when we got word we were doing this adventure! Ha!) and that part seems to be better at the moment, so there’s that little silver lining :)
Well, I’d planned to write today about Pumpkin Fest- the largest in Germany and one of our favorite local excursions so far. But, I’ve decided that I just did three posts on trip type stuff and I’d rather spend this time updating everyone on what’s going on here at ‘home.’ So here goes!
We found a house! And we move in a week from tomorrow!! WOOHOO! We are shouting from the roof tops and dancing in the streets over here! We’re in Week 5 of our hotel stay and let me just say for the record, we are OVER it! Ha! I swear it doesn’t matter how nice the hotel is or how good its location is, nothing takes the place of having some space and some room to spread out and just being able to call something your own. We saw alot of places- well, Neve and I saw alot of places and took John back to anything worthwhile ;)- and really learned alot about the area in the process, which is exactly what we’d hoped to do.
Here’s a map of Stuttgart since I’m a visual person and I like to assume that all of you are, too. So, you see the big bold in the middle along with ‘Mitte’ (this means the heart of downtown), ‘Sud,’ ‘West,’ ‘Ost’ and ‘Nord.’ That is downtown. Picture Stuttgart as a giant bowl- all of downtown is at the bottom of the bowl. Around those areas are giant hills making the rim of the bowl. The areas of Botnang, Feuerbach, Degerloch, Sonnenberg, etc. are all along the top of the rim with beautiful views down into the bowl or toward the outside of the bowl. South and west of the city is most of the industry, the smaller cities…The east and north are beautiful rolling hills, farms, countryside…I wasn’t kidding when I said Stuttgart has it all!
To give you an idea, our hotel is to the south about where you see the A81 and S-Vaihingen in a city called Sindelfingen. The largest of the four military bases- the one where John is working- is in Vaihingen. We would’ve enjoyed living here, but there’s rarely anything available due to its proximity to the base. The next largest base- the one that has all the main offices and most of the shopping- is about 15 minutes southeast in a town called Boblingen. We had considered that area until we got Neve registered in school on the third base (which happens to be my favorite one as it’s nestled in the woods and has a much more intimate feel), which is kinda near Frauenkopf over by the bright yellow area. It’s about 40ish minutes one way, so that’s just too far.
Once we got the lay of the land, it boiled down to what feel we were looking for- big time city, suburbia or countryside. And y’all, it was TOUGH. We found houses that we liked in every one of those areas! Now let me back up and say that it’s been interesting for us to take a different approach to house hunting than we’re used to. We’ve always owned our houses and therefore, shopped with that in mind- resale value, how it will be in 10 years, the costs of changing and updating…Searching for a rental is obviously so different. No, you don’t get absolutely everything you want and no, you can’t make all the changes you’d like, but you get the freedom to choose what fits you the best RIGHT NOW. You get some of the pressure taken off of you by knowing that you can’t change a thing, and there’s something really neat about that! Nothing we saw was EXACTLY what we wanted, so we were able to look at from all kinds of different perspectives to find what would work BEST.
And boy have we taken a leap of faith! We’ve decided to live in Stuttgart Mitte, in the heart of downtown! Charleston peeps, the location is equivalent to living at Charleston Place on King Street. We are so excited! Now let me share a bit of our rationale. First and foremost, we’ve often thought we’d like to live in a big city- we’ve even looked at jobs and properties in areas like Manhattan and San Diego. What better opportunity to ‘try it out’ than these 3 years, right? To be part of the action, the lights, the movement, the energy…Public transportation, taxis, big buildings…Which leads me to our second consideration. We hope to have lots of visitors (hint, hint ;) ) and there’s just no better spot to be a guest of this city. No cars needed, no Autobahns, no searching for things to do…unless you choose to. And third, it all came full circle for our original reasons for coming here in the first place- to stretch our comfort zones, to grow as individuals and as a family, to learn new ways of living, to immerse ourselves in a new culture…We know that the best way to do this is by placing ourselves smack dab in the middle of it all.
Home Sweet Home
Isn’t it beautiful?! That’s us to the left with the spiral fire escape. (Grandma, the top door goes right into your bedroom <3) Now are you ready for the neatest part? Wait for it…Wait for it…The house is on top of a shopping mall! Yep, you read that right! There’s a 3 story mall right below us- in other words, the call ceiling is our floor!
Entrance to Das Gerber, the shopping mall below our house :)
Street in front of the mall…
Yep, two grocery stores in the basement of my house! Winning!
The Das Gerber is Stuttgart’s largest mall and it opened just a couple years ago. On top of the mall, they decided to build a small community of 4 houses and 40 apartments, complete with grass, sidewalks, and even a playground (which happens to be right out our front door!). I know it sounds crazy and I was definitely skeptical myself, but it turns out that this is pretty normal here- that space is beyond limited, so building up is about the only option!
First floor- main living area…Kitchen is to the right.
Not half as large as we’re used to, but amazingly decent for German standards- and even has a dishwasher!
Looking back toward the kitchen…
Also on this floor is the entry hallway and a half bathroom. On the second floor, there’s our room and Neve’s, along with a full bathroom…
Neve’s room, overlooking the playground…
Playground outside our front door and beneath Neve’s room…Those are the apartments with the arched windows…To the left are just office spaces.
The third floor is identical to the second- with two bedrooms and a full bath- plus the washer and dryer. So plenty of room for guests! And now for the best part:
Look at that view! That’s downtown Stuttgart! We can’t wait to get moved in and start enjoying this city! The only drawbacks to this house- and to the majority that we looked at- is that it doesn’t come with any light fixtures (just wires hanging from the ceiling) and no closets. Not a one. Yeah, so that will be our challenge- buying enough wardrobes to house all our stuff! And isn’t it crazy that German renters move around with the light fixtures? Lots move with their kitchens, too, but at least we lucked up there! Ha! We also lucked up by getting 2 parking spaces in the garage below, as well as a storage room and access to the bike room.
I wish y’all could see our current situation- we look like hoarders gone wild in this tiny hotel space! The dogs are about to go crazy, too! They will be so pleased to get moved in- and to have a yard! No, it’s not huge, but it’s something!
This is the side yard, but it wraps around to the front and the back :)
If all goes as planned, we should get our keys next Tuesday. The following day, we will get one of our two shipments (the big shipment won’t arrive until about 2 weeks later :/), and a few temporary furniture pieces we can use from the base just to tide us over…Please everybody say a little prayer for us that all goes as planned! (One can dream, right?!)
Stay tuned for Pumpkin Fest later this week! Happy Monday!