The Apartment Saga Pt. 2: Moving In

Hello world, we are back in the land of internet!

The walk up to our apartment... Just kidding.  As if you believed me anyway. 

The walk up to our apartment...
Just kidding. 
As if you believed me anyway. 

The past week has been a whirlwind of misadventure and a crash course in Austrian bureaucracy. Here is a list of the day to day highlights:

Monday

The appointment to sign the final contract and hand over the keys was made for 1:30 PM. I was going to be working as a substitute teacher at the International Christian School of Vienna that day (hey guys! I got a part time job!), and was unable to make it to the meeting. Jacob would go by himself and I planned meet him after work to help move in.

Jacob met the real estate agent at 1:30 and began an inspection of our new place, five minutes into which the real estate agent accidentally locked them outside of the apartment. Jacob's computer and rain coat were inside. The real estate agent said that he could not get another key until 6:30 PM, and rescheduled the meeting for then. Jacob was left on a very rainy day with no coat, no ability to do work, and 5 hours to kill. So, he went to the mall (along with everyone else in Vienna, apparently).

After work, I met Jacob at the mall. That evening, we resumed the key hand-over, and were informed that it was too late to have the electricity turned on that night. The electricity would be turned on the following morning at the latest.

Tuesday

Jacob and I spent the morning at Ikea purchasing small essentials and ordering furniture to have delivered to our apartment the following day. We arrived at the apartment in the early afternoon to find that our electricity had not yet been turned on. I made a few phone calls, tested out how to emphatically state "we need electricity" in German, did some cleaning, and went on errands to collect our luggage from the various friends it had been deposited with.

Luggage

That evening we left with another promise that our electricity would be on by the next morning.

Wednesday

Jacob and I made another run to Ikea to purchase even more essentials, and arrived at our apartment in the late morning to find that our electricity was still off. I made more phone calls and tried out some more German. The Ikea furniture arrived and the assembling process began.

Jacob constructing a table with the help of our friend's son, Caleb. 

Jacob constructing a table with the help of our friend's son, Caleb. 

A short time later, our electricity came on! Success! A quick inspection of the hot water heater however, left us (and the real estate agent, and our neighbor) scratching our heads. Electricity = Check. Hot Water? Nope. We spent our first night in the apartment that evening, and shared a bottle of wine to celebrate. The view from our apartment really is gorgeous.

The view from the upper balcony. 

The view from the upper balcony. 

Thursday

We finished assembling our furniture, and ventured out to purchase internet for our apartment. A successful two hours later we arrived back to the apartment and we were online! (More on how internet works here another time...it really is amazing the options offered here versus what is available in the U.S.) Our little apartment was starting to feel like home.

I emailed our landlord regarding the hot water, and he agreed to stop by and take a look at it that evening. At 7:30 PM he showed up, scratched his head over the water heater, and magically summoned two plumbers to our doorstep within 20 minutes. The plumbers left at 8:30- we had hot water! Success!

Then the internet inexplicably shut off. I made some phone calls and did some German pleading. The internet stayed off. 

Friday

Friday held two major tasks: Food acquisition, and figuring out why our internet had shut off. In the morning we surveyed our breakfast options: mayonnaise, gummy bears, and food dye. (The food dye was given to us - I don't typically make a priority of purchasing food dye.) We made ourselves a cup of coffee (at least we had that!), and set out to the Turkish Market that offers the best produce and eggs at the cheapest prices. Meat is expensive here; it is a good thing we eat a lot of vegetarian food anyways. But you can get 30 eggs for 4 dollars!  Half a stocked pantry later, the next step was internet.

As we found out, the sales person the day before had inadvertently mis-entered our internet code. Once we had hit a certain limit of data usage, the signal shut off. The code was corrected, and now, hopefully, we have unlimited data - which means regular blog updates! 

Partial view from our first balcony. 

Partial view from our first balcony. 

Today I bought a long handled broom for myself, highly preferable over the hand broom I had been using to sweep our floors for the past week. I'll admit, the hand broom was good exercise. I also learned the word "broom" in German as I frantically made sweeping motions at a store cashier. Jacob bought himself a jar of Nutella. As we are finding, when everything is new and in German, it's the little things that are the sweetest.

Now please excuse me while I use my Besen to fegen the floors. 

The Big Move

Well friends, we are here. We are in Vienna!! I keep getting little shivers of excitement where, after two years of day dreaming of this city, I suddenly realize (yet again) that we are actually here. We are no longer dreaming. 

There was a point on our journey where I thought I might be having a stress dream where you keep being detoured and can never reach your destination... But I'll get to that part in a minute. 

Airport Lobby

We left San Diego at noon on Wednesday morning to drive up to Los Angeles for our 6 pm flight. So far, so good. We had spent a week meticulously packing and re-packing our luggage to make sure we were stretching our weight capacity as far as it could go. Challenge #1 would be getting our bags checked without incurring additional fees, or being told our carry-ons (which we had maxed out by any stretch of the imagination) were too heavy. Should that scenario arise, we had already agreed to put on extra clothes and go through security looking like the Michelin Man. 

I held my breath while checking the bags, and smiled innocently at the agent. Apparently the smiling worked -- not only were our bags checked without a hitch, but we were upgraded to exit row seats for our 12 hour flight. Thank God! Without the extra leg room I tend to go a little (a lot) stir crazy on long flights. 

Our flight, though long, was as pleasant as it possibly could have been. Turkish Airlines for the win! Theoretically all that was left was a quick lay over in Istanbul, and then a short flight to Vienna and we would be home. 

Plane wing

The Istanbul International Terminal was in chaos. We had arrived during a rain storm, but what we had missed (and of course only found out much later) was a violent thunderstorm that had grounded many planes and backlogged the entire airport. Gate assignments for flights were showing up only 20 minutes before the schedule take-off time, some of them popping up only to immediately have a neon "Last Call" sign flashing next to it. Our gate came up, only 15 minutes before take off, and we sprinted to find it. We came up short once at our gate -- the destination sign said "Munich". What? 

Apparently the flight for Munich had been delayed by 5 hours, so they were re-purposing the gate in the meantime. After asking around to other passengers we found were not the only ones waiting for Vienna. At least we had safety in numbers. The plane crew arrived and we all looked expectantly to them for information. They had none. They were as lost as we were, and our gate still said "Munich". By this time, the departures board was showing that at least 5 flights had been canceled, 14 were being delayed by over 9 hours, and the remaining majority were all delayed by 3 hours. Our flight was one of the few that didn't show a delay status.

Airport Delay

Every half hour for the next 3 hours were assured by the agents "it's only another 15 minutes." That was when I began to think that the entire past 20 hours might have been an endless looping stress dream that would never lead to Vienna. 

Thankfully, it did eventually lead to Vienna. The luggage arrived intact, we were met at the airport by friends, and safely in our beds 27 hours after leaving San Diego.  

Today has been dedicated to reacquainting ourselves with the city and walking through neighborhoods we had scouted online for apartments. Though there are a million and one things I could say, I'll leave you with this thought and a few pictures: 

In all my years of patronizing public bathrooms, I can honestly say I've never had a male bathroom attendant open the stall door for me. 

That's a first Vienna, that's a first. 

photo 1.JPG
RingStrasse
Jacob at Karlsplatz
Flower Shop