I’m so happy to share that I found a permanent apartment here in Berlin! Here’s a peek into how the apartment search went, what my new place is like, and more.
Are you tired of me moving around all the time yet? Because I sure am. Before I sat down to write this post, I made a short list of my moving stats for 2019. If I’ve crunched the numbers correctly, I’ve moved seven times (including all of my AirBNBs in Berlin when I first moved here), have been without a permanent address for five months, and have spent countless hours zooming around Berlin on the subway moving my things to and fro, looking at apartments, and so forth. I’m sure you can understand why I’ve been so exhausted all summer!
But at long last, the end of the tunnel is in sight. (The end of the tunnel being a bedroom that’s all mine that I’ve lovingly furnished with my own things and that’s in an apartment I actually want to stay in long-term). If the title of this post didn’t already give away my big secret, I’ll share it with you now — I GOT AN APARTMENT! AGAIN! But this time, I’m intending to stay long-term. Plus, I’m no longer living with college guys. Can I get an amen to that?
For you curious souls who have been kind enough to go on this journey with me, here are the deets on my new apartment, what I’ve been up to lately, and more.
Finding My New Apartment
If you’ve kept up with all of my Germany move updates, then you may recall that I wasn’t a fan of my first Berlin apartment. There were four of us squeezed into a tiny apartment, the kitchen got no natural light, something was always dirty or smelled funny, and my bedroom was incredibly tiny and all white (I fondly dubbed it the monk’s cell because it was so bare).
After I got my freelancer’s visa at the end of August, I knew I needed to find a place of my own. But I was nervous about the impending apartment search because all of my Berlin friends had told me how difficult the process could be. Plus, I had to tell my landlord by the end of August if I planned to move out at the end of September. Could I realistically find a place in just over a month? I hated my apartment, but it was better than jumping from AirBNB to AirBNB with three suitcases in tow (I’m NEVER doing that again).
In the end, everything worked out better than I could’ve hoped. Just three days after starting the apartment search, I came across a posting for an open room in a quieter, inexpensive part of Berlin. As soon as I saw the posting, I knew I’d found the right place. It met all of my criteria:
- It was a females-only apartment.
- The two roommates were native Berliners (i.e. I could speak German at home).
- It was right by the subway station.
- It was pretty dang cheap.
My friend Flora is a translator, and she kindly helped me craft a canned message to send to prospective roommates and landlords whenever I saw a listing I liked. Flora obviously knew what she was doing, because I heard back from my now-roommates in less than 24 hours. The next day, I went to view the apartment and sat down with the roommates for an hour, talking about this and that. As soon as I returned to my monk’s cell, I texted them to thank them for their time and expressed my desire to rent their open room. I apparently made a good first impression, because they said the room was mine!
What I did next was what anyone in their right mind would do — I called Mom and Dad and told them the good news!
Moving Into My New Place
I won’t bore you with all the moving details, but I will say that the entire process took longer than I anticipated. We first had to wait close to two weeks for the rental contract to be mailed to us (gotta love German bureaucracy. Everything’s done through snail mail). Finally, I was given the green light to move in. I didn’t want to rent a car to move all my stuff, so I moved everything over to the new place over the course of four or five subway trips. I wouldn’t have minded the moving process so much had I been moving to a neighborhood close to the one I’d previously lived in. But, me being me, I just had to pick a new apartment that was at the very end of my subway line.
I also did a major Ikea run with my German friend Joana, who rented a car on my behalf and drove me around for an afternoon. I’m trying to limit how much décor I buy from Ikea because I don’t think the quality is that great, but I wound up getting a day bed from there because it fits the size of my new bedroom and has three massive drawers underneath. There are no closets in German apartments, and I knew I’d need more storage space than a single dresser could offer.
Oh, one last thing about the Ikea trip and then I’ll shut up about it. Laminate flooring. I bought it. And now I have to return it. It wound up not working for my space (room sits over a cellar, floor would require special insulation to prevent it from cracking in the winter — you get the picture). I now have to return said flooring to Ikea and I’m dreading it. If anyone has a magic wand they can wave so this process is finally over, let me know!
How I’m Feeling
I’ve now been in my new apartment for a week, and it already feels like home. I didn’t realize how stressed the environment of my old apartment had been making me until I moved. I’ve slowly been putting my new life together here. I’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor all week and am surrounded on all sides by boxes full of furniture pieces, suitcases, and the random bits and bobs I’ve accumulated during my first few months in Berlin.
But despite my chaotic environment, I’m feeling calm. I’m SO happy with my new apartment, and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s also clear that I lucked out with my new roommates. On my first day here, my roommate Isabelle waited on me to finish making my lunch so we could eat outside together in the garden (forgot to mention that perk of the apartment!). On Friday night, she invited a friend over and we made vegetarian squash lasagna together. I mean, how many people would do that for a brand new roommate? I’m so grateful!
On the home front, I have lots more furniture to build. So far, I’ve spent 6 hours building my writing desk and wardrobe, and I’m hoping to knock out the day bed tomorrow with my friend Rachel. Once the bed is built, the only other furniture item I absolutely need is a desk chair. Once that’s all done, I’ll probably wait a week or two to soak up the space and figure out what else I want to buy. I definitely want a big area rug since the floor is super cold (again, my room is right over the unheated cellar), and I want to get a cozy armchair so I have a little reading nook in one corner.
I’m trying to take things slow when buying décor because it’s super expensive, and I want to make sure I really love everything I buy. I’ll be in this apartment for at least two years, and while I want to put enough money into my room to make it inviting, I don’t want to go overboard on items I might have to get rid of in two years.
On the travel front, I’m going to Copenhagen next week! I’ve cleared my work calendar so that I can take the full week off to enjoy the sites and relax. This is kind of a big deal for me because I haven’t taken proper time off since I started freelancing last year. Yes, I’ve traveled a good amount in the interim, but I was always working in the mornings before heading out for the day or before going to bed. So this is my first foray into reestablishing work-travel balance in my life, and I’m very excited about it.
I’m doubly excited for Copenhagen because my friend Caroline is meeting up with my halfway through my trip! Caroline is one of my best friends from NYC, and our trip together has been thrown together at the very last minute. Copenhagen was supposed to be a solo trip, but Caroline had a bunch of PTO days to use up at work. She found a great round-trip flight, and, well, you know how the rest of the story goes.
I think I’ve talked your ear off enough at this point, so I’ll let you go. Let me know if you’d like me to do another post like this once I’ve furnished my bedroom! I’m not an interior design expert by any means, but I’ve had fun picking out furniture and décor for my new bedroom. I’ve always been a sucker for HGTV-esque content, so if that appeals to you I’ll do a post once my room’s done up.
Tell me: What’s something exciting that happened to you this month?