I have come to the conclusion that becoming comfortable living in a new city has a lot to do with where you are living.
I am living in the top two floors over an Apotheke (which is German for Pharmacy and pronounced something like a-poe-teek- uh) and my landlord. I don‘t think that Germans believe in attics. There are windows on all of the roofs here. My apartment is no exception. I am pretty sure that there isn’t a right angle or a box shaped room in the whole place. My bedroom is shaped like a triangle. To be more accurate it is shaped like a prism.
I may need to downsize
The more that I change things around and make them my own the more comfortable I am with living in the apartment and for some strange reason in Germany as well.
My shipment was delivered (by the schools hausmeister and his son) after the HR department of my school did a bit of running around checking for it. I feel as if I should apologize to Bayaraa, the man in charge of Mongolian Express. I had no faith that my shipment would 1. Arrive, 2. Arrive on time, or 3. Be in one piece. I was the first person out of the new hires to receive my shipment. And nothing was broken. This is remarkable, if only for the circumstances under which they were packed…
Let me take you back to Mongolia…
On the Wednesday before I flew out Mongolian Express arranged to come to my house to box up my things and take them to storage. They were to arrive at 3:30 and I was going to be done with work at 4:30 so I had Javsun (my awesome housekeeper) let them into my apartment. I had all of the things to go to Germany piled in totes on one wall. Javsun had strict instructions that the movers were not to touch anything else. The packers were gone and so were all of my things when I arrived. That seemed suspicious. How in the world did they pack all of my crap that quickly ? I had been tossing things into the totes haphazardly for the last 3 months. There was no rhyme or reason to the system. Javsun look ed concerned and then told me that the movers had simply taken the totes placed them into cardboard
boxes and sealed them. Right away my eye started twitching. “You should not have packed in those plastic boxes,” she told me. “It cost you many square meters even though you have little bit weight.” I explained that I didn't care about those boxes and that the company was supposed to have packed up all of my things. I was in a slight state of panic as I envisioned pretty much everything I owned being crushed into dust on the way to Germany. Javsun noticed this and hastened to reassure me, “We will fix. Also you need the carpet.” She then proceeded to roll up the carpet , drag it downstairs and stuff both it and the two of us into a taxi . We then "rushed" to the warehouse of Mongolian Express.
I don’t know exactly what Javsun said to them. I only know that she sounded authoritative and the staff of Mongolian Express immediately started to repack all of my things in about a ton of bubble wrap and paper. She also handed them the carpet and demanded that they add it to the shipment. We left secure in the knowledge that all of my things had been packed securely. We had to carry the eight totes that my stuff had been in but that wasn't too difficult because they were able to nest inside one another. She and I celebrated by going out for Thai food.
Getting all of my things was one thing finding a place for them was another. All of the boxes came at the same time and since I had no idea what was in any of them I ended up just dumping all of them out onto the floor. The result was slightly horrifying. When did I become that girl with all these things none of which is expendable?
My entire kitchen. It really is that small.
As if that wasn't enough , there was also a couple of major shopping trips to IKEA just to make sure that my place in the world as a consumer was ensured. On the list: pots and pans, dishes, picture frames and a mattress. The bed that I inherited had a mattress that was literally three inches thick. That might work for vacation but when you are going to sleep on it for the next few years things had to change. I am way too young to start having back problems!
My bedroom is a triangle.
The true joy of shopping at IKEA is not, as you may suspect, following the arrows painted on the ground, or even the hot dog and ice cream that is apparently an essential part of the experience. It was the sheer amount of stuff. Stuff that I could buy and have delivered. Furniture, kitchen and bathroom accessories and the entire range of decorative details. It is a pretty good thing that I don’t live close to IKEA or have a car because I can see how that would become dangerous! “I might not have any money but look at my new chair!”
But after I had sorted through it all and put it away the place began to feel like mine. True, I hadn't picked out the furniture and the kitchen is the same size as my dining room table but something about it seemed to say, “Tara lives here.” I guess I am home.