Saturday, December 25, 2010

Observations from Germany: The Flat

Cindy, Spencer, Owen, and I have just moved to Stuttgart Germany for my job with GM. Cindy and I will be posting as often as possible to document our daily life here in Germany with an emphasis on the unique differences between Germany and the US. I find these differences very interesting as it gives me an some insight into why and how our cultures are different.

We arrived last Friday, December 17th, (the 107th anniversary of controlled powered flight, thank you Orville and Wilbur Wright) and came to Stuttgart to pick up keys to our flat. It is in Sonnenberg a suburb just south of Stuttgart. It is about 1150 sq ft. with 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. It is in a building with about 6 other flats. About 4 floors, and a "tief garage" a garage in the basement. See pictures below.  It is currently a little septic without any personal nick nacks and such but our shipment of stuff will not arrive until next week.
Front door and entry hallway.On the right are two bedrooms, one for Spencer and Owen and a spare bedroom(please come and visit). Straight ahead is our bedroom and on the left is the full bath.

The full bath is very large it has a tub and a shower.It also has a bidet. The boys were unsure about this to begin with, but I think we may have to install one when we get back to the States.

This is a shot from the spare bedroom down the hall to the living room.The door up on the right is the kitchen.
Kitchen:.It is very nice. It is brand new as the landlord just installed it before we moved in. It has granite counterer tops, tile floor, and a dishwasher.
Picture of living room and terrace.
Looking back across the living room from the terrace to the kitchen.

This is the view from our terrace. It is very pretty. As you can see it is very hilly here and makes for a good view.

Another picture off the terrace

Some interesting observation about the flat. If you notice in a lot of the picture we have just a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. When you rent a flat in Germany you have to provide all your own lighting and usually the kitchen (we were lucky as the landlord provided the kitchen). So, when you leave, you take everything with you incuding the lighting. So, all of the ceiling fixtures have been removed and we are left with "interogation bulbs" in each room. Its as if the police could come in at any minute to question a suspect in any of our rooms. On the good side it seems that no one in the family can tell a lie when these lights are on.

Another thing that is really interesting are the blinds and curtain tracks on the windows. The blinds are on the outside of the window, but controlled from the inside. They are very nice I wish I had them on my house in the US. Also, the there is a cutrain track on the ceiling for each of the windows. This is something that must be unique to German/EU. See below.
Fully closed. The tan strap to the left of the window is how the blinds are controlled.
If you look close you can see that the blinds are slightly seperated, but sill cover the window (ie lets a little light in)

Partially opened.

Curtain tracks in ceiling.

We will write a little more later.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A great weekend!!

A busy weekend for us.  Spencer had a few friends over for a sleepover.  That was alot of fun.  We need to that more often.  I can't believe my kids are getting old enought to play Mafia.  Have you ever played before?  Dave and I used to play that with the youth group.  Love it!!

 Here the kids are blowing up balloons and letting them go.  Thanks Grandpa for a great birthday gift.
 Making  a gingerbread house.  More like decorating only.  I pulled it out of the box already put together.
 It started out kind of slow.  The kids were tired from the night before sleep over.  And it is about 9:30pm.
 I wish this photo was in focus.  The camera kept wanting to focus on Dave's arm....aaaaaahhh!!

    Owen is super focused here.  I really like this photo of him.
Super cutey patutey!!
 I think he fell asleep....
 The finished house....yeah!!!
Outside today.  Earlier today.  Now there is more snow plus ice plus 14 degree weather = snow day tomorrow.

The movers come tomorrow!!