Skip to main content


Well, we did it. I think that I've already gone through two of the seven stages of massive adjustment to change. "This is the best place I've ever been!!" followed quickly by "Did we really just do this?"

I will wonder for a long time, what would have happened if...
I said no, let's not do this
I said you go, and I'll work as a lawyer in the US
I said yes right away and came with S when he moved, in the dead of winter

But none of that matters, because 7.5 months after he moved, with most of our life (though not our cat), to that other country in the Western world with a strong economy, I followed. Luckily enough, with a job that  I'm very excited about and to start a new life together (with our cat) that we talked about often, but I don't think I fully expected to happen - not this soon, anyway.

Much of my time here has been spent setting up -- bus trips to the German equivalents of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, putting together Ikea stuff (my least favorite...), unpacking / organizing / re-organizing, etc. Oh, and then there was the paperwork. S took care of most of it, but we still had to:
  • get me a bank account, and add me to his. This took some patience, and use of Google translate. 
  • convert my TX drivers license to a German one. This involved getting it formally translated (~1 week), having an eye test, (~10 minutes), finding the "DMV" (turns out that it is not very public-transit-friendly to get there, at least the one in Mainz. Ironic. (~45 minutes), returning to the DMV with an old license after learning how to say: "this license expired, then I got that license. I've been licensed to drive for 16 years now", in German. (~2 hours), and waiting for the letter that says it's ready for me to pick it up (eight weeks and counting...)
    • Note: the woman in charge of handling international drivers licenses in Mainz speaks only German. Not even English. Does that seem ridiculous to anyone else? Or just (as I'm learning), typical of Mainz?
  • sort out my tax class and get a tax ID and social insurance ID (~ 2 hours total, not bad)
  • get my work permit (~2 hours, the help of several very kind German friends, and final process two months. Apparently I have the honor of being the first person in Mainz to obtain my permit under a law passed only 2 weeks before I started working! Awesome, except that they don't have the technical ability to actually print the permit...)
After all our effort setting up, I'd like to stay a while, especially since our European exploration has been quite limited. We managed a weekend trip to beautiful Basel, Switzerland (which included some hiking
in the Swiss Alps), jumping into the Rhine, and lounging in our local schwimbad (swimming pool, though here it is more like a giant park with multiple pools, food for purchase, slides, diving boards, table tennis, sand volleyball, etc. All this, within a three minute bike ride of our house. Not bad!).

There are also a bunch of other parks, running/walking/biking trails, and grocery stores, all within five minutes' walking, plus an enormous thrice-weekly farmer's market. Did I mention there is also a full public transit system? Even though our "town" is more suburban than city-like, at least the part we live in, it still feels very urban by our standards. This weekend kicks off a big wine festival in Mainz -- since we are in the wine region of Germany, there is practically one in every town this time of year. Then come the pumpkin and apple fests, Christmas Markets, and before I know it we will be celebrating New Year's Eve.

I can't wait to get started.

*note, this post is about two months old. I have no excuse for not publishing...*


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Perfect Day Trip to Gdansk

During our 10-day holiday to Poland, we escaped the hot beaches for a city day in Gdansk. What a lovely city! We explored the city on foot, wandering through the old town and a few key areas I'd earmarked for entertaining kids. Here's what we saw:

We arrived by train and walked about 10 minutes into the city center. Near the KFC at the train station, we found the underground tunnel to safely cross the busy main road. With our Lonely Planet in hand, we headed first to the Golden Gate, happening upon the lovely Millenium Tree on our way there.

The gate itself wasn't much to look at, but the Ulica Dluga was gorgeous. The history - and how it was completely rebuilt, stone by stone - was fascinating. We went on a perfectly sunny Tuesday, where it also happened that the Dom Uphagena was free that day.

After wandering inside to see how the wealthy lived, learning how the original items inside had been kept away but the original building destroyed & later rebuilt, we headed to …

Airbnb, we're done. For real.

Oh, the community. Uber, Lyft, Yelp, Airbnb... all of these platforms meant to facilitate business transactions across an organically-grown "community" of people, who may otherwise not have the opportunity to realize their dream of being a driver on-demand.... a small-time bed and breakfast host... a travel writer.

The idea of these services has turned into a multibillion dollar industry. And as a semi-urbanite who *should* love the disruption they create for traditional hotels, taxis, and concierge services, I swiftly reject them as fast as I would an Amazon Echo.

After a recent trip to Sopot, where our only viable options for staying were airbnb (though after our trip, I'd now suggest to other people: find another city where you have more than airbnb to choose from), I'm done. Our host was fine, the flat was not. The cost was absurd for what we got, especially once you add in the unexplained fees and inconsistent experiences across different hosts. But the market p…

Lessons...after the NY Bar exam

The number one thing I learned from this bar exam experience is that there is not enough information available about the "exam experience". Why law schools don't offer pertinent information on what to expect is beyond me... but I thought I'd document the few lessons I learned over the past couple of days. I took the NY Bar in Manhattan, at the Jacob Javits Center. It's a good 20-minute walk from Penn Station, so plan travel accordingly. The two days can be exhausting, even though it's broken up into 4, 3-hour segments of exams. Some random notes to know:
There is a coat check. It costs $3 per item. It is horrendously inefficient, so if you can avoid using it, your life will be greatly improved. Note, you can access your bags at no cost (how generous!) during the lunch break, but if you take your bag out, you will have to pay again. Ah, nickel and diming.There is a Starbucks in the Javits Center. One. The line gets long, the prices are jacked up, but it's c…