Monday, August 08, 2011

Of Ferienwohnungen & Tübingen

When we are going on study abroad, people always ask 1. what will you do with your house?! and 2. but where will you live?! As to the former we don't much care any more. We've left it with renters and without and it always works out fine. As to the latter, we live in holiday apartments that we've found over the internet. Here's our current living room with the whole family crashed out watching Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
There is a matrix of holiday apartments and their keepers. The best combination is nice place/laid back landlord. This is what we had in both London and Berlin. The worst is icky place/uptight landlord. We had this once in Vienna. And we've had the other two as well. My alarms were going off when we got an email from this landlady asking for our children's genders so that she could coordinate their bedding.
Rob and I joke that when we arrive on one of these adventures, a good German hausfrau comes at me telling me which towel to use and where everything is and how it works and all of the house rules. I, having had no sleep and not understanding anything she's saying, promptly pass out and when I come to three days later, find out that Rob doesn't remember a thing.
This time I had slept. I didn't have jet lag. I only had to use the bathroom and had needed to since Stuttgart. But when this woman got going, there was no stopping her. After 70 minutes on the care and keeping of the house, my teeth were floating. I learned the Five Holy Rules of the Garbage. How to look after the plants, pick up the mail, work the w-lan, the microwave, the shutters, the TV and on and on. She looked suspicious when I told her I had a washer and dryer, but I think she was impressed, because she told me I was welcome to iron in her own personal ironing room (that would be the third ironing board she showed me; I didn't have the heart to tell her that I'm not much of a hausfrau while on study abroad and I never do ironing). She even assigned the children chores. That is certainly a first.
This may have made up for my time. In our Berlin apartment, we only had one bathroom this time around which got pretty tricky. As we were coming back from sightseeing we'd have to assign numbers. Will was over the moon when he discovered that there was another half bath.
The upside is that the apartment is really nice. We're very comfortable and we have nearly everything we need. The other nice thing is that our landlady, after the 70 minute intro and three visits that night, left the next morning for two weeks of vacation. We'll only have to survive each other for three days in the same building when she returns.
We also have use of the backyard which was very welcome.
The kids are working on their table tennis, croquet, and badminton skills.

And then they go out and splash in the Steinlach canal in front of the house. Rob took them out and they worked on skipping rocks -- it is full of stones as its name would imply, and it's the perfect place to practice.


bostonshumways said...

MA, Just spent quite a while looking through your recent posts and I'm thankful (to be able to live vicariously)and jealous (that I can't be there in person) all at the same time. It's really quite amazing what you're doing....all those kids, all those places, all those nights, all they're learning, all you're seeing and how fun you're making it for everyone. I wish wish wish we could tag! Thanks for all the pictures and all the witty writing. We miss you guys. Can't wait to see you in CA, even if it is only for a few days.

Nedra said...

Great digs in Tubingen. Nice kitchen and a 2nd bath! And a wading canal in the front yard. What a great way to end the summer.
Love, MOM/Grandma