I can hardly remember a time when I had this little energy. Sure, I have worked full-time before – but then I had a place to live and had long before settled into the respective country bureaucratically. Of course I’ve experienced the re-entry shock phase already – but I had pretty much nothing else to do then than to deal with it. Obviously I have been new to cities earlier in life – as a student with lots of time at my disposal to familiarize myself with my new home. And yes, I have been on apartment hunts – but not with the knowledge that I will have to crash on friends’ sofas if I do not manage to find an apartment within three weeks.
So, yes, things are a bit rocky right now. I have started working and so far I am far from thriving (I have learned great shortcuts for copy and paste on Mac though. I should put that on my CV!). After work, I fight the authorities or zick-zack through Hamburg to find a place to live. Like everyone, I am using the different websites where apartments are posted and so far within ten days I have an impressing number of five attempts of fraud. You see an ad, it looks really good, you email them, and then the farce starts. The person, sometimes a guy, sometimes a lady, is always in the UK at the moment and wants to rent out to you regardless. Because s/he can’t come show you the apartment, they ask you to get the keys through ReMax, a known agency, and for that they need you to pay 1200 euros in advance. Yeah right. The first time I doubled checked with ReMax who of course confirmed that this was not something they did. Since then I have had four more similar UK-based idiots. It is quite tiring to go through all ads not only thinking about whether the apartment is suitable for you but even considering whether it might be fake.
Today I went to a showing where I literally had to queue for looking at the apartment for thirty minutes. And that was an apartment that had been posted online without any photos. The place was not even that great. The landlords here are ridiculous, they are offering very low-standard apartments without heating fifteen minutes from the metro for 600 euros and call it a “great price”.
This might correspond to the general feeling the inhabitants of this city have that Hamburg is the greatest city ever. I totally agree that Hamburg has very nice and picturesque parts, and lots of cultural offers, countless important companies reside here – but the best city in the world ever? I am not convinced yet. Native Hamburgers also take pride in refusing to leave the city. “I have been born here, I grew up here, I studied here, I will never leave”. Um, okay. And I felt bad for hanging on to Stockholm so much where I was not born, have not grown up, and studied for a short time.
Hamburg is apparently so awesome that they require entrance fees. I went to the registration office to get registered and had to pay 10 euros just for moving to Hamburg. Such things have never happened to me in Bremen, Göttingen, Stockholm, or any of the other places I’ve lived. I guess they were just not as cool. 😉 You better start planning your visits after I have now proven how desirable sojourning in the northern capital of Germany is. (Yes, I just made that northern German capital up.)
One truly good thing about Hamburg is that I can postpone my usual “socialising bootcamp” that I force myself into during the first four weeks of living in a new place. Since I have so much else to deal with, I have postponed it until I at least have found a place to live. And the great thing is: I already know a few people so I can hang out with them without having to tell them before who I am, what I do, and that I like Eurovision. Like tonight, when I went to my friend Anja’s for dinner and spoke “like a waterfall” (as we say in German) about everything that is happening. This weekend, we are committed to doing something where the Hamburg-awesomeness shows so that I can show you on here. So brace yourself for history, fish, art, a youthful vibe, boats and water and music! And Ritter Sport chocolate. #selffulfillingprophecy