Thursday, 10 November 2005

Settling In

I have been in Germany for a little while now, and the initial shock has mostly worn off. I thought this would be a good time to recap my current situation, and give a frank and honest assessment of my ability to survive the harsh German winter.

The apartment is fine - I get along well with one of the housemates, who is from Denmark, and his girl friend, who is from Spain. I couldn't say whether I get on well with the other housemates - I see them so rarely as to make it quite a moot point. On the bright side, I guess that means I won't have any problems with them.

Gaining internet access will be problematic. There is no phone line, so DSL or dial-up connection is impossible. I don't think cable would be a goer, since that might involve some frowned-upon changes to the house. The only option is to use a super expensive GPRS connection, which I think is what one of the housemates is doing (although I never see him to ask him). I guess since I'm not paying rent, its not so unreasonable to pay a bit more for things I would be able to get more cheaply if I had my own apartment.

Speaking of getting my own apartment, I hear that the company is planning to move some time in the future to another city. I'm not sure exactly when, but it means that I might have to hold off on getting my own place for the time being, since I don't want to be uprooted as soon as I settle in. This might  mean that I will be unable to provide decent accommodation for the many boot-lickers who were planning to come visit me :)

Another problem I have is that I can't recharge my phone. My charger uses Australian power plugs, and I have been unable to find an appropriate adapter. I can use my other equipment, since I have a power cord that uses European power points, and which feeds into that common intermediate plug, whose name I should know but don't, which many portable devices use. Anyway that lets me use my laptop and recharge my camera. I looked for an adapter in the large electronics store across the road from Crytek, but was amazed to discover that they don't stock such things. I mean its the same adapter as for American devices, so you would think they would have that!

Once I can recharge my phone, I will have to sign up for a German phone plan. Currently my phone is basically useless, since it is just using Global Roaming, so anyone who calls me forces me to pay for an international call. I am holding off on both these things until I get a German bank account, which the company is helping me do tomorrow.

The company has also suggested a good place to get German lessons, so I and some other non-German speakers in the company are going to sign up for those tonight. I did of course study German in school, which means that I can quite often say what I want to say in German, but it turns out that I am a long way short of being able to understand the response. It would be OK if I were speaking to friends who understood my situation, but usually I end up speaking English to those people, since that is the official language of the company. So its only when I am speaking to shop keepers or something when I don't want to embarrass myself that I get tested.

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