Monday, August 26, 2013

Hello Erbendorf - a tour of our new home

As you have heard me mention in several posts over the past couple months, this latest move was particularly taxing on all of us. BUT, we can now finally say that it is all behind us.  We are officially moved, unpacked, and settled.  Big R is mostly in-processed at our new duty station, and our ties are all but severed at our prior post (except for the friends that remain there, of course).

We were so anxious about what would await us in this move.  I think we had grown a little too attached to our life in Bamberg to imagine moving somewhere else.  It appeared as if things could never get better.  I suppose that's a fun way to look at your life, like things could never get better?

One of the reasons we were so nervous about this move is because our initial move to Germany was wrought with challenges.  This is par for the course moving to a foreign country, especially when you have to find housing off-post with pets including a large dog.  We also wanted to live somewhere close so we wouldn't have to buy another car.  We knew it would be tough, but I'm not sure the reality of how tough that would be really sunk in until Big R got here and tried to find a place to live.

So, needless to say, we were anxious.  Anxious that we'd have to spend a bunch of our own money hiring a realtor again, nervous that we'd have to live on post and forego the experience of living in a German town, and scared that all the things we loved about our life would vanish.  Why in the world do we do this to ourselves?

Turns out, we had nothing to worry about.  Everything worked out for the best.  We had some struggles with the transition, but honestly, very little of it had to do with our new assignment - most of the issues were trying to get things taken care of on the other end.  Housing put us into a government-leased home.  Sounds crazy, right?  It's actually a pretty terrific deal especially since we are only going to be here for another year.  Our government leased land and signed contracts to place a small neighborhood in a town just 20 km north of the post.  They have apparently done something similar to this all around the area, so the housing situation is vastly different here than it is in Bamberg.  Pretty cool.

We have a German-built home that takes into consideration all of the things we Americans might need to feel comfortable. Things like 110 voltage in each room, cable hook ups, American appliances (I can do a load of laundry in under an hour now - crazy!), closets - so many closets!, and tons of storage space.  There are things left less to be desired like linoleum flooring in the main area of the house and industrial carpet in all our bedrooms, but honestly, that does make it easier to avoid damages and to handle the high traffic of families constantly moving in and out.  My absolute favorite arrangement of our new place though is that they pre-contracted with the city to provide internet to the neighborhood to avoid the need for Soldiers to set up and sign difficult term contracts to have access to the world wide web.  It's broadband instead of the amazing internet we had before, but you can't argue with the ease of how everything was provided to us.  (As a reminder, it took us two months to get it hooked up at our house near Bamberg, and getting out of the contract has been an interesting mess.)

The town we live in is called Erbendorf, and it really is a beautiful and adorable German town.  It functions as the gateway to Naturpark Steinwald, which means we live in a place where Germans like to vacation.  Pretty darn cool.  I seriously lose my breath every time I descend the hill into our town because it's so beautiful.  We better eat this place up before we have to move next summer.  The folks that live here are incredibly friendly, and we have everything we need a ten minute walk from our house.

Sun setting near our home in Erbendorf

A peek into Erbendorf from the fields near our house

Several people have asked to see pictures of our new place and for us to describe what our new place is like.  I took some pictures hoping to give you a good feel of how things are laid out.  I'm somewhat of a ferocious unpacker - something I undoubtedly learned from my mom watching her move our family year after year - so I had our boxes unpacked, all our furniture set up, everything put away, and pictures on the walls in just two days.  I'm actually proud of this accomplishment, which is the only reason I'm mentioning it.  I hope to remind myself it can be done if I'm feeling overwhelmed by it in the future.  It definitely helped that we have a lot more space in this house than we did in our last.  Things are easy to put away when you have a place for them.

The general layout of our new place is a three story, four bedroom, three bath house.  The garden level has a master bedroom and bath with walk-out to the "front yard," a laundry room, and a storage keller.  The main level has a fairly large family room, entry way with a half bath, a small dining room, and a decent sized kitchen (it feels huge to me after living with the tiny kitchen we had before).  And the top floor has the boys' rooms, my office/yoga room, and a full bath.  We also have an attic, but I doubt seriously that we'll ever open the door or store anything up there (except maybe to hide Christmas presents).  There is also a single car garage and a separate storage room where we keep our bikes and the stroller.  

^^^Here is a view of our entryway and a peek into the small bathroom.^^^

We left all of our antique and "grown up" furniture in storage, so our current set up is fairly modern and pretty "clean." I think quite literally over 90 percent of our furnishings were purchased at Ikea either here or stateside. (I wish I were joking, but I so clearly am not!)  I struggled a bit with how we were going to set up our living room.  We had to buy a new couch because sweet Lando destroyed what was left of our leather couch (it was on its way out, but he expedited the process a wee bit).  Somehow we found a relatively affordable couch (from Ikea, of course) that fits well with our other furniture (maybe because it all came from Ikea as well????).  I'm a big fan of how the room came together.  I love how much light we get in this room...

^^^This is a photo of the tv viewing area of our living room.  The entry way and stairwell sits off to the right of this picture.^^^

^^^The other half of the room is a "library" and sitting area."^^^

^^^Another view of the sitting area.  A bookshelf with our "library" sits on the wall to the left.^^^

^^^A view of the room from the entry way looking toward the porch.^^^  

^^^My simple little kitchen.  Not a dream space, but I actually really like it.^^^

^^^Our small dining room. The kitchen sits off to the right in this picture.^^^

^^^View of the staircase - it's a lot of stairs to climb when the boys need me in the middle of the night, but the exercise is probably good for me.^^^

^^^The master bedroom (and where we will have guests sleep while they are visiting). To the left of the picture are the glass doors leading to the front yard.^^^

^^^Our spacious master bath. We have just a shower, but the boys have a full bath upstairs include a bathtub, shower, and two sinks.^^^

^^^Baby C's room - I love all the light.^^^

^^^Another view of Baby C's room. I miss the beautiful brown walls from his first nursery, but his room still feels pretty cozy.^^^

^^^Little r's awesome and super fun room - having the closet space in here is so great!  Didn't realize how much I missed closet space.^^^

^^^My office and yoga space.  We put our old couch up here.  My mom made cushion covers for us that fit perfectly. We decided to let this be the one piece of furniture Lando could continue to sit on.^^^

^^^Probably my favorite space, the porch.  We were able to use much of what we bought for that amazing porch at our place in Bischberg to create an equally tranquil place to enjoy the outdoors.  I sit out here often to enjoy my coffee, and breakfast happens out here nearly every weekend while it is still warm.^^^

^^^This is the view from our porch.  You can see the church steeple in Erbendorf above the rooftops.  I feel lucky that we get to live here.^^^

It's tough to capture your home in pictures, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what our new place is like.  Somehow we managed to have a government-leased house in a very cute German town.  Kind of the best of both worlds.  Not exactly a dream house or anything, but it's easily the biggest house we have ever lived in. I forgot how much I missed all this closet space.  Having lived in mostly older buildings and houses since college, this is the most closet space I've had in over a decade, and it's pretty awesome.  

I hope many of you can come visit us in this very special place.  You are all welcome anytime - we'd love to have you :)


  1. The whole house is lovely, but I have to agree with you -- that porch looks amazing! It’s like a special place you can go to unwind after a stressful day, or maybe soak up the good vibes before a hectic day ahead.

    My only comment is that the living room looks a bit crowded, probably from all the couches in it. I dunno if you've rearranged it by now, but that would probably solve that problem short of relocating some of them to other rooms.

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  3. Hi! I just found your blog today after we were assigned housing in Erbendorf. I have a question that I'm hoping you can answer, as I've not been able to find answers elsewhere. Our 18 year old daughter is here with us and is scheduled to start her online college classes the day we are supposed to move in the house. She will obviously need internet access, and I know you said it was pre-contracted with the city. Does that mean that it will be ready to use when we get there, or are there steps we have to take to get it working? I appreciate any information you can share. I'm glad I found you blog & look forward to looking through your adventures here in Germany! Thanks!!

  4. We loved living there, so I'm hoping you will as well. One of the amazing things about Erbendorf is that it is in the beautiful Bavarian countryside. That said, it's fairly remote, so the internet isn't exactly what we get accustomed to in the U.S. I am also in a distance learning program for school, so the internet was a super critical deal for me as well. When we moved there, all of the service was provided through the city. They are slowly trying to phase that out and get folks on board with other providers, namely Kabel Deutschland. My understanding is that they are still offering the city's service, and hopefully that is true. Either way, when you get to Erbendorf, take a walk down into town and visit with the Tourist Information office (preferably before noon on weekdays), and talk to Frau Schaefer. She knows English very well and hopefully she can help you out. If you get service through the city, it should only take a few days to get set up. People in Erbendorf are awesome though, so you can easily find someone to let you borrow their internet until you get yours set up. Do you know what unit you'll be in? Also, join the Erbendorf FB page!

  5. Thank you so much for the information!! We will be moving into unit 31. We're really looking forward to it :)