Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Big Moving Day

I couldn't stay in cute little Hotel Stadtnah forever, plus I was getting sick of the pale yellow walls, blankets, everything, so today was moving day. For the semester, I have a room in BA Woschi, a dorm-style apartment sort of thing (as close as you can get to a dorm without actually being operated by the university). I have my own (pretty spacious) bedroom with a large desk, large wardrobe, a large window and a small window, and large shelf, a sink and single bed. I share showers, toilet, and kitchen with the 6 other residents on my half of the wing. But anyway, I had to get here first, with all my luggage. All 60 pounds of it. This morning I woke up, said a Hail Mary for my sanity (just kidding, but really I took some extra deep breaths), and trekked over to sign my rental contract.

 A few signatures, and a short train ride later I was back at my hotel, map in hand, ready to check out and go find this place. I had been told which bus to take by the rental people, but when I asked my receptionist for clarification she said (with a stern German finger) "No! No! No bus! You walk! You be fine. Walk is good. No bus! Here, on map, I show you. Not too far." I pointed out that I had all my luggage, and wasn't sure if walking was such a good idea, but she was adamant, and when an older German lady tells you to do something, by God, you do it! So I set out on foot hauling my 40 pound suitcase, and my 20 pound backpack, map in hand, and the words "No bus!" echoing in my head. It wasn't too bad for the first block, but when I turned left, it started going uphill. I actually was doing pretty good navigating with the map, and at first there was a shimmer of hope, until 4 hills later and an uphill view mixed with cobblestone streets and tiled sidewalks punched that hope in the face until it had a bloody nose and black eye. I was getting to the point of sitting down every other block in order not to pass out. But I was getting close! No funerals for this girl. I didn't take a 20 hour trip just to have a couple miles and heavy luggage drag me down! Especially with the view....

So I kept on going, and I could almost see the light at the end of the mountain when my suitcase started slipping on something... oh, wait, something brown that strangely enough looks like dog poop. Upon second inspection, sure enough, it was a pile of dog poop that my suitcase just rolled through and dragged halfway down the sidewalk. Guess I didn't see the poop, and I didn't really care either. I figured the next batch of cobblestones would take care of it. The last leg of the journey, my suitcase started making weird squeaking noises, sort of like a dying cat mixed with a whiny baby. I stopped to inspect, and upon touching the wheel, the first three layers of my skin discovered that it was a hair away from combusting into flames. I literally burned my finger on my suitcase wheel. Or what was left of a wheel. 

 But I made it!! All the way to the locked door, of which I had no key. When the janitor saw me and let me inside, I made my way down to the caretaker to get the keys. But of course, since I walked, I was late and he was no longer there. A while back, I had wisely decided to suspend my phone service starting with, oh wait, TODAY. So no way to call him, and no one to let me in. I sat down on the floor for a couple minutes in defeat, being utterly at the mercy of God. No phone, no internet, no keys. Another resident luckily came down at this time and called the man for me, and after 30 minutes, I was all set up in my room.
The next step was to get some necessary supplies, such as bedding, food, etc. So my nice new German floormates set me up with a fool proof bus route to get me to the store and back. I took the bus to Porta! möbel und mehr, a store very similar to IKEA, that is probably the most fantastic thing I've ever seen. It's a 95,000 square foot monstrosity of a home store in which one can buy everything from bedding to couches to mirrors to you name it. (I found these photos online of the Aachen porta!) Yeah, that's a coffee shop underneath the giant spiral ramp. Also, yeah, that's a child's playground outside the store. 

I left Porta! with my giant bag holding my pillow, hangers, etc. and the other giant bag containing my comforter. Being mentally incompetent, I got right back on the bus that took me there...going in the same direction out of town. 15 kilometers, an accidental nap, and two small towns later, I realized this bus was NOT making a large circle, and I should probably get off and go back to Aachen. A little more than an hour later, I was back in my room, eating the entire can of Pringles I bought earlier and thrilled that I was not dead. All in all, a successful day. 


  1. All in a day's work, Allison! Haha!

    And whoa! Porta! looks amazing! Also, everything else looks amazing! Ahh... Thanks for keeping this blog. We all appreciate it and of course, you will too one day. Sooo no slacking... :) Have fun.

  2. Loving this. keep writing. Laughed when you told me and laughed when I read it.

  3. must say, wonderful writing :)