ASK LUCY: I bought an apartment & it’s driving me mental

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Dear Lucy –

I have just recently bought an apartment in Berlin. This is great/ exciting/ a bit daunting because real life – but overall, I’m excited.

The issues I currently have is everything is fucking difficult. Organising handymen: difficult. Setting up additional electrical/ gas accounts, because I still have my other apartment: difficult. Getting  a second internet, and trying not to be completely dicked by o2: difficult.

Managing this with a 10AM – 6PM job and not so much of a handle on the German language is driving me bonkers. I am so far over this experience it often brings me to tears. Please help me chill the fuck out.

Love Lucy

Dear Me –

Treating this weeks Ask Lucy as somewhat of a dear diary entry to maintain sanity is pretty narcissistic/ egotistical of you, but I guess I can see that perhaps others face this same nightmare and let’s hope it’s useful. Let’s start with: anything to do with moving is a total nightmare. Whether you buy, rent or are just blowing through the city for an extended vacation (I’m looking at your Australians on tour for the months of June – August).

The problem we face here are two things:

  1. you don’t speak the language properly.
  2. you (and the people who may be able to help you) have a job/ things to do.

Breath. You need to remember where you are, and what “time” you are operating on. Berlin – nay probably the whole of Germany – never gets things done to schedule. How’s that airport going, Berlin? No? Don’t want to talk about it? And Hamburg – don’t think you are getting away with anything here, two words: Opera House.

When you’re operating in a second (or pigeon-second language) things are going to be more complicated, AND THEN let’s pair that with:

  1. Handymen: who as Stil in Berlin put it on twitter “…often act as if doing you a favor by accepting your task.”
  2. o2: who dick everyone around like it’s a sport.
  3. Electrical/ gas companies: who confuse the shit out of most foreigners with their privatised situations & complicated terms and conditions/ salesy business structure.

My tips are as follows, because right now it’s not about things not happening in a timely fashion, it’s about not being in-control or being able to control how things are happening within your own story.

WRITE A SCRIPT

Don’t speak the language? Dislike having to lean on everyone else to speak the language for you? Write a script, call your handy-worker. Do you speak English? No. OK. {insert foreign language script here}. I have just spent the better half of my morning calling 15 different handymen (with no relief in sight). But I called them, I was understood, I am aware that things are still not happening – it’s 9A. I haven’t lost a day. YAY-to-that (sort of). Often it’s just the piece of mind you have done everything you could and then….

BE PREPARED TO PIVOT

If you can’t speak the language, find things aren’t working your way/ the way you would have preferred. Have the piece of mind to be able to pivot, restructure/ renegotiate the situation. Probably there is a best way to do everything, but if you can’t – then there is no point in stressing yourself sick just for the sake of it. Restructure your timeline, reorder your tasks, set longer deadlines. Perhaps you will be uncomfortable for a couple of weeks, but really it’s better than losing 10 years of your life due to stress/ anxiety.

FORGIVE PEOPLE & SMILE

You know what people are going to tell you:

  • Chill out
  • Calm down

You know what that doesn’t help you with – chilling out or calming down. This doesn’t just apply to the moving process to be fair. For me, there is literally nothing else I hate more than some arsehole telling me to calm down. It only lights a fuse deep within and I just about bite the head off the people around me. Calm down? I AM CALM – you fucking calm down ! So again, breath – smile – say something like “You’re right, I know.” and move on.

When you are in the middle of a stress induced mental breakdown no one knows what to say and “calm down”/ “chill out” often appears to be the most helpful…even when it actually offers zero guidance, support or reassurance that things will in fact work out.

Now, Lucy. Chill out/ calm down – and get the fuck on with it.

Love Lucy

 

P.S. A quick shout out to all my friends/ work colleagues who have been a tremendous help through this process. I love you dearly, and this is in no way a dig at you – it’s a dig at me, and my inability to manage my own life in Germany <3

 

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About LUCY

Femme of sass, sometimes.