Here's a look at today's to-do list, with some explanatory notes.
- Buy Habanero Chiles. We have one week left at our office each. Saori is going to have a party at the office and I'm in charge of making three different salsas of varying intensity. Habanero chiles are only available reliably from the international gourmet produce market hall downtown, so I had to make a special trip to pick them up. I also picked up some nice looking Jalapenos and some really good tomatoes. I ate one when I got home, raw, just cut into slices. Delicious. I don't even like tomatoes all that much. I will miss the vegetables here in Germany.
- Buy American Beers I'm going to bake a zucchini bread for my office, and present my bosses each with a six pack of good American craft beers as a goodbye and thank you.
- Post Apartment ad at IFA The saying goes that it's easier to find a job in Stuttgart than an apartment, but we've obviously been too cautious about spreading the word on our apartment being available. We are on the hook for the rent for September if we don't find someone that the landlord approves. We also don't want to lug down all the furniture six flights of stairs, and it would be nice to get some money back from what we paid for the washing machine, table, chairs, etc. The problem is that most people also have to give three months notice to their landlords. Best case is we find someone who is ready to move in and buy everything. Worst case is we pay September rent, AND have to lug everything to the curb. I might be willing to compromise on the furniture if it means we don't have to kill ourselves struggling. Hell, I would probably pay to NOT have to bring it all down. To widen the search for people, I put up an ad at the local language school today. The people at this school are young or not so young professionals, usually recent arrivals to Stuttgart or Germany. It's insanely hard to find a good apartment in Stuttgart and we have a prime location and a beautiful apartment. So we'll see what turns up. So far, no emails, but I just posted it and it's a saturday.
- Calculate housing budget. Quick google search about what percentage people should pay for housing, and then running some numbers on my salary and the really high state taxes in Oregon. Based on 30% of our after-tax income, we should be looking at apartments in the range of $1200 a month. In Portland, like everywhere, it's possible to find our two bedroom apartment for that much, it's just a question of how close it is to city centers, downtown, and mass transit lines.
- Facetime Tay. No luck, Tay was out at somebody's lakehouse for the day. Glad to hear he's enjoying the summer.
I did enjoy the bonus of strolling through the saturday flea market. I stumbled across one of my favorite cameras, the MINOX 35 line, one of the last produced in the 1980's, complete with a leather case, so I negotiated a good price for it. No idea if it works, so I loaded it up with film and I'll take some shots this week. I will miss the cheap film development here in Germany. It occurred to me later, that it was actually kind of cool to be able to speak and negotiate in German about cameras which are relatively rare outside of Germany because Germany had such a strong camera industry.
This morning I walked through the Saturday market at the church square about a five minute walk from where we live. Flower vendors, bakery trucks, fresh fish on ice, the fruits and vegetable vendors, families out with their kids. Cafe tables with people enjoying breakfast and coffee on the sidewalk. Baguettes peeking out of hand carts, a landscape of cheese. I know I'll miss it because there's really nothing like it in the US, but I feel oddly detached like I can't not take it for granted.