So two weeks ago marked the beginning of our house hunting adventures off base. It always is an adventure going off base for the first time overseas. Driving on base is quite different in that it is usually feels ‘safe’. You are there with other Americans who might be a little more understanding when you stall in the middle of a round-about (true story). It’s usually spread out like any other base you’ve been used to, so going into the city can be a little daunting since you don’t know what to expect. But we got around just fine and realized why people like driving standards so much. It’s actually fun to drive here! The Autobahn was a little scary the first time, but by the end of the first day it felt normal. Not only is it fun to drive here, but the scenery is beautiful!
The above picture shows what most German towns look like. You see a cluster of houses with a big church, then roads that extend from it leading to the next town.
We looked at a TON of houses. I’m so proud of the boys…they did so well stuck in their car seats being dragged from here to there and everywhere else. I learned a lot about German people and houses just in our time house hunting:
- Germans LOVE babies. Every landlord that showed us around had to hold the baby and play with my six year old. Of course, the baby hammed it up for them every time making him kind of irresistible, but still.
- German old ladies ARE the neighborhood watch. Within seconds of us pulling up to a new house there would be an elderly lady opening her window and just watching us. Some would smile, but they definitely meant business.
- They are all incredibly nice people.
- They like putting little gnomes or statues on their roofs. We saw this a few times (you’ll see on the first house below). I wonder if they are like the Japanese Shishi dogs?
- Just about every home/duplex has a smaller suite/apartment downstairs with a small kitchen and full bedroom. We were told that some landlords rent out either the smaller apartment or the larger part of the house, or they use it when their elderly family members come to live with them.
- Germans cook normal sized meals. No really, they don’t have a choice. Their ovens belong in a dollhouse.
- They kind of define the term ‘modern.’ Look at any IKEA furniture and you are looking at the inside of a current German house. Unless you are old and then the decor consists of questionable wallpaper and wildly contrasting colors. And gnomes.
I decided to post pictures of some of the most memorable houses we looked at, including the one we finally decided on!
The infamous purple house. “die lila Haus.” We saw this months ago while still in the states and laughed at first because of the god-awful colors. I’m not opposed to bright colored houses; many towns have colored houses, but on this particular street all of them were white, save for this one.
Peach and Gold Shared House
So one thing we realized was just how many homes are shared or are considered (but not posted as) duplexes. This house in particular had been a house for an entire family. The elderly couple still lived in the bottom portion, connected to the house. Their children and grandchildren had lived up in the larger part for many years but just moved out. We would have a normal size space, our own backyard, but they would still be living in the lower quarters. They were ADORABLE people, and we thought it might be nice having them so close. We fell in love with the backyard and the master bedroom:
If you were to ask my husband what colors I DESPISE when decorating, it is peach and gold. Peach and gold threw up in this house. Many times. The kitchen wasn’t great either. I really had to reach inside and pull out the compromise for this one. The backyard was beautiful. It had a very nice two car automatic garage. It had a room that had closet built-ins already installed (HUGE plus). The landlords were lovely people. But all I heard in the back of my mind was, “Peach…gold…wallpaper…peach…PEACH….PEEEAAACHHHH!” Oh, the yelling…
This house was ridiculously awesome in the inside. You should’ve seen the master bedroom. Skylight…great view…HUGE space. It had CARPET…the only house we saw that had carpet. TONS of rooms. The landlords LOVED our kids. The woman played with my son the whole time and the older man held the baby. It already had an American washer/dryer inside. The backyard was okay, but we could see horses from the back window, which was cool. This was a duplex, though, and the landlords lived next door. Not a big deal, really. We were seriously about to say yes to this place and then we asked about pets. They said no and would not budge. We begged. I almost got down on my knees. We talked about Rosie as if she were an old lady with a glass eye who couldn’t speak. She’d make no noise! we promised. She doesn’t EVER bark! But not even Lucas’s gummy grin would change their minds, so off to the next house we went.