Saturday, 21 December 2013

Longing For The Past. Longing For the Future.

Last night was the first time in a week that I slept in a real bed again and upon awaking I noticed that not only had I slept about thirteen hours, I was also hurting all over. Mostly my hands and arms/shoulders. All because things worked out in quite the opposite way that I had hoped with my move to Germany.

First there was the first moving attempt, now exactly one week ago on Saturday. The colleague driving a van from Germany to my place in the Netherlands got in a crash on the highway and while he was fine, there was no way to find a replacement van on such short notice. Then I learned that the house I was in had to be empty by 13.00 hours on Monday, forcing me to accept an offer from my older brother to drive a moving van for me against payment. Things had gone pretty wrong even on the Friday before, with my mother (at whose place I was staying) and my brother having unilaterally decided that I should be helping my mother move on that very same day, deep into the early morning hours, despite having my own move the next day and me already being exhausted.

That Friday ended with me getting mild hypothermia as I had to leave the house for a few hours despite it being around freezing outside as my older brother was yelling at me for being a useless, spoiled brat and all that. I only got back into the house again because I was noticing the hypothermia effects and knew that with another hour, maybe two I would be in no state to go anywhere, soon falling into unconsciousness. Upon returning home I was chided for being an utterly useless, ungrateful brat by both my brother and mother, but was allowed to stay in the house and sleep on a thin mattress on the floor in a by then virtually empty house aside from my own belongings.

Then the Saturday happened, leaving me almost panicked, not knowing where to go or what to do. This continued into Sunday, just feeling like there was no way I would ever leave the Netherlands and the current nightmare. I then learned that I didn't have a whole Monday either to come up with a solution, but just the morning. Out of options, I was thus forced to accept the much more expensive and less pleasant option. At least I was on my way, though, and would soon be at the apartment.

Thanks to my colleague 'hase' as his nickname goes, we were soon at the apartment after meeting up at the train station from which he guided us. Unloading the van, I said goodbye to my brother and set to prepare for dinner and my first night at my new apartment. It was a sub-basement apartment, part of an old 1920s villa, meant to store junk in, usually. That first night I found out just how unsuitable this apartment was for living in. First of all, despite the landlady insisting that the neighbours above me wouldn't disturb me, there was the near-constant noise of water. Falling, dripping, splashing water, as all the tubing from drains ran through that sub-basement. This continued through the night.

Then the next morning it was chilly outside, which translated into a very cold apartment as half of the radiators in the place didn't even work and especially from the doors came this massive draft. That morning I was sitting there in my winter coat and snow boots, desperately trying to stay warm. Then hase came to pick me up in the afternoon and drove me to the synyx offices. It was the first time that day that I actually felt warm. Figuring out what to do next was hard, though. Keeping the apartment and somehow having it fixed up seemed impossible as too much was just plain wrong or unfixable such as the drain pipes. With no other place to stay I had to spend the night on the office couch, something which I much preferred over another night at the cursed apartment. I also cooked dinner for myself at the office kitchen, which was kind of fun.

The next night I'd also spend on the office couch, as no other option had popped up yet, and everybody was going on vacation for the holidays, many travelling to family. At least I could have a shower at hase's place, where I stayed in September this year as well. I joined the end of year party there, which was lots of fun and got to see the new cats they have at the place. For Thursday until Sunday I could thus spend the night at a colleague's place who was going away during those days. I didn't make it to his place on Thursday, though, as after the year's end party we held with colleagues at a bowling alley and retro gaming museum it was too late for me. I walked back to the office and crashed there on the couch.

On Friday I went with a colleague at whose place I can stay starting early next year for a longer time back to my apartment to fetch most of my belongings from there and drive them to her place. I'll just have to figure out how to best cancel the contract. Keeping the landlady responsible for not disclosing the reality of living there (the noise) seems like a possible approach there, but I'll see. I'll just have to figure out where I'll be staying from Sunday onwards.

I did sleep quite well last night, everything considered. Even if I'm still feeling tired and stressed, and the pain in especially my right hand is quite severe. I can barely bend my right thumb due to some kind of bruising I suffered there over the past days. My shoulders and neck are also very stiff and painful. Today I still have to get food and I should force myself to work on my autobiography some at least, as it's important that I get those sample chapters submitted to my publisher. I haven't written a single letter for a week now due to this whole situation.

At least I'm getting some time to think about things. Such as moving to Germany. As I wrote before, I do not dislike the Netherlands itself, just the institute. The past days I found myself often longing to see the sights, shops and people at some places in the Netherlands again. Even if I'm well-aware that gradually I'm getting used to Germany in the same manner, especially once this insanity of couch-surfing is over with. I also find myself contemplating the future, which is where I can only see Germany and maybe other countries. I just have to get from my current, semi-homeless situation to this future. Once I'm at this colleague's place next year I can look for houses again to rent. If I can have some certainty and solid footing while arranging things, I'm sure it'll work out. Having to chase a place to sleep at for that day is a terrible thing. If I didn't have the office to sleep at, I'd have spent a few nights outdoors already.

Another thing which is kinda risky is that of my health insurance. I'm no longer insured as my Dutch health insurer has deemed me uninsurable due to living outside the Netherlands and getting all of my income from work in Germany. This means that until my new contract at synyx starts on January 1st and I can become insured again via the German Krankenkasse, I'll have to be quite careful. It's a quite naked feeling that even just going to a general practitioner isn't a realistic option at this point. I'm really glad I stocked up on medication right before I left the Netherlands. Unfortunately it also means that my first appointment with the surgeon will have to be postponed until I am insured again.

The worst part of this in between situation is that of feeling pulled apart by both past and future, while feeling powerless to ever reach this future. It's also not quite how I had imagined the first Christmas and New Year's for me in Germany would go. Not quite the girl with the matchsticks in the snow, but without a place of residence and the like as well as sleeping on couches at random places I feel somewhat like a vagabond. Interesting for sure, but as I noticed with last night's first real sleep, it's taking a very heavy toll on me, both physically and mentally.



Russell McCarten said...

Have a Merry Christmas. May you be at the end of the beginning of your journey. Be well.

RenateKG said...

I'm even familiar with these kind of situations either. For now they seem rotten, but everything will turn out right, and it makes you value things more in the future. :) Anyhow a Merry Christmas, and a very, very good year!