Everything I’ve Been Waiting For

In August I wrote a pair of blog posts: one about getting my visa to stay in Stuttgart (and the challenge of finding an apartment) and one about my ankle/foot injury. Over the summer I spent a lot of time stressing about these challenges, to the point that they seemed to consume my every free moment.

Well, here we are with autumn announcing its arrival and I feel like I finally have everything I’ve been waiting for.

Or, close enough, if that sounds too dramatic.

I’m writing this sitting in my living room. That’s right, my living room in my apartment. After an incredibly frustrating search, I finally lucked into an apartment that a friend’s colleague was moving out of. I found out about it on Friday, viewed it on Saturday, and signed the lease the same day. I didn’t want to leave any chance for it to slip out of my fingers!

It’s in a great location: a quiet village called Sillenbuch outside Stuttgart (though technically still part of Stuttgart). It’s less than 10 minutes’ walk to the U-Bahn (public transit) and grocery stores. There’s a forest and plenty of running trails behind.

The apartment itself is gorgeous. The living room is large and has wood floors, perfect for an in-home studio or for dance parties. There are big windows that let in plenty of light and a thermostat to regulate the radiators. I have a fully equipped kitchen with tons of counter space – and it’s actually designed so cooking is easy. Plus, between the cupboards and cabinets in entryway, kitchen, and bathroom there’s enough built-in storage to satisfy all my organizational needs.

Oh and I forgot to mention my garden! There’s a small terrace out the back surrounded by a high hedge and bordered with garden beds that the previous tenants filled with herbs and flowers and other plants I can’t identify.

So what’s the catch? Well, it turned out to be a pretty big one: the only available Internet in this neighborhood is DSL 16. I didn’t realize that until after I’d signed, of course, and spent a full week frantically looking into every possibility that would deliver the kind of speed I need to do all my usual work from home. I’ve settled on a combination of DSL and an expensive LTE box for now (if the DSL guy every actually comes out to connect it…my second 8-hour appointment window began 2 hours ago!)

However I’ve also managed to convince my very nice landlord to work on an application to the local cable company to try to get cable laid in the neighborhood. Maybe sometime in the next year I can have real high-speed Internet!

As to my injury, things are definitely improving. Unfortunately I didn’t get any clear answers from my doctor, but I did get the welcome news that there’s nothing torn and no degeneration. That means with my new insoles and ankle braces I can gradually build back up to the level of activity to which I was previously accustomed. I still have a lot of pain I’m dealing with on a daily basis. However, my wonderful friends volunteered to do all the heavy lifting for my move. And the main things is I’m dancing again!

Actually, this weekend I finally got to participate in a German blues dance festival: Octoblues in Dortmund. It was incredibly satisfying to be back in this role that was such a big part of my life in the last few years. I loved introducing the students to challenging new ideas. I learned a lot from the other teachers. The event ran super smoothly and had amazing live music. I danced more than my injury was quite ready for, but that was already two or three times more than my recent Saturday workshop-and-party stints in the last month. I’m looking forward to all the dancing I’ve got planned for the rest of the year and I feel so lucky to be part of this community.

There’s still plenty of things I’m working on and trying to figure out (getting my water bill assigned correctly, hooking up my washing machine, getting more college students to come blues dance, planning my first real house party…) but these problems are so much more in the scope of what I’m capable of, and I have such good people helping me out. I am so pleased to be settling in. Nearly 8 months after arriving in Stuttgart, I finally feel like I’ve arrived.