Frozen Hair Oil

Indonesian Traditional Hair Oil
One of the specific things that I brought from Indonesia is traditional hair oil.  Funnily, the oil is freezing after some times in Germany.  I have to soak it in a hot water before using it!  Hopefully the cold weather wouldn’t spoil the ingredients. 

New Debit Card System

As always, the ATM card is also a debit card which one can use for purchasing something.  But now I realized there’s a ‘difference’ in the use of ATM/ debit card. 

Three years ago when I used my debit card for purchasing something, for example in a supermarket, I need to enter my PIN to a card machine.  Nowadays, I will get the print out of the transaction and I have to sign it.  (This print out system is used for credit card transaction).

Another thing, three years ago I can used the debit card for internet transaction.  But nowadays, it’s not possible.  Well at least, all sites that I have visited couldn’t take debit card.  This is very silly, because it means one must have at least one debit card and one credit card.  It so impractical, and having credit card is, of course, more costly considering the annual fee etc.  Weird…

I don’t know why they change the system, maybe there was a big scam that made them changed. 

Apartment Hunting

One thing that I haven’t learned about living in Germany is seeking for an apartment.  When I did my Masters, there is an officer in the study program’s organization who assists the students for finding apartment.  So although I had a problem with living place but I never really looked for an apartment.  But now I have to do it.  I have applied to the student apartment offices (private and public) but I only enlisted in a waiting list.

German’s Apartment-seeking Websites
So I have to look from other sources.  I looked at some websites like wg-gesucht, wg-cast, studenten wg, and blackboard in  The problem was, I am in Berlin and I can’t just go to Bremen to see the room.  And especially if the apartment is a shared one, the person who lives there wants to meet the new renter, to ensure they have good chemistry for living together.  So it’s tough, but I realized I had to make a trip to Bremen to check the apartment before decided to rent it.

Rate of Reply
So I made a schedule, I would go to Bremen on September 15th, two weeks before I move out from Berlin.  I started look for apartment on the last week of August.  Surprisingly, nobody wants to have an appointment for September 15th although his or her apartments were only available in October 1st.  They, who replied my request, said that whomever comes first would be served, they didn’t want to wait too long.  So from last week of August until first week of September, I kept getting rejections or even no replies at all.  But entering the second week of September, I got some replies.  But still, not all matched with my schedule.  I think, out of around 30 requests I only got 10 replies.

In the end, for my visit on September 15th, I got four potential candidates.  But when I checked it in the map, I realized that one of the candidates located very far from public transportation area.  The apartment is located 1.3 km away from the last tram stop.  This is too far especially if I carry something heavy after shopping.  Also walking 1.3 km to the stop during winter would be so painful.  So I decided to drop this one and cancelled it.

Hunting Day
On September 15th I started my day early, going to Berlin train station at 6 AM and traveling to Bremen.  I was so excited that finally I got a chance to see three apartments and would decided in the end of the day.  I already confused whether to have single room apartment or the shared ones, I tried to list all the positives and negatives from both sides…

When I went to my first appointment, I was a bit late because I couldn’t find small money to buy the tram ticket from the machine.  So I called the landlady that I would be a little late.  But then, the nightmare started, she said that the apartment had been taken!  What?!  And she said nothing to me previously???!!!  She said she e-mailed me, but I didn’t receive anything.  Maybe she typed the wrong e-mail address or so…

Sigh…  I was so down…  How could she did that to me…  But I tried to calm myself, I still have two more options.  So I waited for my second appointment at my friend’s place.  But again, the nightmare got even worst.  I got SMS from my second appointment, telling that the apartment isn’t available anymore!!!  OMG…  Now I only have one last shot…

Of course I started feeling stressful.  How if my trip to Bremen was a waste of time and money…  I kept looking at my Blackberry, afraid that there would be e-mail from my fourth appointment, telling me the bad news.  I also started to think so many possibilities: will I come again to Bremen next week?  Or should I just stay at Indonesian people’s apartment and look for my own?

Fortunately, until the time when I had to go to my fourth, and last, appointment, nothing came up.  So I went to the place with fully submissive feeling.  Maybe when I arrived, the landlord would just say that the apartment is no longer available.  But that was not happened, thank God!  The landlord was there and the apartment was still available. 

The apartment is 25m2, bigger than my previous apartment which only 16m2.  However the composition of the kitchen and bathroom, I found it odd.  They are too small and I think I would bump the wall during cooking.  But I am ok with the bathroom, it is small and sufficient for me.  In my first impression, I don’t really fond of the apartment.  But hey, I don’t have a choice.  If I don’t take it, I don’t know what kind of adventures that I have to face until I get an apartment.  So I took it right away.  I signed the contract.

My Apartment Building.

The main room.  The furnitures will come later.

Small bathroom and kitchen.
So there I was, going back to Berlin with a result: target accomplished.  I thought that I would look for another once I am in Bremen.  But then, looking for apartment will make me tired emotionally.  While if I decide to stay and start decorating, it will make me tired physically but not emotionally.  So I still don’t know…

There’re two advantages with this apartment, though.  First, the landlord/ caretaker lives in the building also, so if I need something urgently I could just go to his room.  This never happened before, even now in Berlin.  Contacting the landlord/ caretaker needs to be done in specific time and of course only in working days, not weekend.  Second, the apartment is located near my old apartment.  So I am so familiar with the area, I feel like coming home already. 

Oh well, whatever… I will decide everything once I am in Bremen.

My Old Bank Account

When I left Germany in 2009, I kept my bank account open.  At that time I thought I would be back in Germany and when the time comes, I already have a bank account so I don’t have to open a new one.  I even left some money there so my account couldn’t be closed (in Indonesia, inactive bank account for 6 months with amount of below ≤ €5 will be closed automatically).

So when I am back now, that’s exactly what I will do.  I will just ask a new ATM card because my old one is only valid until 2010.  But of course it never goes as I planned.  When I first came to my bank, I was told that I have to provide a copy of my registered address before I could get the card.  Fine, that makes sense.  Beside, the registration of address is part of the administration work that I have to do anyway.

So after two weeks of waiting, finally I got my registered address.  I took this document to the bank to show it.  I told the lady at the customer service that I have a new address and I want a new card.  She processed my request and said that it’ll be done in two weeks.

And as you may have guessed it, nothing happened after two weeks.  So I came again to my bank.  This time I talked to different lady.  Apparently the other lady only submitted my new address without requesting a new card!  OMG!  Seriously?!

And then this lady processed my request again.  She said that my card should come within a week, and if nothing happened I should come again…  At this point, I was thinking to open a new account in different bank.  Because all my friends who just open a new account got their card and everything within a week.  Why should an old customer like me getting longer time?  My saving is even amounted almost half than three years ago, and this is what they do to me?  [Sigh!]  My roommate who also apply for a credit card, even get her credit card twice!  Very effective arrangement, eh…

Fortunately, within a week I got my new ATM card.  Phew, finally!
My new ATM card