We’ve Arrived!

Well, we arrived in Switzerland safe and sound on Tuesday (today is Thursday). We still don’t have internet yet, so this will have to be posted later. We got all of our suitcases unpacked upon arrival (kept me awake to try to push through jet lag) and spent Tuesday just trying to unwind. Heath had to go to work yesterday, and the baby was really off on his schedule (not that it was all that strict before), so I haven’t had time to sit down and write until now.

Currently, I am sitting at a small desk from a popular Swedish furniture store (you know the one). It seems that the entire flat (the European word for “apartment,” in case you don’t know) is furnished from IKEA, including the dishes. I’m sitting in the secondary bedroom, which also has a trundle-bed, nighstand, and wardrobe. Eventually, the baby will be sleeping in here once we figure out space arrangements. I’ve already decided that this is my work area as well, though. From the window, I pretty much only see trees, with a bit of a house and a hill behind it. I can still hear the noises on the street quite well, though. I also like this room because I generally get a good breeze from this angle.

We have a decent-sized bathroom and separate toilet room (slightly odd, that). There’s plenty of cabinet space, though, and there’s lots of room for all our odds and ends.

The master bedroom is only slightly larger than the room I’m sitting in. It currently contains the baby’s crib, a bed that is practically on the ground (we’ve got a very high bed back in Texas), a larger wardrobe, and a desk and a chair. Pretty crowded, actually.

In the hallway leading from the rest of the apartment to the bedrooms and bathroom (and toilet room), there is a line of closets. One seems to be reserved entirely for cleaning supplies. The other two I’m sure we’ll fill up when the shipping crate with the rest of our stuff arrives.

The living room is surprisingly large for a flat of this size. It has a garish orange couch (there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to furniture from Sweden, apparently), a coffee table, a teeny TV on a teeny TV stand, and a really big bookshelf. From the living room, you can step onto the balcony, where there’s a small table and chair set.

Across from the living room is the dining area. It is pretty cozy, but it has a huge window, and the table doesn’t crowd the space. You have to go through the dining area to get to the teeny weeny kitchen. Ah yes, the chef is disappointed, but I expected as such. Surprisingly, there is a decent amount of countertop space and cabinets in the kitchen. The stove and dishwasher are pretty new.

The downfall of the kitchen is the refridgerator/freezer – very very very small, and we already have frost on the inside of the fridge. It seems to be old, and probably not all that energy efficient. Again, we were expecting this. It means that instead of going grocery shopping every two weeks and stocking up on a huge amount of food, I’ll likely be shopping every few days or so. Oh well, the exercise will do me good, right?

All of the cabinets are metal, and I’m kicking myself for not bringing my magnet collection. We have a stainless steel fridge at home, so you can only squash the magnets on the sides, and I’ve never been able to bust out my poetry kits. The real think I’m worried about is the utter lack of cooking utensils. We have a potato peeler, a wire whisk, a cheese grater, and one – just one – beat up old wooden spoon. I am not entirely certain what I packed from our kitchen in the shipping crate, but I suspect that it was pretty much only my kitchen knives. And of course, there was a decent set here when we arrived.

Aside from more cooking utensils, there are a few other essentials that we’re going to have to go pick up, such as an extra garbage pail or two (there’s only one in the kitchen, and one in the bathroom), some fans, a changing table, and a few other odds and ends that I can’t think of at the moment.

Other notes about the flat – no screens. This will be slightly scary when the baby is mobile, but I think that most of the windows will be out of his reach. Mosquitos, a drawback to summer nights in Texas, seem not to exist here – nor do a number of other bugs. So far I’ve seen a roach (blech! hope to get that taken care of SOON), two flies, bees in the flowerbeds, and a gnat.

Oh, and why have I seen a few bugs in the apartment, you ask?  Well, we have no air conditioning! And of course we arrived at the hottest time of the year. There have been points where it was nigh unbearable (85, I think), but today is promising. I’m starting to feel a change in the air. We’re supposed to get some thunderstorms this afternoon followed by cooler weather. Plus, the temperatures should start slipping back to the 70’s in a few weeks. Yes, I am from Texas, but I never said I liked the heat. Air conditioning is one of my top favorite inventions.

Another interesting note is that the floors are entirely wood laminate, with linoleum in the kitchen, and tile in the bathroom and toilet room. And the walls are solid concrete! We’re going to have to get creative if we want to hang stuff on the walls.

Our windows are a bit different from ones I’ve encountered before. Instead of blinds or curtains, there are exterior, um, metal, um thingies (I’ll have to get the term from Heath).  You use a crank to bring them up or down. They work as sunshades, really.  We have windows on three sides of the flat, so we get some good cross breezes.  When it isn’t cloudy, we can see the Austrian Alps from our patio – and that is pretty darn nifty. The kitchen and dining area faces a community playground and park, which is nice.

Also, even though we were told we are on the ground floor, we’re definitely not. The entrance to our building is split level, and we’re up one. There’s an elevator, but as the stop for it is at the top of the small flight of stairs you take to get to our door, I don’t see how it is any use. I haven’t had a chance to explore and see if there is some sort of basement entrance on the other side of the building that will make the use of the elevator convenient. For now, it is the biggest pain the back (literally and figuratively) to get the baby stroller in and out of the apartment.

If you’d like to see pictures of the inside of our flat, click here.

Tomorrow  is Independence Day back home. Normally, we’d be preparing for a huge party at our house. Fireworks, tons of food on and off the grill, and my old family recipe for shortcake topped with homemade whipped cream, and berries in the pattern of the flag of the United States. Originally, I’d planned to stick a tiny flag on the patio and make the aforementioned flag cake, but I forgot to pack the wee flags, and I just realized that we are lacking in a baking dish. DOH! I’ll have to see if I can buy some ready-made shortbread at the bakterie and fresh berries and cream from the store.

At the very least, Edward will be wearing a cute Independence Day onsie. And I think that’s enough for now. I hear the baby stirring.

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