Last week I wired off the deposit on the apartment I'll live in this fall in Germany. It's a huge relief to have that detail taken care of. Trying to find an affordable home in a city I'm unfamiliar with in a language I don't speak was not an enjoyable prospect. Fortunately there are some students at the school doing their semesters abroad who wanted to sublet their apartments to the exchange students coming in. There aren't quite as many rooms like that as incoming students though, and I'd procrastinated so long that there was only one left by the time I got my act together. In fact, it wasn't really me who got my act together but another exchange student who'd found the place and needed to find a roommate in order to take it. In the rush to secure the place before someone else did we quickly conversed, deemed each other roommate-worthy – at least sufficiently for four months (she doesn't smoke and *assures* me she doesn't have an alarm clock that crows) – and then sewed up the deal. At least we hope. We wired over the money, but we haven't actually signed a lease yet. Which I fear will end up being in German...
But it should all be set now, and so I've bought my plane ticket for the trip over at the end of August. Also today I got in touch with my "buddy," the student who will help me acclimate to the school and life over there. Over email we discussed the prospect of him meeting me in the airport.
"If you tell me exactly when you arrive, I might come to the airport. I won't have a huge welcome poster with your name on it, though. I suck at arts and crafts."
"No, no. Nothing so conspicuous is required. But SOME way for me to identify who you are would be helpful. I can't tell you how many times I've been at airports, not knowing what the guy meeting me looked like. I had to go up to every man there, 'Are you looking for me?'
(I'm serious - this has happened to me twice!)"
Unfortunately, this prospect intrigued him:
"Concerning our rendez-vous at the airport, I will just look out for a girl asking guy after guy whether he wants to take her home, that should make some noise!"
I wrote back that on second thought, he'd better make a sign. A really BIG sign...