Sunday, January 27, 2019

Life Lately and Money Diaries Part 1

One of the blogs I read is Adventitious Violet, by a Canadian living in Scotland. SCOTLAAAANNNNNDDDDDD!!!  Oops, sorry. Recently she wrote a "Money Diaries" post explaining her expenses for a week, and I thought that could be interesting and different. I decided to combine it with a kind of update on what I've been getting up to lately.

In the interest of transparency, I should admit I'm not actively working at the moment. I'm on call at the VHS to fill in when a teacher is sick or has an appointment, and I still lead the conversational English class with M's employees once a week. But other than that I'm on sabbatical. Yes, I'm officially a "lazy bahstud," a term we use affectionately. M says he likes having me home, though (in a definitely non-chauvinist kind of way! Remember, he does most of the cooking...).

Since it's winter I'm also not traveling much. I even cancelled a trip to Esslingen this week after realizing I would bring no "value-add" to the meeting I'd planned to attend - otherwise I would have at least been able to report a train ticket. In the end this was not a very normal week, and I should probably try this again in a warmer month when I am more active. Or when I have to fill the gas tank!

If you're hoping to see from this post what it generally costs to live in Germany for a week, I'm afraid this won't help. Any food we already had (like Tuesday's pizza and almost everything for Monday's dinner) doesn't figure into this week's total. I'm not including utilities or bills - just what came out of my pocket (or debit card).

Right, enough excuses. Let's try this.

Job: Substitute teacher, English tutor, Hausfrau
Age: 50
Location: Really-small-town, SW Germany
Salary: €X000 + occasional earnings from substitute teaching (1 day/4hrs = €175)
Housemates: 1 (2 of us total)
Loans: Mortgage
Credit Card debt: €0  (paid off each month)
Health Insurance: €464,65 per month (just for me)

Money Diaries 21.01. - 27.01.2019
Part 1: Monday-Wednesday


€15,66   Real  (local Supermarkt)
€  3,65   Bäckerei Saur

Got up at 7:30, checked email and the daily damage report U.S. news, lazed around and read (finished a Krimi) with coffee, wrote emails to my parents and messages to my kids, showered, went to Real. On the way home I resolved to thoroughly clean the common areas of the house. Throughout the day I plotted my dad's current locations in Iceland on Google maps. He's on a photography excursion in search of the northern lights.

I tidied up a little, boiled potatoes for tonight's dinner (Bauernfrühstück), and tried to choose my next book. After lunch I made another cup of coffee and called my mom for a short chat. I call my parents every Monday afternoon (monthly flatrate add-on €8?). After that I read the first chapter of a nonfiction book about the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and remembered my resolution to clean. Sigh...Had a snack. Updated this post. Internet went down. This is good - forced offline time!! Vacuumed.

Read a bit, nodded off, daughter's message woke me up. I schnibbled everything for dinner, M came home and cooked the pork tenderloin, and while it rested in the oven I made the Bauernfrühstück. We watched "Big Bang Theory" and "Young Sheldon," then I watched the latest episode of "Outlander" and grumbled about it. Did the dishes, had a glass of wine. Went to bed at midnight.


€  6,36   Aldi (Bergkäse)
€23,00   Mustafa (Kohrabi, peanuts, eggs, Feldsalat, parsnips, red pepper, potatoes, apple, oranges, bananas)

Up for coffee and a bit of reading (including the local newspaper), showered. More reading, having switched books to A Walk Across the Sun, a novel about human trafficking originating in India (then Paris, then the U.S.). Made an egg sandwich. Started studying for my Jagdschein at 10:00. I'm focusing on the topic of Haarwild, or furry animals. I'm reading & highlighting, taking notes, making flashcards, reviewing...When M came home for lunch we finally made the decision that yes, I will sign up for the 3-week hunting course in summer. After lunch I made another cup of coffee and continued studying.

On Tuesday evenings Mustafa, our "vegetable guy," parks his produce truck outside our neighbors' house for 20 minutes, and I buy from him the fruits, vegetables, and eggs I think we'll need for the week. It's not local produce because he loads his truck from the Großmarkt, but it's better than from the Supermarkt, we like supporting his business, and it's so convenient for us! Today this was the only time I actually stepped out of the house. Don't judge - it was cold!

In the evening I read, watched a little TV with M, we discussed the incident in D.C. with the Native American and the smirky teen, and I filled out my registration form for the summer Jagdkurs.


€  21,15  Metzger/Bäcker
€  18,48  Real
€    5,50  Zeitschrift
€100,00  Jägervereinigung dues

After the typical start to my day, I bundled up and drove to the local butcher and then the Supermarkt. I'd planned pork roast, roast potatoes and Kohrabi for dinner tonight. Our favorite bakery delivers rolls to our butcher, so I grabbed two Laugenbrötchen as well as the roast, ham, and salami. At Real I picked up a few things and finally remembered apple juice, but forgot cheddar cheese and I'm dangerously low on that. Yes, I make a list, but I'd forgotten to put cheddar on it. On the way out I stopped at the tobacco & news kiosk and bought a hunting magazine.

I came home and emailed my registration form to the Landesjagdschule as well as my membership request to the nearest Jägerverein (hunting club - joining the club saves me several hundred Euros for the class). It's a real commitment now. Yikes.

My study materials were beckoning me, so I made a cup of coffee and got to work. Just kidding. I read two pages and fell asleep.

When I woke up I prepared the roast and boiled the potatoes. When M came home he found me studying, and then he helped me with the rest of dinner prep. The roast was delicious and not dry! I have finally accepted that I need to stop buying cheaper pork roast from the Supermarkt but from the butcher instead. There I get a good and durchwachsen (marbled) hunk of Schweinehals with enough fat on it to keep the meat moist and tender.

I cleaned up the kitchen and checked email, finding one from the woman who runs the Hofgut* near the Jagdschule. I have reserved the room she has available for the first week of class. I didn't have to pay anything yet or even give her my credit card info, so I don't have to reveal here what I'm paying for that flat. I think I'll look for a more reasonably-priced room for the other weeks.

Acknowledging that this post is already long and rather dull, I'm splitting the Money Diaries post into two. Click here for Part 2.

Total expenditures Monday - Wednesday: €193,80

*I have no translation for Hofgut. She and her family live there, they breed and raise Labradors and Chihuahuas, they keep other animals like sheep and Damwild (fallow deer), but it's fancier than a farm.

1 comment:

  1. Such an interesting post! I do love to read these too :) And I really need to hear your thoughts about Outlander!!