deco on a budget

I wrote several weeks ago about the challenges of apartment hunting in Munich and introduced you to our small (very empty, very white) attic apartment. Since moving in at the end of September, we’ve been busy making our place into a (colorful) home. We were lucky to get several major pieces of furniture from family: our dining table, bed, desk, and a cabinet. Julius already had bookshelves, and I brought… basically nothing for the apartment. I came to Germany with three suitcases containing clothes, shoes, two framed pictures, several books, and a couple of small, packable keepsakes. We considered having some larger things shipped from the States, but in the end, decided it wasn’t worth the cost.

So, we still needed a lot of things to make the apartment functional and attractive and cozy! We had wonderful friends and family give us generous monetary gifts for our wedding, so we had a budget, and a long list of things to buy. I think every couple setting up house together for the first time and every family that moves overseas and leaves their possessions back home is probably overwhelmed, even intimidated by their list when they total up all that they need. Where do you begin? And how do you find affordable things?

A few items had to be purchased right away. Our place didn’t have a refrigerator, so we placed an order for one immediately. We also needed a washing machine. eBay.de was the place for these. Both were “buy it now” items (no anxious betting), and the refrigerator shipped as a new item, while the washing machine just had to be picked up in Munich.

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When it comes to Ikea furniture, there’s something satisfying about saying, “We built that!”

Our first big shopping adventure was a trip to Ikea in Eching. We spent several hours on the web site ahead of time, making a list of things we wanted to see in person, and writing down the item numbers for things that we already knew we wanted. We ended up bringing home two shelves, a cabinet, a sofa, a chair… and a ton of little things (trash cans, kitchen items, etc.) Then we got to assemble it all! A second trip to Ikea a few weeks later was in order and we got dressers. They just have everything — even things you don’t know you need — and its all pretty affordable.

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Our updated kitchen cabinets

 

 

We’ve also found deals at our nearby Baumarkt (home improvement store). We got several lamps there on clearance. This is also a good place to buy brooms and mops and buckets and toilet paper holders. We also wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets and got all the necessary supplies and some much-needed advice there!

My favorite place to score deals on home items though is the Flohmarkt (flea market)! Continue reading

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oktoberfest nostalgia

The 2014 Oktoberfest has come to an end, and the stats are in!

As reported by Bayerische Rundfunk (BR), this year 6.3 million guests attended and consumed 6.5 million liters of beer, 48 calves and 112 oxen. They smuggled 112,000 mugs out of the tents. There were 2,205 police interventions at the Oktoberfest, but the police seem happy to report that they intervened proactively, which prevented many criminal offenses this year. The Bavarian Red Cross stitched up 700 wounds and treated 600 patients for alcohol poisoning. BR reports that guests traveled to Oktoberfest from all over the world, mostly from Australia, USA and Italy, but also in large numbers from Egypt, Chile, India and South Africa.

Munich residents are breathing a sigh of relief today that the millions of guests have gone home again. It’s hard to play host to that many people for two whole weeks. (It’s also hard to board the subway and have to stand with your nose 5 cm away from someone’s armpit.)

Because we’ve just moved and have been living out of boxes during this time, the last thing we needed was more commotion in our lives. Nevertheless, we were invited to join some friends at Oktoberfest, and we were happy to trade the chaos at home for a different kind of chaos at the Wiesn for one afternoon!

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Greeting the Wiesn last Thursday

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how to look at art: the lenbachhaus

Munich is a city with art. In my previous year living in Munich, I had been to both the old and new Pinakothek art museums on multiple occasions and was overwhelmed by the size of the collections housed there. Sensory overload is inevitable. In such a large museum, I tend to take my time at the beginning, but an hour in, I start to walk more quickly, observe less closely and, ultimately, I don’t really see the art that comes later in my visit. After a 3-hour art museum visit, some highlights stick out in my memory, but regarding most of the artwork, I’m unable to say much other than “it was pretty…” Well, it turns out that this isn’t the best way to experience art. You just can’t see it all in one visit, and you shouldn’t try to. (My husband would argue that you can spend an entire museum visit sitting at one painting.) We recently visited an art museum in Munich that I hadn’t been to before: the newly renovated Lenbachhaus. The floor plan of the Lenbachhaus doesn’t draw visitors through a tour of the entire collection of centuries of artwork, but rather invites you to focus on an area of interest. So, no traipsing through the entire 19th century gallery to get to the specific 20th century collection you actually came to see.

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Franz Marc’s “Blaues Pferd I”

And if you’re visiting Lenbachhaus for the first time, the collection to see is Der Blaue Reiter — The Blue Rider. Der Blaue Reiter was a group of early twentieth century artists centered in Munich, and the collection at the Lenbachhaus, acquired in 1957 from one of the artists herself (Gabriele Münter), is the largest Blauer Reiter collection in the world. This is “local art” — first exhibited in Munich a century ago, seen today in Munich at the Lenbachhaus. The subject matter is also not far from home. Several of the artists painted together in Murnau, a Bavarian village about 70 km south of Munich early in their careers. I was most drawn to Kandinsky and Münter’s vivid, colorful works from Murnau. Continue reading

time really does fly when you’re…

In my last post, as the end of my last semester was weighing down on me, I shared about some of the things that were on the horizon back then. It was crazy! There at the end, within a 3 day time frame, I graduated, moved, packed and then left for Germany. That will make time fly!
With my family at graduation

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the bavarian forest

Last week was the first official week of the break. I was relieved to finish all my tests and looking forward to a little trip to the Bayerischer Wald – or Bavarian Forest – which lies in the east of Germany near the Czech Republic. It is a really beautiful area!

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end already? ekd stipend program closing seminar

The Lutheran Church of Germany gave me an incredible gift – a stipend that made it possible for me to study in Germany this year! They, along with the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, provide stipends for students from around the world to come study theology (and other subjects) and to gain ecumenical experience in Germany.

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rothenburg ob der tauber, bamberg & salzburg: welcome mom & gale!

In the last two weeks of June, Mom and Gale came to visit me in Munich! I’m finally blogging about it. On the day they arrived, we hit the ground running to stave off the jet lag and to pack in as much of the city as possible on the sultry summer day before the rain arrived.
From the top of St. Peter – the first “must-see” every time I have visitors!

bike tour through munich

Since the weather has turned nice I have been using my bike for transportation from “point A to point B,” but I seldom ride for fun or stop to smell the roses while on the way. So, last weekend, Julius and I decided to take a bike tour through Munich to do just that – take our time, explore some new corners, enjoy a ride. It was a perfect day!

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the garnetts visit germany

Towards the end of May, two GREAT people came to Munich. Jessie and Andrew, friends from Samford (Jessie was my sorority “big”… and just a dear friend in general), have just moved to Northern Ireland for a job. On their way to N. Ireland, they stopped in Munich. They did a few things on their own while I was in class, including a trip to the concentration camp in Flossenbürg and to the city of Regensburg. We also spent time together eating out, cooking, seeing the city, playing games, and riding bikes.
bike trip in the English Garden

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patrick and prague

My favorite person (brother Patrick) came to visit me in Germany for about 10 days in May. Just after he arrived, we went to Prague for a long weekend. It is a 5 hour bus trip to Prague from Munich (quicker that you can get there on a train) and the fare was just about 50 EU. For those folks reading from southern Germany – I’d recommend the weekend trip! This post is mostly just snapshots of our time there.

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