This morning I took a train to the outskirts of Berlin to the customs office so I could deal with the import of my things. The shipment arrived in Hamburg yesterday, and was driven to Berlin this morning. I met with the driver in the parking lot of the customs office, and together we dealt with the customs officials. I was strongly advised by the shipping company to bring a native German speaker with me, but not knowing anyone here that I could ask such a huge favor of, I went alone. Fortunately, the driver who was transporting my things was a very nice man and spoke some English, so he helped me out when translation issues arose. After we'd dealt with all of the paperwork he gave me a lift back into the city to the shipping warehouse, where he unloaded my things, and then dropped me off at a train station.
My things are still at the warehouse and will be delivered to my apartment next Tuesday, once they have been un-crated. I'll be so glad when I finally have everything here.
In my spare moments I've been building out my new studio, getting it ready so I can start making new work. A couple weekends ago I bought and dragged home 24 square meters of vinyl to cover the floor with. It's thicker and more durable than a plastic tarp, so I'm hoping it will protect the wood floor beneath. I also got a nice staple/nail gun to tack it down neatly and keep it from slipping around.
Last weekend I went to the big art store here, Boesner's, and stocked up on all the essentials. It was hell getting everything home – I relented after just 4 blocks and hailed a cab (seriously, I am so sick of carrying large loads of things that are far too heavy for me) – but now I finally have everything I need. I don't want to start anything new until the chaos of receiving my shipment from Chicago, though. I've kept the studio generally empty to accommodate all the boxes that are on their way here, but once I've dealt will all of that I'll finally get to start making some new work.
I got the furniture I ordered here a few weeks ago and my home is now far more comfortable. It took me two entire days to put everything together, but it was worth it. Here is an image of the sofa-bed that I got, and here is the chest of drawers. It was actually displayed in the store vertically, but I think it works much better for me horizontally, and the wheels I put on make it easy to move the piece around.
I saw a lawyer last week about my rent being too high (the rental company lied on the lease and said my space was 77 square meters when it is actually 57 square meters! wtf), and he said that what they'd done was such an obvious, glaring error that they would have to correct it if I called them up and told them that I was on to them. He told me that rental agencies here often do this to newcomers who might not know the difference and actually pay the higher rent. Once that's taken care of my rent should go from being 600 Euros a month to 444 Euros per month, which I am very happy about. The company will also have to pay me back all the extra money that I have paid up until this point.