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Posts posted by Edee

  1. You can fly with Lufthansa to London with your Chihuahua as far as I know...but, it seems there are no direct flights from Berlin, they all seem to go to Stuttgart first for some reason.


    I have in the end decided to get a train to Cherbourg in France, and then get the ferry to Rosslare in Ireland, which is saving me a lot of money and a day's travelling.


  2. I'm having the same problem. Want to take me and my dog to Ireland. Here's what I found out so far:


    Aer Lingus only take dogs on long haul flights from the States - something to do with oxygen and lack thereof on 'short' flights from Germany to Ireland

    British Airways don't take dogs on flights from Germany and refer you to their cargo section.

    Lufthansa flights all seem to fly you first down to south Germany and then to Ireland, and some tickets are above 850 euro one way...that's without factoring in the dog at all and a ridiculously long journey.

    Only some ferries allow you to take dogs as a foot passenger - others require you to take them but only with a car - you have to book the kennel area in advance, but it seems like no ferry companies will allow you to do this online (so I guess book over the phone instead? Seems crazy that the dog option isn't simply a tickable box).


    The dog/s will have to be muzzled for train journeys (in Germany anyway.) And you may need a carry case for being on other train networks in the UK - I'm thinking of buying a collapsable one. Like the ferries many train tickets even within Germany aren't bookable online, and you can't pay for the dog ticket online either, so again potentially large phone bills will happen due to having to call them to simply book tickets.


    Unfortunately my dog is bigger than Chihuahua size, he is Jack Russel size and just under 8kg...but WAY too big for the measurements for bringing on board (I think the only dogs that fit their requirements would have to be puppy versions of miniature breeds...23cm on one side of the container? Hello?!)


    I called Deutsche Bahn and asked could I book the whole journey including trains and ferries through them including dog, since no one seemed to allow me to book any of this online. No problem I was told, just go to one of our offices. I did. I got a Berliner schnauze bitch who rolled her eyes at me, sighed repeatedly as if it wasn't her job to find customers train tickets, ignored my request for a train to the Hook of Holland, provided me with a route through Paris using the Eurotunnel (the Eurotunnel doesn't take dogs by the way, just in case you were considering that as an option). She then said that for all further trains she'd no idea as to prices or routes as they weren't Deutsche Bahn...So either the woman on the telephone was hopelessly optimistic or hadn't a clue or maybe I was simply unlucky getting a supremely unhelpful woman behind the counter (mind you, you seem to get a lot of supremely unhelpful people here behind counters ;) ).


    I then was thinking of maybe flying to say, Belfast - but no, they don't go there. Then I thought Manchester - as near as I could to Holyhead ferry port, but Lufthansa don't seem to go there from Berlin either, and their site allows you to input any destination from Berlin even though they don't go to most of them, you get a message saying that the date input is wrong. Sigh. My head and back truly hurt after all this.


    My heart lifted when I saw on this post that Lufthansa go to Birmingham, which would still save me a day of travelling on trains and ferries...but now thanks to the other person who said they are only allowed to arrive on some routes I see that Birmingham is out, they don't take the arrival of dogs. So for me, it's either Edinburgh, Scotland, then ferry to Belfast, or London and long train journey to Holyhead. Or trains and ferries and cut out all flights.


    I must say, I'm totally surprised at how difficult this journey is. I assumed since they brought in the whole pet passport thing that it meant planes and ferries might actually take pets. It's all very well allowing pets to have passports, not much point if you can't actually bring them anywhere.


    So for me anyway, it is back to a: 6 hour train to Hook of Holland/Rotterdam. A 7 hour ferry journey (plus hours for check-in, boarding etc.) Then 75 mins train journey to Liverpool Street. Then ca. 5 hours to Holyhead from Euston. Then finally 3 hours 15 minutes to get to Dublin from Holyhead (plus check-in and boarding etc. )


    My poor poor dog - a short flight would probably be less tiring and traumatic for both of us. So if anyone has any bright ideas that don't involve a minimum journey of approx. 22 hours on various trains and journeys with the dog wearing a muzzle or locked in a kennel for the majority of it, please let me know.


  3. best bet is eBay Kleinanzeigen, Craigslist and Zweitehand magazine (or they have an online version). There are lots of second hand shops near me, but the furniture is old and crappy and sells for the same as what you'd pay new in Ikea, which I always find odd. There is a big Trödelmarkt at the back of the Neukölln Oper (go through the arch and onto the back street) with lots of second hand furniture down the back in the warehouse bit, I have no idea of prices though.


  4. Thanks all. Thing is my boss is very shady - I googled the address for my health insurance the other day (he has a number of work addresses...) and up popped some log of the latest court case againt the firm. He always wins, becuase he operates just within the law, but there are for sure some angry customers out there and I don't blame them.


    He is absolutely doing nothing illegal at all, but it all feels rather like a scam to me, people pay a lot of money for the service and then don't really get what they thought out of it. I just find the whole thing rather sickening to be honest, it's not how I would run a business - suck as much money as you can out of people and then toss them aside and not care that your business reputation is being torn apart in blogs on the internet.


    Likewise, it might not be illegal to get no work contract. What I did get was some kind of print out, that looks rather like a monthly payment slip but bigger - like a general overview of what tax I (don't) pay, pension, monthy wage etc. But no actual contract with important things like 'you have to work on your holidays' and 'when you are sick, you will have to work those hours that you missed' on it which I was required to sign.


    I gave the general overview piece of paper to the dole, saying that that is all I got from my employer and they processed my claim, I also get monthy wage stubs etc. and my boss has signed that piece of paper the dole needs periodically.


    The thing is I never asked for a contract after I realised that one was not forthcoming because I realised that without one I could potentially just up and leave with no notice, but likewise he could fire me at will too (which I wish he would...)


  5. @ swimmer, I would love to just leave this job and get another, believe me I've tried so hard for the last year to do just that. That is what makes this worse, the fact that I can only leave this god-awful job when I find something else, and finding something else has proved incredibly difficult which means I'm trapped for the foreseeable future (which right now seems to be stretching out for all eternity). Hence my wanting to concetrate on freelance work, if jobs are that difficult to get, then I rekconed I'd just have to make my own work. But this is also hard to do while my days are disjointed by minijob hell - I'm getting there, it just means every step takes much longer to achieve and I've had to turn down work because the minijob interferes with other possible freelance jobs.


    I'm just so miserable and depressed from having to drag myself into that job week after week - and finding that I have to work on my only time away from the place has been the final straw. It's not a well run office, I'm not treated particularly well, and he's bending the rules to suit himself. I never even got an Arbeitsvertrag, so nothing is on paper (hence my confusion about holidays etc). I feel like I'm being exploited and under normal circumstances I would simply not put up with an employer like this. But in my circumstances I have to put up with it, because try as I might, I have not yet found anything else, and this is what's driving me crazy, that I have no control over my own destiny right now, it is in the hands of other people and that is incredibly frustrating. I have never been so unemployable as since I moved to Berlin. I have always been able to easily get jobs, and fly through interviews...not sure what I am doing wrong here.


    Anyway, because of all that I am desperately clutching at straws, and hence I was wondering if there was any other way out of this job, without another job to replace it, because so far I've tried all other options and I'm not sure how much more on-going work-related misery I can take until I find this 'other job' that doesn't seem to exist. Sorry, venting a bit, just totally frustrated is all.


    @ kthy that link leads to some 'danger danger warning' page, so I didn't proceed.


  6. Well in direct contrast to the advice I just posted above, I did google 'minijob' and 'krank' and some girl who'd fractured her foot was getting the same treatment as me from her employer. But someone pointed out that in fact employees in minijobs have the same rights as other employees.


    Here is the link for anyone in a similar boat: http://www.minijob-zentrale.de/nn_10182/DE/1__AN/8__arbeitsrecht/InhaltsNav.html__nnn=true


    Now all I need to do is google 'lose Harz IV when quit minijob?' in German...perhaps I should get someone more fluent than I to do that for me..


    thanks again for the replies. I hope I'm not coming across as some lazy sod who just wants to be on the dole, I'm in Berlin, the employment situation here is dire and I've been trying and failing for a year to find alternative employment. And since that has failed dismally, I simply wish to leave my horrible job before I crack up.


  7. ok, FYI I just rang someone in the know and apparently with Minijobs there is no sick pay, and no paid holidays, hence me having to work up the extra hours and work during my holidays. As this person just said 'yes, modern day slave labour'.


    Apparently my only option is to go properly into the world of self-employment and fill out a business plan and apply for Einstiegsgeld...


  8. El Jeffo, that's what I thought, not legal. It's really stressing me out this 10 hour per week job, it is taking over my life because of never actually getting any time away from the damn place whether I'm sick or on holiday or whatever. I could get more freelance work, which I'd like, but miss out on stuff because of this horrible job, between travelling time, extra hours and just plain stress from dreading going in there it is simply ruining my life!!! And I need an out!!!


    I heard that if you voluntarily give up a job, you will get assistance, but not for 6 weeks, or perhaps as Serenajean said 3 months (I thought it was 6 weeks). Whether this applies in my situation I have no idea.


    I was in touch with a free 'know your rights' service today, and they didn't seem to know either, they simply said to explain my situation to the A'amt and they might be sympathetic, but that's different to knowing what the actual rule is on this. I wish there was a list of them somewhere written in either plain English or German. I'm guessing half the people I would deal with in the Arbeitsamt wouldn't know either, as the rules seem so complicated that each person tells you a different thing so it all depends who you talk to - for instance, as I am working, I went into speak to the A'amt on a Thursday the 'Berufstätig' day as it was the only day they were open when I wasn't working. That was fine first time round. Second time I did this, I was told that a Minijob is not actually considered a job (???) and after queueing for 2 hours I was told I'd have to come on another day.


    Leon, I would LOVE to get fired, but it took so long to train me in that if I started acting up, I'd just constantly get it in the neck from my boss, but not get fired and have to deal with his displeasure on a regular basis and only make my life worse there.


    Anyway, thanks for all your replies. I guess I'll have to simply call someone in the job center and find out once and for all.


  9. Here's my situation:


    I'm in a minijob and as I've no other work other than that, I get Harz IV to top up the 400 euro per month.


    The Arbeitsamt have recently made me fill out forms to declare myself to them as self-employed due to periodical income from other work (unfortunately not enough to keep me going).


    Thing is, I HATE my job, I've worked extra hours for no extra income, the work atmosphere is dreadful, there is no possibility of getting full time work from it and it is one of those places that sucks the life and soul out of you, causes a huge amount of stress, and all for the 'huge' amount of 400 euro per month.


    After a year of hell working there and trying desperately to find any other kind of job, I am getting desperate to escape, but I'm afraid I can't escape unless I find either an alternative part time job, or a full time job (which I've tried very hard to do).


    My question is, if I voluntarily leave this job, will I lose Harz IV, or will the Arbeitsamt (as I am assuming) force me to continue to stay in an untenable work situation that is having an adverse effect on all other aspects of my life? I'm an EU citizen by the way, and am wondering if I can be left with no social help income whatsoever, even if I do quit my job.


    Also, I am wondering about the legalities of this: I have finally booked two weeks off work, which can't come soon enough as far as I am concerned. However, my boss said that yes, I could have the time off, but during that time I would have to check the work emails. This cannot be legal? It's not really a holiday if I have to work during my time off and for a miserable 400 euro per month, it seems a ridiculous specification and it has just made me hate both my boss and job all the more, and be even more frustrated that I'm trapped there until I find something else. I will be paid during this time, so perhaps it is a case that I would normally not get paid in a minijob if I didn't work while on holiday.


    And finally, I have been sick this week and have doctor's notes. When I rang into work to tell them that I was sick and wouldn't be in until Monday I was told that I would have to work extra hours next week to make up for the time lost while sick. Again, is this legal? When you are sick, you are sick and I've been to the doctor, so am not pulling a fast one. I can't believe I'm expected to work longer hours next week, for no extra pay, to make up for time when I was genuinely ill with accompanying proof from the doctor.


    Basically, is the above treatment of me legal in a minijob? And if I explain this to the Arbeitsamt and say that since I am now registered with them as self-employed, could I simply ditch this dreadful, exploitative job finally and concentrate on building up a freelance career without my benefits being taken from me by the Arbeitsamt.


    If anyone could help with this, I would be really grateful. I'm really at the end of my tether and am feeling like simply walking out, but of course would regret this if I this meant I would definitely lose all regular income from both crappy job and Harz IV, so I just want to know my rights before I do something stupid.


    Many thanks


  10. Unigarent (or perhaps Unigarant) in Alexanderplatz, recommended by an American friend of mine. There is a woman there with an unpronouncable name - just call reception and say that you need tax advise in English and she'll set an appointment up with the appropriate person - that's what I did (although, in my case Frau Unpronouncable was double booked on my appointment day and I had to muddle through everything in german with someone else in the end). In any case, they are very nice there and did all my taxes for me and really helped me out and actually saved me money (back when I was actually earning money as a freelancer!)


  11. do they have to be DHL? I got my moving boxes in Bauhaus, the first lot were fine, the second lot had a different folding design and were very unstable - so if you go for this option, just check to see if you like the sturdiness of the completed boxes before purchasing. I'm sure OBI has some too - otherwise ask the post office where to get larger versions of the little packet boxes that they sell


  12. Agree with Swimmer 100%.


    Wanted to point out though that if you paid tax in your own EU country before coming here, you are entitled to dole money and they would cover health insurance. But you need to get a particular form from your own country's social welfare services. The problem with this though, is that in order got get dole, you need the F'bescheinigung (they simply will not deal with you without it), and without proof of health insurance that might prove tricky.


    Are you here over three months? If not, you can get the Freizug. from the Burgeramt - I might be totally wrong about this, but prior to being here for 3 months, as far as I know, they just hand it out, at least that's how friends of mine got it, whereas I went through hell and back with the Auslanderbehörde to get it after being here longer than 3 months. Perhaps someone else can clarify if I am right about the Burgeramt simply printing it out within three months or if they also want the insurance proof. If I am right, and you are here over three months, you could de-register as resident here and then re-register, so that you are back within the 3 months period and can get that stupid piece of paper without proof of health insurance.


    I was in the same position as you, came with savings, searched and searched for work, got increasingly panicked as my savings ran out and I had no job on the horizon. Eventually I took on a horrific call centre job that was so bad (60 hours per week between work and travelling, dreadful pay, dreadful work environment) that I couldn't bear it for more than 6 weeks. But of course, then I was in the system and required to continue to pay huge health insurance bills monthly, while having no income and not registered as unemployed (I didn't think I could, as I voluntarily quit my job - too late I found out about the entitlements mentioned above).


    Due to all of this I got into huge debt, ever hoping that I would some day get that ever-mythical thing here, a job. Thinking that the law of averages would dictate that surely, one day, someone would hire me for something if I just didn't give up and kept applying. Nine months of learning German helped in other ways, but has had no impact on me getting a full time job. So, despite mammoth efforts on my part, I used all my savings, have no job/career and continue to live from hand to mouth. I finally got a minijob and get supported by the social welfare, and on this minimal income have to pay back my debts, debts mostly caused by health insurance payments from when I'd no income to cover them.


    Berlin is great and wonderful and seems full of possibilities, and some people I know walked into some kind of employment as soon as they arrived. Others, most, I would say, like myself have had a never-ending struggle. And I now realise 'staying here because I love it' is not worth the on-going trauma just to survive financially here when so many odds are stacked against you. If it wasn't illegal not to have health insurance, most people would have a much easier time here - a job in a cafe that pays a pittance with no health insurance? No problem! You could just take it and be careful with your money. But having to have the stupid insurance actually prevents you from taking on work, because it doesn't pay enough to cover it.


    My advice to you would be to 'abmelden' as resident in Berlin, go back home, don't spend all your savings here (nothing worse then watching them get lower and lower, with no income coming in). Do a German course in your home country and apply to jobs here from there. When you have a job here, then move over and not before.


    So...let that be a warning to you not to make the same mistakes I did. Put a deadline on your hunt for work here. Don't use up all your savings in the hope of getting work - I'm qualified in a number of areas, have never had problems finding well-paid work before, but none of that matters in Berlin. I've been here for 3 years now, have applied to and continued to apply to countless jobs and got nowhere. Imagine yourself still without a job here in 3 years time, picking up bits and pieces of work here and there and fretting constantly about how to make ends meet. Speaking from experience, it is no way to live and sucks all the enjoyment of living in what is a fantastic city (if you can afford to live here).


  13. If this is some kind of telemarketing/customer care role, I applied for something similar a couple of years ago. Even though the job was through English, the only reason they wanted German was that all their training materials were in German and your job would be explained through German. So, it could be that this is the case.


  14. My problem with exberliner is that each issue has a theme. When I first came here I bought it, looking for jobs, insights, whatever, and had to wade through 'romance in Berlin' 'saunas in Berlin' when I think a general mix of topics in every issue would garner them far more sales. Had I oodles of spare cash and was not worried about turning a profit I would love to publish an english language magazine that would reflect more about what life here is like and had plenty of interesting topics across the board. I mean if you are not that bothered about saunas, and that is the sum total of the magazine, you aren't going to buy it that month are you?


  15. I was here for a year before I got a proper job which paid my health insurance, I paid private health insurance after that, which cost a fortune, 300 euro per month and took most of my freelance earnings away. However, I was never asked for those backpayments for the year that I didn't have insurance, though I have heard that they have tightened up since 2009.


    In any case, a friend of mine has looked into this, he is getting a (relatively) cheap health insurance. It's not the best deal ever, once your medical bills go above a certain amount you have to pay, however it keeps you within the law and won't break the bank.


    I am currently in a minijob and it pays my insurance, even though it is part time. I'm still unsure if this is the deal with all minijobs, but I believe so - in any case, there seems to be many minijobs doing cleaning, while not your dream career, you would at least earn 400 euro per month tax free and get your health insurance covered. The health insurance aspect was the main reason I took the job.


    Anyway, I will ask my friend the name of the insurance co. he is going with (he hasn't been asked about back payments, I think they are just happy to get money from him from now on - so don't panic too much)


  16. I have messaged everyone who has replied to this with the details - I hope I got everyone the system would only let me send so many emails (I guess to prevent spamming) and I got somewhat confused. Looking forward to seeing you next Thursday or at a later date :)


  17. Ok, to explain, I did an interview, then the usual thing, waiting far longer than originally told to hear if I'd got it, but I didn't get it (along with the other numerous jobs I've applied for recently and not got), wallowed in self-pity and despair for some time (read the thread on 'is it easy to get a job in Berlin?' if you don't know what I'm talking about) -I must say, I'm finding it harder and harder with each rejection to bounce back and stay positive. Anyway, then the possibility of a paid internship came up, so again I delayed with making anything concrete with these classes, until I knew possible work hours etc. But I can't do that because of reasons too disappointing and long-winded to go into.


    Please accept my apologies for being so flaky, but the possibility of a regular wage/bettering myself has been distracting and it always takes so long to hear back from people and hence, far too much time has gone by since my original post.


    In any case, I guess it's time for me to stop faffing about. How about my place next Thursday 24th June, either starting at 7 - 9, or 7.30 - 9.30 (I'm trying to accomodate people who might be working and want to eat before arriving, but then maybe finishing at 9.30 is too late. Anyone who wants to come, we can decide that depending on what the majority want).


    I only have 7 chairs, so can take a maximum of 7 people and if there is 7, I hope everyone fits in. I was thinking of 10 euro per 2 hour class. Does this sound reasonable? The deal is bring your own art materials, but I have some art materials here and might get some more basic stuff in. If you've some specific image you want to paint or copy, bring that along with you, but I will plan out some possible ideas for those who don't know what they want to do. Total beginners welcome, anyone who doesn't really need an art class but wants a social time while they doodle/draw/paint also welcome.


    I will PM all you responders tomorrow, it's nearly 2am, and I've to be up early.


  18. Hello everyone,


    I've been offered the possibility of a part time job...just have to see a) if I get it, and b ) what the working hours would be if I did. I don't want to set up a class at a particular time and then have to cancel it at the last minute.


    When I know more (mid to end of next week) I will PM everyone who has expressed an interest with more details - Thursday seems like a popular option, but I would be happy to do a second session for other people on another day. And we can take it from there.




  19. Here's my tuppence worth. Craigslist apartments are highly overpriced, and some are scams as was mentioned.


    I've moved 3 times since I've been here, and all times it was the actual landlord and not an agent that chose me. It's much easier to make a personal impression if you are dealing directly with the landlord, rather than an agent, who will go by paperwork alone and not how charming you are.


    Nonetheless, dress to impress, look like you earn money. If you have no job set up, but have savings, this is often not enough. Can't remember the exact phrase, something like "Bürger..." which is basically someone, usually parents who will reveal their income and sign a piece of paper saying that if you renage on the rent that they will cough up on your behalf.


    Have your little pack made up and ready to fax - this includes, proof of income/savings (photocopies of bank statements in your case), your Shufa, last 3 months pay slips if you have been working, a letter of recommendation from last landlord.


    I agree with getting your girlfriend to do the talking, a lot of it is about charming the agent on the other end of the line. I set up a number of viewings with agents and ended up standing outside a building with the agent simply not turning up because they'd rented it out already and not bothered to inform me.


    It is sometimes easier to sublet to begin with, as they don't always want all bits of paperwork from you, and then you will have proof of regular paid rent to show a few months down the line. Or...to find an apartment with a Provision, the non-refundable agent's fee. Most people don't want to toss money aside like that, so there would be less people willing to go for those apartments that require a Provision, if you are willing to pay it, you might just get it.


    Best of luck. It is so frustrating here trying to actually get the damn apartment, but if you just keep trying you will get there! I've gone through this 3 times already (not out of choice!) and that in the middle of being unemployed with no Arbeitslosengeld and no job, so if I can do it, so can you.


  20. Your Krankenkasse will pay for counselling - behavioural therapy etc - but not life coaching, but then many therapists have other strings to their bow.


    All you need to do is go to your doctor, tell them you are depressed, not sleeping, or whatever your symptoms are. Ask him for an überweisung for a therapist. There is a number for a list of English speaking therapists in Berlin - which I cannot recall, although I think if you search for it, you will find it somewhere on the boards here. You then need to find a therapist from the list they will give you, that would have some slots free for you. Beyond that, they will either keep you on or not, and sort all the Krankenkasse stuff out. You might need to go back to your doc a second time if the therapist takes you on, for him to sign off on it.


    good luck


  21. Hi all,


    I've been thinking of setting up some art classes in my apartment. Something casual, with each class running for 2 hours and a small group of say, 6 people per class.


    I am an artist, and I have taught art classes before and have a degree in painting and art history. I've worked doing illustration, mural painting and interior design along with my own art work, so I've a broad range of experience.


    The general idea would be to keep the classes relatively loose with each person concentrating on whatever is of interest to them, drawing, watercolour, oils, acrylic, and for those who are more unsure of what they want to do, I can set them some projects to get their creative juices flowing.


    Although the classes would be primarly based in my home environment, I would be happy to head out to various parts of Berlin as a group to sketch/paint from reality (weather dependent) or take on-board any requests regarding what specifically you would like to do. Basically it would be a get-together of people wanting to learn how to draw and paint in a relaxed environment.


    Please note, all participants would have to bring along their own art supplies, paints, pens, paper etc. I would provide the space and my expertise : ) - not to mention tea and coffee, (I like baking too, so there might be some cakes involved from time to time!)


    Right now, I'm simply gathering any expressions of interest - if there are enough people free around the same time each week, I'd happily set the classes up. Also I should point out, I live in Neukölln (to give you some idea, it takes approx. half an hour to get here from Charlottenburg and also from Prenzlauerberg).


    Please let me know if this would be of interest to you and if so, what day of the week or time (i.e. afternoons or evenings, or weekends) would suit.


    Many thanks.