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About Brockman

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  • Location Kreuzberg, Berlin
  • Nationality US
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth
  1. I'll be there, maybe more towards 18.00 however.
  2. King of the Grill!

    I've got that clamshell Weber gas grill, which I've umrusted from a having the small 'camping' propane bottle to the large 10kg  one. We grill 2-3 times per week between April and November, and maybe once every 2 weeks during the summer. It's on a balcony so it needs to be gas, although, some neighbors I see do have charcoal. They do not use their grills even nearly the frequency that I do, thankfully. If I had my druthers I'd always use woodchips, but it's just not an option on a city balcony with 2 small children running around.
  3. Elternzeit general questions

    I don't think it is a matter of hoping that it works. I think that even as the father, you are legally entitled to parental leave, as long as you send the request and supporting documentation to your employer at least 7 weeks before the due date of your child. Other TTers, correct me if I am wrong, but can an employer reject Elternzeit for a father? I don't think they are legally able to reject it. They can give you a hard time about the exact dates and try to influence that, but I don't think they can say flat out no. I think you are indeed protected from losing your job once you inform them of your intention to take Elternzeit.   Consider requesting the 2nd month now, and then if you want to change it, the 7-week rule applies. So, if you take July 15th to Aug 15th, and Dec. 15th to Jan. 15th, you can request approval from your employer 7-weeks before the next period (so say you change your mind and want to do Nov. 15th to Dec. 15th, then you need to request approval 7 weeks before Nov. 15th).   RE TK: They contacted me automatically when I requested Elternzeit approval from my employer applied to my local Bürgeramt in Berlin for Elternzeit, I don't recall contacting them directly. One day some form arrived in the post from them and I had to fill it in and send it back.   I think this website explains Elternzeit pretty well:   I was only able to find this in English from the government agency that manages Elternzeit:
  4. Elternzeit general questions

    Yes, submit Elternzeit request to employer no later than 7 weeks before the estimated due date. My company asked me to provide a letter from my wife's doctor confirming the estimated due date. Your Elternzeit will actually start on whatever day the baby is born. Employers and the Bürgeramt Elterngeldstelle know to take this into consideration.   Yes, you can definitely split 1st birth month, go back to work, and then take a subsequent birth month. For example, if your kid is born July 15th 2018, you can take 1 month July 15th to Aug. 15th, and then another month, say Dec. 15th to Jan 15th 2019 and get Elterngeld for 2 months. I did it. Your employer would need to approve. You and the mother can take up to 14 months combined with Elterngeld, until 1 calendar year after the date of birth. Note, you need to take at least 2 months to be eligible for Elterngeld. Elterngeld 2 is more flexible, and can be taken for a longer period (less money).   To apply, fill in the form from your local Bürgeramt Elterngeldstelle and attach all relevant info (baby birth certificate, 12 prior months pay stubs, passport, Anmeldebescheinigung, Health Insurance card copy, Social Insurance info, whatever else they list in the form).   Talk to your city's Elterngeldstelle directly, don't count on your boss or company's HR department knowing anything.
  5. What is your feedback on (TransferWise)

    It is likely that Transferwise would have a more favorable exchange rate than the UK bank. This was my experience when transferring from SEPA participating UK and CH based banks. For large amounts, this can be significant.      
  6. What is your feedback on (TransferWise)

    I transferred a large amount of money from the USA to Germany using Transferwise for a similar purpose, and I received the money in my German bank account within 3 working days and it all went very smoothly (no surprises whatsoever). I sent my German bank a heads up that the money was coming, and they wrote back like it was no big deal. I have been using the Transferwise service since it launched probably more than 5 years ago. I highly recommend it.   Definitely, definitely do what Fraufruit says and transfer it to your local German EUR bank account BEFORE you transfer it to the realtor. Open a bank account if you need to (I think Transferwise can help you with that too).
  7. Stone Brewing in Alt Mariendorf, Berlin

    I really like BRLO too and I am a semi-regular there. I would probably like it more if better food was available at the outside kiosk, the interior restaurant is not that great in the summer. But oh well, the beer selection is great, and it's usually pretty quick to queue up and order even when it is rammed. I think the staff is very pleasant as well, a rarity in Berlin.
  8. Stone Brewing in Alt Mariendorf, Berlin

    I think Stone Berlin sustains itself by brewing beer to distribute around Europe. I've been there several times, including what should be 'peak times' and I never saw it even remotely full. Busy, yes, full, not even close. Whereas, I've seen Stone beers in London, which said 'made in Berlin' on the can. I think it's more of a special occasion type place, and I typically only go there when beer nerd friends are visiting from out of town.   I am a regular at Bier Laden on Kreuzbergstr. I've been going there for months and they know me quite well. I think they have the best selection of German craft beers in Berlin, that seems to be the focus. I'm the guy you see there Saturday afternoons when they open, sitting next to the toddler glued to the iPhone. The staff always gives my son a free Apfelschorle while daddy sips his pint. They also kind of double as a bar in the evenings. I've ended up there until 1am on a Friday night.
  9. Registering a marriage in Germany

    @Miya CR Remember you need to go to the Standesamt of the Bezirk where you are angemeldet (registered as a resident).
  10. Registering a marriage in Germany

    See this post from me:      
  11. Travelling to New York next year

    I am originally from the NY area and I recently went there with my German wife and father in law. FIL stayed at the Best Western in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and he said it was fine. We didn't actually see the room but he would have told us if it were shit. He paid around $120 USD per night all in although he found some special, it might be more in high season. They had free breakfast and since he is a 75 year old German man that was a big plus. My sister lives in Bay Ridge and it is a very safe and diverse neighborhood, we always stay with her when we go to NYC. It's like the NYC of another era before the rampant gentrification took hold. There are lots of families, immigrants, mom and pop shops, and of course a wide range of excellent restaurants and bars. From there, the R train will get you to midtown Manhattan in around 40 min if it's running good. In Bay Ridge, everyone you're likely to interact with on a daily basis will have a different accent, and very few will have a pure American accent. It reminds me of the NY I lived in in the late 90s, in a good way. Check it out. Also, I can highly recommend the Crown Heights neighborhood as another poster did. Have fun.
  12. I agree with Krieg and kaffeemitmilch. Definitely get the 7 speed and the fenders. You'll find both very useful in Berlin. I have a saddle bag on one side that hooks to the back rack, but I barely use it, I'm more of a rucksack guy. Also, it doesn't fit well with the kid seat on the back. Although my bike is very much a city / commuter bike, I've actually taken it on some light trails around the city, and even did a 100 km ride on a Fahrradweg. As for a lock, I just have 1 U lock which I lock the back wheel and frame with. I rarely leave the bike in public (we have a Fahrradkeller at home and at the office) and until now, I haven't had a problem. Perhaps when the bike is new, get a cheaper 2nd lock as a deterrent. Always lock to something immobile. I also highly recommend a hi vis vest and extra blinking lights. Good luck!
  13. Go to Stadler in Charlottenburg:   I bought my €500 commuting bike in September 2015 and it's perfect for my daily 16 km commute across Berlin. It's not given me any problems since then. The only thing was the seat broke shortly after I bought it and Stadler replaced it without a hassle. They can also sort you out for any racks or baskets, lights, helmets, backs, rainwear, etc.   They have a huge selection and a track where you can try the bikes directly in the store. Ask for Herr Gebauer in the parts section, he speaks perfect English.
  14. Elternzeit general questions

      No, as the others say, you must be insured, and you must pay for insurance. However, if you are receiving Elterngeld, you are on Elternzeit, you are being paid zero by your employer while on Elternzeit, your wife (and mother of your child) is also insured on the GKV (public system), and you have no other income at all while on Elternzeit, then you should not have to pay for health insurance while on Elternzeit. Your insurer should have sent you a form to fill in which asks a bunch of questions about how much you are going to earn while on Elternzeit from income other than Elterngeld, and if one of the conditions I outlined above was not true, then you would have indicated this on the form. Did you receive it and fill it in? In my case, I took 5 months, and although I am voluntarily on the GKV (public system), the amount I had to pay my insurer while I was on Elternzeit was zero, because I met all of the above conditions (I'm reading the letter from my insurer right now, and it outlines these reasons as to why I pay zero while on Elternzeit receiving Elterngeld). You should call them and ask them to clarify why you need to pay. It seems something is unclear or you are leaving some key info out of your post.  
  15. Legal Help - Filing a Police Report

    First, accept that you have been scammed and you are very unlikely to get the money back. The situation you describe is a textbook scam and the person who scammed you is likely off the grid by now. The police and a lawyer won't be able to help you. Nonetheless, there are some steps you should take. If what I just wrote happens to not be the case, then it would be an exception and you should consider yourself very lucky. If you cannot bring a German speaker to the police station to fill in a report, then you should have one help you type something up in German so that you can print it out and bring it to them. Try to anticipate anything the police might ask. Some things to consider in addition to filing a police report: - Were you sure the person who showed you the apartment lives there? How so? You can safely assume the ID number the person gave you is fake. - Did you pay this person via bank transfer to a German bank account, and was the name on the account the same name as the person you dealt with? If so, you should contact your bank and explain the situation. Also, contact this person's bank and explain the situation to them as well. I recommend via online outlets (contact info on bank website) and recommended post (Einschreiben). - Write to the local Bürgeramt and explain the situation to them as well, that the resident of the building at a certain address might be scamming people. Send them a copy of the police report. - Although a longshot, try to find out who the property manager of the building is, and write to them to explain the situation as well. -- What is the purpose of this if you're not getting your money back? To make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. In the future, if you're not dealing with a verified property management company, and instead you're dealing with a private person, here are some tips you should follow: - If it seems like a great deal that is too good to be true, it definitely is. Walk away. If you sense any pressure tactic to transfer money, definitely walk away. A legitimate landlord is more interested in having a reliable person rent their flat, and once they think they've found that person, they'll be patient in advancing the deal to the next phase. - Confirm the person showing you the flat lives in it, or has the right to rent it. Are they rushed and shifty when showing it? Ask to see how things work.  Ask to see the person's German government-issued ID before moving forward to the sign a contract phase. If it's the owner, ask for proof of ownership. If it is a sublet, ask to see the Anmeldebescheinigung. Any legitimate landlord would be fine with this. If the person says they are a representative of the landlord, walk away. - Do not give anyone any money unless you have verified who that person is, and / or that they live in the flat and / or have the right to rent it out. Even then, only give a small amount of money to reserve the place and the rest upon receiving the key and the 'move-in protocol' which describes the condition of the flat. If they ask for a lot of money up front, walk away. - Never give anyone cash, and if you've been asked to transfer money, make sure the payment terms are clearly outlined in the agreement (i.e. transfer x% on this day, and x% upon key receipt, key receipt will occur x days before the contract start-date). If anyone asks for cash, walk away. - Before transferring any money make sure it is a German bank account and that the name on the account matches the ID / Anmeldebescheinigung of the person you dealt with.   Sorry about your situation. It happens to the best of us and we learn. Good luck.