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About chooyo

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  • Location Berlin
  • Nationality American
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth
  1. Hopefully not to derail this thread, but is there any option that you take the job, come over alone first and then manage the family move from Munich?  Based on this and the other thread you've posted it might be a lot easier for you to:   - get here, secure some type of short term accommodation that will let you register there and scout out the area for places to live / schools / etc. - get the banking stuff initially sorted - get the TK insurance started - visit the ABH and get the proper visa stuff - get the basic Haftpflichtversicherung set up (I'd highly recommend Rechtsversicherung for at least the first year since the laws here are sometimes quite different) - learn a least a little German to survive daily life (or find the local agencies that can help you with translations for the more complex stuff) - deal with the rest of the chaos that a move entails   COBRA should cover you for something like 18 months if I remember correctly as long as you pay the premiums so if your family is still in the US, they should be fine (as long as one of you has your son under the coverage).  I don't remember the issues with being health insured by 2 companies concurrently for a short period of time but my cancellation with Guardian in the US was done via website / email so it wasn't that tough.   This option might not be possible since you're under a bit of a hard deadline (travel restrictions during pregnancy) but that might also factor in in terms of where you want the birth to happen and the support services available.
  2. Splitting time between US and Germany each year?

      100% agreed ... I use a management company but I also spent a fair amount of time on the contracts - both between the management company and me and between the tenant / me / management company on things like maximum amount that was discretionary / emergency spend and what level of repair required a formal quotation prior to start of work. Even so, I've had to go back to the contract several times (never a desired situation) to dispute charges / things they've done / notifications and claw back money (and now they're even implementing a policy that charges to renew my yearly contract or for someone to just come out and quote a job!).  I also have friends drive by the property from time to time just for a quick eyeball to make sure it's still standing.    It works for me, albeit with a modicum of stress, but you're correct that getting the right one is very important - and for me, the only references that I trusted were from my normal tradespeople who really knew the lay of the land better than me.
  3. Splitting time between US and Germany each year?

    I haven't done it yet though, with aging parents and work location flexibility, my stays in the US are getting longer.  So far, the biggest issue that's arisen for longer stays has been health insurance:  right now, I'm with TK and even after purchasing additional coverage from Envivas I can only get international coverage for 2 month blocks (or so they tell me).  Past that time, things get a bit dicey and based on the prices of US healthcare these days I'm not willing to take chances.  I'll also ask at my Tuesday Stammtisch since 1 person I know has just done a 2 month straight work stint in the US so they might have more information.   Since I'm still a tax resident of Germany, there hasn't been a problem with filings (still have to file both US and German) and I hope it will just stay that way for a while.  If you ever switch tax resident status to Germany and expect any kind of inheritance from the US, search this site for a discussion between PandaMunich and Straightpoop for some potentially nasty payment implications.   Another (possible) issue is driver's license - not so much in validity of a German one in the US but that the DL is used so much for ID in the US that I really needed to keep the US one after getting my German one.  A German license is not really used as ID here and I've never bothered with an International Driver's License so I have no idea on that option.   Scan all your important documents (contracts et. al.) and have them accessible to you while you are traveling.  It's really frustrating to have to have a friend go down to a storage unit or safe deposit box and find them for you when you're stressed about a warranty repair or what a tenant can actually do.   A phone number that follows you is nice ... I use Skype to have a US number that forwards to whatever number I tell it to (German, Czech, etc.) but the latest update is really annoying.   Also, if you have a house / apartment in the US you're going to 1) keep the address so things like credit cards have an easy address to use 2) Ensure that all of your statements / bills are coming to you electronically so you can access and pay them from anywhere and don't just show up at an address that you can't get to 3) Find someone reliable (possibly even to the extent of having a power of attorney) to look after your place and deal with any issues while you're gone (a property management company also works though they take a percentage of any kind of rent as their fee) 4) look into Landlord's Insurance for your US place since it gives better coverage if your'e renting it out (not totally necessary but just something to check based on your locality).   Since you're planning on doing the reverse commute from mine, the mechanics will be different but I'd wager that the basic concerns will still apply.  Good luck with your planning.
  4. What irritated you today?

    Has anyone else just got the latest Toytown / Local survey pop-up?  I completely forgot to take a screenshot but it's definitely irritating.  At least they could get a proofreader to get things like "habbits" right (no, they are not addicted rabbits) and add a couple of "prefer not to answer" buttons so that we don't just skew the survey for fun. I'd say also add an "additional comments / feedback" box but that might be a very, very bad idea.
  5. Zermatt tourists get helicopter evacuations

    As long as North Wall can still serving pizza, I would be quite happy to be stuck in Zermatt for a while.  Sooner or later they'll get the lifts to Rote Nase open again and it'd be just awesome to be able to ski into town again.
  6. Survey Says: German Property Survey

    Question 6 is still a little off ... please leave your email and enter your email seem redundant.
  7. What if income tax was scrapped?

    a possible "mixed" solution here . Interesting idea I think but probably politically unfeasible. 
  8. First World Problems

    The one who rode in on it?
  9. A2 to B1 level, How?!?

    I only used HiNative for a bit a while ago so the experience might not be so relevant now. It was fine for the trial period for questions and answers but as soon as you were off the trial, you needed to buy the Premmium service or you never got an answer.  Also, the app was slow on my G5S so I stopped using it.   I do hope that Lang-8 will stick to their estimates and open up sign-ups to new users again in March - I much preferred the longer writing format to the simple Q&A stuff that HiNative offers.
  10. What are you listening to right now?

    ok ... with the Black Mirror mention, all I can listen to are bees :) :        
  11. What are you cooking today?

    Starting cooking today with Alton Brown's Baked Apples recipe since they are easy to re-heat and I need the oven space tomorrow for the spiced lamb loins (somewhat close to this recipe but with some oregano and more garlic).  The rest of tomorrow will be easy - green beans and peppers with Feta and some kind of pilaf (maybe a la Madhur Jaffrey?) and then I can relax with a bit of wine and wait for the fireworks to begin.
  12. Complete FAIL

    I don't know ... based on the snow that Erie, PA just got, it might just be about right :)
  13. So when did S9 start running to Spandau?

    The one that I saw was this one and I know a friend who lives in Pankow that was very confused / disappointed that the connection went away - though now he's just planning to go out of Tegel if possible until BER is completed (or he retires, whichever comes first  ).  The S8 / S9 has been messed up for a bit though ... even the Ring (masquerading as the s9) went thru Pankow S-Bahn for a good amount of time.
  14. What's got you flummoxed today?

    Ok ... thanks for the translation, but huh?  
  15. Bug busting

    Crap.  I have some stuff in glass but they take up so much space that it's impractical for all the things they want to get to.  Yeah, I've seen the larvae and webs - disgusting and so far the traps are not really helping.  I may just have to chuck everything into the freezer for a while and hope it stops the little buggers.