On the 16th of November we packed all our belongings into a moving truck. After a tough day of hard work, and a quick wipe-down of the place – to give subsequent inhabitants a pleasant entry – we closed the door to our beloved Wageningen apartment behind us. It wasn’t easy to leave the apartment. It was also strange to leave Wageningen. I had lived there for thirteen years, Heike – my wife – a bit less, but still more than a decade. We studied in Wageningen. This is where we fell in love and spent ten years together. This is where earlier this year we got married and then became parents to our beautiful son Rafa. Wageningen was truly where we were at home. But the time had come. After studying and completing my PhD contract (I’ll do my best to defend my work on the 4th of December, a few days from now), it was time to start probing around for new opportunities. New adventures. I got a wonderful opportunity to further my own line of research in a group in Germany. This job would mean a great couple of years in a good group with lots of potential to collaborate with new people. It also meant we had to move about 750 kilometres away. To Freising, Germany.
And so we did…
On the early morning of November 17th we left the house of my parents-in-law, where we had spent the night after packing. It would take us about 9 hours to get there with the moving truck. Me and two in-laws would drive the truck with all our stuff. Heike, Rafa and her mother would go by a smaller vehicle, containing mostly plants and enclosures for my lizards. My brother and two friends, who had helped packing the truck, had asked me the day before whether the right hind tire needed more air… I said then that it was probably fine, as it was a rental truck and the rental guy probably knew about this stuff. However, after five hours or so on the road, I was driving the truck and I noticed it started to get more and more wobbly. We soon stopped for a quick sanitary break at a shabby German road side toilet and we all agreed there that it looked like the tire was flatter than before and that we should soon stop at a better stop where we could look at it. That stop was about 5 kilometres further, at Rasthof Wurzburg-Sud… When we stopped the car the tire was even flatter! Within 15 minutes of parking it, it stood on the rim. On the positive side; the tire could have blown up while driving 100 km/h on the highway. We were at least safe and sound on a parking lot with a restaurant.
The rental company had rented us a truck with an inaccessible spare tire (broken mechanism), with a tire that had 0 profile on it. Therefore, we spent the next 26 (TWENTY-SIX) hours waiting for someone that could get our wheel off, bring it to a tire shop, have the shop put a new tire on, and bring it back to the truck. This could have been done in two hours. Bear in mind, this shop was only 2 kilometres away. We waited 24 hours for the person… The fix was done in a little over an hour (and that’s because not the tire but the rim was broken, and this had to be replaced and taken from another shop, which was also a few kilometres away).
So, long story short. My wife and the baby had to sleep on the floor of our new empty apartment together with her mom, and I spent the night in a Best Western with her sister and her mothers partner… plus two hysterical cats, a bunch of geckos and tarantulas that had to be kept warm. Conclusion; Best Western had a good German breakfast.
A day later than planned we finally arrived in our new home. By now, I can safely say that we have settled into our new home. The new chapter can start!