I’m coming home…I’m coming home…Tell the World I’m coming home.

It is finally time. After waiting over a year, I’m finally returning to Europe to see family, friends, and to spend a full month back where everything feels right.  I was in Germany this past February for 10 days, however, when you haven’t seen loved ones for over 2 years it is a glorious feeling to finally go back. I leave this coming Monday – August 7th and will not be returning until September 4th. Sweden, Denmark, Germany.

Starting out in Sweden – spending a full 8 days in the Swedish capital Stockholm and surrounding areas (Mariefred and Uppsala). Traveling by train, we then head to Denmark and spend two days in Copenhagen. From Copenhagen we are off to Berlin via train/ferry; we spend four full days in Berlin and the Brandenburg area. Next it’s Munich and Bavaria – for two weeks. During this two weeks, we will take 3 days to visit my family in the neighboring state of Baden – Württemberg, we will take a day or two to visit family in Bavaria, and of course visit friends and family in Munich.

Looking forward to posting when I return – Have a great rest of August and beginning of September!

The House Hunt Begins…

As we round off our first year of living in California, it has become apparent that 1): Housing is expensive 2): We need to get a place of our own. I think this has become more apparent each month; starting out with the cost of our bills from day one, then progressing to our neighbor’s dogs barking at all hours of the day, lastly tenants below us grilling on their balcony (which forces us to close our balcony door). Normally these types of thing don’t get to me, however it just seems like it is becoming more and more intolerable.

My partner and I have concluded that we can only rent one more year before it is time to plant some real roots – ones that will hopefully grow deep over the next 30+ years. Here is where I introduce my good friend Zillow. The housing website has become a small addiction lately; looking at properties, neighborhoods, schools, etc. Luckily we agree for the most part about our top priorities and it’s a short list compared to I think to most couples who are engaging in a house hunt.

Our short list:

Distance: No more than 25 minutes to both of our places of work. This means central San Diego to North County San Diego

Price: With property taxes and insurance, etc. – at or below budget and possibility of some renovations if needed.

3+ Bedrooms / 2+ Bathrooms

Neighborhood / School Quality

2 Car Garage

Lawn (Small/manageable with push mower ideal)

Built 1960 to 1980 (I prefer the appearance of homes that are from the 1970s – but this is a good range for some character).

So far the prospects look good – which is surprising. After looking at Zillow, and scouring a few other realtor sites, I’ve concluded that this might be a straightforward home purchase. Having worked in finance for 10 years I know how hard purchasing a home from start to finish can be. This is coupled with all the stories we have heard from others about house hunting in this Southern California Mecca.

I think people often get discouraged as it is from the thought of house hunting, then again I think some love the thrill of the chase, the adrenaline of finding the place to call home. My partner and I obviously know that we won’t be able to check everything off our list (I for one love the idea of renovating – so I’m more open to ideas than he is), but we at least have a good basis to start.

All in all, there is a little bit of hope in Southern California