So I was throwing away our trash the other night, which is quite an ordeal here compared to what it was for us in the states. (I think I could write a loving sonnet to the one-bag-trash-chute) We were given an orientation about how to "do" the trash when we moved in (which we still never understood as it was all philosophical, really), but managed to get our hands on a chart (oh yeah, you read that one right!) that helped us divvy up our Q-tips from other nefarious items like macaroni. (If you think this is not a serious business here, let me remind you that we have four trashbins in our kitchen.) For months now I have been referring to the chart and placing things in the appropriate bin. Yet something all this time has been feeling a bit...sneaky...on our part, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I felt like we were doing something shifty (we had to be, it seemed too easy somehow) but no one was telling us and the polizei hadn't taken our trashbins to jail.
Enter nice foreign lady from downstairs. As I was hauling my second giant Glad bag with drawstrings to the trashbins she was there, too, with her compost materials and asked me if that (the plastic bag dangling from the end of her finger, which moments ago was just pulled from the compost bin) was mine. Now, I contemplating lying, but the last people you want to piss off our your buildingmates. Second, she was dangling the evidence right in front of me. No one else would use plastic bags...but an American. I mean, how else was I supposed to get the stuff downstairs? So I fessed up and used the opportunity to ask every question under the sun about this recycling thing. She was very nice about it all.
But there is still no good solution for when the paper bins fill up. We only have two for the entire building and they only come every two weeks and fill up fast. Oh well. I'll just hang up with my Glad drawstring trashbags and wait for someone to tell me what to do then when that time comes.
Also, our landlord said everyone has been failing to do their Hausordnung duties in the main areas. Hausordnung, you will be happy to find out (happy in the sense that you will enjoy laughing at me), is each tenants responsibility to wash down their portion of the steps and landing in the common areas of their apartment building each week. I started doing this when we moved in but, honestly, it still looked dirty no matter what I did so I just stopped and saved myself the effort. So now we must sweep and mop each week our landing and the steps to the next bottom floor. BUT, each building has a Hausmeister, which is the supervisor who looks over the place for all the landlords. He's responsible for mopping the entranceway. My thought is why not mop the whole place, jeez? For what we pay him in fees he should be mopping the whole place. This is one thing I just don't get about this place. The saving grace is we have very nice neighbors.
So when you start to clean your apartment this week, just think of us here, cleaning the stairwell and separating my trash into a billion (ok, exaggerating--a thousand) different piles. I love to clean and organize but this is insane. Really. If I can say that, my gosh.