In a few hours, I'll head down to Kopfbahnhof, that remarkable rail-only travel agency in Schöneberg, and pick up another Berlin-Montpellier-Berlin train ticket. I'll spend Bastille Day going from here to there, arriving in time to join some friends atop a parking garage to watch the fireworks. The next day, I'll get back to the work of finding a place to live.
This time I'll be better prepared: I'll have copies of my bank statements from both the U.S. and Berlin. I'll have sheafs of letters from people who've employed me over the last year, although, given the vagaries of freelancing, they'll probably be a bit ambiguous as to precise income figures.
What I don't have just at the moment is an ironclad plan, and that worries me. Some of it is just plain due to lack of information. There's been some talk of a place going empty at an unspecified time which would be absolutely ideal in terms of space, location, and price. But it's just that at the moment: talk. There's been at least one offer from one of the e-mail robot lists that sounds good, but whether it'll still be open when I get there -- not to mention whether my attempt to contact the landlord about my interest landed safely -- is far from certain. There may well be more of these, although the same uncertainties apply.
Another worry is money. I'm still okay on that, but I owe another month's rent here, and there's the ticket and the hotel, which, this time, is out in the 'burbs, albeit not very far from the center of town, where I need to be. I've got more coming in, and a story to do down there once I get there. But still...
Should I concentrate my energies on finding a furnished place to move into, and have to turn around and go back once I return from this trip? That will involve paying two rents, which eats away at the nest-egg I'm going to have to have to secure a permanent place with enough to worry me. Should I instead concentrate on finding that permanent place? That's the most economical solution, but the riskiest: what if, again, I don't find one? What if the landlord rejects me because I'm self-employed? One thing I tapped into on that last trip was a deep instiutional French insecurity about independence, something I hadn't counted on. I guess my model for finding a place in this university town was Austin, another university town. And, weather notwithstanding, it's not Austin. Nor is it Berlin, with lots of cheap places standing vacant most of the time.
And the thing is, there don't seem to be any hard and fast answers to this. I'm going to have to wing it, absent a miraculous shower of income-producing work in the next couple of weeks to assuage my worries. I'm still utterly certain I'm going to succeed somehow, but if I seem a bit tense these days, it's because so much is unknown. It's the nature of the "somehow" that's got me biting my nails.