On YouTube and site move!

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

Hey, I’ve *really* enjoyed writing here and meeting you all through your blogs.

But I’m going through a bit of a transformation, and no longer want to blog about early retirement or money or career.

My new blog is at www.jisk.ca and will be less anonymous.

Topics will be about living abroad in Germany, veganism, and travelling. Maybe a teeny bit about career/frugality/investments.

I’m also more focussed on vlogging rather than blogging these days. So if you want to see me speak (eeek!) and hear my Canadian accent, then see you over at my site¬†where my YouTube videos are embedded. Feel free to subscribe, like, and comment on YT too. ūüôā

Frugal way to have a dog in Germany

About 2 weeks ago, Martin and I got a dog!

Sort of.

She’s not our dog but we’re fostering her for a nearby, overcrowded shelter.

Meet Luna.

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She’s a 3.5 year old Golden Retriever mix, is smaller than the standard retriever, and clearly has the face of an angel!

Can you believe, that she’s actually the neighbourhood’s newest terror-dog? She gets violently aggressive when she sees other dogs and disabled elderly people (they take too long to pass).

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Luna comes from an abusive home so her actions are confusingly bipolar. She’s not like a normal, well-adjusted dog. Not yet.

She’s nervous if we get too close to her front (back is okay) and will jump half a metre away if we come close. She never licks or invites a belly rub. For the first few days, she would hang out at the furtherst end of the apartment away from us, and growl if we got close.

But she’s slowly warming up and making HUGE progress.

So are we. We have to exercise a lot of patience, and stick to training her. Germans like their dogs well-trained.

We hope to help rehab her by giving her a stable, loving, and active family life, so that she can be adopted into her forever home one day.

Why don’t we adopt her ourselves?

Seriously, I think it will be very heart wrenching to give her away once that day comes. She is getting attached to us and vice versa. But, we don’t want the long term committment of caring for a dog. We travel a lot to non pet-friendly places, and are also considering leaving Germany some day soon (this is my plan anyway!).

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Right now I have time to look after her since I’m at home, and I’m blown away by how much work she is!

I walk her a minimum of 5 times a day, and feed her 4 times a day. She’s a huge princess when it comes to food, which is why I feed her multiple smaller meals because she won’t finish larger portions in one sitting. Since I’ve transitioned her to a nutritionally balanced, vegan diet, that I cook for her myself and mix with organic vegan kibble, it hurts effort/time/money-wise to have it go to waste.

How is fostering a frugal choice?

By being dog foster parents (new identity!), we pay for her food and that’s it!

All of her vet bills, liability insurance, and the dog paraphernalia that was loaned to us (collar, leash, bowls, etc…) is paid for by the shelter. They even gave us a gigantic bag of dog food, which we only used a little bit of to transition her over to vegan food. We’ll be returning the food bag back to the shelter soon.

In Germany, there’s a Hundesteuer (dog tax) paid to the city where you live. In our city, the Hundesteuer is 84‚ā¨ per year, which is not the worst but also not something I’m excited to pay or take time to register. However with fostering, the¬†Hundesteuer and administration is handled by the shelter!

Conclusion:

It’s a lot harder to foster than anticipated, but the experience is overall very positive on both sides. Martin and I tend to think only about ourselves or each other all the time, so it’s nice to step out of that and use our privelege to make a difference in someone else’s life.

We love getting to know Luna and she is bringing us a lot of joy and silliness! Since I’m at home now, it’s nice to have company and a reason to GET OUTSIDE. She is a sweet addition to our family. ūüôā

2 years and the gift of cotton

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Today is our 2nd anniversary!!

We like to follow the anniversary gift themes, where¬†year 1 is paper, year 2 is cotton, etc…

We won’t stick too closely to these themes, because we also don’t exchange gifts for any occassion.¬†Not because we’re trying to be frugal, but because we just don’t care about gifts and like to keep things simple (no stressing about ‘the perfect gift’ here).

Last year Martin did give me a very nice paper gift. He made me a calendar with¬†our couple-selfies¬†from the same month in the previous year.¬† ūüôā

This year, gifting cotton¬†was appropriate because¬†our goal is to live a healthy life.¬†We are¬†slowly detoxifying our home, alongside detoxifying our diets. One of the things we wanted to switch out was our foam mattress with a non-toxic¬†cotton futon. We spend a lot of time on our bed (ha!) and don’t want to breathe in¬†the¬†harsh chemicals¬†that get sprayed onto mattresses. Perfect timing for a second year¬†cotton gift, ja?

We actually bought the futon weeks ago, and have been sleeping soundly on it since. It’s a lot harder than our foam mattress, but I prefer it. Martin is still getting used to it but says it’s fine. ūüôā

Even though cotton futons don’t cost much (starting at 200 EUR for a double), we ended up thrifting it even further by buying it used! I know that sounds gross, but the seller said the mattress was the guest mattress and¬†hardly used.¬†Okay so everyone¬†who sells their mattress says this,¬†but we decided it couldn’t hurt to investigate since ordering a new futon would take 6+ weeks to receive, and we wanted the mattress right away. When we got to the seller’s house, it really was the guest futon! The mattress was pristine, no dents or stains, and also didn’t smell. I actually leaned down to smell it! So for 65 EUR, we hauled it away and have a story to tell. :mrgreen:

It’s been a hard year for us, but marriage is suiting us well. We are used to referring to each other as husband and wife now, which took some adjusting to. We’ve been together for almost 8 years, but only married for 2. So the boyfriend/girlfriend titles were more automatic at first.

Most new people who meet me at work don’t know I’m married, because I don’t wear a ring and rarely talk about ‘my husband’. At first I was nervous to mention a partner at all, because I’m hyper aware that everyone assumes newlyweds are trying to conceive (which we are, sort of – more of this later!), and I didn’t think it was good for my career.

But I noticed that Germans don’t have this hang up with whether women will have a baby or not, and that it’s okay to have a partner. I even had a senior director drop by my office¬†to convince me to get pregnant! He would say “f#$*% [company name]” – and go on a tirade about¬†how I should do what I want,¬†and that having a family is important. I seriously felt like I was in the twilight zone, but quickly fell in-trust with him and shared that we were trying. This is the same¬†man who¬†mentored¬†me¬†on negotiating my freelancing contracts. Sounds¬†creepy, but he’s a¬†swell guy!

Marrying Martin was also me agreeing to live in Germany. So one big positive to add to my Germany-list is that as a woman of child-bearing age, speaking about wanting to have kids is not taboo in a corporate setting. Or at least not having to go out of my way to avoid the topic like the plague.

Anyway, happy anniversary dear!! ‚̧