Tag Archives: Translation

Lofty Dreams of a Kitchen with a Fridge

And here begins my great kitchen debacle… Being an American, and maybe a foreigner, or maybe just being a person who has rented an apartment ever in my life, I am truly puzzled by the German tradition of excluding kitchens from rented apartments. While some owners have caught on that including a full kitchen ups their rental value, others still hold to the notion that people enjoy carrying their kitchens with them from one flat to another.

My dreams are not this grand!

As the educated adult that I am, when I hear the word “kitchen” I have lofty dreams of countertops and refrigerators that reach higher than my waist, maybe even a cabinet or two, but I have found I am often alone in my dreams. What used to be the legal minimum in Berlin, (but no longer is,) was the inclusion of a stove and a sink. Now it is up to you to fend for yourself in the world of IKEA or Media Markt to put in place the household items you once took for granted.

As I am on the brink of signing a contract on an apartment, (I have learned since arriving here that if I call it a lease everyone looks at me confused, so contract is a safer term.) I have learned that my definition of kitchen and my landlord’s definition of kitchen are quite different things. While we discussed him putting in a kitchen however I would like, with new countertops and all, apparently the simplest, “What does kitchen mean to you?” was lost in translation.

I have been walking around with my head held high, confident that a dishwasher and larger fridge would be placed perfectly next to my granite countertops and matching overhanging cabinets and shelves. Silly me. Apparently “kitchen” in this particular instance means putting countertops on top of the mini fridge, (in the U.S. this would be likened to what you may put in your dorm room freshman year at college) and surrounding the sink…What might fall beneath those countertops, you may ask? Well so did I, and I have yet to receive my answer.

Something's missing...or is it?

So after the great search for an apartment seems to almost have reached its end, another roadblock nudges its way in, taking the place in the form of, “Is a complete kitchen a dealbreaker, or no.” Sadly, I must admit that yes, yes it is – either that, or it’s another 1k Euros out of my pocket for cabinets and additionals that I would prefer to spend elsewhere, say, on flights…or food.

Definitions of kitchen are welcome commentary!