Saturday, April 4, 2009

Week 3 - 4: Are we still on vacation?

So week 3 was a little weird. Are we on vacation? Are we here forever? Did we accidentally buy a one-way ticket? Are we dreaming? (Cause we haven't woken up yet- should we be worried about that?) It was a little like when Vivian was a month old and we wondered when her parents were coming home, cause it had been a long babysitting gig. :)

To get all the little whining out of the way, THIS is the week I really appreciated things that happen effortlessly at home but that aren't happening here, like:

1) Having a big-ass van to drive around all the time to keep me warm and dry and fast. I'm not easily dependent on anyone, and being dependent on public transportation 100% of the time has made me a little crabby. When the weather gets nicer, this won't be a big deal. But after getting stuck on the bike with 2 kids in a head-on sleet a couple times, the bike benefit hasn't kicked in fully.

2) WHA? no Internet or landline phone still? This is KILLING my stereotyped perception of Germans being highly efficient and technologically superior. We've had several phone calls with the phone company, plus a visit where we waited from 8am - 4 on a weekday - alternating so we could work / PU kids / etc - and he showed up at 3 minutes to 4, flipped a switch, then refused to see if it worked before running out our door. literally.

3) Echoes.... noisy little feet.... and sharing walls and ceiling with other people. We haven't been in an apartment or shared walls with other people since having small, uncontrollably loud little people. Though the apartment IS lovely, in a SUPER location, it is basically a long concrete hallway so everything echoes throughout- from a bottlecap dropping to Miles shrilling. I spent a couple hours on several busses in a few stores looking for the thickest slippers possible so our neighbors don't file a noise complaint with the police (which I guess happens a lot here). I've given up on "shhushing" the kids- we do live here.

4) Not knowing the little things- like stepping on the first step of an escalator MIGHT turn it on. So all those escalators AREN'T out of order- they're just waiting for your foot! Found this out after carrying crying Miles in his stroller up and then down 2 flights of stairs at an S-bahn station. I mentioned to someone at preschool how surprised i was that there was no handicapped access to the subway... duh...

5) Unpredicted German "sensitivity" to children "easing" into school. Although Vivian jumped right in, Miles had a couple rough drop offs in a row, and suddenly we were on a "plan" where I had to stay with him and limit our time there to 1 - 2 hours. Whereas the US childcare says kids will tough it out- cry the first few days, then get over it- apparently this is unacceptable here. So I've had a couple weeks of 1) drop V off with M, 2) go eat, 3) come back with M, 4) stay for an hour with him, 5) rush him home by 12:30 to nap, 6) wake him up to get V by 2pm. Miles now thinks I'm a part of the whole preschool experience, which means we'll go through all this again later- argh.

That's all. I'll never complain again about anything. This is truly a gift of an experience, and we're eating up every second. Even these things might be fun to remember- someday- later.


We treated ourselves to the Circus Krone, a completely old-school circus performed and operated by the Krone family since the late 1800's! It was small, super fun, and I'm sure too traditional for anything like it to ever fly in the U.S. (the PETA people would be all over it...) Cool stunts, dancing elephants, tightrope acrobats, lion tamers in flimsy cages... We LOVED it.

Deutsche Museum- wow, we barely scratched the surface here, but we did visit the children's area of the DM and it was fantastic. There is so much to explore here, and a family membership was only 52 Euro, so we did it. I'm sure we'll be back!

And I treated myself to a well-known, popular Turkish Spa, which was totally decadent and very different. I had to very quickly get over the dishsize towel I was given by "Jimmy" my Turkish host. Luckily since I'm blind without glasses, I just sort of zoned out and saw everyone as a big, undefined potato, including Jimmy (who also does the massage and scrub). I thought about my shopping list, the preschool schedule and my MS conference call when things got more European and veered a little out of US bounds. It was awesome- Eric might let me go back.

Best quote lately-- most are coming from Miles now cause 2 1/2 year olds just say funny things...

me- "Miles, why don't you want to stay at school? Vivian loves school!"

Miles- "Vivi loves the Germans."

AND - with shocked, then amused look during a bath "There's a hole. There's a hole. In my butt."


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