Archive | June, 2011
30 Jun

Pictures from our trip to Ettlingen last weekend

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Daily life in Germany

26 Jun

We’re coming up on being here for almost a month and we’ve finally settled in to daily life. Our apartment is right on the edge of “downtown” Karlsruhe.

We're in the curvy sided building to the right of the church

Our tram stop is right in front of the church. I honestly love the tram system. We don’t have a car and honestly, we don’t need one. We walk or take the trams anywhere we need to. Lots of extra exercise! We walk to the grocery store…can you imagine going shopping and only getting what you can carry? That’s the norm here, so daily visits to the grocery store are necessary! At least it means your things are fresh 🙂

We also visit the parks a lot. There are playgrounds and great parks everywhere with really interesting play things. My favorite are the huge sand pits. Remember those sand/water tables from preschool? They are essentially giant-sized for kids to climb and build on with 3ft water wheels to create all sorts of rivers in the sand. Really, really cool stuff. Nate is definitely a fan.

We’ve also been keeping entertained on the weekend with festivals. Almost every weekend we’ve been here there has been a festival to explore and we’ve taken full advantage of all of them. The best part is that even the children’s activities are free! Not like back in the states. Definitely a plus.

If you ask Nate what his favorite thing is though, its not the parks…its not the festivals…its the gummy bears! If its not the national candy of Germany, it should be. Gummy bears are everywhere and they have whole stores dedicated to them. Naturally, this makes a 4 year old very, very happy. Especially when ordinary shops happen to have a secret stash of gummies for cute little children that come in with their parents! Its quite the racket that he’s going on…being cute for candy!

We’ve also made some good friends. I’ve connected with an English-speaking mom’s group in town and have been able to do play dates with another mom that is new in town. We do want to integrate as much as possible, but there’s just something nice about having a conversation with someone in your native language. No searching for words or trying to “get the gist” of phrases you can’t translate properly. The boys like playing together too, since its also nice to have a friend that knows what you’re saying when playing games.

Things are going relatively smooth here. Its nice to be settled in!

12 Jun
11 Jun

Fun at the playground near our apartment and the castle’s playground.

11 Jun

There is a festival at the Hoepfner Brewhaus here in town. All weekend long there is food, beer, music, and even children’s activities!

Getting settled in

11 Jun

We survived our first full week here and things are becoming a little easier. We’ve got our routine down and know where basic things are. We’ve located several grocery stores and farmer’s markets, we are friendly with the cafe around the corner, and we know where at least two really great playgrounds/parks are. The language barrier is still a little bit rough, but I think that was going to be difficult no matter what we did, save from spend a year taking formal German lessons. Either way, we make do. As long as we’re polite (which we always are!) no one seems to mind our flubs in language. Only once did I panic and whip out my tourist phrase book, panic some more when the words I needed weren’t there, and then start miming what I needed. The poor pharmacist eventually understood that I was itchy from an allergic reaction and got me the medicine I needed!

As for Nathan, he does just fine. Kids have an odd way of communicating with each other anyhow, so naturally they would find some way to get the point across on the playground. Today was especially cute though. Nate was playing in a sandbox and as usual, the other children were skeptical about him at first since they realized we were speaking a language that wasn’t German, all except for one little girl that kept coming closer to me and smiling. So eventually I kneeled down and said, “Hallo!” Well, that was all she needed to hear! She stood up and let me know that she can count in English! Then she counted to five very proudly. “Sehr gut! (very good) Super!” I told her. I told her that I spoke English and was American. She was very excited that she got to show off her English skills and then told me that she spoke German and was from Germany 🙂 It was too cute.

3 Jun