Kids went camping for the weekend

Spencer and Meg have joined Scouts here in Germany, and this weekend they went on their first camp out. They came back two days later happy, dirty, and tired. Scouts here is organized by other kids and young adults and you age out at 27, so there is a lot more freedom and responsibility experience for the kids. Spencer apparently wouldn’t wash his plate correctly after the first dinner, so it wasn’t clean for breakfast. Meanwhile they did crafts with axes. And they seem to have started some friendships with German kids.
While the kids are away, Rob and I did a bunch of shopping. Everything takes me forever to figure out. I don’t know how to clean with the available supplies here, but I think after 3 stores I’ve put together enough products I recognize to clean our new apartment before moving in. Microfiber seems really popular here, which is cool. But I had a hard time finding a decent broom. The apartment needs to be swept, and will continue to need to be swept as we live there. I got a microfiber dust mop, an attachment broom, meaning no handle of its own, but can use in with the microfiber mop handle. I also got some foam thing with our dustpan that is supposed to not leave crumbs behind.
In all this, I got to randomly browse home improvement stores while purchasing my first measuring tape without inches on it. I’m sharing a picture of the Statue of Liberty lenticular printed on a toilet seat cover, because that level of awesome needs to be shared.
Rob and I got to have a date night. We went for dönner, which is a common type of fast casual dining places that sell gyros and pizza and street food that sometimes have a few tables. Rob wound up with a falafel calzone. It was good and somewhat inevitable if you think about the ingredients this place has on hand, but also good to know that Rob gets to navigate surprises on this adventure too.
From our permanent apartment kitchen, I can see 2 types of nonfossil energy being generated: windmills and a nuclear power plant/ constant cloud machine. Kinda cool.
We did a bunch of shopping for information, but I’m waiting to share the specifics until we make purchases. Furniture and other logistical stuff. We moved into our last temporary Airbnb apartment. Better get our new apartment set up because in a few weeks it will be all we have.
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Blumenstraße

Our week on Blumenstraße is living up to it’s name: there are flowers everywhere. We are still struggling with sleeping enough with it not getting dark until after 10 and getting light again at 5 something. Thank goodness the solstice is soon!
The kids are enjoying scouts and getting ready for their first German camp out this weekend. I don’t know where to find anything specific we might need, so I’m looking forward to when we live at one address, I can learn the local stores, and we can have Amazon deliver things again. In the last picture, Spencer is waving from Ponttor.
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Würselen parade

We went to get to know our new neighborhood this afternoon. We thought there was a festival and maybe there was. Most of what we saw was the parade part of it. First we got ice cream and walked around and played in some local parks. A large part of this parade was walking very dressed up young ladies around town escorted by young men in the colors from their area of town. Apparently, it used to be related to marrying off the eligible maidens, but now it mostly seems to be for fun.
My kids are perplexed by people smoking, especially in public. They always want to know why someone would do that. It’s a tough question to answer.
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Progress

We moved temporary apartments, signed a lease on a long term apartment, and have been generally lining things up to get settled in our new life. There are a couple pictures of moments of well deserved relaxation in our temporary apartment. The last picture is Rob and the kids standing at the entrance of our new place. We take possession on the 15th, assuming we can get the money transferred and get insurance in time.
This post also has some random things that I find funny about Germany: a Peugeot French car named after an exotic local: Indiana, and sauerkraut juice for sale in the juice section of the grocery store. Not pictured: all the gardeners working in shorts and dress shoes.
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Thursday: a promising apartment

Meg went to the doctor to check for an ear infection this morning. Turns out, she meant the outside of her ear hurt, not the inside. Her earring is infected, not her inner ear. We can treat that with out a doctor. The medical system seems pretty good though. There was a cool park by the doctor’s office, pictured below.
We went to see another apartment over lunch and we think it might be the one. We will post about it more if everything goes through.
After some German practice, we got ice cream and checked out some more parks, then picked up Rob from work and went home for dinner, baths and bedtime. Another day in the life.
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Our new normal for a Wednesday

The kids got ice cream after their German lesson. Partially visible is some of the old time equipment used to make fresh batches of ice cream daily. They close when the sell out, and they frequently close quite early.
Spencer had scouts tonight, also in Ponttor, part of the ancient city wall. He had a great time.
We also got a welcome gift from the city that included an Aachener Printen, the local version of Lebkuchen. We split it and it was quite tasty.
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Day 7: more settling in

The kids walked into the center with me. On the way, we had ice cream that we took to a local playground that happens to be by the local castle. After some shopping, we finally managed to open a bank account.
Meg had scouts tonight. It is held in part of the old city wall, a tower built before Columbus sailed to the Americas. She liked it. They go camping in a few weeks, so they practiced setting up a tent. Should be fun!
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Day 6: Getting into the swing of things

The kids started German lessons. Rob started working in an office. I hung out the laundry instead of paying extra to use the dryer. We toured another apartment and think we are getting close to making a choice.
We tried again to get a bank account. United States was not in the drop down menu as a place we could be from, so we have to go back tomorrow. German bankers fund it hilarious that Americans know their tax ID (social security) number off the top of our heads.
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Day 5: Apartments, festival, and parks

We saw 3 more apartments today, and we are starting to think we have some good options. The parks here are plentiful and breathtaking.
We went to a festival in Kornelimünster that we also attended last summer with some of Rob’s colleagues. Meg got a baton that she wanted last year but was too big to fit in her suitcase. Spencer rode the bumper cars obsessively again, and this year he was big enough to drive.
Sundays seem quite relaxing here in Germany, even if we do a lot because the stores are mostly closed, there isn’t much traffic and many people are hanging out in parks or at festivals.
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Day 4: Lazy Saturday

We couldn’t get any showing today. They boys slept in, which is good because everyone is behind on sleep. Meg has done the best job recovering from jet lag. She and Rob walked to one of the close by apartments we are considering and went to a mall and a farmers market and got ice cream. Spencer slept until 12:30 even though he went to bed at 9. His body is fighting a cold as well as the jet lag, so he needed the extra rest. The kids snuggled and watched shows in the evening. We have 3 apartment visits scheduled tomorrow, so we are nourishing to push through our task list.
The last picture is Meg giving me an after dinner massage.
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