This week is (I believe) the only week all summer that we are in our regular apartment and we don’t have something major to accomplish or something bad will happen (like we won’t have a place to live or won’t get our visa or something). The kids are enjoying each other (when they aren’t fighting), settling into their rooms and the apartment, screen time, and walking to the local pool. Aquana is pretty awesome, with a water slides, including one with jets that shoot you back up, and a wave pool. We got a summer vacation pass so we can go more often over the next month.
We walked to the pool. Most of the directions had us on a walking/ bike path, but one short section had us cut through a public right of way of a local farm. It’s still kind of funny to me to take a foot bridge over a busy street and step out onto a farm. But having plants integrated throughout the suburbs clearly has positive implications of the wildlife. Bird sing in the morning and there are several different types of local bees busy pollinating flowers.
Rob put together our bed today, so no more mattresses on the floor for us! Yes, even beds here are different. Wooden slats instead of box springs, different sheets, etc. Here he is testing it out. Spoiler alert: we like it.
We also went to a trodelmarket, which is basically a flea market. Since all the stores are closed, it’s a great time to set up vendor tents in parking lots.
Not pictured: we played Seidler von Catan. Rob won the inaugural game we finished, which is appropriate because it was his fathers day gift.
We went to pick up the kids from their German camp. While in town, we toured the castle. The detail was amazing and Meg took a zillion pictures, which I hope means she liked it. Some of the furniture was from the 16th century.
We are happy to have the kids home. They seem tired and happy.
Today we dropped the kids off at a week long German immersion camp in Cochem, a picturesque town on the Mosul river about 2 hours from here. They will have structured lessons and language projects in the morning and normal camp activities in the afternoon where they are supposed to practice speaking and understanding German. They were nervous leading up to arrival, but didn’t want to leave their new friends to say goodbye to us before we left after the half hour parent orientation. We hope they have a good week and learn a lot!
Today I took the kids to a couple nearby parks I had stumbled upon while walking from the bus stop. They were both pretty cool. One of them had some outdoor fitness equipment. The other had a cool sand play area and a soccer goal. I played soccer with Spencer some, and then later he found some other kids to play with. Later we got ice cream at our favorite place in würselen – peppone
We got new German telephone numbers yesterday, so our old US numbers no longer work. Get in touch with us by any of the many other ways if you want to.
We went to a Bavarian style beer garden to celebrate our last night before mom flies back to the states and our first night in our long term apartment. I had alcohol free beer because they are quite serious about not driving intoxicated in Germany, and it wasn’t too bad. Not as good as real beer, but better than bad.
We are still setting up furniture and figuring out what we really need and how to organize things. Some of us are sleeping on mattresses on the floor, but we are doing our first night trial run on sleeping in our new apartment tonight. If you count our place in Colorado and staying at my parents, this is the sixth place we’ve lived in six weeks, so we are ready to start settling in and nesting a bit.
It’s been quite a whirlwind, but the kids made it to school for their introduction week. They missed Monday because we were getting Mom settled, but the kids went 2 hours a day the rest of the week. Except on Thursday Meg had a field trip to see some bees and hike. The school day is shorter here, so that was 8 to 12:30. Next week, the kids go full time, but most days they get out at 11:30.
We got a new to us car today, and it is our first diesel. Apparently they are still common, but have dropped a lot in popularity since the VW scandal. We will see what we think of it.
We celebrated mom being healthy and starting school by going to the thermal bathes. They are the modern version of bathes that have been enjoyed since the Romans. It is still fun to soak in warm mineral water.
The last couple pictures are after we got Rob from work and went out to dinner.
Mom came to help for a week. In the first couple pictures, we are celebrating getting new lights installed (German apartments come with bare bulbs) and some furniture moved in to our new apartment over the weekend.
Unfortunately, Sunday mom stared having tummy troubles and had to go to the hospital late Sunday night. The blockage broke up Tuesday and she came home from the hospital Wednesday. The good news is that we get to keep her until the weekend to make sure she is stable enough for the long journey home. Her time in the hospital was made more pleasant by having a beautiful view of the Stolberg castle from her top floor room.
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.