Last night with mom/ first night in our long term apartment

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.
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First week of German school

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.
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Ellen’s visit

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.





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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