Mar 172011

Back when I was teaching, we had a Social Studies lesson that was supposed to help put students into the mind-set of early immigrants to America.  The students were supposed to pretend that they were coming to this country from Europe with nothing but a small trunk in which to put their worldly possessions.  Which possessions would they choose to bring?

I find my mind repeatedly turning to that lesson as we go through this process.  “So, class, let us say that you have been told that you need to move to another continent in 2 weeks, but you don’t know exactly when, you don’t know how much you can take with you, and you aren’t sure where you will be staying once you arrive…  Your budget is limited and you have no concrete details.   How do you figure out what to take?  What do you do with everything else?   You have 45 minutes to complete this exercise.  Go!” 

It feels a bit too on the nose, really, but I do enjoy the sense of adventure that the scenario brings!

1/2 in a Holding Pattern and 1/2 Full Steam Ahead Without a Paddle  
(Mixed Metaphors are the new black.)

A Russian “Tank-Ship-Plane”

Basically, the company is waiting for our Work Permission to come through and doesn’t want to commit to any specific steps until that happens.  However, they are setting things up on their end, apparently.  Last word we got was that they are looking at a potential house that we may be able to stay in instead of a hotel for the first month!  I am guessing that might be more cost effective- but, I was sort of looking forward to having someone make my bed. 😉

The last word we heard is that they still expect us to be in Germany by the 1st.  But, I am getting pretty skeptical on how likely that is at this point.  It just doesn’t make that much sense in terms of flight prices, etc.  Of course, on the off chance that is *is* true, we sort of need to be ready.  Which is what makes the lack of information such an impediment.

Here is just some of what we DON’T know:

1) The date and time of our flight/move
2) How much we can ship over to bring with us
3) Where we will be staying when we arrive
4) If the government will give us Work Permission (Golly would it suck not to get it after all this)
5) How much we need to store
6) What the heck we were thinking when we got ourselves into this!

Here is some of what we DO know:

1) Not a single person has told us that Germany is an ugly, unpleasant destination
2) We have a ton of work to do no matter which answers apply to the above questions. Go Go Go!
3) We have a pretty conservative cap on what the company will pay for, so we need to be frugal.  Honestly, I am pretty sure that we can’t do it within their budget, so we will need to cover the gap somehow.
4) Moving companies charge a lot.  Our first quote to move 3 very pared down bedrooms was 9k (and 6 weeks) which is well beyond our budget, so not going to cut it.  Again, either need to find a cheaper way to do this or cull back our stuff even further.  Probably both.
5)  In addition to the above mentioned immigrant scenario, I find myself frequently imagining that David and I are going off on a college-style Study Abroad program while acting as au pairs for these two bizarrely precocious kids.  I am finding that it really helps to have an active internal fantasy life when dealing with something like this!

School Progress

The Bride of Frankenstein Doesn't Bake Cookies (Bailey School Kids #41)

I did finally get email back from Frau Frankenstein!  She said that essentially no one ever shows up in their schools without knowing German and that the Strasbourg International School might be better for us.  All I could think was how different that must be to my teaching experience.  My solo classroom had 6 home languages in it, and students who had literally been in the country less than 48 hours when they showed up in my room!  She did mention that they had a family of Canadians who came over some years ago and who, after learning German, did well.  But, they had to leave.

She also included some rather choice and, I am told, fairly typically blunt kinds of German statements about how it would be tough to tell if our kids would fit into the “most difficult” Gymnasium since “The American system is comprehensive, so it is hard to judge, whether we are the right school for your children, as naturally all parents think that their kids are among the brightest.”  Hee.  I had to rewrite my reply three time to avoid telling her just how “among the brightest” our kids are 😉  Nonetheless, I do note with some comfort that this kind of bluntness is exactly the sort of thing that frequently gets DD and DH in trouble in the US, so hopefully it is a good sign toward Germany being a “cultural fit” for them, at least!

Another comforting thing was that Frau Frankenstein suggested we come in and talk “after you are settled”.  That is nice because it feels like we won’t have truancy officers at our doorstep on our arrival, at least.

Note: I did not say that all my fantasies were pleasant ones!

More as we have it!

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