Sep 032011
 
Mauvey-Purple Sunset over yellowing corn fields

Huh.  Looked up today and realized that we moved to Germany!

Um, yeah, I know.  Been talking about it for many months.  But, something seems to have changed.  I think it is that we are moving past the “getting here and getting set up” stage (though there are still several key aspects that we are still actively working on).  Now, we are progressing rather rapidly into the “Living your life in this new location” phase.  

How can I tell?  Most glaring on the list of indicators is the fact that the kids are about to start school!  Nothing dictates daily structure quite like the education system.

DD begins at Hogwarts on Monday.  We have been prepping for months, but this is a still a terrifying development.  We had been homeschooling in the US for the last three years precisely because DD’s school experiences had been nothing short of nightmarish.  Now, in less than 2 days, she will begin High School in a country that is foreign not only to our US-accustomed selves, but also our Deutschland acclimating ones!  France!  I honestly have no clue what to expect.  And frankly, (Hee, get it? frank=French? yeah, ok, the linguist in me forgot her meds, ehem, anyways….) it scares the pee outta me.  The opportunity is, of course, wonderful.  She will be taught primarily in English, but receive instruction in both German and French.  She will, we believe, have actual art classes, too.  And she will be in school with an eclectic mix of kids from around the globe.  If she can resist the urge to panic, this could be one of the best experiences of her life.  Or…. well, I just don’t want to go there again- especially not in French.

Strasbourg tram- the orange lines inside the cars are apparently padding for leaning upon.

Transit Tests
In preparation for her first day, we did a test run of the public transit system to Strasbourg, yesterday.  DS and I dropped DD and DH off at the train station.  Then they took the 1/2 hour train ride into the city.  Next, they walked over to the closest tram station and rode the tram to within walking distance of her school- from whence they hoofed it over to the campus where DS and I picked them up in the car.  Unfortunately, the trip for the two of them was 13 EU one way.  Also it took 1.5 hours.  And it included a couple of walks in semi sketchy parts of town.  Hmm.  Good news is that monthly passes would cut the cost down and we think they could shave 10 minutes or so through familiarity and faster walking.  Bad news is that until we feel comfortable with her making the trip on her own, that is 2 hours of travel time for DH just to get her there (since he has to get back to work, as well).   Then another 80 minutes for me to make the circuit to pick both kids up- unless we get DS able to ride the train/bus combo to and from his school on his own.

Because, yes, indeed, DS is starting (20 minutes in the opposite direction) in just over 1 week!  He also starts about 1.25 hours earlier than she does, and gets out about 2.5 hours earlier…. except Wednesdays, when she will either get off an hour before him OR (and this would be delightfully complicated) At Exactly The Same Time. His transport may be a little simpler with a train trip ending at a station where a school bus will pick him up and deposit him at school.  Of course, he is also 3 years younger than she is.  So, gonna need to figure this out.  Whatever the solution, I have a suspicion it is not going to be fast and easy.  Fast and Easy is NOT the German way.  Life here definitely has a slower pace- and many many hoops to hop along the way.

As long as we were in Strasbourg, we figured we would stop and feed the swans…. and get some French pastries :-)

The current plan is for me to pick both kids up after school since DS can’t eat lunch until he gets home, and DD wouldn’t get home until after 5 if we made her take the trains.  So that is a minimum 80 minute commute for me to make the Kid Circle every day.  Yeesh.  I am thinking that it might be worth it to invest in a radio for my car- something I can plug my ipod into and maybe augment my German-Lernan time!

So, you begin to see what I mean about creating a life.  We have gone from ‘Big Eyes Full of Trepidation and Wonder’ to ‘Daily Grind- Logistics, Commute and Organization’.

Other signs that we are getting settled in-

David had his first appointment with his Diabetes Doctor here.  Herr Doctor Haass is a large, very soft man who walks around the office barefoot and understands English far better than he speaks it.  He spoke German to David and David spoke English to him and they somehow made it work.

Also on the medical front, I am going to be getting an MRT (German for MRI) on my shoulder.  Physio was helping, but not fast enough, so Herr Doctor Meiworm referred me to the over-booked, unpleasantly officious MRT facility in town.  Unfortunately, they scheduled me for next Wednesday.  Given the kids’ school overlap, I think I will need to reschedule.  Given the attitude of their front desk clerk, I think I will loathe the process of rescheduling.

185 cm x 185 cm- My Sim and I both LOVE these

Additionally, we are really trying to get out household settled in.  Unfortunately, we are probably a good month away from being able to afford all the furniture we will need in which to store the Stuff that has finally arrived!  That didn’t stop us from making a surveillance trip to Ikea, though.  I admit, every time I set foot in that store I feel like I have entered a game of The Sims.  Their styles are just so…. Sim-ilar.  I have been playing Sims Social on FB lately, and there is a definite blurring of my RL and Online decorating concepts!  In any case, we think bookcases and dressers from Ikea look like good buys, but Wardrobes will have to be purchased locally.  See, even our Set Up is Settling In.

Yeah, I know, this stuff really isn’t that interesting.  Next week I will report back on DD’s first week of school.  Let’s hope that report is moderately boring, too!

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