ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Endlich Sommer - and time for a new Kaffeeklatsch thread...(204 Posts)
... for those living in Germany or Austria or anyone who just wants to chat/ask a question about living in or visiting this part of the world - all welcome.
Previous thread here
This thread has gone really quiet.
Dd started her new school and is really enjoying it, although they haven´t really done much work yet, so it could all change. We´ve got the first Elternabend tomorrow - I´m really hoping that there aren´t too many parents who enjoy the sound of their own voices, or it could go on for hours.
Dh is away this week. He´s cycling over the Alps on his mountain bike with a friend. They seem to be having a great time, but it would be my idea of hell.
Hope everyone´s enjoying the last of the summer.
The DC are finally back at school but I still don't have much time to post, as work is pretty busy at the moment. DS seems to be enjoying the 1. Klasse so far; it's early days, but his (new to the school) teacher seems really nice - she also seems to have gone to school with about half the parents I know. It's surprising how many people (even university-educated) stay in their home town, but I'm quite envious of everyone who has babysitting grandparents on hand. (That would be everyone but me. Even my expat friends all seem to have ILs living about five minutes away.)
hupa DH also did a cycling tour of the Alps just before we met; am not sure he'd be fit enough to do so now, though! He's also away at the moment, but in England (a trip to the UK would be much more my cup of tea than a cycling holiday ).
admylin What's G8 Abi, does it means eight years at Gymnasium? I get very confused by the German school years (and UK ones too, for that matter), as they start counting at the 1. Klasse again at secondary school here.
I've been lurking and meaning to post for weeks now but just haven't had the chance.
Some friends from the UK were supposed to be popping in for a cuppa on their way back up to the ferry this morning but I haven't heard from them, and as I had all my cleaning done by 9am in anticipation, I finally have 10 minutes to post! I've just put Ds down for his nap (although he's just blowing raspberries & shouting 'pups' so who knows whether he will actually nap) so if they turn up in the.middle of nap time I won't be too happy!
Anyway.... Massive congratulations to Nutella! Details please
Hello & a big wave to everyone else!
Hope you're all well and enjoying the last burst of summer. I have to admit I've started unpacking my jumpers and bought myself a lovely pie dish so am getting rather impatient for autumn to arrive. Sad, I know
I've also had a chance to read but not post.
nutella many congratulations! how is the planning going?
antique at you awaiting autumn. I have a picture of you in your wooly jumper, hugging your new pie dish and looking wistfully out of he window in hope of falling leaves . Have you heard from your friends?
linzer Good to hear DS is enjoying the 1. Klasse and that he has a nice teacher. Yes, lots of parents round here went to same school as their children are going to. One parent went to the same kindergarten as her dc are going to. I can't imagine how that must feel - I don't mean that negatively, it is just so different to my own experience. Hope you manage to get your work done!
hupa glad you enjoyed northern Spain. Did you have nice weather? It can be a bit unpredictable. Does any place stick out as being special? (In case we ever make it there again). And I hope dd continues to enjoy her new school. DD1 started a new school too - she seems okay there, but has had monumental melt downs in the evenings. The stress of the day just comes out at home - in shouting and hysterical crying. Unfortunately a lot of it is directed at me and dd2. But then she calms down and apologises. I guess we just have to be very patient.
admylin I also wanted to ask what the G8 Abi is. Have your two now settled into their school routine? They do have very long days.
And ds also started primary school, and has had homework every day! He seems fine, but a bit tired.
And I need another holiday after this week ! Still, nearly Friday and things settling.
Waves to all....
Hi all. Hope everyone is getting back into the routine and school days aren't too exhausting.
platanos sorry your dd is so upset. I know one of dd's friends used to cry every night in year 5 and wanted her old class and old life back. She's settled now but the change can be alot to cope with. Has she got a few positive tales to tell you after her school day?
hupa how was the elternabend? Hope it wasn't too long. Did everyone turn up atleast? I went to ds's year 10 meeting and only 7 parents showed up and that's for an important year. I was quite surprised that so few came as there's a new teacher and it's the qualifying year for abitur.
Linzer G8, also called turbo abi is Abitur after 8 years of Gymnasium instead of 9. I think the first G8 pupils graduated 2 years ago. Ds will have just turned 18 when he has finished so it's not really turbo compared to the UK.
The dc are off to an information evening in the city tonight with over 100 businesses and university departments presenting their offers of cousres, training or study. Starts at 5pm and ends at 10pm and will probably be extremely busy.
I'm waiting for the caretaker to show face as we've found damp on a wall in the kitchen. Hope it's easy to deal with as I don't fancy having to pull the fitted kitchen out to fix it
Hello - everyone has gone quiet again!
We finally moved about a week and a half ago. Settling in okay, there is an expat group here who are being lovely and helping me find kindergartens etc. Some teething troubles - our newly installed internet seems temperamental, I can't get a mobile internet signal on my phone either and can't understand the text messages the company is sending me. Hoping to get someone who speaks German to ring the customer service line for me!
Still need to find out about insurance. I have phoned the guy whose number I have been given but it's going to answerphone and I keep chickening out of leaving a message. I think I will try once more and then just email him my number and hope he calls me!
Getting food in is proving to be a bit of an issue. I'm so used to online shopping but I don't think anyone offers that here? It's a pain as we don't have a car. At the moment we're going every 1-2 days but that won't be as easy when we're both working.
Hope everyone had a good weekend. We decided to make the most of what was probably the last really summery weekend of the year by having a barbecue on Saturday and then going up a mountain yesterday. We took the mountain railway up but, in a moment of madness, decided to walk back down and my legs are killing me today. I never thought that walking downhill could be so much hard work!
I'm actually quite pleased now that I did all that stocking up on stationery at Hofer, as DD1 seems to come home with a list of yet more things she needs almost every day - exercise books with various cover colours, Schnellhefter, etc. She always claims to need the things by the next day too. The only thing I've needed to buy was an A5 exercise book for DS's RE lessons, as they always need to buy RE stationery separately for some reason so the exercise book isn't being included in the books that the teacher is ordering (and I could only buy A4 and Quarthefte at Hofer).
Yoni Glad you're settling in OK. I remember struggling back from the shops with all our shopping in the days before we had a car, but at least I never had the chance to get used to online shopping so can't really miss it.
admylin Did the DC enjoy the information evening? Hope you're able to get the damp sorted out without too much upheaval.
platanos I'd thought that there might be a bit more of a transient community in Vienna, so interesting to hear that it's not unusual there either for children to go to the same primary school as their parents. Another thing
I'll never understand that surprises me a little is how many students seem quite happy to carry on living at home when they go to university.
How is DD1 doing now? We have the same problem with DD2, who tends to take out all her stress on us - she's much better than she was, but we still have secondary school to come.
Antique Hope your friends arrived OK in the end and that you had a nice cuppa with them! I have the feeling that I didn't answer a question you asked me several weeks if not months ago... I think it was about whether the DC enjoyed their hospital tour, which they did (much more than the first aid course they did just before school started) - lots of freebies too! And I got to work for a whole 2.5 hours in peace, which is virtually a miracle in the summer holidays.
They turned up 5 minutes after DS had fallen asleep, platanos, but he had been fiddling in his nappy and weed all over himself so he woke up anyway! It was really nice to see them though and we sat in the garden and had coffee and cake.
How is your DS enjoying primary school? Hope the homework isn't too much for him.
Did your DC enjoy the information evening, admylin? How is the damp in your kitchen? Will you be able to sort it without having to rip the whole kitchen out?
Glad to hear you're settling in ok, yoni! Whereabouts are you, if you don't mind me asking? If you want to post the text messages on here one of us can translate them for you.
Linzer I'm really not looking forward to the whole stationery business, it sounds like something that should be nice and simple but is stupidly complicated for no sensible reason. And I love stationery
It's nice that your DC enjoyed their hospital tour, and of course that they came out with loads of freebies!
DS is a bit of a handful at the moment. He's very sweet and (almost) always in a good mood but he is a real hurricane danger boy. He is into nothing but plug sockets, switches, safety locks, stairs and anything that looks dangerous. Everyone comments on how they have never met a child as lebhaft as him, but he's a brilliant eater, a good sleeper and generally very sweet and smiley so I can't complain too much, even if my haribo consumption has gone through the roof lately
Hallo all. Just coming on for a self-indulgent whine!
DD has just started Kiga, 6 days so far, but unfortunately they are the biggest bunch of disorganised borderline-incompetents going. They promised she would have a nap in the afternoons (showed us the sleeping area when we signed her up, wrote it carefully into her notes, knew full well she was just 3 yo +1 month, knew they were having her 5 days a week from 730-1700...) and now they tell us they don't intend to do it as they "don't have the staff". We were told this on her first day as they handed back an exhausted child to us long after all our other childcare options are cancelled. It's killing DD and us- we both work FT and don't have any relatives local to collect her early to make half days. We have sorted a collecting bridge-childminder now but that still isn't ideal as she can only go around 3pm to get her and it's too late for DD to get a nap at her house by then.
DH is going to make a round of calls this week but I think we may have to pull DD out and go back to the expense of nannies/ childminders again. Quite furious that the Kiga promised something they are not delivering but there doesn't seem much that can be done about that. We either become the black-listed parents by kicking off loudly; cross fingers and hope that poor little DD just sucks it up/ adjusts to no nap VERY early; or we accept they are shite, pull her out and somehow make other arrangements from scratch again for ourselves. Total PITA.
Last Mondays parents evening was apparently an eye-opener too. DH said it was filled with little-villager mildly xenophobic comments, lots of astonishment that out of about 60 people 3 dads had turned up (sarcastic wow!), some totally ridiculous crap about all the kids doing some cooking this year... even the boys! As seems usual, the same KG leader has been there for about 20 years now and apparently was the teacher to several of the mums-who-haven't-even-moved-up-the-road-in-20-years! It's a right old 1950s time-warp here and no mistake!
I'm in Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurtemburg (probably spelled that wrong!)
Someone has translated the text for me and seems to think it means I am set up to access the mobile web but I still can't. It might be something to do with my phone, I had a problem with roaming internet and spent ages on the phone to Orange (roaming!) trying to sort it and eventually gave up, then accidentally flipped phone into aeroplane mode, as soon as I took it out of that the internet worked! I have tried that with the German sim card but it just resets it and asks me to put in the PIN (which came with the sim card) in and still doesn't work.
I'm with blau.de which I don't think is a major network? But they seemed to have cheap internet and international calls.
The talk about naps reminds me of what I wanted to ask - people keep inviting us over at about 4pm, which I am finding quite perplexing and difficult because we usually have tea at about 5pm and if we go out at 4, even if we only stay an hour and it takes us half an hour to get home (neither particularly likely) it's already 5.30 by the time we get here and DS is starving by the time I get tea into him, it's usually gone 6pm. Just wondered if this was a thing particular to Germany or whether it was a people-with-older-children thing? DS is almost 5 and still goes to bed at 7pm, but perhaps I'm being very British about it I just can't understand if they start kindergarten at 7.30am how on earth the children aren't falling asleep in their dinners if they usually eat at 6 or 7pm.
Yoni 4 pm does seem quite late, especially if you have little ones; 2.30-3 pm is the standard afternoon meet-up time here. Very often, if the children stay until around 5.30ish they'll be given tea at their friends' which does make life easier. It's only now that I'm finally starting to relax a bit more about their 7 o'clock bedtime - although ironically, they're harder to wake up in the mornings and have to be at school earlier than they did at KiGa (7.45-8 rather than 8.30).
C4ro How frustrating about the naps. I didn't realise for years that children could nap at KiGa (mine all gave up their midday nap at 2-2.5 so it was never an issue for us), but it must be very difficult for your DD to suddenly be expected to stay awake until 5 if she's used to having a nap at midday.
I often complain about Austria being several decades behind the UK, but it really does sound like a bit of a time warp there. Yy to the mild xenophobia, though; one of our neighbours said to me a couple of days ago that she hoped there weren't too many "linguistically disadvanted" children in DS's class (in an obvious attempt to be politically correct and avoid using the term foreigners).
Antique I remember how exhausting that stage was with DS - he was quite a shock to the system after the girls and was into absolutely everything, the more dangerous/unsuitable the better. His obsession was toilet brushes was a particularly challenging time! Your DS does sound very sweet, though; you can forgive them a lot if they're happy and smiley, I find.
Just after I'd smugly written in my post about not needing to buy any school things for DD1, she presented me with an A4 list for Werken - she needs everything from a crochet hook size 3 or 4 (can only find size 3.5, surely that will do?) and wool (whose strength needs to match the crochet hook ) to a fretshaw and three different types of sandpaper. Also Laubsägeblätter für Holz (feine und mittlere Stärke - KEINE Rundsägeblätter) - think I might leave that part of the list to DH, as I just don't have a clue!
C4ro Sorry to hear you're having a nightmare with the Kiga at the moment. I can't offer any useful advice but I really hope it is sorted soon without too much trouble for your poor DD.
Yoni When I meet up with friends with DC here it's normally around 3pm ish, but my DS is just about to turn two and all his little friends are around the same ages, so it may be different for older kids, but 4 sounds late to me. (We are still working meet ups around nap times as well as dinner and bed times though.)
Crikey, the school do like to keep you on your toes, don't they, Linzer! One of my friends' oldest boy started school here this year so I'll have to ask her if she has ended up with a list like yours.
DS also has toilet-brush-love. He saw me using it when I was cleaning the bathroom a few weeks ago and has been eyeing it up ever since, waiting for his chance. Then when DH and I were both out of the bathroom the other morning he ran in there as fast as his little legs would carry him, grabbed the brush and started scrubbing the toilet furiously before we could grab it off him. The look of desperate concentration on his face was hilarious It's is birthday next week and I'm seriously considering hitting Ikea's bathroom department for him.....
We will see what DH can manage with the Kiga, he is talking to them this week about the naps and the fact she has wet herself every day she's been there despite being dry at home and at a busy childminders for a while. DD is luckily a flexible little soul, still excited to be a big girl and going to Kiga, loving to then be collected by a new lady with a baby girl, dog, rabbits and a trampoline in the garden, she's cheerful despite getting so exhausted. No refusals to go, no tears or clutching at the door or me when I leave her there. It'll be a shame to take her out as she loves the activities/ other kids.
During the 2 hour parents evening last week, they described lots of activities that will happen this year and mentioned that for a day a week a girl was coming in who spoke Serbian/ Croatian. One of the mums piped up "I don't want my child learning Serbian and anyway, the forrens should have to learn German"... it was then explained to her that several of the kids are bilingual and it isn't for teaching purposes. DH and I have been asking each other "are you local? this is a local kiga for local children" and sniggering at each other.
Lovely to hear other kids like to pick up inappropriate toys and cleaning equipment too. DD has an immense curiousity about all sanitary towels/ tampons as for a long time DH and I were not allowed to go to the loo unaccompanied. Hopefully this will wear off but she does like to root through my handbag and pull out all the interesting things she finds.
Hello, can I gate crash? No longer living in Germany unfortunately but my DH is German and I have a question about children's magazines.
At the consulate yesterday doing DC2's birth certif they had a stack of magazines called "Gecko" which looked petty good from the couple i leafed through. Does anyone know this magazine/recommend it? It would be for a 3yo. Or perhaps there's something better? TIA or perhaps better danke in voraus
Well we have a kindergarten place! They are going to write to us to tell us when DS can start although they were very clear that they definitely have a space for him. They don't speak much English at all but had enough to communicate with me (my German consists of about 200 words according to Duolingo, which is hardly anything in practice). They have put him into a group with another child who is American but learning German - it was his mum who recommended the kindergarten to me. I think I am more nervous than he is, even though he was terrified until he saw the train set. (Brio can solve everything when you are four)
Managed to get health insurance as well although it is on a travel arrangement which I think might preclude us from being able to claim kindergeld - I don't know if they check this kind of thing? I might phone back the broker and ask. Am now looking for jobs. DP wants to push the wedding forward which I agree with in principle but it looks like an utter pain - talk of getting a copy of birth certificates (Why? I don't understand why the original or another full copy isn't good enough) and then to get them translated. I wonder if just the translation has to be under 6 months old, perhaps that would be enough. And I might have to get proof that I am not already married, as I have a child from a previous relationship.
Has anyone here non-German married a non-German in Germany?
Oh and if anyone has any kind of info on the proper way to arrange a CV in Germany I would be very grateful! In German is fine as long as it's online (and not a PDF) as I use Chrome which translates everything for you!
Yoni yes, I remember when we got married I had to get my mum to order me a new up to date birth certificate and then I had to go and get it translated by an accredited translator because they're the only ones who can do a certified translation, I also needed a paper from the consulte to say I wasn't married already, can't remember the name of that but there were tears in the process of sorting that one out!
Great news about the kindergarten! That was quick.
AllSWornOut I've never seen Gecko magazine but from the website it sounds very good. Definately for the pre-school age and more in the educational direction than the usual kids magazines.
Antique lol at your ds and his toilet brush! Wasn't he into cuckoo clocks at one point? Wonder what will be next?!
Wow Linzer, my dd would like to go to your dd1's school for the arts and crafts! Sounds like they have some interesting projects ahead of them going by that list!
(by the way it's admylin here, got fed up of old name so changed) Still waiting for the damp patch in the kitchen to even be looked at by the caretaker. The landlady has been informed anyway so they can't say I didn't keep my Meldepflicht!
I have a self inflicted headache today. Dh got confirmation that his article will be published in quite a high impact factor journal so we celebrated last night!
Yoni You´ve done well to sort so many things so quickly. I´m afraid I can´t help with many of your questions. I did get married here, but dh is German, but I still had the whole nightmare birth certificate/translation palaver. I also remember going to the consulate and having to swear on the bible , but I really can´t remember what that was about at all.
I´ve never written a German CV, but I do know that it is usual to enclose a passport photo. Lots of people spend quite a lot getting professional photos taken, but I´m sure a photobooth job would be fine.
AllSWornOut I´ve never seen Gecko Magazine. When the dc were smaller we bought Geomini which was good, but I´m not sure if 3 is a bit young.
c4ro Sorry you´re having a bit of a nightmare - hopefully you can get things sorted quickly.
At dd´s first Elternabend there was only one set of parents where neither the mother or father had gone to school here. I´m lucky in a sense - dh is from here, so I´m accepted. Generally outsiders (even from other parts of Germany) are looked on with a certain amount of suspicion.
AmblingAlong I think I need to keep a spread sheet to keep up with all the name changes.
Congratulations to dh - he must be so pleased after all the trouble he´s had at work.
Dd´s Elternabend was fine, although it turned out to be the class teacher who loves the sound of her own voice. We were sat there long after all the other classes had gone home. Her English teacher came to introduce herself and made a really bad impression on everyone.
I better stop now - this is turning into an essay. Hello to anyone I´ve missed.
Hupa, the grandparents are already offering to buy national geographic kids!
Thanks for the comments, I might suggest gecko instead then. The stories were quite varied in the copies I saw and there seemed to be little activities in each edition too.
hupa How did the English teacher make a bad impression? I was quite critical of DD1's teacher before I knew her (of her English, that is), but then met her and felt a bit guilty about all my critical comments. I decided that as long as DD1 likes her and enjoys the lessons, I can overlook the odd minor mistake!
Doesn't stop me pointing them out, though.
Ambling Congratulations to your DH; that's great news. Commiserations on the headache, though - I hope it's worn off by now.
C4ro Any progress with the KiGa? We used to have someone at ours who spoke a few different Eastern European languages; can't believe the parents thought that they would be teaching the Austrian children!
Antique An Ikea toilet brush would make an excellent birthday present; wish I'd thought of it a few years ago.
I've just been invited to a hen night in England next year; my first thought was that it would be a huge extravagance, especially considering that we'll all be flying over for the wedding a couple of weeks later, but I've just been looking at flights and it's amazing how cheap they are when just one person is flying rather than five! Actually, I'm sure that I used to pay more to fly over to Austria when DH (DP at the time) was living there and I was still in England, and that was getting on for 20 years ago.
DS back from Hamburg tomorrow after 14 weeks Can't wait to see him, though it's only 12 days before he's off to south west France on his year abroad .
Just wanted to thank you all for putting up with my temporary residence on this thread and for all you help
fussychica Has your ds enjoyed his time in Hamburg?
Linzer What sort of hen weekend has your friend got planned? I´d be over like a shot if it was a spa weekend, but less keen if it involved "L" plates and Blackpool.
The English teacher was obviously very nervous and could hardly string a sentence together. She also said she would be unlikely to be able to teach the whole of the material planned for the year, but didn´t explain her reasons. She then launched into a story about her daughter borrowing her car and parking illegally and the police being able to track her down. This was completely bizarre, as it had absolutely nothing to do with school, English or teaching. She then left and everyone was left feeling slightly bemused to say the least.
Has anyone else got the heating on? I finally turned ours on this morning as I was fed up of freezing yesterday.
Hupa, yes the heating went on yesterday here! Switche doff today though as it's gone mild again. Wierd teacher, sounds a bit scatty maybe. Hopefully she has her subject im Griff!
Fussy I bet your son had a long list of food he had missed and wants to eat before he leaves again! I remember when I lived in France and would go to the UK for 2 weeks and didn't have enough days to eat all the stuff I'd been longing for!
Linzer there are some great bargain flights especially outside the school holiday period. Would your dh have to take some half days off to fit around the dc and school?
Caretaker came yesterday afternoon and left me with a bottle of 'something' (in an unmarked bottle) so spray the wall with every day for a week. A small decorative piece of wood has to go that was down the side of the last kitchen cupboard so air can circulate better. Hope it fixes the problem.
Dh seems to have all the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, at night time in bed his left hand goes numb and his wrist hurts and the pain goes up to his elbow almost. When he gets up after a few hours it eases off. He's going to try sleeping with a wrist brace. Of course he works with neuro surgeons so they've all been shouting operation which has scared him so he's on the self treatment route!
It's been pouring with rain for most of the day here (although quite mild, so no need for the heating yet), but DD1 and I just managed to get out between showers to buy the things on her arts & crafts list that we could get from the stationery and crafts shops (I'm leaving the sandpaper and fretsaw-related stuff to DH). Luckily I checked what the woman in the crafts shop was giving us, as she'd got Sticknadeln and Stecknadeln confused.
I ended up booking my flights yesterday evening as I was a bit worried that the lowest priced seats would sell out (only four left at the lowest price both ways). I'll be flying with BA for the first time in years - it will be such a luxury to be able to avoid the boarding scrum, not have to pay for my luggage and even have some (possibly inedible) food provided! Not too sure yet what the hen night will involve apart from the fact that there'll be an afternoon activity (tba) and a meal in the evening, but my friend isn't a Blackpool and L plates type of person so I'm not too worried! DH will have to take the Friday off work, but I think he was so relieved that I wasn't planning on having over a week away (he initially thought I wanted to go from the Friday until the Sunday the following week) that he sounded positively happy about it.
admylin Carpal tunnel syndrome sounds very painful; hope it clears up without your DH having to go down the surgery route. Also hope the mysterious damp treatment does its job!
hupa I see what you mean about the teacher not exactly making a positive impression; hopefully she's only nervous when talking to a room full of adults and will be more in control of her class. It hardly inspires confidence, but I suppose at least English is one of the subjects that your DD has to worry about least.
fussy Enjoy your reunion with your DS!
He really enjoyed Hamburg but said he was ready to come home - he's actually been gone several weeks longer than the usual university term.
Yes I have a 13 night menu list starting with Stroganoff tonight and a roast beef Sunday lunch. He'll be missing his fruit squash most in France I think as he was really pleased when you directed him to the Brit shop in Hamburg to get some.
His landlord in Hamburg bought him loads of pressies to bring home, including a giant sausage!
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