Es herbstelt schon! Autumn in Germany and Austria

(323 Posts)
LinzerTorte Fri 11-Oct-13 07:56:45

A thread for all 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. smile

Previous thread here.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 20:56:11

That's lovely - we opened our fireplace up 2 years ago, and we have never looked back. grin

LinzerTorte Tue 15-Oct-13 07:27:21

platanos I did look at the deal of the day when you mentioned it, but it was a biography of Mohammed Ali IIRC and I wasn't too tempted. Must keep an eye on it though; the UK deals of the day aren't great atm, although I've managed to find a few other 99p books to buy.
I did write a note on DD1's English test in the end; DH usually tells me I'll look petty if I mention anything (I know he's right, but it's the pedant in me), but did agree that I should say something this time. In a previous test, she'd written a correct alternative to the word they'd learned and hadn't lost any marks for it so I don't know why the teacher had to deduct half a point this time (especially when it made the difference between a 2 and a 3). He banned me from writing anything about the date though (she forgot to write the month first again).

Boffin I'm normally always up for Kaffee und Kuchen, but sadly we're about four hours from Munich so a little too far for a day trip.

dora Glad you're settling in OK.

DD2 has her first ever Schularbeit today; I can't believe how quickly her last year of primary has come round and that we'll have to start looking at secondary schools for her soon.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 07:48:31

I actually saw Mohammed Ali in a hotel in Munich once!

AmblingAlong Tue 15-Oct-13 08:00:40

Linzer how annoying for your dd to have to put up with that. I'd like to know how the teacher translates large into german? Must admit, my two have both lost points for 'wrong' translations whereas wrong means the class hasn't covered that word yet so they were meant to use a different one (even though it was correct).
If it's any consolation, once they get to year 9 and 10 and are expected to write reports or reviews in english the teachers seem to accept more, even if the class hasn't had the ord in their vocan list, and only correct spelling mistakes.

BoffinMum most of the Weihnachtsmärkte should have started by the end of November! Dd can't wait as she loves the Kinderpunsch stand and in Hannover they set up a Mittelaltermarkt. If I remember rightly Weihnachtsmarkt am Gendarmenmarkt is one of the nicest ones to visit. Although the Weihnachtsmarkt am Opernpalais is impressive too partly because of the location.

doradoo our Herbstferien will be over at the end of this week. It'll be a long term until they break up for the Christmas holidays. Sorry you had a dramatic and stressful week. Most of my moves have been similar to start with! Hope it's all sorted now.

platanos I'll have to start checking the deals of the day/week too. My Kindle is registered to my German Amazon account as I found that most of the books were more or less the same price as on the UK site. Must be due to the the exchange rate.

Antique did your parcel arrive? Dd is excited as her scarf is on it's way and should be delivered today. Not bad considering we ordered it on Sunday night. Never used Tesco online. Which jeans did you get?

Dreaming we lived just behind the Naturkunde Museum and the dc went to primary school behind the Charite hospital where dh worked. It was a Europa-Schule for portugese but my two were in the German class. Everyone told me that Berlin would be very unfriendly but I never had any problems and public transport is great too. Good luck finding a kiga. My dc went into Kindergarten not speaking German and picked it up very quickly. I didn't put them in until they were 4 to make sure their English was well established.

Today we're off to the dentist for a check-up (ds amd dd) then dd has an appointment to get a mole checked on her face. She wants it removed but we'll see what the doctor says.

Thanks platanos! DH and I have loved Berlin whenever we've visited pre-DC, now hoping we will love it mit kinder as well smile DS's favourite thing in the world is going to cafes (he's my boy!) so I hope we will have fun exploring.

Thanks for the tips Ambling, I'm definitely going to check out the English Europa schools for when DS is older. I'm also curious about this 'Berliners are unfriendly' stereotype because I haven't seen it at all yet (it does make me wonder how friendly the rest of Germany must be!)

And a wee note of thanks to Boffin for mentioning legality and winter tires, because I had no idea they were an actual legal requirement, so you may have saved us a big headache!

It's freezing and wet here in western France and the building hasn't put the heat on yet, so I'm getting some good practice in for Berlin smile

Plantanos The pooing creature on your phone sounds a bit blush in a work context. Thanks for asking - the dog has calmed down quite a bit in some ways, but is now growling at DS2, which is worrying and another layer of stress. Unfortunately I just don't think I'm ever going to like this dog very much, despite having considered getting a dog for almost 5 years before we finally did, and thinking we were going about it the right way, I am fairly certain we have managed to make utterly the wrong decision, and I am very angry with myself about it. Our lives are definitely worse rather than better for having the dog in it, and I am very short tempered, she has had a worse effect on my mood than 8 years of broken nights have managed! Ho hum. Sort of in limbo over it all atm, not sure what the long term holds. The kids claim to love her if DH and I discuss re-homing her, but I'm not convinced they actually do, they don't really want much to do with her, aside from DS2, who she growls at but who is too young to care that she does. sad

Linzer grin at Wein/ Wien - we get beer delivered, (typical Bavaria, there are 3 breweries who deliver to our liny village/ hamlet, but of course there's no internet food shopping option, nor such a thing as a milkman, as there would be in the UK grin )but never seen a wine delivery... I would have had to write something on your DD's test in your place too, although I have read some other stuff about this and some posters on a local forum claim the teachers then vindictively penalise the native speaker children down the line, so it backfires... shock No idea what the truth of the matter is.

DD has just started English at school (just started Year 3), and so far she has been allowed to chose whether to help in lessons or go down to the Year 2 class and help the teacher, which is a little odd. When she helped in English the teacher assumed she'd be literate in English without checking first, as the first thing DD was asked to do was to write up on the board how you write English in English! She was then asked to write the names of various classroom items in English on the board. Luckily she does write in English at home, but I know some American girls DD's age who have never written or read anything in English according to their mum, so it was an assumption on the teacher's part that she'd be able to spell in English just because she speaks it! I'm pretty sure it just never occurred to her though.

Boffin I am an hour outside Munich but I don't really get in much due to 3 small DC, toddler with my full time and older 2 finish at 12.30 on average, so it doesn't really work. I think I've only actually been into central Munich 6 or 7 times in 6 years here, the hassle factor just isn't worth it, esp as there is no public transport in our village, so I have to drive and take the train. DH almost ever goes in either, he just drives around it to the other side for work! I originally thought we were moving "to" Munich, but really its rural Bavaria... I must admit once I had DD I was the same living in Surrey an hour outside London - I rarely actually made it into London once we moved out!

Oops better go, have wasted Ds2's TV time when I should have been preparing my class for tonight, what is wrong with me! shock sad

LinzerTorte Tue 15-Oct-13 09:53:32

dreaming I lived in Berlin for two years and, although I had a few negative experiences, they didn't happen any more frequently than when we lived further south. Plus I think I magnified my negative experiences of Germany after leaving; we went to Berlin for a long weekend a couple of years ago and I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone was (although I realise visiting as a tourist is slightly different from living there).

Ambling Hope the dentist and mole check go OK. I had a mole on my face which I hated, but it's faded over the years and is barely visible now; I have quite a few otherwise too, but can put up with the rest!
I've just realised that I made a mistake in my post and DD1 wrote big rather than large (which she should have written), but it doesn't really change things, plus they must have learned "big" in class already!

Boffin Keep meaning to say I have your book on my Kindle (it is you, isn't it?) and have found it really useful so far. I'm on a constant decluttering/simplifying/organisational mission, but progress is rather slow!

MrTumbles The children have never been asked to help out in their English lessons (apart from the teacher asking them the odd word) and have always had to take part, although they've never minded doing so. DS came home after his first English lesson yesterday, when they learned what various animals are called in English, and said that everyone in his class has an American accent as "they all said perrot and elligator." I told him to carry on saying parrot and alligator!
grin at Bavarians being able to have their beer delivered but not their groceries; they obviously know where their priorities lie!

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 08:06:47

Just seen this expat shopping website mentioned on another thread, which looks quite good - it sells Tesco and other products. Delivery to Germany is 13 GBP (14.50 to Austria), but prices are quite reasonable.

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 08:17:15

Thanks Linzer will have a look later when we get back from the city. I have managed to get ds out of his bed and we're off now to get him kitted out for winter! Wish me luck!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 08:29:30

Can I join the thread please?

I have looked at it before but it always seems to move a bit too fast, so I thought I would get in at the beginning of a new thread.

We live about 30 mins outside Frankfurt, we've been here about 8 months. I have one child in Kiga, and the other at home with me. Finding it a bit lonely at times as I don't have any good friends or people to meet up with, and my German isn't very good, so it's awkward having conversations with the other Kiga mums (though they are polite and friendly).

How long did it take other people to settle in?

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 09:17:42

Hi Smoked and welcome to the thread. Sorry to hear you're finding it a bit lonely; I would say it took a good few years before I really started feeling at home here (but we lived in a different town, where I never really settled, for the first year).

Does your older child have any friends at KiGa who you could invite over? I found that was the best (about the only!) way of meeting people initially since at that age, the other mum usually comes along too. Or are there any playgroups/toddler groups you could join, where people are generally interested in socialising? What about other expats, are there any near you? I know you're supposed to immerse yourself in the local culture, avoid living in an expat bubble and all that, but if you're feeling lonely then a cup of coffee with another expat can be a lifeline.

Hi Smoked,

Have you looked at Toytown Germany? I think they have a lot of expat meetups around Frankfurt.

In my experience as an expat, first in the UK and then France, the first year is the hardest. Around one year you'll find you have a few friends to meet up with and by two years you'll feel quite cozy. This is just my experience but I've heard others say similar, so it may be broadly the case. So maybe just give it a bit more time, it will get better probably.

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 11:06:08

Thank you Linzer and Dreaming

Dd has made a couple of close friends at Kindergarten, has been to their houses and they have come here, but the done thing seems to be to drop and run (they are five year olds). One of the mums invited me to stay for coffee the first time, which I did, but I had to leave after about half an hour because dc2 needed a nap and was getting grizzlier and grizzlier. I invited her in to ours when her dd came round, but she was rushing off somewhere. I will have to grasp the toddler group nettle! Tbh I find them scary enough when I can speak the language

I have looked at Toytown Germany, was a bit put off tbh, there seemed to be lots of aggressive Just use the search function, this has already been asked in response to everything. But perhaps I should give it another go.

I think the problem is we live in a really small place. I have lived abroad before, but it was in a big city with loads of other expats.

Mind you there are lots of great things about living here too, and i'mglad we came. Just drives you a bit crazy sometimes when your only source of conversation for most of the day is two years old, and thinks Peppa pig and bottoms to be perfect conversation-fodder. grin So I shall look forward to chatting to people on here.

I think Toytown is sort of hilarious in how inappropriately aggressive it is. Tis an odd one. I'm not really tempted to join in the forums but they do seem to advertise meetups of all kinds so that is pretty useful.

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 12:54:13

Smoked Actually, the social aspect of MN shouldn't be underestimated - it's my only source of adult chat most days. grin Expats are few and far between where we live and I'm lucky if I speak English to another adult (phone calls excepted) more than about once a month. And I have a 9 year old who still likes talking about Peppa Pig!

I find toddler groups pretty scary too, but I've had to force myself to be much more outgoing in order to meet people. I even found myself accosting a woman at the supermarket not long ago when I heard her speaking English - amazingly, she didn't run off in the other direction and we've met for coffee a few times since then. Looking back, I never used to stay with DS on his playdates while he was at KiGa (I usually did with the DDs, although that was partly because I was then friends with the other mothers) - but often had or offered coffee at pick-up time. It is tricky, though; I know lots of nice people here now, but those you really click with are few and far between.

dreaming Whereabouts are you from? <nosey>

Ambling Hope you had a successful shopping trip!

I had a reply back from DD1's teacher; she conceded that while I was correct about large and big both meaning groß, large was the word used in Unit 2. I shall have to make sure in future that DD1 remembers which words they've learned when!

smoked I was/ am in a similar position to you, though mine were nearly 2 and still in the womb when we moved grin Similar area. I couldn't string a sentence together in German when we moved, but we established ourselves by having an absolutely massive 2nd birthday party for my eldest and inviting everyone we saw in the playground with a toddler - as my DC2 was born the day after the party this established us fairly firmly in the minds of other parents of toddlers grin

5 year old play dates are absolutely drop and run, the idea of staying is positively ludicrous (this was somewhat problematic for me with DC2 as he can be very shy, and developed an insistence he would only go on play-dates if he was able to walk home alone from them, should he need to). Your 5 year old is too old to piggyback on her social life already grin

Your toddler is the key - you are going to have to force yourself to go to toddlers groups, and talk to people in playgrounds. Is there an International Women's Club in Frnadkfurt? Could be worth a look.

I hate Toytown too, but there is a FB group for English speaking parents in our nearest city, and that is more friendly and I have been to a couple of meet ups and book swaps, though as I don't live in town I don't go to much, too much hassle... There are no ex-pats out our way though, like you.

Good luck - the first year is hard, especially winter - you have to plaster on a fake smile and make yourself get out there!

Linzer not nosey at all smile I'm originally from New York/DC but moved to London 9 years ago, France 2 years ago and now Germany.

I understand there is a German word, bodenlosigkeit, which means "willed rootlessness". I kind of relate to this idea smile

I know what you mean about MN being a lifeline, I have felt the same since coming to France. Where we live there are not many English-speakers or expats and my French is not great.

I do have a friend here who I swear knows every single English speaker in town because if she hears someone speaking English anywhere she will just walk up to them and rope them into going for coffee. I'm not that ballsy unfortunately but it does work for meeting people!

BoffinMum Wed 16-Oct-13 13:31:15

oo, Linzer, I am very flattered. grin

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 13:48:48

Phew, we're back from town and a couple of hundred euro lighter but dc are kitted out more or less for winter! Dd bought herself a candle in a lovely glass jar then went and smashed it on the way back to the car.

Hello SmokedMackerel I also know the feeling of living in a village/outskirts and not knowing anyone. I hated it when the dc were small (before kiga), felt isolated but I managed to join an english playgroup once a week that I had to drive to but got to know some people there. It took a long time to get as far as inviting each other round or meeting out of playgroup but atleast I had that one day a week to look forward to. Have you seen any groups advertised that you could get to? Do you drive?

Dreaming do you think you'll ever return to the US? My dd is obsessed with all things American at the moment and according to her she's moving there as soon as she can! We just had family over from Houston and they were very impressed with life in Europe and would move here tomorrow if they could! My nephew is a doctor, finished studies and all the rest but can't get a job.

Linzer that's you put in your place then shock What did your dd say to that answer? Is she doing well on the oral side? Ds is happier than ever now in English as they're at such a high standard that the teacher accepts whatever ds says and even asks him for help with pronouncing some words. They're not just expected to stick to the school book as they are allowed to do their own research for topics etc.

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 14:48:27

Linzer you are right! MN keeps me sane! I would love it if someone accosted me in a supermarket grin. Actually someone did the other week, but it was because he was very very drunk, and he couldn't speak English (though he thought he could). He offered to babysit the dc, but I eventually managed to get rid of him.

MrTumble,and Ambling yes, I am going to have to use the toddler to make friends. We don't have a car, but there is a bus, so maybe I can look further afield for groups.

Anyway, as a result of this thread I have just been back on Toytown Germany, and sent a PM to someone who is not too far way (about 20 mins on the bus) and who was asking about meet-ups for parents. So fingers crossed she will write back to me!

AntiqueMuppet Wed 16-Oct-13 15:08:08

My Tesco order arrived yesterday and it was all lovely! I'm really pleased smile

Just a quick one - SmokedMackerel I'm also not far from Frankfurt and have a two year old. I also run a toddler group where we live. If you want to, PM me, as we might not live too far from each other, depending on which direction out of Frankfurt you live! I found it really hard to meet people here, and I have to say almost all of the friends I have made are UK/US expats, with a few Germans thrown into the mix. Having a child definitely made it easier to meet people in my case.

Hello to everyone else!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 15:36:46

Thanks AntiqueMuppet. Have Pm you (I hope) smile

Oooh looking up Smoked! smile

Ambling no I don't think I'll ever go back to the US. I think the quality of life is so much better over here, the politics are more sane, and I get along with my family better from a distance wink

What about you?

I do wonder how my DS will feel about it when he's older. Mostly I'm just pleased to be able to give him lots of options, having two passports.

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 16:24:32

dreaming Sounds like we have a similar kind of background; we spent three years in London (am originally from the UK anyway) followed by two in Germany, two in the USA and have now been in Austria for 10 years. It felt quite strange not to be moving on after 2-3 years, but I feel very settled here now! DD1 also had an American passport as she was born in Pennsylvania; it's expired now, but she can always renew it later - she'll have to anyway if we want to go back for a visit, which we're planning on doing when the DC are a little older.

Antique I now have six items in my Tesco shopping basket. All for me. blush I think I need to find a few bits and pieces for the DC to justify my order!

Smoked Sounds like you have a couple of promising leads now. smile I definitely agree about MN keeping you sane - well, that's my excuse whenever DH mentions me spending a lot of time on here. grin

Ambling Sounds like a productive shopping trip; a shame about the vase, though. DD1 seems to have got over her disappointment about the spelling test, but I'm not sure DH has - he said he's going to have a word with the teacher on Friday and tell her that DD1 is learning English differently and not by unit! They don't get marks for oral work yet (other than part of the overall grade) but I think she's doing OK; it's mainly her spelling that she struggles with.

Just took DD2 and DS to their climbing course, but had to bring them back home again as it turned out I should have enrolled them properly after last week's Schnupperstunde (I'd filled out a form with all our details before the class started and thought that was the registration - but obviously not). DS was in tears and DD2 was quite disappointed too; I just don't understand why they didn't make it clear last week that we needed to enrol them for the course after the Schnupperstunde. DS's friend is in the same boat and his mum was really annoyed too.

MrTumbles While it's not the norm to stay with your 5 year old on playdates here, it's not unheard of either - although more to do with the social aspect than for helicopter parenting reasons (not that I've ever been desperate for coffee, cake and adult conversation, oh no). I still get asked in for coffee or will ask other mothers in when the children are being picked up/dropped off; very often I/they don't have time, but it's amazing how a bit of adult conversation can lift your mood some days. grin

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 16:45:47

Linzer that is a shame about the climbing. Will you still be able to get the dc onto it for another time or is it full now?

I think MrTumbles, living the very small village life of Bavaria, you get a slightly different deal on alot of things compared to how things roll in the rest of Germany! It could just be village life in general as compared to a bigger town or city though.

My 5 year old play dates were drop and run but as Linzer says very often at pick up time mums would come in for a chat and stay a while. Keep trying smoked - one day they'll maybe have time and come in. Get a long list of things to ask the other mums about to get things started, that's what I used to do at first. It's lantern time soon too so you'll be out on a few Laternenlauf meet ups through kiga probably!

Antique would you say the sizing is generous or rather not risk it and get a bigger size for the Tesco stuff? Never had anything from there but the prices are certainly interesting!

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