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2013 ist schon da! A new Kaffeeklatsch thread for the New Year - living in Germany and Austria

(923 Posts)
LinzerTorte Tue 08-Jan-13 11:48:02

All welcome - whether you're living in Germany or Austria, have questions about life in those countries or just want to chat. smile

Previous thread here.

cheaspicks Mon 04-Feb-13 10:14:36

Linzer I've just inspected the plug on dh's kindle charger and it appears to say "ipad" on it (very small print), so no, you don't need to buy one - you've got an iphone, right?

mrtumbles I don't know why Anglo-Americans knit differently to everryone else - the difference is in how you hold the yarn, not in the result. Continental knitters hold the yarn in their left hands and just wiggle the rh needle around to form a stitch, rather than "throwing" the yarn with the rh. It's more efficient than the way I learnt, but somehow I can't be bothered to practise it enough to make the switch.

Agree that weaving is rather random to learn at school.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 10:22:42

YY you can definitely use any USB-to-wall plug, like a phone one.

I don't have a kindle but I work in a shop which sells various electrical goods including kindles and we mix and match them all the time, there has never been anything which didn't work with any particular plug, aside from the very cheap, unbranded, flimsy looking ones which often don't work with anything at all!

That one is ridiculously expensive, also! I'm sure you could get a good quality one for much less - in our shop we sell the Apple wall plugs for £7.

LinzerTorte Mon 04-Feb-13 10:38:55

Thanks for checking, cheas - yes, I have an iPhone so it sounds like I'll be able to use the plug on my charger. Thanks for the info too Bertie; agree about it being ridiculously expensive. When I was looking for a replacement charger for my phone last summer, I couldn't find anything in the shops for less than about £15; I bought one on Amazon for 79p and it's been fine!

Interesting about the different knitting techniques; I've never seen anyone knit here (although I think DD1 may have done some knitting at school). Children learn to crochet rather than knit at primary school here - which I can't do, so had to send DD1 to our neighbour when she needed help with it.

Right, off to order my Kindle now! Thanks again for the heads-up outnumbered and hope you're feeling better very soon.

platanos Mon 04-Feb-13 15:10:39

I love short days at work smile

outnumbered- hope you feel better soon. Thanks for the kindle tip-off. I got one for dh. Now we need to get to introduce the book swapping in austria and germany....

cheas I did not know there was a difference until I stumbled
across something on utube and was very confused. Even more confused because I learnt the anglo/american way from my spanish mother. I am now knitting a kindle case...started as a scarf yesterday but just realised today it is perfect for the kindle....dh can get a red, hand-knitted kindle case for valentine's day wink...or, if I don't want it to be our last Valentine's together, he can have my old black proper case grin. We don't do valentine's presents here..

linzer what you wrote on the payment system has confused me further. I shall have to ask more questions...and hopefully understand the answers! how long did the peace last? Funny that the dc are on holiday and play schools! was there no discussion on whether dc would get marks vs long reports at the start of the school year? in both dds cases we had a discussion at the first meeting...with dd1, and only one month after arriving in austria, I had NO idea what they were all on about - "zeugnis" was not a word I was familiar with after my german conversation class with elderly Finns. Btw, huge congratulations to your dd1 and her she feels proud!

remember I have moaned about dd2's teacher? Just spoke to a mum whose daughter used to be in dd2's class and after a lot of hassle (power games on the teacher's side?) had to repeat a year. Well, she went to a psychologist who has confirmed that her daughter should not have been put down a class, as she was average or above in all subjects. But, although the mother is p***ed off, she is glad that her daughter has a new teacher. Having the same teacher for all of primary school has some possible disadvantages - is it like that in Grundschule in germany too?

off to sit with the children and knit....

itsMYNutella Mon 04-Feb-13 21:45:44

Thanks for the heads up on the kindle outnumbered I mentioned it to DP and he decided we should order one & try it out. Worst scenario would be sending it back or selling it on grin think he wants to play with a new gadget.

Totally forgotten what else I was going to write hmm

Ohhh yes, admylin the website you use (I think it was you..) for recipes for curries can you please share the link again!
And what website would people recommend for ordering British food supplies. I've got a terrible craving for digestives at the mo; and branston pickle - is there anything better than a cheese & pickle sarnie??

Think that was it ...

admylin Tue 05-Feb-13 07:05:26

Nutella speaking of digestives, I was flicking through the Lidl Werbung yesterday and saw that they have chocolate digestives on offer this week.

The curry website is, all vegetarian though and she also doesn't use onion and garlic much (if at all) but you can add them if you prefer (we do)! Her videos on youtube are really good.

Congratulations on your new Kindle (and Linzer) dd decided she wanted to wait so we missed the deal.

platanos you'll have to post a pic of your kindle case when you've finished knitting it! How far did you get yesterday?

Tumbles I bet your dd will have a good report too. Do you know if they do a Sozialverhalten grade? From the sound of it she'll be top of the class for that!

About the grades on reports, a 3 is 'befriedigend' (satisfactory) and a 4 is 'ausreichend' (sufficient) but people go all tragic and shocked if their dc gets one or the other, even the dc are upset with 3s or 4s.

admylin Tue 05-Feb-13 07:11:17

Just re-checked, it is McVitie's chocolate digestives 300g for 1,29€. That's really cheap isn't it? They sell for 3.60GBP on!

LinzerTorte Tue 05-Feb-13 07:45:32

admylin The chocolate digestives are a real bargain, wonder if they'll come to Austria too. I bet they won't...

Children (and parents) are upset with 2s here! Two girls in DD2's class have been (on separate occasions) in tears because they'd had a 2 in their Zeugnis (in the 1. and 2. Klasse, where lauter Einser are still fairly common and anything less is a tragedy ).

platanos Apologies for confusing you! I can't really pretend to understand the system myself, and especially not the amount of money we get back from the Krankenkasse when we pay ourselves, which seems to vary from 10 to 90%.
No, absolutely no discussion about whether the DC should have grades on their reports or not. I know children in another school in NÖ who don't get grades until the 2. Klasse and DH's nephew (in OÖ) didn't get grades until the 4. Klasse, but I sometimes think the parents here are as obsessed with like having and comparing grades as much as the children do.
Re having the same teacher for the whole four years, didn't you know how incredibly traumatic for the DC to get a new teacher after just a few years? This is yet again an issue for us, as DD2's teacher is retiring at some point between the end of this academic year and next Christmas (we're under strict instructions not to tell the children yet - we were told about five months ago) and I know more than one mother wondering how on earth their child is going to cope.

My Kindle is on its way. grin

Admylin and Linzer I can't see how DD can just randomly be awarded 1s for her Zeugnes as they've had tests back on a fairly regular basis and she very rarely gets 1s - she usually has a fairly good handly on the grades most of her friends and a few key others have got, and there is only 1 test she did disproportionately badly on, so I don't think she's far from average. If they send home tests for me to sign that are occassional 1s but mainly 2s and 3s a report full of 1s would mean less than nothing at all... confused There are 3 children who regularly get 5s and 6s in German so equally I can't see how 2s and 3s would be a sign of a struggling child... hmmm, we shall see what happens! I am going in to school in half an hour about a totally separate matter but I am sure her teacher will mention it if there are problems... Other mothers here with older children don't seem concerned about 3s and 4s unless its a dip from their child's average... (at least the ones I've talked to, mainly ones who are asking for English advice...)... maybe they are not the norm??? Ploom your kids are in the Bavarian system, is it all 1s and 2s for everyone in years 1 &2 here? confused

Doing paper work for holding DS1 back a year at KiGa atm and trying to get through to the Haus Artz as he needs a doctor's report (also a Zeugnis apparently wink) to confirm my reasons for him zurückzustellen... can't get through though, very frustrating... Am more than usually knackered too as DS1 ha been up a lot the last 3 nights due to croup as well as DS2 being up his usual multiple times a night... joy...

Got to see school because 2 4th class boys seem to be bullying the younger children - DD said they pushed her on the ground on Friday, I can't work out if its being dealt with properly, it seems they regularly pin a boy in her class against the wall too, and I know his mum a little (she's a uni lecturer and also coaches the older girls at DD's football club) and I cannot imagine she'd stand idly by if her son is telling her that is happening ... need to get to the bottom of it angry

Sorry, me, me, me post but have no information to add about Kindles as I don't have or particularly want one ... shock

Chocolate digestives from Lidl sound tempting... can't handle the dieting atm, seem to be putting weight on instead of losing it!

At DD's school they have the same teacher for the first 2 years, then a new one for years 3 and 4 - seems standard here...

BertieBotts Tue 05-Feb-13 08:55:30

I was looking at UK food for DP the other day, I found a combination of amazon UK and is best, you just have to compare prices and remember to click on seller's name to check postage, as most food products aren't dispatched by Amazon.

admylin Tue 05-Feb-13 09:27:05

Bertie and Nutella this place is good and only costs 5€ delivery I think up to 30kg - I've used them a few times when we've been desperate for marmite or branston. Are there any British food shops in Frankfurt? Probably expensive but good for treats occasionally.

admylin Tue 05-Feb-13 09:28:27

Tumbles let us know how you got on at school. Hope ds's cough is better soon.

cheaspicks Tue 05-Feb-13 09:34:04

I've ordered from before. They charge 5€ delivery for up to 30kg - don't know how the prices compare to Amazon though.

Have to get bastelling my "pin-the-parts-on-the-body" game for my lesson on Thursday. Hope it goes down well...

cheaspicks Tue 05-Feb-13 09:34:51

Ha ha, x-posted with admylin.

Ploom Tue 05-Feb-13 09:42:48

Sorry no time to post properly - nutella - I got food from a company called Michelle's specialities - just put it into google. Thought the prices were reasonable & there was a good selection.

mrtumbles - there are no grades in the 1st class here and there's been no grades written on ds2's 2nd class work but when I went to the parents eve the teacher was discussing his work in grades. I maybe shouldnt admit but I'm sometimes disappointed when dd comes home from the gymnasium with a 3 or 4 if I know she's not tried her best or learned for it but she had a maths test last week & studied loads so if she comes home with a 3 or 4 then thats obviously what level she is at for Maths. (dh who was always an einser kind finds it difficult to accept a 3!!)

Hope all poorly dc get better soon, hope kindles get delivered soon & really wish for more sleep for mrtumbles & nutella smile

LinzerTorte Tue 05-Feb-13 10:15:16

MrTumbles Children don't generally get grades written on their work in primary school here, only really in the Zeugnisse. DD1 was most definitely struggling at primary and got mainly 2s until the 3. Klasse, after which she mainly got 2s and 3s. Obviously if the class average is 2s and 3s, then your DD is doing fine, and it's obviously a different system anyway. I think the reason that 2 is seen as the lower end of acceptable by some and 3 as a bit of a disaster is that children wouldn't get into Gymnasium here with a 3 in their Zeugnis. Not that I'm saying that Gymnasium is the be-all and end-all, but it definitely is for a few other parents I know.

I've never bought food online as I'm too stingy; I hardly ever buy anything at the British shop in Vienna either. Mind you, I would probably feel differently if I didn't get back to the UK twice a year - when I do more than my fair share of stocking up!

admylin Tue 05-Feb-13 10:35:16

Linzer yes, that's why parents (and dc) dread getting 3s in primary school because it means no Gymnasium! Once they're at Gymnasium the grades are different and it becomes much harder to even get a 1. A geography teacher used to mark down to a 2 if a dc had more than 1 mistake in her Klassenarbeiten!
At the last meeting I went to about year 10 they said the dc had to pass year 10 with altleast a 4 or above to qualify for the Abitur class. A 4 minus wouldn't be accepted though and they would have to repeat the year.

ploom dd has had a 4 on her report in maths before (that's when the teacher told me that I shouldn't worry as a 4 is ausreichend) and this time she got a 3, and the teacher siad she's just short of a 2 so dd was really fed up.

hupa Tue 05-Feb-13 10:53:13

Linzer Has your Kindle arrived?

MrTumbles I remember dd´s teacher saying that even if a child got all 1s in their tests, but didn´t contribute in class then they wouldn´t get a 1 on the Zeugnis. Maybe your dd will boost her Noten if she´s always putting her hand up in class. I would have done really badly under the German system as I was always too shy to contribute much in lessons.
I hope you get to the bottom of what is going on at school.

Dd also got her Zeugnis on Friday which was pretty much the same as always, but ds will have to wait to the end of the year because he´s in the 2. Klasse. They had yesterday off and today the whole school is at the theatre, so they won´t be doing much learning this week, unless they end up with loads of homework to make up for the missed lessons.

I´ve not bought food online, but our jar of Marmite is nearly empty. We´re planning a trip back to the UK at Easter, so I think I can hold out until then.
Mind you if I drive by a Lidl in the next few days I might pop in and look for the digestives.

hupa Tue 05-Feb-13 10:58:52

I think that we´re in a lucky position here in that all the dc go to the Gesamtschule, so the Noten in the Grundschule aren´t really important. It´s in the 6. Klasse when they decide who will go into the Gymnasium Zweige or the Realschule Zweige that the Noten become important.

Was a full hour with DD's teacher! Basically the boys are a known problem and she claims the school has tried everything and is now just waiting for them to leave! She said they are too old for the school as they both repeated 3rd Kalss (school only goes up to 4th Klasse) they are in 4th Klasse now but should be in 5th, and they don't know what to do with them. They seem to come from "problem" families - she said there is a lot of fighting at home and problems with older siblings in both families, but that both families claim the boys in question are no trouble at home and won't believe they are at school... same old story I came across lots of times as a teacher in England but we wouldn't have been allowed to share all that info with parents! She also offered me their addresses and phone numbers and said the school has been in touch so many times, maybe they'll listen if parents start getting in touch too! I said if it happens again I will take that option (and hand it over to 6 ft 4 German DH rather than try to handle it myself with foreigner stamped on my forehead...) I will also get in touch with other parents if we have to go that route.

She did say that each time there is an incident with those boys the children know to go straight to a teacher, and it is addressed, but admitted this does little good. To be fair DD did say the same - that she told Frau G, and Frau G talked to them as did their own teacher, but that they don't care hmm

The teacher said they are not aggressive they are gemeine... I have always understood that meant ordinary, but am now wondering if it means "common" in the British English negative sense of the word... I am sure you can all correct me? Otherwise I don't know what she was talking about, having just been going on about what problems they are! She also said idylic little schools like ours didn't used to have to deal with children like that - which sounded like something straight out of an upper middle class school in Surrey grin

She also wanted to talk about DD's work again, and the same old story that she doesn't concentrate in class, can do the work but dreams, and has recently forgotten some homework (which I suspect she just never wrote down). when I ask what to do about it though she just shrugs and says she's very young, so I really don't know how to address it! She did say I can reduce her homework by just letting her do half of each type of sum when she has maths if I think she has to much on a given day, as long as I write a note, so that's something...

I got a look in the teacher's mark book for individual pieces of work while she was discussing DD's work and saw a sprinkling of ones balanced by a sprinkling of 6s and everything in between (for the whole class), but of course don't know how that will reflect on grades. The report will be after Fasching Ferien anyway this year, 22nd Feb as Fasching is early... I don't care what her grades are in themselves but do want to know how to interpret them - and if she gets 2s and 3s need to know whether that is panic stations or average! But from the marks the teacher was pointing at in the book, they seem OK, not the best, but far from worst... The teacher says she deliberately tries to make the jump from 2nd to 3rd class smoother by not pitching the work and pace too easy in 2nd class - who knows if that is good or bad!

I don't know what grades are needed fro Gymnasium here - I think 1s and 2s, but I'd be happier with Real Schule - still academic with the possibility of university by a slightly longer route, but at a friendlier pace with time for more pleasant activities and not the pressure cooker Gymnasium sounds like. Hauptschule on the other hand seems to be a dumping ground and I'd rather she doesn't end up there as its where the behavioural problems seem to be - and where the teacher said they will be rid of the problem 4th Klasse boys to in half a year!

outnumberedbymen Tue 05-Feb-13 11:56:57

Hello! I'm starting to feel alive again smile and have hot taking three dc for their dental check up this arvo to look forward too.

Will try and catch up in the thread properly tonight.
Interesting to hear about all the grades, zeugnisse etc. we didn't have grades until 3. Klasse I think. And although there was the odd child having all 1s, overall it was a mix. I think at primary school I had one 1 (pe), mainly 2s and some 3s.

mrtumble I really did not feel Gymnasium was terribly tough or stressful. And I was not a model student with brilliant grades. From my experience as a teacher at Gymnasium, pupils who went to Realschule and then changed to Gymnasium after 10.klasse found it very very tough to a) adjust to the different pace and b) catching up on things that hadn't been covered at Realschule. If I am pretty certain that my dc is capable of Gymnasium, I'd send them there straight away as going via Realschule can make things very difficult. At my last schoo 3 out of 5 children ended up repeating year 11 as the change was too difficult. And when I say 'different pace' I didn't mean pace at Gymnasium is very fast. But they were used to a slower one this found it difficult to adapt.

Re what the teacher said: 'gemein' I understand as mean. Did she perhaps mean that they weren't physically aggressive usually but more being mean and constantly teasing/ verbal bullying?

Anyway, got to get ready.

Hello to everyone else smile

LinzerTorte Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:26

MrTumbles Sounds like a very frustrating situation with the bullying - I suppose it must be equally frustrating for the teachers, if dealing with the individual incidents as they happen and getting in touch with the parents has so little effect. Btw gemein means nasty. The DC always used to accuse each other of being gemein but would say gemeint instead, which used to drive DH mad! (He's far less tolerant of them making mistakes in German than I am when they make mistakes in English.)

LinzerTorte Tue 05-Feb-13 12:03:03

Oops, posted too soon... and also x posted with outnumbered - glad to hear you're feeling better.

hupa I only got the e-mail to say my Kindle had been dispatched last night, so I'm expecting it to arrive tomorrow.

admylin Yes, 3s and 4s seem quite common at Gymnasium here. I also wonder whether a 3 or 4 would be slightly lower here than it is in Germany, as 5 is the lowest grade.

platanos Tue 05-Feb-13 12:22:07

A very short day at work for me - just got to work, had read my emails and made a cuppa, when I got a call from the nursery to say ds had a fever. He was a bit "off" this morning. He has been home and asleep since.

mrtumbles- that seems like a tough situation regarding the boys. I am a bit hmm about a school not being able to deal with a couple of 10 year olds. Did it sound like they had basically given up on them? Do you know the boys? Good on the homework reduction strategy...

outnumbered glad you are feeling a bit better. And good luck with the dentist!

hupa I am also thinking of digestives! I never got to Lidl for the cheddar but bought some at the local spar. Then last week I got another Austrian cheese and it was just not as nice. This thread might yet turn me into a proper Brit grin. But I draw the line at marmite.

Thanks for writing about the marks and how they change in gets me prepared! Though I know dd would be more disappointed by a 3 or 4 than we would be.

Good to hear german children survive a change of teacher. I even had a mum from ds's kindergarten asking me if I thought dd1's teacher (who will take over an 1. Klasse) would have a baby shock. It took me a while to work out why that was important....and how would I know?!??!?!?!

cheas hope your game goes well!

admylin I did not get very far as the dc wanted hot choc and biscuits (holiday treats here). Have to find a suitable kitsch heart-shaped button!

off to see if ds wants some food. hello all and stay healthy smile

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