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Der Lenz ist da (we hope) - the spring edition of the Germany/Austria thread

(219 Posts)
LinzerTorte Fri 07-Mar-14 17:17:16

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.

WoollyHooligan Fri 07-Mar-14 18:40:42

Thanks for the new thread, Linzer!

BertieBotts Sat 08-Mar-14 11:10:35

Hello smile

MrsNutella Sat 08-Mar-14 19:36:44

Thanks for the new thread Linzer!

How is everyone? Just pooping my head round the door to say hello smile
Nuttelachen continues to be a monkey climbing everything, shouting and banging on the windows. He is still a very cute smiley little man though. He is also, finally sleeping through some nights wich is awesome and was much needed!

Aaaaaaaand Nuttelachen mark 2 is due at the start of August. A little faster than we were planning, but, well so was Nuttelachen 1 smile

Freedom most companies here are really good about Elternzeit and don't bat an eye lid at 12 months - it seems the norm here to take at least that long. There are also lots of courses (depending on your German level, I quite enjoyed my ruckbildungskurse - a course to help mummies get back into shape- and have made some good friends). But I can understand the personal want to get back I work too. What's is the availability of child care like in your area?

freedom2011 Sat 08-Mar-14 22:49:23

hi mrsnutella i haven't looked properly as we are still trying to figure out what we want but I am in a town centre, so I should be able to find a day care option, or a day mother/nanny. We're also waiting for 20 week mark to really get cracking with preparations. Although there are a few day care places within walk/cycle distance. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Looks like you are due a couple of weeks before me.

meinschatz Sun 09-Mar-14 16:26:26


I am hoping one of the lovely people on here can help me book a holiday from germany to somewhere warm in october. I am struggling to book a flight and villa combination and when i look at flights on their own for 4 of us they are really expensive (I am trying the 3rd week of oct so not the UK half term week).

All of our holidays so far have been by car.

Can anyone shed any light or tell me what they do for holidays in the sun?

many thanks. smile

LinzerTorte Sun 09-Mar-14 18:36:24

Nutella Congratulations on Nutellachen no. 2 - how exciting! How are you feeing?

meinschatz Most of the Austrians we know don't tend to go on winter sun holidays (and drive down to Italy or Croatia in the summer), but friends of ours booked a summer holiday in Corsica last year through Hofer Reisen, which was relatively cheap IIRC - I would imagine that Aldi (or Lidl) offers similar holidays in Germany? Apparently you can also book directly with the tour operator and aren't just limited to the holidays that Hofer advertises in its flyers, but I don't know whether that would apply to Aldi too.

Lovely sunny day here today, so DH and the DC have been busy in the garden (while I sat outside and read grin). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that spring is well and truly here now; I'll certainly be happy not to see as much snow as we had last winter.

meinschatz Sun 09-Mar-14 18:53:20

thank you Linzer sorry did not mean to say help me book the holiday, rather help me understand the package holiday thing as whenever we holiday we tend drive.

I forgot about Aldi - good idea and will appeal to my husband as he is Aldi's number 1 fan!

thank you again

C4ro Mon 10-Mar-14 12:51:50

Hello new thread. <placemarks>

Spain, South France, Italy, Turkey might suit for October sun. We went to Cyprus for a friends October wedding a year or so ago and that was lovely weather (low 20s C is my ideal range, 30s I find a bit much).
This summer we are taking a villa from that my SIL found for 14+ of us. They have places in loads of European countries but we're going to Hungary as BIL/ SIL don't want to drive too far with their twins. (I was brave enough to cuddle one of them with all their monitors attached last weekend. Not brave enough to feed one though! They were due on the 8th March so it was their "intended birthday" weekend.)

August babies are the best- congratulations! (DH, DD and I all fall in August so I would say that!).

I'm about to launch into the thorny world of Kindergarten playdates, not looking forwards to it at all. DD has a freund book and has been collecting various kids names and on Friday one of the Kiga teachers explicitly told us that Melissas mama had said to phone her... except the book is still out collecting some-other-kids photo and drawing and we haven't been so organised as to actually write any of the contact numbers down. Oh dear. I forced DH to write a short note saying we're up for it but were missing the details/ couldn't call last weekend- I know just how fast unintended offence and snits can happen. That was dropped off this morning.

AmblingAlong Mon 10-Mar-14 12:52:23

Thanks for starting the Spring edition Linzer! New word for my vocab there, Lenz for Fruhling!

Bertie did you move yet? You were looking for a new place last time I was on.

Nutella congratulations! How many months apart will nut1 and 2 be? My 2 are 16 months apart.

freedom welcome and congratulations too!

woolly Great news on the KiGa place! And to MrTumbles ds. Good look job hunting. Dd is desperate to get a job as she NEEDS money! She loves shopping but her wish list is bigger than her budget.

meinschatz I've never booked a flight and villa/hotel holiday from Germany either. Which websites are you using? If you're looking in school holiday times the prices will always go up so sometimes it's worth trying departures from an airport in a different Bundesland where they don't have holidays at the same time.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Mon 10-Mar-14 16:13:16

Hi all and thanks for new thread, linzer.

Quick post from phone to help meinschatz. We booked an Oct holiday last min last year and ended up going to Sicily. We had a great time - the sea was as warm as the air and the food fab. It was end of season and virtually everyone there was German. Friends on fb generally seemed to prefer Turkey at that time of year, but it was more expensive (at least last minute).

We booked using a travel agent which I would recommend. I didn't find anything myself online within our price range, but the agent had a much better search engine and could stipulate hotels with at least 95% satisfaction rating for example.

Will post properly when back in de.

LinzerTorte Mon 10-Mar-14 17:43:35

Ambling I don't think Lenz is the most useful of words unless you're into writing poetry or similar! I only know it from the song "Veronika, der Lenz ist da" from the Comedian Harmonists film (and it was the only spring-related quote I could think of grin). platanos taught me a far more useful word recently: Faschingsmuffel. Not sure I dare to admit to anyone here, though... and I think I'd rather have costumes for Fasching than World Book Day, which seem to require much less creative input on my part!

C4ro Surely it should be up to Melissa's mum to phone you if she wants to arrange a playdate? Our Kiga used to distribute a list of parents' addresses and telephone numbers, which was very handy - although I still preferred to organise playdates in person (obviously only feasible if you're dropping off/picking up the DC at the same time, of course).

The tablets for DS's bed-wetting worked really well, so after a month the doctor decided he could come off them. hmm So now he's wetting the bed again - only a couple of times a week, which is a definite improvement, but apparently children are only considered dry if they're wetting the bed twice a month or less. So we'll going back to the doctor on Wednesday to see if I can get him back on the tablets again.

AmblingAlong Thu 13-Mar-14 10:07:36

Linzer love faschingsmuffel! I never 'got' fasching when my dc were younger but they did love the dressing up and the krapfen or berliner!
Which tablets did your ds take? Did you get a repeat prescription?

C4ro did you get the playdate arranged?

Ds has just handed in his options for Abitur. They have to pick 5 subjects for the exams, 3 are higher level learning subjects. He decided to go for biology, maths and english as his higher level subjects and physics (normal level) and Politik und Wirtschaft (oral). He still has to do German, history and chemistry and much to his disgust he had to choose one of the art subjects so he took Darstellende Spiel as he dropped out of music last year and he's not really into art and drawing. As far as I've understood these subjects still count towards the Abitur but the 5 options count more. It's all new to us but I think we've got it!

C4ro Fri 14-Mar-14 17:14:06

The playdate is this Saturday. Melissa's mama phoned DH (his number was on the short note we sent in earlier)- they will come in the afternoon. DD very excited indeed about it. Her freund book has disappeared now though, she said kleine-David had it last... it is probably still in his bag or something.

My hearing thing has progressed too- CT scan done/ follow up trip to ear-doc, I have 5 giant sheets of photos of my skull in sections which is quite cool to look at. Unfortunately best place to get it done is in Steyr which is a 2-3 hour drive away. DH will take me next Wednesday- we know the town well as his grandparents live there and we got married there too back in 2008. Expecting to have right ear surgery in May. Work informed already and are supportive about it. They've just stuck me as lead on a giant customer project which could be awkward timing but we'll just have to manage.

Sorry for your DS linzer, hope it isn't upsetting him and that they put him back on the tablets.

Arbitur is A levels or GCSE? I thought all Europe did the Baccalaureate thing? I'm miles off having to understand this in detail. I can still remember being hacked off when my first choices GCSE were not possible and I also ended up doing Music when I didn't want to!

C4ro Arbitur is more like A level/ American high school graduation, but not everyone even does is - its what the most achademic 18-19 year olds do, there is no real GCSE equivalent and only some private schools do international baqualoriate.

Faschingsmuffel is common vocab here - my -german is still pants but I knew that phrase when I could barely make myself understood ;)

DD is in 3rd Klasse now and much talk of secondary school. She is looking to exactly hit the 2.33 required Gymnasium required grade, but she makes herself physically ill with stress at such tiny things already, there is no way I want that for her for the next 8 years - DH and I are both thinking Realschule. She is the baby of her school year, the absolute youngest child with 5 kids in her class over a year older, so she could comfortably do the conversion and do Arbitur anyway if she felt the need - personally I am thinking it is 90% ego anyway atm... no idea what my tiny little girl will want to do when she is grown up, it is so absolutely ridiculous to have to decide so early - put them through such a stupid amount of pressure and stress from when they are such tiny children just in case they want to be doctors and lawyers, or let them enjoy being children but have to do extra work later if they turn out highly academic - what an absolutely crazy choice to be making for an 8 year old! DD will still be 8 when she starts the all-importnat 4th class, and all the testing will be one before she's 9.5 - insane! IMO none of this should be happenig until a good 4 years later, there is no real way to understand children's adult potential at age 9! Not happy about this atm!

BertieBotts Fri 14-Mar-14 22:20:59

Yes I think Abitur is what they do in the Gymnasium isn't it? The other schools don't offer it. DS is only 5 but I have tutored a couple of kids doing Abitur for their English part of it.

BTW C4ro these days my kids have kids here or go to friends to pay every day that they don't have other commitments - with 3 kids this means I am alwasy running somebody somewhere, and always have somebody (or several somebodys) here - I have put notes in other kids' back packs in my time - only because one of mine will repeatedly ask if so and so can came to play, but so and so is inevitably child of 2 working parents who is picked up later than the standard lunch time, plus isn't in relevant child's group (for which we have a list of contact details) so I am in a position where I know the child and my child plays with them lots in the vast amount of outdoor time, but (if they are not on the football team) the only way my kindergarten child can play with theirs i by the note-in-bag method - Kiga won't give out phone numbers for parents in other groups, even though I have the numbers of all the random irrelevant totally different age and gender children my children have no interest in inviting over from their own group...

KiGa playdates are a good thing though, and should happen daily - in general I find the more kids there are in the house, the less work for the parent - if any kids break that rule, don't invite them back ;)

MrsNutella Sat 15-Mar-14 09:15:57

Tumbles I agree. It is wrong that so early in children's lived these decisions are made and cause so much stress. I find it a rather archaic system.

ambling the gap will be 19 months. DS is still a very happy cute little man which is good because he gets away with all sorts of things wherever we go. I need to buy him some reigns to keep him safe!

And, in case you haven't seen this here is something which I hope makes you laugh. I showed it to DH a few days ago and I think it's harbours.


LinzerTorte Sat 15-Mar-14 09:59:04

Nutella Great ad! I wish we had Edeka here; it often seems to have things that we can't get in Austria.

MrTumbles I agree about it being such a young age to decide about secondary school. Can hardly believe that DD2 will be moving up in September (we've just had a letter confirming that she has a place at the Gymnasium she wants to go to, end-of-year grades permitting) - all the important tests were/will be done at 8 or 9 as she doesn't turn 10 until the summer holidays.

C4ro Good to hear you got the playdate sorted out in the end and that progress is being made with your hearing. DH went for a hearing test the other day as he's been having a few problems; you've just reminded me that I must ask him how it went! blush
You can only do the baccalaureate at the international schools here; Austrian schools only offer the Matura (equivalent of A levels, as it's what you need to get into university, although you study a broader range of subjects than in the UK). There's currently a big debate about the Zentralmatura (standardised Matura), which they're in the process of introducing, but it's probably not something you need to worry about atm. grin The Abitur is the German equivalent of the Matura.

Ambling The tablets are called Nocutil and DS is back on half a tablet a night, so is dry again but we have to go back in two weeks, which seems a bit soon to me.
I get very confused by all the Abitur/Matura options, choosing whether to take written or oral exams, etc etc. Glad your DS has it sorted, anyway!

I went out last night for the third time this week, which I think must be some kind of post-DC record! I went to the cinema on Tuesday, to an expat group in Vienna on Thursday evening, and last night DH and I went out for a meal and on to the cinema as the DC were all staying overnight with friends. We went to see Philomena, which was very good - inevitably very sad but also a lot funnier than I was expecting.

MrsNutella Sun 16-Mar-14 19:05:48

Linzer three nights out in one week? Goodness. What is the Jugendamt equivalent in Austria ... I think I need to make a phone callwink
Actually I had a night out on Friday with the international mummies group. A very lovely group.
I was sat opposite one of the other Brits, who I get on with really well and we both saying how Hannover lacks something that we can't really put our finger on. The lady sat near us was born and bred here and when a space came free later at the end of the table she upped and moved without saying a word... It was a bit odd but then that sort of weird rudeness seems the norm here hmm

Last night DH and I had a lovely dinner out. It was brilliant. But, also our babysitter/Hebamme Praktikantin's last night babysitting for us before she leaves town now she has finished being a Praktikantin sad we are really sad to see her go. DS loves her (not that he sees her that often) and he stroked her face at bedtime which I think broke her heart a little bit terrible little lady killer that he is

Oh, and now for DH everything is "super geil" .... Not driving me nuts at all....

yegodsandlittlefishes Sun 16-Mar-14 19:22:56

DH starts new job in Vienna tomorrow, so I'm marking a place here. Our teenagers are settled in schools herebin England so we're not making the move as a family at this stage.

AmblingAlong Mon 17-Mar-14 10:17:49

MrsNutella dh and I often say that about Hannover to each other too. We've lived in Berlin which is hard to top but we've also lived in other parts of Germany and in much smaller towns so we have that to compare it to. Wonder what it is because it's got everything really! Do you see any chance of moving away sometime? We're stuck until 2017 atleast when both dc will have finished their Abitur.

Hi yegodsandlittlefishes will your dh be flying back and forth often? If my dh had to change jobs in the next couple of years we'd have to stay put too. Can't risk a move with just 2 and 3 years left of schooling. Although, dd would move tomorrow if dh got a job in the US.

Bad news at the weekend we heard that my niece in Houston has leukemia. She's a teacher and told us once that she and her dh have to have regular check-ups for their health insurance so hopefully because of that it's been caught early. She's in chemo treatment already within a week of finding out.

C4ro Mon 17-Mar-14 15:03:03

Hallo Yegods DH! We're Vienna area, well, 20 minutes South at least. Hope you get to come out here for some long week trips too.

Ambling. Sorry to hear about your neice, hope the chemo deals with it and was in time. You asked about websites for holiday bookings- I use to search for flights/ hotels for work. It’s all keyed into Amadeus which contains most carriers flights. The site has loads and loads of Europe-wide villas to choose from too. Do you know where you want to go?

You’ve described it really well MrTumbles, groups confusion/ working parents mis-matches plus we have various grans/ childminders normally picking the kids up each day too. If I now understand correct, there are 3 girls including my DD that are pretty solid friends in Kiga all afternoon. They certainly talk about each other all the time and take heavy influence. Apparently Melissa had all her hair cut short so it would be like Kates! Quite sad as Kate only has short hair as she has very slow growing, fine hair. We'll end up dropping a note to the other girl, Natalies parents too at this rate to say we’d like to let them meet up for a few hours too.
I was the youngest in my class so all sympathy to your DD. If you can step her an extra year schooling from the way the system works without knackering her friendship circles or letting her feel like she’s being held back then its ideal. My parents had the problem that once I'd started, there never was a time to find the year back again- I wanted to stick with my friends and keep going. I guess I kept up just fine in the end on workload/ school results but it was probably at the cost of social skills in my case.

Linzer, the playdate was actually fun in the end although I stressed about it. Melissas parents are lovely and totally OK with me speaking mostly English. They are way younger than me/DH, have lived in Traiskirchen all their lives and are tattooed/ pierced types. Melissa was nervous at first and had to be dragged through the door (by her parents I hasten to add!) but then did grumpy-toddler crossed arms the couple of hours or so later when told it was hometime. We had coffee/ beers/ chatted/ watched them play. Just for total curiousity, did your DH go to Dr Med Alexander Zieger? I went over your way to Baden for all my hearing tests.

LinzerTorte Mon 17-Mar-14 15:43:17

C4ro No, DH went to a female doctor near the station. I know the doctor you mentioned, though - he lives/works in the same road as us and his son is in DS's class. Small world! I haven't actually met him properly, but his wife is lovely and they have eight children between them. shock grin

Ambling So sorry to hear about your niece; at least it sounds like it was picked up at an early stage.

yegods Welcome to the thread; we're near Vienna too (DH works there). Do you have plans to visit him?

Nutella Nothing like a night out with other expats, is there? I cannot imagine DH using the word geil - probably a sign of his old age. grin

Must rush, time to pick up DS from fencing...

MrsNutella Mon 17-Mar-14 19:57:55

Linzer DH even ordered "zwei sehr sehr geile Cappoccinos bitte" in the coffee shop - I think it's out of his system... Almost.

C4ro your comment about the parents being tattooed and peireced made me smile. Because we are moving we have had lots of viewings for our flat. It is in what has become an even more desirable area since we moved in three years ago. But our flat is badly in need of renovation. The neighbours are retired busy body racists Nazis and half of the building is occupied by similar aged people. So, basically the owner who has no backbone doesn't want to upset any of them and is trying to find an older, white, German, straight preferably married couple to occupy this flat.
Some really lovely people looked round on Saturday. Those most interested... One tattooed peireced couple & one couple from Nepal. It is weird here!

Sorry not that it was comment at all on your describing the parents that way; I think I just needed to vent.

Ambling there are always options for us to move away but right now I don't want to because I'm finally starting to feel settled. It's a bit of a catch 22 smile I know we would settle elsewhere and find good friends. I'm trying to be more positive first about Hannover... I'm trying.... Trying... Argggghhh wink

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