One year in Deutschland!

| August 31, 2013

Tonight, 31 August 2013, marks one year since we landed in Deutschland.

One year ago, we came to this country having forgotten to exchange money. We wandered the streets of Wiesbaden not knowing what an ATM looked like, starving at an off-hour, wanting to eat a full meal so badly—in Germany, between lunch and dinner hours.

Eventually, I heard a family speaking English. I approached and asked if they knew where an ATM was. No. In fact, I shit you not, they were looking for one, too.

Eventually we found one and withdrew Euros. Paul insisted his first meal be Schnitzel, so we found an open restaurant with Schnitzel on the menu and sat down. It wasn’t charming or “German” or a place we ate again in the next month of living in Wiesbaden, but the food was fine. We stuffed ourselves, dragged our jet-lagged selves around for a bit, then returned to the hotel. We’d stayed up as long as we could by six or seven; we collapsed into our beds. And then I learned about twin-sized comforters.

Paul and I were dead asleep that first night when, at midnight, Sequoia woke us. She was dressed like Rapunzel, in her costume and braid, and she actually wanted to play Rapunzel. We were staying at the (wonderful) Oranien, in a tower room; she’d been sold on this hotel by the tower, just like Rapunzel was kept in, etc., and she wanted to play. Now. At midnight.

Sequoia’s internal clock was a little more sensitive than ours.

In the past year, Paul has eaten a Schnitzload of Schnitzel, as has Sequoia. We’ve all bloated ourselves with breads and Bratwurst and other bests of wursts. Some beer has been, decidedly, drunk. And Sequoia has visited the real Trendelburg, where the tale of Rapunzel is said to have originated.

A year ago today, we spoke no German. Today, Sequoia is in first grade at the local public school, where, as you can imagine, she speaks German. I’m about to start the fourth workbook (Schritte Plus 4) in my local German class and I just handled an entire vet appointment with Flash in German. Paul listens to podcasts and catches all kinds of stuff around us, although he sometimes refuses to speak except to ask for a scoop of ice cream or order another beer.

A year ago today, I did not own a bike. It was a reluctant purchase this summer, but I now own one and use it regularly. Also regularly, I fall off it. But I get back on it. Paul owns a bike–a much more expensive one. He even wears fancy-schmancy cycling gear now. I do not. I find that people realize more quickly that they should move out of my way because I might crash into them, if I am not wearing anything biking related. Even Sequoia has a brand new bike. Paul now talks about taking family vacations where we bike around lakes. Pppfffttt…now, there’s a rather unexpected turn this year has taken.

It’s a milestone. It’s an adventure. Stay tuned.

Category: Ex-pat Parenting, In Germany A Broad blog, SGH blog

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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