The Mundane and Noteworthy

This past week, I’ve been paying attention to Logan and Brady and their observations about our experience in Germany so far. It’s the boys’ first time out of the U.S., so it’s a treat to see life through their fresh eyes.

Here are a few of the things they’ve remarked about:

  • Sugar cubes. “I always get the right amount of sugar in my tea!”
  • Putting whipping cream in tea. Half-and-half isn’t really a thing, so our current go-to is whipping cream, which is of course completely decadent.
  • How light it is outside at 9pm and beyond. Logan accidentally stayed up until past midnight not realizing what time it was.
  • Windows and doors. “WHAT?! They can open two different ways?” Yup – like a door AND cracked open at the top.
  • No bugs. Seriously, we leave the windows open all the time (screens aren’t a thing here) without fear of flies or mosquitos.
  • The “Signal Kommt” sign. When you get to a crosswalk and push the button, the device lights up to let you know the message has been received. No need to press it a thousand times; the signal is indeed coming!
  • Cheap sparkling water. “I saw a whole case for 2€!” (Yes, the € goes after the number, unlike the $)
  • Recycling is big business. The boys didn’t realize how lucrative it is until someone offered to take their empty water bottles. Then we got a look at the deposit breakdown at our local Edeka grocery store. Since then, they have committed to turning them in for the refund.
  • The drinking age (for beer and wine) is 16. And the boys just had their first biers yesterday – a radler and a cola bier! Radlers are beer usually mixed with lemonade, and cola beer? I bet you can guess. 😉
  • Gorgeous gardens everywhere. You know they’re pretty when even 16-yr old boys notice them.
  • How walkable Stuttgart is. The ease of public transportation means these guys can be fairly self-sufficient, even without a car.

I’m grateful they’re so open-minded about everything. They are still a bit puzzled about how long it takes to get a menu at a restaurant, but mostly, they welcome the changes. And they didn’t even see our neighbor doing some topless sunbathing! 😉

Still, I think it’s important to be intentional when moving overseas with kids. Part of my strategy for helping them adapt is going on little adventures throughout the week and trying new things along the way. It would be a lot to go out exploring every day, and I don’t want them to dread it. That’s why we’re shooting for 3 times a week. In between, they’re revisiting places of interest for a deeper dive. In fact, they’re out right now checking out the Edeka supermarket by themselves and walking around the surrounding mall. Can’t wait to hear what they report back!

As for the new skills, I’m the kind of person who likes to observe someone else doing something first before testing it out myself. So, I’m taking the same approach with the kids. One prime example is using public transit. Ralph bought our first group ticket with the app, then I bought the second one, taking some time to demonstrate how it works for the boys. Now we’re at the stage where they’ll buy our tickets for the next outing. It’s fun to hear them confidently say “let me try!”

In my case, yesterday was the first day I felt like myself, which makes sense from a jet lag perspective (a good rule of thumb is one day per every hour of time difference). I don’t think I’ll quit hitting my head on these low ceilings any time soon, though. :/

We still have a ways to go before we’re all fully settled and acclimated, but at this rate, I’m pretty sure everything will work out just fine!

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