Another day, another doctor

Apparently we are on a tour of the Berlin healthcare system. Last night Asha kept waking up crying and finally disclosed that her ear was hurting. Not something a parent wants to hear: 1. No one wants their kid to be sick 2. You have to go to the doctor to find out if it is infected. You have no other option. Which could mean a lot of waiting at the doctor’s office.

I spent the rest of the evening researching doctors close by (no repeats of the trip to the eye doctor) who also spoke English and started emailing offices just to see if I would get a response before I could call in the morning. I was really hoping we could get an appointment to avoid waiting at walk-in hours. Luckily one of the docs was still at work and gave us an appointment for this morning and the office was within walking distance. Score!

We actually made it to the office right time. This RARELY happens! The office was so nice. Very clean and the waiting area looked more like a play room.

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A portion of one of the 3 waiting areas

We were only there for about 15 minutes start to finish. I was quite impressed. The verdict, no ear infection yet, which just like in the US means no antibiotics. However, he did prescribe a nose spray and some homeopathic drops. He also set up an appointment for us to return tomorrow just to make sure things don’t go south. It was easy peasy! Quite a relief and now we have a pediatrician here which I’m sure will come in handy.

In the afternoon we hit up an indoor kindercafe. We have places like this in Chicago, but the cafe portion of this place was way better. I mean they are all about cafes here, so I wouldn’t expect less. Big upside, it only cost 1 euro per child to play as long as they want. That’s a little over $1! In Chicago it’s at least $10. Granted they get you with the coffee and treats, but even still it was less costly than home.

Also we could walk there. I love being able to walk to so many places. I am also considering getting a bike. Lots of people bike here and it is so well set up with bike paths on the sidewalks and roads. The bikers also OBEY the rules. Such a novel idea I know!

Things I would bring back to the US:

  1. Law abiding bicyclists
  2. Good cheap wine (Seriously the most expensive bottle I saw was about 12 euro at more high-end grocery store)
  3. People talking at cafes and not looking at their phones

 

Tchüss,

Karla

What a day!

So today was a little bit hectic. Some of you know that two days before we left for Berlin I got a corneal ulcer. Perfect timing right! Anyway my doctor decided it was still ok for me to travel as long as I followed up with a doctor here. Luckily we were able to get me in  this morning, but I needed to be at the office by 8am and it was a good 30 minute+ train ride. I also had Karina in tow because Sanjay had to work and there is no getting work done when she is around.

Anyway as we are on the train I notice a written announcement regarding our stop, of course. Using what little bit I remember from taking German I was able to figure out that our stop was closed which meant a transfer to another train and then a bus. Now our trip was going to take close to an hour. Ugh! When we finally got to the “kliniken” it was like a college campus with all the directions in German. I was bewildered, but eventually found where I needed to be and everyone was so helpful. Also my eye has healed and I only need to follow up if I have a problem. Yay! It took us another hour to get home and it was cold and Karina was getting cranky, but we finally made it home. Although traveling to the doctor was PITA I’m incredibly thankful that I was actually able to see a doctor. It could have been a lot worse.

After we got home we headed straight out to the gym. I missed all the classes, so just used some machines. I thought I was totally prepared for everything to be in German, until I got on the treadmill. I have no idea how fast I run in kilometers! It never occurred to me that I would need to figure that out. I googled it this evening to avoid this issue in the future. Oh what would we do without the internet!

 

Observations so far:

  1. People here are very helpful, or at least those I have encountered. Not once but twice I have had people help me carry our stroller up multiple flights of stairs. People stop to one doors and one man even helped me bring the stroller into the entryway of our building.
  2. Public trans elevators, “lifts,” here rock! They are fast and don’t smell like urine or make you feel like you need a tetanus shot upon exiting.
  3. If everything is bigger in Texas it’s smaller in Germany. Which is fine for me when it comes to food, but not coffee. A large here is basically a medium at best.
  4. I really need to learn German!

It occurred to me that some of you might be interested in seeing our “flat,” so here are some pictures.

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Asha’s Room

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Main Bathroom (there is another half bath)

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Kitchen

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Dining Room

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Living Room (with guest appearance by Asha)

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Karina’s Room

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Master Bedroom

Hope you all have a great day!

Tchüss!

Karla

 

Welcome to Berlin!

Since at least some of you are interested in hearing about our adventures here in Berlin I thought I’d start a little blog to keep you updated.

After a 2 hour delay in Chicago and 6 lay over in London we landed in Berlin on Saturday night at about 6pm, Berlin time. We rallied the troops and managed to make it to church for Easter. It helps that everything seems to start a little later around here. We then did a little exploring and hit up the Easter Market (Osternmarkt) at Alexanderplatz. Easter is a big holiday here so were lots of markets, but all stores, except restaurants were closed. The first couple days have felt more like vacation, but when Sanjay goes back to work that will all change.

Observations so far:

Playgrounds here are covered with sand

You can get ice cream, coffee, and alcohol all at the same cafe

People here are still wearing winter coats, scarves, and hats when it’s 50+ degrees

Pretty much every restaurant/cafe has outdoor seating and it is almost always in use

Tschüss!

Reality

So Sanjay went back to work today, and I was faced with the fact that we are actually living here now. This is not a vacation and we needed groceries. As I mentioned before Easter is a big deal here, so no grocery stores have been open the last two days. We had some left over pizza, pasta, eggs, and salami, which meant I was going to the store.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting. I guess I assumed it would be similar enough to the US that I would figure it out. Wrong! It all looks similar at first. You start in the produce, which thankfully is pretty self explanatory, but then it gets a little dicey.

Most of you know that I am a pretty health conscious person and this added a whole different level to my confusion. I decided we needed some yogurt for breakfast. I like Greek yogurt, so I searched through their large selection looking for labels with Greek architecture and higher than normal amounts of protein (once I figured out what the word for protein was) I was easily able to find the kids yogurt pouches, so I was feeling ok at this point. Then I tried to get some meat, however; it was so early that the butcher was not fully open. I decided to try my luck with some pre-packaged meat only to find out that they really didn’t have any. People here go to the butcher and I get the impression that they only get a couple days worth of groceries. After several laps, I decided on a small package of pork chops and coming back another day when I could go to the butcher counter.

Next was oatmeal and cereal. I really just wanted some plain old Cheerios, but that was not happening. I don’t think there was one box of cereal in the aisle that was not basically candy, so I bailed on the cereal. After looking up the German word for oatmeal I was able to find that pretty easily. Peanut butter toast sounded like a good breakfast/snack. Only problem they didn’t really have peanut butter. I found one jar literally called “American Peanut Butter.” This label was in English and the second ingredient was sugar, so I’m going to have to figure out the whole peanut butter thing because this American does not like sugar in her peanut butter.

Feeling overwhelmed I decided to hit the snack section and see what little things I could find to nibble on and then get out of there. I found some pretzels and something similar to Pop Chips and headed for the check out. I was behind a woman buying 7, yes 7, packs of cigarettes. Smoking is still a big thing here. Anyway, it was my turn and everything seemed to be going ok, but I realized no one was going to pack my groceries. I went over and started to fill up my clothe bags, but was definitely not fast enough. I just started throwing everything into our little carrying cart and ran for the door. I was so relieved to be out of there even though it was raining outside.

I’m sure next time will be better, but right then I was just happy to be done. I was able to secure all the ingredients for Mac N’ Cheese, so all is right with the world.

Tchüss!