So yesterday started out hectic, as every morning seems to be when you are trying to leave the house with children, and we missed our train. I decided we would walk instead. A few minutes later the train passed us and stopped at the next station. We ran to catch it and when we got on I realized my phone was gone. We got off at the next stop and went back to look for it, but as you can imagine it was gone. I was planning to get a German sim card and prepaid plan in the afternoon, when Sanjay sent me a message that someone found my phone and was right up the street from our apartment! There really are great people out there! We retrieved the phone and gave the man a little reward for being an honest and awesome human. I was so thankful that I had it back and didn’t have to try to figure out how to get a new one. I have really come to rely on my phone for directions, so I was going to have to figure something out. Anyway with that hiccup resolved the girls and I went shopping. Which really translate to the kids each getting a toy and trying to leave a store without Karina taking everything off the shelves or rack. She literally grabbed a shirt out a man’s hand at H&M while I was answering a question for Asha, smh.
Today while in a class at the gym, I thought I heard two women speaking English. During a brief break the class I spoke up and learned that I had heard correctly. I thought this might be a great chance to meet some people and it turned out to be. After class when I was picking up the kids from childcare the same woman was also gathering her son. She and I started chatting and she said that she had an older son Asha’s age and some American friends with girls Asha’s age. She took my email and arranged a playdate at the park in the afternoon. I was so happy to find some children that Asha could play with. I had been fretting about this just the night before and bam prayers answered. Asha was super excited and had a great time playing with the other kids.
In between telling Karina to stop eating gravel, yes she was literally eating gravel, I got some intel on German culture from my new German/American friend.
- She said that Germans are reserved and tend to have grumpy disposition (her father is German btw). I guess I have noticed that in general people are not overly friendly, but I have found them to be quite helpful. I mean a stranger returned my phone. Not to mention the now multiple people who have helped or offered to help me carry the stroller. She said that either the people were not really German or I just ran into some unusually nice Germans. Maybe I just look so sad and pathetic that it tugs at even the cold German heart strings.
- German parents do not hover, even if at times they really might need to intervene. This I have noticed. At the parks adults are sitting on the sidelines chatting and not really paying much attention. I’m not totally opposed to this, but I think there has to be a happy medium. I’m much more willing to let Asha roam free than Karina. She just can’t be trusted, but even with her I just try to stay where I can see her and stop her from hurting herself or others.
- Apparently it is still a rather chauvinistic society, at least in the business world. She said that companies are very resistant to hire women between 35-45 because they don’t want to deal with mothers. This is just one persons opinion and I can really speak to it validity, but was a little surprised considering daycare is partially funded by the government.
- If you see a child at the park with a man that looks like his/her grandfather, it is probably the child’s father. She had made this mistake before and has now regularly encountered this situation. Apparently it is not uncommon here for men in their 50s/60s to have young children. You know what assuming does 😉
- Almost forgot. I was also warned to not be alarmed when the weather gets warm and kids are running around butt naked. That should lead to some interesting conversations…
We had a nice afternoon. Asha was thrilled to have kids she could talk to and I enjoyed some adult conversation. My one frustration, the coffee is still too small. I paid 1.80 euro and got at best an 8 oz. cup. That just isn’t going to cut it. I have to find a travel mug, which has proved to be oddly challenging, so I can get my big American coffee.
Tomorrow Asha is taking a ballet class, in English, so hopefully we can meet some more people. Fingers crossed Karina doesn’t get us kicked out. That kid’s a firecracker!