This time it’s our fourth 22nd in Hamburg. Four 22nds – three months.
The first month was slow, the second gone in a flash and the third has been mere confusion. I couldn’t tell if it was fast or slow, the whole thing feels like just one big haze. I’m still sure everything is perfectly normal, that all of this is just various phases in the process of acclimatizing in an entirely new environment. But it’s still… well, a process.
Vacation? Oh, yes please…!
I think we’re all pretty ready for vacation by now. We’re having two vacations this year, one in June, one in August. (And the kids and I will have the weeks in between as well, when we’re planning to go visit my Mom in Sweden.) I do wish we’d planned our ”usual” vacation for June, instead of August. It’s the familiarity we miss right now – not more adventure and novelties. But on the other hand – how adventurous can a charter resort in Mallorca be? We plan to bore ourselves senseless with breakfast buffets, sea-bathing, pool-bathing, sun-bathing, ice-cream-eating, cappuccino-drinking, late (well, at least by familly measures…!) tapas-dinners along with all the other (German) tourists. A week should do the trick, shouldn’t it?
And come next Tuesday, we’re only four weeks from departure. Yay! (We’ve had late vacations for so many years now, having an early one is such a bliss… And then we have a late one, TOO! Double-yay!)
Getting used to things
Anyways – I meant to write a milestone as of where we stand today, on this third 22nd in our new habitat, our personal land of confusion. And confusion it is – I can’t quite put my finger on the elusive here and now, to describe it. I think that’s the most striking thing. We have our everyday routines up and going, we’re starting to have a comfortable home going, and the kids are slowly getting used to their new school and kindergarten.
Our youngest takes a little bit more time to get used to his new environment, considering he’s going to an all-German kindergarten. To be honest I think he’s the one who does the most difficult readjustment-process of us all – being dumped in a Kindergarten where he doesn’t understand a word anyone says.
The six-year-old has started school, and that’s always a process in itself – but it’s at least a school where they speak Swedish. And Danish. And Norweigan. And German. And study English from day 1.
Then there is the commuting. I spend two hours a day commuting, just like in the old days – only now at least half of that is done by foot. I dream of finding a used Christiania-type bicycle, in good shape but cheap, which would save me an awaful lot of time commuting. I don’t mind walking, but it’s my little one who’s with me on half of those walks, and he minds – loudly. (And I can’t really blame him either. I strongly believe it’s good for kids to get used to walking – but this might be overdoing it just a little bit…)
Sprechen Sie talk?
My German has improved a bit, I guess, since we first got here. Back then I was happy if I could order a cup of coffee in a cafe, but now I get around with what I need to do, making a daily fool of myself for producing a most barbaric linguistic slaughter of the German language – but I get by with what I need done. I don’t find Germans in general very helpful when it comes to a foregner struggling with their language – there seems very often to be very little understanding of what it’s like to have something to say or ask about – and not find the ONE right word. That’s a bit sad, and for anyone moving to Germany probably something to be prepared for. There are exceptions of course, but not as many as I had expected, actually.
But I’ve done the proficiency test and found myself suggested two different level German courses – of which I’ve decided on the higher level, even though I believe it will be a bit over my head to begin with. These are courses for anyone who is new in Germany – regardless of personal interestlevel in languages and linguistic structures. I believe myself to be rather high on that scale – and therefore I should probably choose the course that will be a bit of a challenge for me. The worst thing that can happen is that I will have to do that level twice. And if so – so what, right?
Besides, i’m taking the normal course, not the intensive one – since I have other courses to fill my time with as well. I think 2×2 hours of German lectures a week will be just fine with me and get me ahead in German in a good steady pace. In September – whee…!
Things we still need to work on getting used to are:
1) ALL stores being closed on Sundays and holidays. I don’t know whether this is regulated by law – where I come from if there’s someone willing to pick up a wallet and spend money, there will also be someone willing to keep a spending-place open… But here everything – except for cafés and restaurants, thank gosh…! – really IS closed on Sundays.
2) Living in a house with walls of paper, with a grumpy below-neighbour who has no understanding for the fact that kids must be allowed to play in their home… She speaks of walking quietly, and demonstrates tip-toeing to prove her case. She’s 25. I’m glad I won’t be around when she’s 50… 😉 (And we do our best to keep the kids quiet – especially in weekend mornings, I’m just saying zero-tolerance isn’t very realistic… Not with kids this young!)