One week and one day, an update

Ok, back to the blogging/stream-of-consciousness brain dump part of this blog. No pictures for this post, no auto feed to FaceBook, and no promises of well organized thoughts or pithy witticisms. It’s just me and my need to write and vent and think …

Yesterday afternoon and into today I was a little “off.”  I can’t exactly explain it and I can’t exactly justify it, but I was just off. I was somewhat grumpy, somewhat short-tempered, somewhat afloat. As this morning turned into this afternoon, I realized I was being awfully hard on myself for not being harder on myself.  Savvy?  I was beating myself up mentally for not doing more. I *should* go to the grocery and see if I can find breadcrumbs. But it’s raining and snowing and cold out and I don’t know how to say breadcrumbs yet.   I *should* go to the baker to pick up some bread for tonight’s dinner. But there are 6 floors of workers in our stairwell sanding and working and taking up the whole of the place.  I *should* go to the department store and see if I can find a broom that meets my specifications of what a house broom ought to be (so far they all look like small versions of outdoor brooms).  But I know if I go for a broom, like giving a Mouse a Cookie, I’ll end up with a Swiffer knock-off. And If I got a Swiffer knock-off, I’d then want a vacuum. And If I got a vacuum I’d see the need for dusters. And if I got dusters I know I would then have waaay more than I could carry 3 blocks and then up 6 flights of stairs through an army of German speaking floor sanders.  Best to stay home. So I did. I deep cleaned the kids’ two bathrooms (ew) and continued trying to learn. I got to FaceTime with my mommy and daddy and that definitely made me smile and feel more like myself. It helped to talk with them without being overheard. I got to puzzle it out a bit instead of feeling like I was “on.”

I think I’ve been off because Elliot has been off.  Seems strange to be so attuned to another human that their moods affect yours, but it’s always been that way with my Boy. Lately he has not been very enthusiastic about school. Couple that with a pesky, stubborn head cold, Oh! and moving to a new country where he doesn’t speak the language yet, and, yeah, he has really not been himself.  I get it, I do. But it’s been hard.  But today he came home more like his old self:  happy, chatty, and bouncy.  I think there’s hope in that department.

Merrie is rock solid and resilient. She already got an invite to go play with a little girl in our building, and that went great especially as neither spoke each other’s language.  A little more of that and she’ll be less shy about speaking German.  In my effort to give the kids opportunities to meet other kids and to get some exercise, I signed them both up for after school activities on Mondays and Thursdays. Elliot is doing (in theory) track.  Merrie expressed interest in Fußball.  So I go to pick the kids up yesterday. My path takes me past the gym and I see Merrie running around, concentrating hard.  Then I notice she is the only girl, and one of the tallest kids playing.  Oh, boy. There goes the chance to meet other girls. I worried that she would hate it and ask to quit. But just the opposite happened. She came out sweaty and smiling. She showed me where she got kicked in the clavicle and where the ball hit her hard on the head, like badges of honor.  She had a great time and doesn’t care that she’s the only girl. And then, as if on cue, the coach comes out and awards Merrie the “Best Attitude” jersey for the week. He said it has nothing to do with her being a girl, but has everything to do with how fantastic her attitude and example was. Especially with her new to the game, he thought she was worthy of recognition. Pretty kick ass, I think.

Everything is hard. Communicating with your handyman who speaks no English: hard.  Asking for change for the Parkshein (parking meter): hard. Trying to understand the recycling situation: hard. Reading the very intimidating mail from the German Government about public radio: hard. Cooking rice: hard. But burning rice: easy when you are still unfamiliar with your induction cooktop. We set up our account and did some online shopping hard, but less so with Google Chrome. Our house is still undone. I have no idea if or when our TV and phone will be connected.  I don’t know how to find the post office or mail a letter to the states yet. And for the life of us, neither Larry or I seem able to pronounce the name of our street correctly.  We say “Römerstrasse.” And Every.Single.German to whom we say it looks at us quizzically and makes us repeat it. And then spell it. And then they say, “Ah! Römerstrasse!” In the exact same way we think we’ve been saying it all along.  GAH!!!!!!

So some things that are going well: We finally got access assigned our covered parking garage, just in time for tomorrow’s snow storm. We have our cultural cross training sessions scheduled for this week and our intensive language classes starting in two.  We have been successful in procuring food both at grocery stores and at the farmer’s market.  We are doing better and better at navigating without GPS. The kids now ride the bus to and from school on most days (and a sweet ride it is, let me tell you).  Tomorrow is a PTO meeting, and I imagine I will slowly start to get more involved at the school. We are also getting more involved in an expat community on Internations (for instance, I am going on a photo outing with a group of expats from around the world on Sunday.) And we are becoming more friendly with our neighbors.

Whew… I needed that… well… off to bed with the confidence that tomorrow will be a day full of new challenges and beautiful scenery and small humiliations and lots of laughs.


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