Friday, June 21, 2013

That is so German!

I can't believe it, but some of these things I had actually forgotten about! 

1)  You are not going to get away without paying for a drink.  You will pay, even if you ask for water.  In fact with 6 people you will pay close to $10 for the privilege of drinking water and there are no free refills- ever!  And don't even ask about ice!   One fine, cheap day, I ordered 3 glasses of water and the lady looked at me like I was crazy- since there were 6 of us!  We shared and used our own water to keep refilling the glasses!  hee hee!

2)  Get ready to see some really disgusting Speedo's and a bunch of cute butt nekked kids!  But not half as many as there used to be!

3)  You would think with the German ingenuity and amazing cars that their technology would be top notch.  You would be wrong!   Most internet providers still run on DSL.  Um,  Hello, 1990 is calling.  Unfortunately your using the computer, so you can't answer the phone!  Cell phone coverage is spotty and plans are through the roof.  Oh and by the way, they don't believe in families having phones.  No family plan for you!

4)  Cobblestone roads are amazing and everywhere!  I love the designs and am amazed at the work that must have been involved in putting them together.  Running on them, however is hazardous to ones ankle, knee and kidney health!

5)  The bus drivers aren't as mean as they used to be.  20 years ago even if you were there just as they were closing the doors, they would continue closing them and drive off as you pounded on the side of the bus.  Of course, many of those jobs are now taken by Turkish and Greek immigrants.  The other day, Emma got on the bus to come home and had a Beavercreek shirt on that said "Go Creek!"  The bus driver asked her what it said and she told him and he said, "Greek!  I am Greek!  Greek is good!"  She started to say, "um, no creek..."  but then she just smiled and said, "Yes, Greek is good!"  When she got off, he said, "Bye, Greek!"

6)  Soccer is a religion.  You will also find it in your religious buildings!  The other day I saw a team of soccer players outside of a church and I thought they were just waiting for a bus or something.  They were still there a couple hours later and that's when I saw the wedding decorations- in the same colors!  They must have been the honor guard for when the bride and groom came out!

7)  When a place says it closes at 6 pm, be prepared to pack up and leave at 5 pm, because that's when they start shutting everything down!  We didn't realize this when we went to LEGOLAND.  Luckily we met a family from the ward there and they told us.  I have to admit, we still didn't believe them until we saw all the rides start shutting down at 5 pm and the food places boarded up!  When they say they close at 6, what they really mean is, the last employee will leave the premises at 6 pm!

8)  Man capris and Man purses!  Man capris are just wrong- wrong!  I see the value of a man purse when you travel, especially with all the pickpockets, but that doesn't mean I am not going to giggle at you for wearing one!
Oh, it is so fun to get acquainted with another culture (or reacquainted!)  I am sure they are having some good laughs at our expense, too! A couple weeks ago Rob slaughtered the word for cinnamon roll so badly that the lady charged him double! Ha ha!  Yesterday, I am pretty sure the checkout lady at the Real store was saying something like, "fine, you don't want to talk to me.  I'll just talk to myself then!"  But I can't be positive!  One of these days I will understand more than 2-3 words per sentence!  We have started a phrase a day policy.  Everybody gets to choose the phrase they use the most and then we learn it in German.  After that, you always have to say that phrase in German.  Hopefully, we will keep that up for more than one week!  So far we have:
Do you have your ID cards?-   Haben Sie Ihre Auseweise?
Stop touching each other!- Stoppen Sie, beruhren einander! (Umlaut on the u in beruhren)
Get off!- aussteigen!
Do not slam the door!- Schlagen Sie nicht die tur!(Umlaut on the U in tur)
I don't like that!- Ich mag dass nicth!
I love you! - Ich Liebe dich!

Dad, check those and see if they are right.  We just used a translate app.  You know they don't always get them right or the way that they are actually said!  And yes, we are learning everything in the Formal tense.  We figure, for the most part we will only be talking with strangers!  Sunday is the test to see if we can remember all the phrases for the week!  We will see how we do.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Great Blog Catch-up: European Edition

We left on a Monday. 
 We had wonderful friends who took the day to help us make it to the airport in one piece!

We arrived on a Tuesday. 
I used to be able to sleep on planes.  Um, not so much anymore! 
We arrived around 8 am and got right to work.  We worked until 10:30 pm.  The next day we woke up at 6:30 am and went to the gym and then went right to work again.  It was a hard first day, but we didn't have any trouble with jet lag after that!
We have done so much since arriving in Germany 3 weeks ago.  We have signed everyone up for school next year, got shots and scheduled sports physicals, signed up for CYS and classes, toured the local hospitals,
got an apartment picked out, got German licenses and international ones, applied for jobs (Emma and I), and lots more.
We learned this word :Schnecken!  You have to watch out for them on the cobblestone road- they are every where!
We learned that they now have German malls!  Crazy!  They are still different than American Malls, though.  Right along side of the fine clothing is the butcher shop and the backeri and their is a fruit stand in the middle!   I loved it!
Not having a car has made it hard to enjoy much of Germany, so far.  We had 2 families in the ward that have lent us their cars at various times, so we have been able to go to church, visit the Ritter Sport factory,
 the Mercedes museum,
 the Strawberry festival
 There were all kinds of street performers including a couple of kids juggling the soccer ball.  They were amazing!  Max is coming back from putting coins in their hat!
 and downtown Stuttgart.
This is outside the New Palace which is now used as government buildings, so you can't tour it.
Maxwell turned 8 while we were here in the hotel.

Joe got a new bike the same time as Max.  They both needed a new one.
 It had been raining like crazy for days and his birthday was no exception, so we went to the bowling alley
Max got third!
 and then to go see Epic, the movie.  It was certainly Epic!
  The next day we went to an indoor pool. 
Swimming in the rain!
 Emma said her poor American mind had been blown, but I have to say that I was fairly impressed.  Over half of the German's had learned that speedios are not the bombdigity!  But seeing 1/2 of them in speedos and little kids running around butt nekked and having only one dressing room for both males and females was just too much for her!
  The pool had diving boards and a climbing wall that you jumped off of into the pool.  Neither Emma nor I were able to even pull ourselves out of the water to go up the wall!  Rob and Sam went all the way to the top more than a couple times. 
This last week we have settled down and have lots less to do.  It has been a challenge to keep the kids busy and happy and not have their brains running out of their ears while they stare mindlessly at video games and TV.  We love going to the USO-
 they have free soda and cookies and they let us borrow videos without even having to check them in or out.  We also play greed (dice game) and golf (card game) downstairs.  We still don't know when we will get into our apartment (they are patching and painting and cleaning.)  That will be our next big project- once we get in.
Today we got our van!  We are so excited to go see Europe now!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Great Blog Catch-up: American Edition

We are in Europe now and enjoying as much as we can without a car and with the wettest Spring they have had in over 500 years.  It has rained almost every day since we arrived almost 3 weeks ago.  Many towns are under water and being evacuated.   We are not one of them, thankfully. 
Now, when we last left off, Rob was about to leave...and so was I!

We left together in the truck, loaded down with two motorcycles and all the guns and ammo Rob couldn't take with him to Germany.  He decided to take the round about way to Idaho, via Texas.  Now you are right, if you are scratching your head and saying, "that's not really on the way to Idaho!"  Not only is it not on the way, it's way out of the way!  He effectively doubled his drive.  But there was an important reason for that.  We were going to run the first ever Army Marathon in Fort Hood, Texas!  After what happened at the Boston Marathon just a week or so before, I was a little nervous!
We made it down alright and the next day we went to the expo.  We realize real quick that this wasn't going to be your average marathon!  This was definitely a starter marathon!  It was kind of hard to even find the expo, first of all.  Most of the area was for a Ham expo.  I said, "I want some Ham!"  And then I realized there was more to that sign.  It said Ham Radio expo.  Well, that's why all those goofy cars with huge antenna's were hanging around!
We ran around the rest of the day and then met the rest of our team for dinner that night.  Afterwards we got all ready for the race, except I had forgotten my shoes in the truck.  Rob said, "We'll just get them when we leave tomorrow morning."
I got all ready the next day and then sent Rob to get the shoes.  No shoes!  We searched the room.  No shoes!  We searched both again.  Still, no shoes!  We ran to a few of the places we thought they might have fallen out at, but never did find them.  We just barely got the team to the starting line before the gun went off.  And there I was stuck with everyone's stuff- in running clothes, a number pinned onto my shirt and flip flops.
 I instantly went from marathon participant to support staff!  I ran around and cheered everyone on while I tried not to cry too hard.  It is not often that you really want to be in pain and get upset because you aren't.  I can only remember crying one other time, because I wasn't in pain and that was when I was more than a week overdue with my 4th child!
Rob's friend from work and his brother did awesome and ran faster than they had planned.  Our friend and running partner, Dave, ran a better time than he did his first marathon.  Rob got a bad cramp around mile 18 and barely made it in- hobbling.
 Needless to say, he got his worst time.  He says he still isn't a hundred percent back after that marathon.  But I think the fact that he has finished 5 different marathons is a statement of how amazing he truly is!
The Team
I had to buy new shoes before I could run again.  Besides the entry fee, the trip down, the flight home and the hotels, that was just one more expense to make that the most expensive marathon, I never ran!
Rob drove to Idaho and visited his family and mine for all of us.  The kids stayed in school while I became the taxi driver.  We lived on post in temporary housing, which made for about 60 miles a day driving to and from 3 different schools, seminary, soccer, YM/YW, scouts, etc.  Rob stopped by on his way over to Germany for a couple days to pick up the van and take it to Virginia to port.  Thankfully, Rob had a friend that loaned us his car so that we could still drive our 60 miles a day.  It seemed like a very long month as we finished up school,

I volunteered in Max's class, so I could take lots of pictures without the teacher getting upset!

On three the yell was Go Max!  Mostly because Max was going - away!
 and Emma went to Mormon Prom.
 I love that she had so many friends that wanted to be there to get her all ready!
Super dooper cute!  The lady (Karen) who was taking pictures with me, said, "It's like the have their own language. 

I'm so glad it all went well, though. I was so scared every time I got into that borrowed car.  Scared that we would wreck it or someone would scratch it or something bad would happen.  I am so thankful it didn't.  Thank you to all those who helped us in our last couple months in Ohio!  We loved living there. 
Some of our many friends in Ohio.  These were the ladies that helped me learn to quilt better!  For some reason I can't find the pictures of the friends I went out to lunches with or the big party they had for us where they took a group photo and framed it for us!  Loved them all, though!
We loved the families we met there!
  We will miss you all!