Saturday, December 26, 2009

A blog for Aunt Eileen

Christmas has come and gone. On the 23rd I brought home a tree from near the dumpster at work, and the 24th and 25th were spent in a very relaxing manner. Our landlord gave us a bottle of wine, and our neighbors gave us a board game, so we spent Christmas eve playing a game and indulging in sekt and gl├╝hwein and lebkuchen.
The Christmas season cannot, however, overshadow that most important of holidays, Stina's birthday.
rights belong to Randall Munroe of xkcd.com
On Stina's birthday, we celebrated with our neighbors, couchsurfing friends, and her co-worker by seeing a movie, wandering the Weihnachtsmarkt, and going out to eat at Vina Pearl. By her account, Stina had a good birthday, getting several games, a calendar, good eats and drinks, and a guitar. In the days preceding, we also got some random drop-ins from friends.
That's maybe a different cultural thing. Maybe it's just us, but I don't think people in the States just drop in on each other as much as they do here. We get a couple random visits a week. It's fun!
Love to all. Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ages and Real Life

Yes, sadly, it's been ages since we've updated. It's time to find out what real life is like when you're an immigrant.

Stina and I have a delightful one bedroom apartment. It has high ceilings and looks into our neighbors' home. We can't avoid watching their kittens play with the blinds.
In general I work from 11:30AM to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Once a week I work until 6pm, and less often, but still possible, I start at 6AM. My commute is about 40 minutes on either side. I work at a private grade school as an Erzieher. I guess the closest equivalent is a classroom aide, but we're much more prevalent here than aides are in the U.S. I take my class (the first graders on the English track - 1e) to lunch, occasionally sub, and teach a theater class every Wednesday. In January, I'll start directing a play as one of the kids' extracurriculars.
I enjoy my co-workers. One of them reminds me a lot of my co-worker Amanda from YTN (from her keen fashion sense right down to her occasional observation of the darker side of childcare). Another one has horses, lives in Quidlinburg (sp?), and has served as sort of my guide to figuring out this job. She's been very helpful, and I anticipate that Stina and I will visit her so we can play with her horses (and get to know her and her family better, too, of course). Yet another and I have struck up a friendship. He's vegan and punk and down-to-earth and would fit quite well with our old Seattle crowd. There's also a teacher here from Vancouver, WA. I've also made friends with a young lady on her Social Year and one of the French Erziehers, who knows someone who works at Berlitz with Stina. I haven't gotten to know everyone here very well, but I'm quite satisfied with being able to look forward to chatting with the friends I have made here.

We take time to play games together and with our neighbors and friends, watch videos from the library, and go to the Weihnachtsmarkt.
We are hoping to make monthly excursions. Our first will be in January while my kids are still on Winter Break. Ski trip or Vienna trip or someplace warm? Submit your suggestions in the comments!