Our first Friday in Germany was very eventful! Fed Ex delivered two boxes, Will slept in until 9:45 AM, and Brice’s coworker Marien (who is German) came over to help “show us the ropes.”
As well as a wealth of information, Marien brought a box of LEGOs and a cute toy bin for Will to use. She gave us a garbage/recycling tutorial, showed me how to use our washing machine (step one: clean it), and took us to the Oberursel Rathaus (City Hall) for our registration papers. Registration is required for opening a German bank account, getting a German drivers license, and registering Will for Kindergarten. Let me just tell you, we would not have been able to complete this paperwork without Marien! I don’t understand a word of spoken German. (Marien will be helping us get into a German Assimilation course soon.)
Our next stop was the bank, where we completed paperwork to open our German bank account. While waiting for some of our forms to process, we ate lunch at the bakery in Eteca, the grocery store next door. Marien walked through the grocery store with us and gave us some pointers – she also helped me find (almost) nonfat milk! Yahoo! We returned to the bank to finalize our account, then headed home to put Will down for a nap.
Brice made a beautiful meal Friday night (Lemon pepper chicken, salad, and spaetzle with cheese) and then cleaned out the washing machine. My hero! I took some time to catch up on correspondence, write my first blog post, and make some “flash cards” for the house. (Yep, we now have index cards on many of our pieces of furniture, showing the English and German words! It’s like living in a preschool.)
Saturday was gorgeous – cold and clear – so we decided to head out for some adventure after a few loads of laundry in the basement. (I will definitely dedicate an upcoming blog post to laundry, so stay tuned.) We found a wonderful shortcut (walking trail) to the train station! This is great for so many reasons, one of which is the fact that Will can run/walk/jump freely on a trail, as opposed to holding on to my death grip when we’re on a sidewalk next to a busy street. The walk took about 13 minutes, which is great with a four-year-old!
We ate a picnic on the train into downtown Frankfurt and bought treats (baked goods …. yum) at a bakery in the train station. Next, we walked to a park that Brice found online. It stretches on for quite a while – you have to cross streets between sections of the park. We first came to a rather sketchy play area … and then a really great one. Will had fun on the slide, see-saw, and “spinny thing” with some German children. (See picture of the “spinny thing.”) We ended our time in Frankfurt at MyZiel, a five-story mall (similar to Pacific Place in Seattle) with a LEGO store!
After riding the train back to Oberursel, we decided that another trip to IKEA was necessary. (We just didn’t have enough hangers. Seriously.) The store was crazy crowded on a Saturday, but we toughed it out to eat dinner and buy hangers and a rug for the living room.
Back at the house, the boys played “Mario Kart” on the Wii (the power cord arrived from German Amazon that morning) and I did more laundry! I met one of our neighbors, Christina, in the laundry room. She is warm and friendly and speaks English very well. There’s a bonus to using a communal laundry room – getting to know the neighbors!
Sunday was another gorgeous day, so we walked to church at ICF (International Christian Fellowship). The walk took about twenty minutes, and much of it was on a walking trail. We had a great time at church! Kids stay with their parents in the sanctuary for the first part of the service (announcements, music, prayer, children’s sermon), so we’ll be prepared for that next time! Will was able to doodle in my journal and make a new friend (the boy spoke mostly German, so they were just making each other laugh through the opening in Will’s chair) until it was time to go to “Sunday School.” I walked Will to his classroom, but he didn’t want me to leave. So, I spent the rest of the time in the 4- and 5-year-old class! The teacher was the pastor’s wife, whom I met briefly in October, and she was great with the kids. I was able to spend a bit of the time chatting with the helper, Konnie, and we exchanged phone numbers after church. I love the part of Konnie’s story that I heard so far: she is originally from Berlin, but met Christ as a high school exchange student in the US. Hopefully we’ll meet for coffee sometime soon!
Will and I attended Marien’s daughter’s handball game at a school in Oberursel that afternoon while Brice went to a Youth Compass Board meeting. We all had a great time! Will watched the first part of the game very intently (handball is like a cross between soccer and basketball), went down on the court to practice his blocking skills during the break, and looked at his LEGO Star Wars book during the second half of the game. I’m certain we were the only Americans there! We both really enjoyed Marien’s company, a cake she brought to share, and a totally German experience!
We had a soup dinner at home that night, and Brice and I watched a few American sitcoms on the computer before bed. (It was nice to laugh at good ol’ Dwight Schrute again.)
Well, I think that ends the play-by-play description of our first few days in Germany! By no means did I stay within the “acceptable” blog post word limit, but what’s done is done. 🙂 From now on you’ll get summaries of our adventures, topical entries, and pictures! Thanks for reading. These are times I never want to forget.