Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frohe Weihnachten! Last Post

Top 5 Differences we have noticed between Germany and the States (aside from the language, public transportation system, and family size):
5.  The trash separating system.  Surely there are tremendous environmental advantages to this method of disposal.

4.  Hausschuhe.  In Germany, no one wears their outdoor shoes indoors.  They have hausschuhe, a sturdy form of slipper that they wear around the house.  But not just that, school children have a pair of hausschuhe in their cubbies to change into.  Some places even have "guest hausschuhe" for people to borrow while they are indoors.

3.  Healthy Lifestyle.  Rachel has been waiting all semester to make the joke, "French Women Don't Get Fat, But German Women Do", but it is just not true.  Even with the amazing pork products, dark yeasty beers and the rich chocolates, the German people are fit.  In our experience there is just a lot of walking and bike riding as normal transport for a distance that in America we would drive in a car.

2.  No Wal-Marts.  For better or for worse, this is the fact and that is all there is to be said about that.

1.  Advent done right.  The Germans did not invent the season of Advent, but you may think so if you visit during that time.  The four weeks before Christmas is celebrated in joyful anticipation with the markets set up in countless town squares all over the country.  There is music to warm your heart, firepits to warm your hands, and gluhwein to warm your soul.

Reflections on our four months in Germany:

Edy- "I really liked my school and I hope I see my friends again."  Her favorite event was Oktoberfest because there were so many rides and she got a dirndl.  Edy's favorite German food was spaetzl and in Eichstätt her favorite place was her school.

Max-"I loved my school and I loved the boy that really likes me with glasses on."  Max's favorite trip was to Legoland Discovery Center in Berlin because of the racing and the playground that you can jump on.  His favorite food was the breakfast cereal "Schoko Musli" and his favorite place in Eichstätt was the playground at the University with "the digger".

Lucy's happiest moments were on train trips.  She loved walking from one train car to another and watching the German countryside passing by.  While she may not have clear memories of  Germany as she grows, she definitely benefited from the nurturing creative environment her little Kinderhaus pre-school program.

Rachel- "I am certain that our semester in Germany will always be a glowing happy memory for me."  She loved the challenges and was enormously satisfied at the outcome.  While she may have had some anxiety for her children in German schools at the outset, that only made her joy at their success greater!  As to her reaction for possibly coming back to Germany for longer?  "Bring it on!"

Phil-  "To me Munich remains magical.  I'm so happy I got to spend so much time there."  His favorite place in Eichstätt was the University library and the kneipanlage (wading section of the river)...when kids aren't falling in!  On the one hand Phil is sorry to stop his research in Eichstätt, but he also feels that he accomplished everything he set out to do.

Edy reunited with some American friends

Lucy reunited with her dress up clothes

Libby's first Christmas

At Grandma and Grnadpa's

The cabin had a jacuzzi

Libby gets some Aunt Sarah time

Newlyweds home for the holidays

Edy and Libby auf der loft

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