Monday, October 1, 2007

German Class

Gerrit's "flea market" robe
Monday
Spent the morning at my third German class. Thank goodness I'm not the only one who can't really hear the difference between the E and I sound. Our instructor will correct several of us for saying one letter sound when she thinks we mean the other one. The only problem is that they sound exactly the same to us when she sounds them out. There are now 9 women in the class- representing various countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Holland, Italy, Great Britain, and 4 of us from the U.S.). I believe most all of us are married with children following our husbands here for their jobs. What good wives... err.. haus fraus we are.

This afternoon I had another gynecologist visit. My regular doctor was on "holiday" so I ended up seeing her stand-in. She was pleasant and spoke very good English so all went well. She said that she saw no change in comparison to what Dr. von Holle stated during my last visit, so she thinks there is still some time before the birth. Sounds like the midwife and the doctor might not be on the same page. As for me, I've had no real contractions, only a lot of pelvic pressure (but I've had that for months now).

This evening Gerrit and I played with his new chalkboard/magnetic board and had lots of fun drawing different things in colored chalk. Of course he always wants you to draw buses, airplanes, copters, trains, and fish for him. Daddy needed to draw the airplanes and copters because mommy's never look quite right. Tomorrow Gerard will be gone all day for a meeting in Heidelberg. He will leave Neufahrn at 6 am and travel to the Hauptbahnhof in central Munich, where he will catch a train. The trip to Heidelberg is supposed to take three hours. I hope the gynecologist is right when she says the delivery won't happen anytime soon.

Tuesday
No contractions while Gerard was out today, but of course I am now sick. I felt nauseous last night and I think I may have even run a fever throughout the night because I didn't sleep very well and felt awfully warm. Gerrit may be feeling a bit under the weather, too, because he napped for three hours today. I hope whatever we have doesn't last long.

I went all over creation with Destene today looking for Duncan Hines Cake Mix. We were told there was an American section in a local supermarket that might have it. No such luck. The cakes here are very dry and dense, and I am interested in getting a moist cake for Gerrit's birthday. Since he's obsessed with fish, I was hoping to make it into a fish-shape. I suppose I could make my own, but the odds are stacked against me since A. I have no real baking pans or baking ingredients until our stuff arrives, B. I have yet to really figure out all the settings on the oven here so I'll likely burn or under cook the darn thing, and C. well, frankly, I'm just not that good a cook, let alone a baker where you have to be exact on ingredients.

I pushed myself to actually get out of the house after dinner and walk the dogs and Gerrit. I figured we all needed a bit of outside time, since the only outside time we got today was really just driving around town looking for cake mix. It was a nice evening, but walking both dogs and making sure Gerrit didn't run off into the street while I am 9 months pregnant was not an easy feat. I don't know how I will actually manage when there are two kids. Maybe the dogs will be good enough to walk on leash while attached to the double-stroller.
Our evening Stroll (No hedgehogs tonight)
Tomorrow is a public holiday- German Unity Day (the Reunification of Germany). Since Gerard won't have to work, we are trying to work out a get-together with Liesel, Martin and their little ones. Perhaps a trip to the zoo. I have heard the zoo here is supposed to be pretty awesome.

Incidentally, it's been tough finding things that Gerrit can do away from me while I go to German class. So far Gerard has been staying home during the morning on Mondays and Fridays so I can attend, but I don't think he should continue to do that. He may have to, though, because I can't seem to find any place for Gerrit to go while I'm gone. It is EXTREMELY common for most women to stay home with their children for at least the first year, if not the first three years. Kindergarten starts at 3 years old here, and is really structured more like our preschools. Therefore, kids under 3 are at their mommy's side all the time, and babies are allowed almost everywhere. I was told that I would likely be able to bring the baby with me to German class, especially when very young as most of the time he will be sleeping or nursing.

Gerrit, on the other hand, is another story. I can't bring him with me, but he's too young to go to school here. They have a few programs for 2 year olds and over, but as luck would have it they are not offered on Mondays and Fridays (the days I have class). I can find a class in another city, but I'm not exactly interested in driving or taking a train to another city just to come back to Neufahrn and take my class and then pick him up again afterward. My class ends at 11:30 and most programs for the little guys end at the same time. In fact, throughout most of the schooling here, the school day only lasts until 12:30 pm. Lunch, sports, extra-curricular, and enrichment classes like music, art, and dance classes all take place OUTSIDE the normal school day. When you add up all our stuff in the States, it's about the same amount of academic time per day. But this means that it's not as common for mothers to work full-time even while their kids are in school. There are a few programs for women who do work full-time, but they are rare and have wait lists.

It's definitely a much different system than the U.S. In my opinion, it's not only accepted and encouraged, but almost expected that moms stay at home with their kids. The government even helps subsidize your income while you are at home. They offer something called "Elterngeld" for parents staying home with their kids. I believe this is paid at 67 percent of your salary during the first year of your child's life. In addition, there is monthly government-sponsored child support called "Kindergeld" (I believe at least up until the kids are age 3). It's not a ton of money, but those of you with kids know that every little bit helps.

1 Comments:

At October 2, 2007 at 9:19 PM , Blogger wendi said...

ahhhh ...german class. i could only imagine. i bet it is like how some of my kids feel in my class this year. :)

 

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