Monday, June 30, 2008

Willkommen nach Deutschland!

We made it!

Before we tell you any details, I would like to start out by saying that we have the greatest and nicest friends & family. I don't know how we would have done this without any of them and we are very lucky. Some words to the wise-Have a garage sale EVERY YEAR! If you are more of a packrat-have one twice a year. I don't know how we accumulated so much stuff especially since we actually do throw out a lot. We have been so busy the past couple of weeks packing it is finally nice to catch my breath.

Eric & Janet-I don't even know where to begin with all of the help you gave! Jane - you have been so great dropping everything to help with the garage sale, Wii playing and rides to soccer at the end when we didn't have a car anymore. Henry, Lila, Thomas and Lynn-how you managed to help us even with a brand new baby is beyond me. John and Rose-you are the bestest cupcake bringers ever! Tom & Yoko-thank you for being there and letting us invite ourselves over for food when we didn't have a table or chairs! Mom & Dad- you guys are unbelievable helpful even when I am tired and stressed and in the rottenest mood. And thanks for letting us mess up your house. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. K and V - B is so lucky to have such wonderful grandparents. I know I am forgetting people but please forgive me as I have lost a night of sleep and feel like I have a hangover but with no fun drinking memories!

These 2 people get their own paragraph. H - you are awesome. I hope we can return as many favors as you have given us. If our lives were a Seinfeld episode-we would play the part of the butler in the sitcom that never was. K -what can I say? I have the most perfect sister of all-beautiful, smart and considerate. Thanks for putting up with me.

And a special thanks to Christian for reminding me I was about to become parasite... :)

Onto our trip:

B was as wonderful a traveler as a 2 year old could be. He went to sleep on the plane for some of it. He didn't cry until we were at the very end of journey in line with German customs. Our first flight went well. We flew Aer Lingus with a bunch of Irish and there was a very kind man next to us. The built in airplane monitors in every seat had this game where you could build robots and B was very amused with this game.

That 6 1/2 hour flight was the easy part. Our plane in Dublin to Berlin was delayed almost 3 hours. It was awful. We were in this very hot, large octogon room with 5 other flights that were all delayed with many other angry, tired, hot, sweaty passengers . B was bored out of his mind and tired since it was around 2am US time. We made the best of it though. C and I took turns helping B ride the escalator up and down which amused him for over 3 hours. Luckily escalator rides are better than TV at amusing 2YO. I have to admit, the people watching was fabulous-people from all over Europe speaking all sorts of languages and even some midgets. One thing that was comforting was the school groups. All of the teenagers wearing shirts that had some sort of school name (we saw at least 3 large groups) on it would get off the plane with their heads down texting. Guess teenagers are the same everywhere!

Finally, we arrived at Berlin. We were very concerned about our luggage because the Aer Lingus employees in the US seemed very confused about transfering our luggage from Dublin to Berlin. It is a low cost airline after all. Believe it or not, we actually got all of our luggage including our stroller with 3 wheels. (Don't worry-our stroller only had 3 to begin with since the 4th one must be in my parents garage. )

We went in line for customs to have C kept saying "Ich spreche einbissen Deutsch" and pointing at me. He was saying "I speak a little German." So the customs guy kept speaking to him in German! And I was too far from the window with a crying, tired B on my shoulder to help but somehow we got through.

We went outside with our 6 suitcases, stroller, and 6 carry-ons very nervous about finding a cab to fit us all but luckily fo us, there was a bunch of cabs waiting outside and one happened to be a van! *********We gave the van our address and away we went. The turkish driver spoke a little English and I spoke a little German. He told me (auf Deutsch) not to say ja, ja, ja (yes, yes, yes) Germans only say it once. He knows what I meant but it seemed to be confusing in German to say it more than once.

Our apartment is on the 2nd floor (American counting) and 1st floor German counting. There are about 4 stories total. It is really big and very open. Hardwood floors, big ceilings and a small refrigerator/freezer. Guess we are going to have to go shopping frequently!

Pic 1: our kitchen
pic 2: living room #1
pic 3: Living room #2 - Tv & balcony room
pic 4: guest bathroom
pic 5: dining room
pic 6: master bathroom

We were at first confused about all of the German flags flying and I kept thinking that the Germans must be very nationalistic but then we remembered that the German-Spain European Cup was going on! The pic on the left is the view from our apartment balcony with 2 German flags flying. There were more but I couldn't fit them in the camera focal point. There were all sorts of people sitting outside at restaurants with makeshift TV's set up to watch the game. I was beginning to think not a single person in Germany was doing anything other than watching the game!

Our landlord (whose name coincidentally is very similar) and his mother met us at the apartment even though we were a couple of hours late. Showed us everything and left. We kept trying to get motivated to eat but we were just too tired at that point. So we put B to bed and tried to stay up watching the game. It was a good game but the underdog Spanish team won. C and I kept poking each other to make sure we were awake. There was crazy fireworks and beeping the rest of the night. I guess we were glad Spain won because if this is how they act when another team wins-I can't imagine how loud it would have been if Germany had been the winner!

We are a bit confused right now about the German telephone numbers. They all seem to have a different amount of numbers to them. We will have to figure this out later.

We woke up this morning around 7am and got ready. We then went out in search of breakfast which was a more difficult task than you might imagine. We finally found a breakfast place near our house advertising fruehstuck (breakfast). They obviously didn't have an English menu so we ordered whatever I could make out. I know eier = egg and tomatan = tomato and kaese = cheese. So we ordered omelets and the most delicious coffee we have ever had. The omelets came but weren't omelets but more of a scramble. They were also some of the best omelets we have ever had but then again, maybe we were just hungry. We got some coffee to go and headed back to find a grocery store.

It was interesting in the grocery store. I am so glad we brought our own bags because they don't have any! Then we tried to grab a cart but realized you have to pay to use a shopping cart. So we put stuff in our bags which made C very nervous since we bought a couple of things at the drug store nearby and lost the receipt. Somehow, we managed to buy bread, honey, tea, coffee, milk and stuff for oatmeal-you know-the essentials. Table salt was only 15 euro cents for a big box!

C just headed off to the Goethe Institut for language school and them we are going to meet our friend Jeff later on.

I promise my posts won't be as long and detailed later on. :)

We miss everyone and hope all is well in the States. Please drop me a line or a comment and let me know how you are all doing!

Pic to the right-B and C Monday morning playing buses.


Kimber.G. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Just a hint: You don't have to pay to use a shopping cart. It's just a deposit to ensure people put the cart back after shopping...

Good Luck!

Yelli said...

Thanks anonymous! Hilarious! Now I know and as GI Joe would say...knowing is half the battle...

J said...

Thanks for this post. I love reading stories about people's trip to ExpatLand.

Katie @ said...

Wow! My husband and I really like reading this first post. He's still browsing around while I want to pause. It looks like we all moved to Berlin around the same time, and I hope you're enjoying it. We love how you describe everything; we were nodding our heads the entire time!

Okay, off to poke around some more. :)

Yelli said...

Kimber - I deleted your comment to keep our names private but here is your comment!

I miss you already!! and B looks bigger than I remember him! But it sounds like you're all having a good time and the apartment looks amazing! Totally can't wait to come visit you guys!