We live on the outskirts of Augsburg which is a small city about 40 minutes away from Munich. Our area of Augsburg is called Bärenkellar. One of you from home mentioned that it may be neat to show some pictures from around our town. In light of the thankful posts this week, I thought today would be a good day to share some of those pictures.
The other day as I was walking to the pharmacy to get some medicine I felt a little flutter in my stomach because I looked across the street and there was Ellison’s school and I knew that just around the block was Jude’s kindergarten. It was this feeling of ahhh we really live here. As with most towns here, we have a small grocery store within biking distance, a bakery (actually 4 of them within walking distance-fresh bread is a big deal here), a general doctor, a pharmacy and a butcher.
The people here have been for the most part really warm to us and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. We’ve developed a relationship with our neighbors across the street and with our neighbor who lives in the other side of our house. Down the street we’ve even met a retired American and his wife who is a native German.
A year ago, we would have never guessed that we’d be here in Bärenkeller walking the streets and actually doing life here. I’m so thankful, however, to be here, to be settled and to know for the most part how to get what we need to live.
I really like the sound of German. Call me weird, but since our days in Austria I’ve loved the sound of it. When we moved back to the States, whenever I’d hear someone with a German accent I tried to engage in a little conversation with them. Our decision to come here to Augsburg was to get completely immersed in language and culture learning. So, soon after we arrived we went to work on figuring out how to learn German.
During that search, we were introduced to a German teacher and we really hit it off with her. It was right in the summer and unfortunately she was in the middle of classes and unable to help us right away. After we moved, we reconnected to get her opinion on language learning options. We opted to try to learn with her as a private instructor with both of us learning at the same pace.
That worked out well for the first two months, but we realized that the best decision for our family was to immerse Ian in a full time course and immerse me in full time keeping us all going. It was really crazy with both of us trying to study like 20-30 hours per week, acclimate our family, figure out how to live and keep the house going. We decided, however, that it wouldn’t be wise to completely take me out of language learning but to slow it down a bit. Right around this time, our instructor needed to slow down her pace as well and so it was a perfect solution. She and I kept meeting and Ian started attending class every day for 5 hours per day.
For the past 2 months we have been meeting every Tuesday night for 2 hours. She then gives me homework for the week, and speaking exercises to complete with a speaking partner. Today I want to express that I’m really thankful for her. She is very understanding and patient, so giving and encouraging. She is just such a nice person to be with and I look forward to the day when we can have fluent fun conversations. Each week we get to learn a little bit more about each other and I learn a little more German. Tonight we actually finished up the A1 level of Berliner Platz and I’m moving on to the next book!
Thank you Katherina for your help in opening up my world little by little, piece by piece.
Thanksgiving is coming soon but for us it will look quite different this year. Ian and the kids are both going to be in school and life will be in full gear. We are planning to celebrate the holiday on Saturday with our American friends here. We’ve been warned from others that “it just doesn’t feel the same.” Even as we’ve talked to friends from home who are traveling to their families we’re reminded that it’s gonna be tough. We are foreigners.
I really love Thanksgiving, and we’ve been trying to remember it by incorporating intentional thanks throughout this month. In light of that, today I had an idea for the blog, maybe something that will inspire me to write a few days this week and it’s to tell you about 1 thing in the day that I’m thankful for.
Today I’m thankful for black hair care products :-). One of the first things I thought about when we were coming to Germany was where in the world I’d get my hair done. I’ve been relaxing my hair for as long as I can remember and I decided to just keep it up once we arrived. A friend of mine from home researched a place on line and I went in for my first hair appointment a couple months after we arrived. All was going well until I got the bill. It was a big huge hit in the gut and I knew that I’d have to make some changes to maintain my hair. We tried little things like me cutting the boys’ and Ian’s hair to save, but even with that it has just become too much. So, I decided to grow my hair out to it’s natural state and it has been quite the process. One of the major obstacles to this process is finding the right products that are best suited for my hair. I’ve had a few- ahem… moments over my hair lately and I’ve really been so bummed about it. To the point of dreaming of a secret trip to the US just to take care of my hair (record screech here) ummm no. There have been many times when I’ve prayed about it because I believe that as one of His children He cares about the things that I care about. Even my hair.
Last month I saw a lady of African decent in H&M and I struck up a conversation with her. I asked her if she knew of a place where I could buy products for my hair. She gave me a foggy description of where it was located but she didn’t know the name of it. I then tried to Google it and that came up pretty much void. Today, however, I loaded up Asher and headed into downtown Augsburg in search of this shop. Augsburg is not too big and she mentioned the Bahnhof and a bank so…we just went with it.
And…we found it! “Afro Collection Beauty of the World.” Quite the name right? Y’all it was so fun going in there and finding things that I’ve been missing. I was grinning the whole time. The prices are crazy marked up but I am soo thankful to have an option at least.
Tonight I’m sitting under a hair dryer and I did a roller set on my hair. After over a month of a pony tail and a bun I’m so excited to see the results. I tweeted that I found a store with black hair care products today and someone replied with this “woo hoo! The Lord answers prayers. Love is in the little things…” Yes, Love is in the little things. And I am really thankful for setting lotion, leave in conditioner and a silk sleeping bonnet!
Man, it’s been a while…again. I keep making a plan for how to keep the blog up to date and then somehow those plans never quite work out. Something always comes up and for us at this stage in the game urgent comes first. But, I love having you guys along so as a quick catch up on life around here, I thought I’d just post some pictures and short descriptions. Does that work? Good. Here we go.
Yours truly turned 35! We celebrated at home with good eating and lots of down time- 2 of my favorite things. In the morning I opened up gifts from friends from home and from Ian and the kids. After everyone got home from school Ian made a big lunch for all of us, we took a walk with the kids and then came home and ate cake. As I was talking to my mom on the phone her gift came in the mail. I though that was really neat.
Fall arrived here in Germany. For the past month or so we’ve put all of our shorts and t-shirts away and we can not leave the house without an extra layer. There are lots of beautiful leaves falling all over the place. When it’s sunny we try to get out of the house and burn off some energy. But, just as we were enjoying fall weather…
Snow arrived! It was such a cool surprise. The kids were really excited and were anxious to put on their snow gear. They got all in the snow and at one point we spoted Jude face down in the snow making snow angels. We’ve heard it’s pretty unseasonal to have snow so early, but it most certainly feels like winter here (or as I know it anyways).
Our Halloween was a little different this year. We talked a lot about Reformation Day and we went to a church in the downtown of Augsburg where Martin Luther stayed while he was asked to recant his 95 Theses. After that we came back home and let the kids get creative and dress up from their closets and had a candy hunt. Ellison decided to be a flower fairy and Jude used his Peter Pan costume. The kids had a great time and were perfectly content until our door bell rang later on in the evening. It turns out that some people do trick or treat here (whoops) but it’s not nearly what it is in the US.
I hope all is well on your side of the screen. I’m going to try and write again this week, but please don’t hold your breath for that one.
Have a great week!