Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Week of School Stories

OK, so with the first new week of school and all the changes that are happening with the kids, I wanted to share some of the things the kids have shared with me as they have come home from school.

*Monday was the first day of School. And Shantal and Spencer have to ride the public bus to school as there is only an Elementary School in the city we live. They have to leave the house at 7am to catch their bus and be on time to school. Shantal's bus stop is just one stop before Spencer's. And their bus stop is on a one way street. So to go home, they have to walk to a different bus stop on a different street, one that goes the opposite direction. Well, as Shantal came home on Monday, she was tired and about collapsed in my arms. She said she did a lot of walking. And it is true, the bus stop is about a 10 - 15 minute walk from our house. But then she went on to tell me she couldn't find the bus stop to come home. Her whole class has signed up to eat at the school except her and one other person. Everyone was eating lunch before they went home, part of learning the routine at the school. So Shantal got to leave early since she wasn't signed up for that. Well, back to not finding the bus stop, she just kept walking. She saw a bus stop, but thought it wasn't the right one. Finally she got on a bus. A few stops later, all the kids from her class got on the bus. No wonder she was tired. I asked her if we needed to go and practice so she would know where to go the next day, and she said no. (She had practiced once before, but went to the bus from Spencer's School, not hers. So she was a bit disoriented). Well, Tuesday, it happened again. All the other kids got on the same bus as her after they had all eaten. But, Wednesday, she had it all figured out. She is happy to know the "shorter" way to the bus stop.

*Hannah and Spencer both got stung by bees in the first few days of school.

*I went to pick up Ian from Kindergarten early on Wednesday. He is currently going 2 1/2 hours a day. Emma gets to stay 4 hours, but chooses to come home with me when I pick up Ian. I am happy about it because then I don't have to go out a second time. Well, on Wednesday, I get there and the kids are outside, like normal. And I can a lot of the kids playing in the water in their underwear. Some are even nekid. And low and behold, there is Emma in her underwear all wet. It makes me giggle because it is never something one would see in America. But here in Germany, it is totally normal.

*Wednesday after school, Shantal came home and decided to go to the Library. The library is in Ratingen Mitte (the city center). You have to take a public bus about 15 minutes to get there and then walk another 10 minutes to the library. After I drew her a map of the city and how to get from the bus station to the library, gave her a cell phone to call if she had problems and then gave her a list of all the times the bus came back out to our house, she was off. And as I watched her leave, I realized that my daughter is growing up. She is almost 12. And I just invisioned her going off to meet friends and doing things like teenagers do. It is amazing how fast time goes. I know she will be so much happier having this freedom to go off and do things. And maybe i need to explain something else. The two older kids have bus passes for the public busses because of school and they can travel a great distance with that bus pass. So Shantal's ability to go places alone has definatley expanded and I am happy for her.

*Tuesday when I was picking up Ian from Kindergarten, I asked how he did. And the report was really good. They said there was one instance when Ian was starting to have a melt down. Ian doesn't really talk yet. So it is hard to figure out what he wants. He was playing with the trains but didn't want to anymore. And as soon as they figured out he wanted to play in the dress up corner, life was good again. It was just a matter of figuring it out. Poor Ian, wish he would just talk already.


Kay said...

wOW! Life is sure different there in Germany. I couldn't let my kids use public transit alone and go so far away all by themselves. Glad that Shantal finally got the system down. Going from 8-4 is really a long day and when you add the travel time, there isn't much time left. Doing homework is really going to be a chore to do. Give the kids my love. I miss you all.

Margit said...

Dear Tamara,

I stumbled over your Living in Germany blog during my online research on expatriates here in this country. My apologies for this kind-of off-topic comment here, but I couldn't find any official contact form.

However, since you seem to focus on your family's experience in settling down, I’d very much like to introduce -- a Munich-based global network for people living and working abroad -- to you. Maybe you could recommend it as a resource to your readers. is the global networking site with over 230 local communities and more than 120,000 members. We'd especially like to point out our live events in ca. 100 cities worldwide, including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, meant to bring expats from all nations and locals together and help expatriates to find friends and settle in.

For this reason, we believe that your readers might benefit from knowing about us. We’d like to kindly ask you to place a link to our homepage on your blog. Of course, you are cordially invited to register with us and have a look at our network. The registration process is free of charge and will only take a few minutes.

You can get in touch with me via e-mail (m[dot]grobbel[at]internations[dot]org). I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.


Margit Grobbel
Senior Content Editor & Corporate Communications

jhoniegudel said...

Hi there ... nice to read your blogs.

Margit Gro said...

Dear Tamara,

Here is just a quick follow-up to the comment I left you on September 30th. I hope that you may have found some time to read it and take my request into consideration.

In this message, I took the opportunity of introducing our company,, the biggest global network for expatriates and global minds, to you. Since it is a Germany-based online community with a strong expat focus and regularly scheduled offline events, I assumed that it might be of possible interest to your readers and visitors as well. So I was wondering whether you could perhaps link to us from your blog.

It would be lovely if you could let me know whether you have already considered this suggestion. If you should have any questions, you can either have a look at our homepage ( or reach me via e-mail (m.grobbel[at]

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

March 2007