one million words

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Germany Re-cap

I have not said much on the blog because we travelled most of May and although I took my laptop I only opened it once. It’s hard to find your rhythm after vacation. The best part about coming back from Europe is the kids asking to go to bed or falling asleep in 30 sec before 7pm. No one wanted to come back which made the trip home long and whiny and my fatigue lasted at least a week.

The best part about going to Germany was seeing family and getting to spend some kid free time in Berlin, Hamburg and Barcelona. I’d never been to Spain but it was near the top of my dream vacation list as a child. I was not disappointed. Barcelona is fun to visit but in the end I prefer smaller towns or nature vacations. We rented a car one day and drove up the coast and I loved this smaller, fairly popular beach town, Tossa de mar, inhabited since the 12th century or so. There is an old castle right next to the beach and the Mediterranean Sea looked crystal clear. Beautiful. It’s probably packed in the summer but the water was still a little cool and not many people were laying out on the beach. I could have stayed there a long time but alas we followed a tight itinerary and kept moving, driving up into the Southern most portion of France which was also lovely.

Meanwhile the kids had a blast with my family, doing fun kids stuff and just hanging out. I had thought about making the trip more educational for them but in the end they prefer playing over sightseeing and museums. I decided that full German immersion was education enough for this trip. Perhaps some day they’ll want to explore more. Berlin has several cool history and art museums which we checked out while still slightly foggy from jet lag. I was thrilled to recognize several artists we had studied this year with the kids: Giotto, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Duerer of course.

Germans are often intrigued by homeschooling since it’s illegal in Germany. Too many former educators in government, a friend once remarked. So the concept of teaching your own kids sounds fairly absurd. How do you know what they need to learn…who checks up on them…what happens if they don’t pass State testing…etc. I don’t actually know what happens.

We had family reunions on both weekends. First my dad’s side- he has three brothers, all with kids. My mom has 4 siblings with families of their own, a lot of them came to spend a night away which was really fun. I’ve been interested in the refugee situation in Germany, was expecting to notice more of them out in public but they didn’t seem to stand out. Everyone I talked to has refugees in their neighborhood or nearby though and I was happy to hear that several family members volunteer in one way or another to assist this population.

Our trip reminded me how much I love to travel and how I do miss my family and the culture even though I have lived here for so long. The kids love Germany too and did great speaking German which they definitely avoid when we’re home. Mr J is ready to travel solo next time. We’ll see. For now it’s back to the old routine. We’ll need to do some school work this summer which no one seems thrilled about. It was fun to talk about homeschooling for a few weeks without actually doing it. Now we’re back to reality. It’s hard, but good. A good friend unexpectedly called the other day and encouraged me in the aftermath an equally unexpected parenting failure which happens, it seems, more frequently while spending continuous time with your children. At this point I like to recall what’s working in our family. The kids travel very well and they love my family, transatlantic flight and all. We all wish we could go more often.

I am hoping to write more again this summer but feeling a little stuck in my story and how to proceed and what’s even interesting to write about. The past is time consuming to narrate but it’s also insightful and interesting at times. I’ll always have plenty to say, just need to figure out what’s worth saying. Until then, my friends. Good night.

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3 Replies

  1. Debbie Jenne

    As always a great write. Enjoyed your view of Most of the places I had been to. Take just ONE step at a time in getting into things again. Its my goal too for the Month of June. I recently had a sudden move which is not yet settled. So Hugs to you as you “bounce” back into things. Debbie

  2. Lovely vacation and photos. Kid free time sounds like a dream too:)

    1. Astrid Melton

      Yes- much needed. Thanks!

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