Gleaning from my own numerous hospitalizations in the U.S. I have some suggestions about what to bring, as well as what to expect from your hospitalization in Germany. Be aware that I am comparing the U.S. system to the German system. Also that I only stayed in one hospital in Germany and your experience and the experience of others may vary.
This morning, Goldilocks woke up to a Saint Nikolaus Day surprise. Chocolate in her boots! (She often puts toys and bows in our boots so it was fun to see her reaction to us turning the tables on her!) The modern tradition (at least in less-Catholic northern Germany) is that the children of the household leave out their freshly polished boots by their door or radiator and Saint Nikolaus comes in the night on December 6 and fills them with candy, toys and fruits. They wake up the next morning to a delicious treat. It reminds me of the typical American Easter basket.
It’s officially the holiday season! That means so many things, warm, delicious beverages, Christmas lights, decorating and Christmas music. It also means you’ll probably start getting those holiday cards in the mail from family and friends. I have always loved sending Christmas cards. We have sent one out for each year of our marriage and it has normally accompanied an announcement of a big event like a birth or move, or both! However, living abroad has provided a new challenge for sending out holiday cards.
I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to review the children’s book “Ava’s Adventures Abroad: Abu Dhabi.” Goldilocks doesn’t really have any books about kids who travel the world like she does so I was excited to read this book to her.
We are very blessed that Papa Bear receives German and American holidays off of work. So we took full advantage of two three-day-weekends in a row in the last two weeks! For Columbus Day weekend we made our first flight out of Germany and headed to Brussels, Belgium. I have wanted to go to Brussels since this last summer when I found out about the Harry Potter Exhibit taking place there! It ends in November, so the clock was really ticking to travel there. Luckily we were able to fit in the trip and found that we really love Brussels!
To celebrate the start of the fall season we decided to go fruit picking in Potsdam! It was really meant to be a pumpkin picking trip, but it turned out that they didn’t have a pumpkin patch. Oh well, it was still a great little family getaway before the weather turned dreary. The you-pick-it farm we went to was called “Hofladen” and it was super fun!
I had my first grocery shopping in Germany experience very early on here when we moved to Berlin. I was blessed to have been driven around to appointments the first few days by the embassy chauffeur-extraordinaire. He offered to take Elaura and I for a quick trip to a nearby grocery store. And boy am I glad he offered because there is quite a bit to learn about grocery shopping in Germany. I’m going to let you in on all the little secrets so you don’t need your own chauffeur to show you the ropes!
Remember when I reviewed and did a giveaway for the awesome book “Knocked Up Abroad?” (If you don’t check it out here!) Well Lisa Ferland, the author, has some awesome news to share! She has written a new book, “Knocked Up Abroad Again!” This book will be another great resource for parents who will be pregnant, laboring or parenting abroad. And you can be a part of the book’s launch on Kickstarter!
I have to admit I was a bit wary about conquering public transit in another country, in another language that I don’t speak, with a child and one on the way. It seemed like a daunting task, especially as I pondered the thought of it before we moved here. However, now that we’ve been living here for 6 full weeks, I have learned the ins and outs of traveling via trains and busses with a toddler. I hope the following tips help you as you try out public transit in Berlin with kids.
Germany is all about order. Everything is “in ordnung.” Transportation is on time (or early!), pedestrians never jaywalk and signs indicate how everything is done. I had been warned about how children and even dogs should behave in public and was nervous about how this would actually play out with a toddler. Even Papa Bear told me that children are beloved in Germany but often they are meant to be seen but not heard, especially in places where adults are more likely to be carrying on business or conversation. Places like restaurants and museums.