I am sat in my new German bedroom, which bursts with IKEA furniture, eyeing a 300g Milka bar and contemplating Anmeldung. So here is a quick run down of the past few days.
This is my third day in Berlin and although I am deliriously tired and incredibly overwhelmed, I have to say it’s going really well. Not knowing what exactly to expect upon arrival, I drilled extremely low expectations into my head, in the secret hope they could then easily be exceeded. It’s a plan I can wholeheartedly recommend!
I was met at Tegel airport on Sunday by two very excited twins, who were hopping up and down with a ‘Welcome Claudia’ sign. They told me which of them had drawn each drawing and I almost fell over with the relief of understanding their German. That afternoon we went for a long walk round the suburb and the nearby lake. It was truly beautiful as the sun went down. The host family explained that when the wall was up, the lake was partitioned with buoys and patrolled by a boat of soldiers in the middle. I can’t wait to explore the history in Berlin.
On Monday, I started to feel the weight of the new culture sinking in. Firstly, I witnessed a chicken steak being eaten for breakfast. Words can’t describe what an odd thing I found that to see. Eating anything flavoursome or savoury for breakfast is not something I ever do and it honestly mesmerised me to see. Oh and before that, the host dad woke the children up by sort of half shouting, half singing ‘GUTEN MORGEN’ up the stairs. It was a bit like at a camp, our house is usually silent in the morning So!
For the next hour I observed the getting ready routine in complete awe. The twins are eight and before it was even 7am, they were in the living room, putting on outfits which had already been laid out for them. They then proceeded to eat and when one child dawdled and hadn’t finished toast by the specified time, it was whisked away from them and they were sent to clean their teeth. It wasn’t as harsh as it sounds, it was just a case of ‘you were told to finish by this time and you haven’t’. Next they cleaned their teeth and put drinks into their school bags, which THEY HAD PACKED THEMSELVES THE NIGHT BEFORE (take note my little brother). So cool!
The microwave clock declared 7.39 and as if I wasn’t already mightily impressed with their efficiency, they then began a debate about whether they’d be on time since one had begun cleaning their teeth one minute after the other. I don’t think I’ve known the time when brushing my teeth once in my life!
The other thing to get used to is that this family don’t eat a dinner as we would at home. They eat their cooked meal at lunch and have Abendbrot in the evening. Abendbrot is a selection of bread, meats and cheeses which are laid on the table for everyone to help themselves to. It will feel like my day has been turned upside down!
So far I have spent my time without the kids doing very little at all. It’s a lot of time to have to yourself yet I’ve found it just makes me slower at doing everything. Suddenly small task expand to fill the time I have! So I am off to make a to do list, which will keep me nice and busy…