We’ve returned to the Fatherland after the grueling process of packing up and moving a household of a family of five. Driving six hours from San Diego to Las Vegas listening to Die Zaueberfloete non-stop. Saturating in ueber-Americana for three days on The Strip. Flying eleven hours from Vegas to Frankfurt. And driving three hours from Frankfurt to the tiny dwelling called Haeusles outside of Mitwitz which is nestled in Frankenwald (the Forest of Franconia). READ MORE »
Posts tagged San Diego
I have an announcement to make. We are moving back to Germany next month. The timing of the move was a bit of a surprise, but it was always in the realm of possibility. We were away for two years, and as I’ve started the arduous process of organizing another overseas move now with three small kids, these are my passing Germany Way thoughts on the move: READ MORE »
It was inevitable. Our German was bound to get worse upon departure. The first year, mine seemed to remain intact. I was still feeling pretty German, and I spoke German almost daily with our German preschool teachers, with other German-speaking parents, and with our German babysitter. Sometimes even with my German husband. We’re in the second year though, and after spending the Christmas holidays with my non-German speaking family, I finally felt that the Yanks had won. Throw on top of that, a struggle to integrate a third language (Korean), and the quality of Deutsch in this house has worsened. READ MORE »
San Diego kicked off its first German Film Festival last month. It seemed to be a long time coming considering that there are an estimated 100,000 Germans living in the San Diego metro area and Orange County.
The festival opened with the screening of “Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland,” a movie written by two Turkish German sisters, Yasemin and Nesrin Şamdereli, about a Turkish immigrant family’s literal and figurative trip back to Turkey. The family immigrated during the big Gastarbeiter movement in the 60s when the patriarch left his hometown in a village near Anatolia to earn big money working in a factory which he sent back to his family. Initially unplanned, the whole family, made up of three children and later four, eventually moved to their new home in Berlin. READ MORE »
I was disappointed to read that my fellow blogger, Sarah Fürstenberger, was leaving our ranks as German Way Co-blogger for the time being. She and I had become friends through recording by blogging the same chapter in life as American wives of German husbands living in Germany. Coincidentally, she and I also left Germany at the same time this past summer.
Although I was sad to no longer be able to keep up with her American/German family’s new Irish life through her blog posts, I could also understand her sentiment that her heart wasn’t in blogging about the German Way anymore. Often, when my week rolled around to blog, I felt at a loss as to what to blog about. It’s been about eight months since we left Germany, and our lives have significantly changed: our daughters, though still bilingual, speak mostly English now, we start to shiver at 60 degrees F (16 degrees C), our consumption of paper products jumped exponentially when we became members of Costco, and we barely buy or eat cold cuts (Aufschnitt).
I realized though that despite the dilution of our German-ness, there were beliefs and pursuits of the German Way of Life that I was still committed to. First and foremost on that list has been finding a pediatrician that suited my parenting philosophy. How do I characterize that parenting philosophy? Well, to oversimplify for the sake of this blog post, it is pretty mainstream German for under six year olds, in other words, more kumbaya and fostering play-based learning. READ MORE »
It’s February. In our process of settling in as a Korean American German family here in San Diego, the next event on the calendar was Karneval. I mentioned the holiday to my daughter expecting her to recall some of it from her Kindi days in Aalen at least from pictures of her as a cowgirl jumping on a trampoline or going out the door as a butterfly. She didn’t. I presented it to her in a different way, “Remember Fasching, Vera?” That seemed to ring a bell for my Swabian girl.
For the first time, our daughters’ German preschool here in San Diego organized a special adult-only party on the first Saturday evening of this month at the German American Societies of San Diego. As my husband is from the Rhineland, Karneval country, I had left the costume planning to him. This task did not sit high on his list of priorities, so it was the Thursday before the party, that we found ourselves a bit panic stricken with figuring out what to wear. Going in “plain clothes” was not an option. If we were to go to a Karneval party, we would have to go all the way. We were further restricted by the fact that I am seven months pregnant, so even if there were any costumes left to buy at Party City, most would unlikely fit me. I finally had a solution, which my husband reluctantly went along with: sauna goers! We didn’t actually go in the buff, but we put our matching bathrobes to good use.
The sun is still shining here in San Diego. After 6.5 weeks of being homeless, living in hotels and staying with my parents in Pennsylvania, my family and I are finally installed in our own house, which we now call home in a neighbourhood called Kensington. We are gradually settling in to our new lives here.
We’re not in Kansas anymore
The Germans in my house, namely my husband and two daughters, are enamored with the ice maker in our refrigerator, insisting on having ice in all of their drinks. My older daughter stares enraptured at the microwave, witnessing cold rice going in and hot rice coming out. We didn’t have a microwave in Germany by choice, and I wouldn’t have bought one here except that they seem to be standard equipment in most houses.
We tried the Bavarian Rye bread, which had been recommended by the German members of the North County deutsche Spielgruppe, from Trader Joe’s. My husband said it wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t eat much of it. I begged him to make me some Kässpätzle this evening. It was a nice treat for someone else to cook, but even though he did an excellent job, the Spätzle just didn’t taste the same. It was because of the eggs. READ MORE »
I admit that I was probably a bit whingey in my last message. I’ve had some time to get over my homesickness for Germany and Europe and embrace San Diego. It’s nothing like Deutschland, but the living is so easy and the weather is as perfect (always in the 20s C/70s F and no humidity) as they say. The people are also extremely friendly and positive. So positive, that it rose my quasi Teutonic suspicions at first.
Instead of sulking back and looking for things to complain about since the weather wasn’t going to hold anymore, I decided to smile back and enjoy the sun! Meanwhile, our relocation agent asked me what was the one thing I missed most since being in San Diego. My answer was my friends and being able to speak German.
I knew that we would encounter more German speaking families once our kids started at Die Rasselbande, the German preschool we found in San Diego. But it would be another six weeks before our older daughter would start there.
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We’re a long way away from our Swabian village. Here in sunny California, the roads are wide, parking is plentiful and you throw everything away in one place. Welcome to the land of plenty. We’ve been here for one week, and my mind has been in a big jumble sorting out major decisions such as where to live and what cars to buy.
The differences abound and the culture shock is subtly creeping in: translating 2nd floor to 1st, writing dates with the month first, converting ounces and pounds to grams, and bad driving. Here’s a running list of things I’m adjusting to:
- Buying organic. As Sarah once wrote, bio is pretty mainstream in German and much more affordable. I almost cursed in front of my children when I read how much frozen organic peas were at Vons: more than double the price of half the size we usually got in Deutschland.
- Turning right on red. We love this one! Unlike in Germany, you are permitted to make right turns at red traffic lights here in California! READ MORE »
The title of this post is not meant to be in reference to Germany and its standing at the World Cup, nor my opinion of the current national team coach. Rather, it is in reference to the fact that this will be my last post on this blog while living in Germany. One prominent aspect of expatriate life is a higher probability of relocating. Although my husband is German, we have been anticipating an overseas move through his job over the last five years.
It’s been a long, drawn out process anticipating where and when we’ll move. There have been some false starts including absolute certainty that we were moving to Singapore some time soon after the birth of our second daughter. She’s now 20 months old. In fact, it seemed likely that we were moving to Asia, so it took some getting used to that we are in fact moving to San Diego, California, in the U.S. of A.
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