Wednesday, August 5, 2009 8:01:47 AM
It sounds almost unbelievable that it has already been a year since I came to Germany, somehow everything is a little blurred, so many things got crammed into 365 days that I struggle to remember it all. It was a brave thing, moving like we did, but I am as sure now as I was on the day I decided that coming here would bring our family to a better life.
Of course there are challenges, and even tough we have overcome most of the logistics of moving to a different country, culture and language assimilation and related problems, life still has a way to throw some other hurdles in our path, but then that is true no matter where you live.
The kids are both now attending kindergarten, Julia started yesterday. All went well, she enjoyed the toys and was happy that her brother was there to play with her. I can't help but worry though, will she adjust as well as her brother? Since coming to Germany we have had Julia diagnosed with an Autism Spectre Disorder. We are trying to find some therapy for her but the language barrier and our little knowledge of the health system here is making it a bit hard. Julia's main issue is that her language skills are underdeveloped, even in Portuguese. So learning two languages simultaneously is, I fear, setting her back even more. My hope is that in going to kindergarten and by being close to her brother she can better learn to adapt and eventually try to speak both German and Portuguese and also improve her social skills. There is so much running through my head it is spinning, so many questions and so many fears. The only thing that keeps me going is the certainty I feel when I look at her, that she is a very happy little girl, that she does communicate in her own way and shows us how she loves us.
I have read a ton of books and articles, roamed through hundreds of web sites and still come up feeling like I don't really know much how to deal with this. I know how to deal with my daughter, I know her needs, her ways of speaking to me and to others, but this is just me. I want to help her be able to communicate with others in a way that they can easily understand. I just don't know how I can help her become more verbal, I fear language therapy in a language she does not understand (German) will not be very helpful at present. Every little word that she utters brings such joy to my heart, but I want more, but my urgency is not Julia's. She is quite content with her few words. I guess the greatest challenge for me is to pace myself to her rhythm, and patiently help her understand why it is important that she speak. I know she can, she understands everything I tell her. It's just a matter of her wanting to be more verbal.
Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:36:52 PM
Germany is indeed treating us to the good life!
Lets see: we have a wonderful garden, the kids are enjoying themselves immensely! Sam is already speaking more German than I do. Plenty of neighbour kids to play with and we live in a totally awesome neighbourhood, there's the river, a beach and a beautiful river side promenade just across the street...
I could go on but there is no point really, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will just let them speak for me!
More photos @ http://www.flickr.com/pooka
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 12:35:00 PM
... Sam dixit
, as the movers finally finished unpacking and assembling all our furniture and stuff from Portugal that arrived yesterday on our new apartment!
So there you have it, new apartment + old furniture + some new dents in it = HOME! I am happy! Happy that my kids now feel like Düsseldorf is home to them, happy that we have all been so extremely lucky that all has gone so well with this whole relocation madness! Happy that we've had a real snow white Xmas, the very first in Germany, I have a snow filled backyard to prove it!
I am totally exausted, yesterday was tough but I can truly say that I am happier that ever! Gosh, even our neighbours seem like really nice people, we got invited to a little barbeque at their place already!
Monday, January 5, 2009 2:07:25 PM
It snowed again in Düsseldorf (3rd time this winter) and low temperatures and maybe some more snow are in store for the next couple of days as the weathermen have it.
I walked to the office this morning! Good thing I bought my great new snow boots, they came in handy today! This afternoon we are going to have our new apartment keys handed over to us and in good time too since the movers are arriving with our furniture from Portugal tomorrow morning! This is very likely going to go down in our family history as the most hectic Christmas and New Years ever! With the move to our new and slightly larger apartment and all the other settling in activities, I feel like I have hardly had time to breathe let alone enjoy the holidays! But on the whole this is fun, even if it is a lot to handle!
The view from my office window this morning!
On the way to the office this morning, more photos here
Monday, October 20, 2008 7:49:06 PM
Well it's rather like squeezing an elephant into a Mini, but slightly less hazardous!
And since it'll only be for the next two months the "elephant" won't mind too much. It was either we all squeezed into this one bedroom cosy appartment which is rented out until January by the company I work for. Or we'd have to move to a new one and move out of it also by January - when we'll be moving into our own and considerably larger abode! So this way we avoid the extra move and see to it that we're all a lot closer to each other than we've been since August.
Because this appartment was rented furnished it had no extra beds the kids could use, and there was just no way I could get "real beds" to fit in the living room. But it's not quite so bad. It'll be our little camp out!
I got the kids two inflatable beds that are nicely tucked away in the living room corner.
Julia's eating chair is also an inflatable contraption that will come in handy on the many trips we'll be taking around our new little neck of the northern european woods!
Monday, October 13, 2008 5:26:16 PM
I am now posting from the fair city of Düsseldorf, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
As planned, I started my new job here in August. The work is more or less similar to my former position in Portugal so settling in has been relatively easy.
In many ways Germany has really exceeded my expectations! Like I told my mother once, a couple of weeks after I had arrived here, the weather is bad, the coffee is worse but the rest is all great!!!
Düsseldorf is a lovely city and having the Rhein close by makes me feel closer to home. I have always lived near the water and would miss it dearly. But here I have a lovely view of the river right out of my office window. I can even see sheep grazing across it on the green banks.
The people are also a lot warmer than I was expecting. I must admit that being from southern europe my expectations were rather low on that respect, but fortunately here they are quite used to foreigners (after all nearly 15% of the town's population is foreign). And even though English is not so widely spoken as I thought it would be, it's really easy to find someone who speaks a least one other european language aside from German. So when English is not an option I am usually still able to get by with my Spanish, Italian, French or sometimes even Portuguese, while my German skills are still... errr slowly progressing.
The hardest part, as I had expected, is obviously being away from my children and my husband. I knew that coming over would mean being away from them for at least a couple of months. The plan was that I would come over and prepare everything for them, whilst my husband searched also for a job here and they would come once he had got one. There was no way we could forsee just how long it would take us to be reunited, but we gathered our strenght and hoped for the best. And now our efforts are just about to be rewarded. Bruno has been offered a position here, starting next November and in just under two weeks now we are going to be together again, all four of us.
My German adventure is now turning into our German adventure. Samuel is really excited, he has already come over on a visit for a weekend and is even eager to learn German and make new German friends. Julia is still a little too young to understand the concept of a foreign land or language for that matter, but just because of that I think she will even adjust faster than her brother.
There is a quote from an old Greek historian, Thucydides I believe, that states that "the secret to happiness is freedom and the secret to freedom is courage" and I find that we are living those words. In fact I cannot remember a time that I felt happier, or freer - and that I owe to one moment of brave clarity when we dared to believe that we could take on this challenge, and work to make our lifes better instead of just sit around wishing that things would miraculously start to go the way we hoped.
One thing I have learnt is that the old saying that "good things come to those who wait" is not entirely true. Waiting is a part of life, and wars are seldom won in just one battle but a truer statement would be that "good things come to those who go after them" and persevere in their goals!
[more photos here
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:47:45 PM
Come sing along... yes sing out loud!!! I guaratee this helps !
|I Have Confidence - The Sound of Music|
What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what´s the matter with me?
I´ve always longed for adventure
To do the things I´ve never dared
And here I´m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared
A captain with seven children
What´s so fearsome about that?
Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries
If I don´t I just know I´ll turn back
I must dream of the things I am seeking
I am seeking the courage I lack
The courage to serve them with reliance
Face my mistakes without defiance
Show them I´m worthy
And while I show them
I´ll show me
So, let them bring on all their problems
I´ll do better than my best
I have confidence they´ll put me to the test
But I´ll make them see I have confidence in me
Somehow I will impress them
I will be firm but kind
And all those children (Heaven bless them!)
They will look up to me
And mind me with each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine
They´ll have to agree I have confidence in me
I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me
Strength doesn´t lie in numbers
Strength doesn´t lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up -- Wake Up!
It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!
Now picture me
in that scene: slightly better looking clothes, lose the silly hat, the hair cut is not quite the same but it's close! Change the setting from Salzburg, Austria to Düsseldorf, Germany. Change the Captain with seven children to a new team and line manager. Yup, that'll be me
in less than a month! Shortly (I hope) followed by my husband and two children!
Germany prepare to meet the Henriques family, we're coming and we're full of confidence!... Oh help!
Thursday, March 20, 2008 12:34:52 PM
Wishing you a very happy Easter weekend! For my part I 'll do my best to stuff myself in as much chocolate treats as humanly possible! More on Easter here.
Monday, March 3, 2008 12:34:21 AM
Finally that awful cough is leaving me and I feel a lot better now! No small thanks to thyme tea! It's not bad in taste and it truly works!!!
Thyme has many health benefits. A few cups a day will ease menstrual cramps as well as relieve the tenseness and moodiness that often accompanies PMS (or the “MS” itself). Thyme tea is also helpful for stomach problems as well as coughs and fever.
Thyme tea is a wonderfully pleasant tea for children’s coughs as they delight in the flavor. It is also said to alleviate whooping cough and nightmares. It helps in the elimination of phlegm, relieves any pain that may accompany the illness and calms a child’s nerves.
You can also use it for a mild sore throat (for a severe sore throat spray a couple drops of the essential oil mixed with water or herbal tea directly on your throat) and post nasal drip.
Thyme is also a vermifuge and daily consumption of it helps keep worms and other parasites from dwelling in your body. You can eat or drink the tea for this purpose.
That said I've replenished our house thyme stock! I don't know (thankfully) about all the other stuff but the cough did go away thanks to it!
Friday, February 29, 2008 12:27:04 PM
I've got a gigantic cough today, I sound like an old steam engine train or something of that sort. My head is about to explode and I sometimes think my eyeballs will shoot out of their sockets, sorry for the graphic description but that's a very accurate account of how I feel today.
The good news is the kids (who I got this awful cough and flu from) are all better now! So they are back to their regular speed while I am just now coming down with the bug I caught from them... oh the joys of motherhood!!!
Anyway, it's Friday thank [insert divinity here]!
Tomorrow morning bright and early I'll take Sam to his swimming lesson, he's just started a couple of weeks ago and he's loving it! He looks so cute in his little swimming cap and goggles
As for me I'll try to make through today with my internal organs in their right places, hopefully, and with some luck be all better and up to speed to my little ones for the weekend!