Category Archives: Crazy Euopean People

Study time for the children

Here in my hometown we got to know over the years other Chinese-German couples with kids. This town is not big but it is interesting to see how many Chinese leave here by now (compared to my childhood when the only Chinese here were running restaurants). We never really thought much about it until we met last month for a hot pot round at a friend’s place and we had suddenly eight mixed children running around and making some noise. Back then we (okay mostly the mothers) were thinking how great it would be for the kids to come together more often and play and talk in Mandarin.

Some of the kids during the first lesson

Just a week after our eating round we decided to meet several times a month for a little study round for the kids. Actually it can’t be really considered real studying as it is more about having more access to Mandarin for the children such as reading books, learning some about the numbers and characters. As we are no small round it was difficult at first to figure out where to have these meetings but one of the couples are also managing a club home (in fact the very same club I used to be a member in during my swimming days) and there is more than enough space for all of us. Best of all is that the club home is located very close to us so it is just 10 min away by walking.

And another picture in that awful phone camera quality

The children always “study” a bit for half hour, play together for half hour and then study a bit more. Children that young are not really fond of just sitting still for such long time so the playing time helps them to let out some energy. All of the kids are really looking forward to each Sunday as they can meet their friends and play. Our Nathan is the oldest with his five years and the youngest one is just half year old though she is not yet participating and usually clings on her father while we chat. We were always wondering how to get our children more access to Chinese and never thought how many in the very same situation as us are already living here. One couple just moved here from China this summer and they are certainly happy to meet up with other parents with the same background here in this little town.

Did you visit similar “meetings” in your childhood or sent/ are planning to do so with your children?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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Visiting Dad’s old home

Last weekend we managed it to take a trip to Poland. We had been talking about such visit for several years but never got around it as so many things got in between. Our destination was the Island of Wolin (Wollin in German) and we stayed in the town Międzyzdroje (Misdroy). This town, also called The Pearl of the Baltic,  is a very popular holiday destination during summer time due to its wonderful beach and these days every second building is some kind of hotel.  We didn’t do much in that town as we had other plans ahead. Together with my little family, my brother and my father we drove 10km further to the village Kołczewo (Kolzow), the birth place of my father, to see whether anything was left from the old family buildings.

At the beach in Międzyzdroje

Now let’s say that we were happy to see that in Międzyzdroje a lot of the old buildings were renovated and looked once again like the old times, however in Kołczewo things were a bit different. As this village is no tourist spot nothing has been pretty much done there since the war ended. Sure some apartment complexes had been build some when in the 70’s / 80’s but the old structures are just falling apart. It was no problem for us to find the old canopy road to get to the general direction of father’s birth place. While driving we only had to look out for some higher hill with some buildings and there we saw the old house on the left. The poor road set with concrete blocks wasn’t the best for cars but we managed it up and parked the cars on top of the hill. The house was a mess, it had further degraded since we had visited in the early 90’s and strange add-ons had been built to the structure.

The old family home, I couldn’t take pictures of the backside as it was in just too terrible condition

On the property of the old family home we could still see the foundation of the engine powered mill my grandfather had built in 1938. Besides the foundation there was an old millstone propped against a tree. Nothing was left of the windmill on top of the hill or the bakery next to the main house. In the distance we could see great-great-great uncle’s farm from whom my great-grand father bought the property for the mill and houses. Down the street there was also the day-laborer’s house (also belonging to my grandfather) standing now divided into two half’s. One of house half was actually in really good condition with even solar panels on the roof. It was probably the best building in the entire village at this point.

Village center, all falling apart

 

We also went to the village center to visit the church as the old German graveyard was there on its property. Back in 2007 someone had still taken some pictures of some of the graves for documentation however by now it had been all plowed and it was a potatoes and vegetable garden plus little playground. Sadly we could not find any further information about my ancestors from that place any longer. Behind the church we found one single old gravestone leaning against a tree and a lot of the former Lutheran church equipment piled up and rotting away.

The church where my father was baptized in 1941/1942

Even though we could not find anything about our family history it was still nice to see some of the old buildings standing. I also asked some of the village residents for information but no one had any idea as they were all born after the 60s and thus had not even a clue about the former church ruins on a little hill in the village center with a graveyard which also had been demolished around that time. For my father is was probably a good feeling to see his old home once again even though it was upsetting to see it in such terrible state these days. We certainly plan on travelling there again in the next years; after all it is only 3 1/2 hours away by car (in case the traffic is playing along).

Have you ever visited some place where your ancestors came from?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

 

Circus Krone

As I have mentioned few times before we have a big square next to our building where occasionally fairs and travelling circuses are performing. In the past years we have been to two different circuses but this summer the one and only Circus Krone set up its tent. Circus Krone is something very special for me as I had been going there a couple of times in my childhood and the circus is just huge. It is one of the biggest travelling circuses in the world and it is in fact that big that the entire square is filled with different tents and all the animals and trucks. The tent has seating space for 5000 people and is just enormous. In my childhood this circus was like the plus ultra of all circuses performing here and this time I was not disappointed either.

The stage

Circus Krone was founded in 1905 and has evolved to one of the big names in the circus world. Ever since it was announced that the travelling show would stop here we planned to visit it and which seats to get. Surprisingly all people living around the square got free tickets for an evening show as an apology for noise. This is actually something all travelling shows used to do in the past but it never happened again till this big circus. Of course there is a big controversy about the animals in circuses but at least this one tries its best to have good conditions for their animals. They do have multiple elephants but as two of them got into retirement age they set up a “retirement home” for them in Spain which includes a big outdoor enclosure. Because elephants are needing their herd to feel well they decided to keep their herd together and have all their elephants currently in Spain and thus not performing with them for now. Furthermore all animals have outdoor enclosures so they don’t need to spend the nights in the trucks when having their performance days. Here we hear every day the lions roaring and during the first day our little Haruki was a bit spooked.

All the artists at the end of the show

Even though the circus has a lot of animals the main focus in the current program is more about the acrobats and they did quite a show. Nathan was so amazed all the time and the two hours of show flew by way too fast. Needless to say the only annoyance for me and many other people where the demonstrations on the street against animals in circuses. Even I got shouted at because I dare to “own” a dog in a city and it is all animal cruelty and how I would feel being on a leash. Haruki got rather scared by the people shouting at us and also the kids got scared. I am all for animal rights but these people take it way too far and in the end even get the normal people against them due to their behavior. Just my two cents about this topic but I had to mention it.

What do you think about travelling circuses?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily