Category Archives: Crazy Germans

Keeping the kids busy with sports

I do not know how other people tackle this so I can only write from our perspective. Even before Nathan and Nathalie were born we were thinking about what hobbies they might have later on and what sports they might be interested in/ being forced to do by us. Might sound a bit harsh but then again all athletes I know who managed to reach certain levels were the ones who were pushed by their parents during their “difficult years”. All others who could choose for themselves quit their sports latest by the age of 15. Now I do not have any ambitions like that as I want to see for now how Nathan will develop and what his interests are as we are trying to give him broader choice of sports compared to ourselves.

Back in the day at the Finnish Nationals (I was second in the 200m freestyle)

My wife did some sports as a kid in form of table tennis for a couple of years and ballet. Both sports she had to quit as her wonderful mom didn’t see any value in sport activities and instead put her into afterschool programs till evening. Ever since I can remember I was swimming in a club. I started when I was around five and continued till my twenties. I clearly remember when I had no motivation anymore around the age of 13-14 as I did not really improve anymore and my father basically dragged me to each training session by driving behind me in his car to make sure that I actually went to the pool. By the age of 15 I got more than enough motivation to continue as I got suddenly better and better and wanted to push myself as far as possible. During my “prime” I had 21 trainings sessions a week of which were 11 times swimming from Monday will Saturday and 10 dryland sessions (gym, running and even yoga). This resulted each day in over 5 hours of sports and this all while still being a high school students going to class from 7am till 3pm.

Nathan has tons of fun thus far

 

Right now our little Nathan is four years old and is doing once a week Taekwondo. He loves it thus far and is asking us several times a week when the next class is. I actually got the idea for Taekwondo due to my best friend who was in the very same club back in the day and did the sport till he reach the first Dan (first black belt level). I also wanted to try out the sport when I was eight years old but somehow did not dare to really join them as I was a very very shy little boy back then who easily got scared by new things. Nathan is completely different and he joined the other kids in an instant. We will also register him at my old swimming club but for that we have to wait till he is six years old (weird regulations here in Germany I must say). It is actually already 100% sure that he will at least do some swimming in the club, afterall we/ I decided on his name due to the very famous Nathan Adrian!

So why am I writing about this? When I was talking with Nathan’s coach she told us that for the past years less and less kids are continuing the sport once they finished elementary school. Usually the kids have multiple sports/ other activities each week and can’t focus on any properly which results that barely any athlete in the club is performing on any higher level, not even reaching the State Championships. The last one who managed it to even European Championship level was their daughter (both parents are coaching at the club and her husband has even 7th Dan!). So growing up with such parents a kid has the best possibilities to reach something in the sport or sadly they might also crumble under the pressure.

He tries his best and it is funny to see his clumsy attempts when doing some kicks

All friends we have with kids do not want their children to do any sports. In their opinion sports are a waste of time and the kids will only get hurt. I on the other hand believe that a sort of competition in young years is useful for the child in order to grow. Here in Germany is even a discussion still going on to remove sports competition from schools as some kids will feel left out and even to remove grades in PE.

Were you doing sports when you were young?

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

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Living as an Interracial Couple in Germany – Three Years Later

In January 2015 I described our life in Germany with all the difference challenges and difficulties we had experienced in the first few months of living here. First of all I was rather shocked when I saw that the article Living as an Interracial Couple in Germany is already three years old! Up till this point I did not even realize that we have lived for so long time already in this country. For me it feels like we just left Finland one or maximum two years ago. This just shows that time passes by faster the older you get/ when you have kids keeping you busy.

Demons from Hell have arrived to stop the digitalization in Germany

My first point of annoyance three years ago was about applying for the residence permit and Germany still being in the stone age when it comes to digitalization.  Thing is we had to renew her residence permit half-year ago and it was once again a very special experience when the nice lady at the office for foreigners was once again going through countless of folders and law books. No Germany did not manage to reach the digital age within those three years. Besides the nice lady was even surprised that we had a second child by now and we were required to hand them the birth certificate. Not that I received that very certificate from the same building just 20m away in another office last summer…nothing really nothing can be viewed from their PC’s as everything is kept in folders and each office still requires their very own copy of every certificate.

#Nathancuty and grandpa are busy watching TV

What about the weird stares on the streets and people taking our mail out of the trash to spread it all over the street? The thing with the mail stopped and I suspected a couple of neighbours but nothing can be proven any longer. Those certain neighbours have moved away or died in the past years so we will never know.  Surprisingly also the weird stares on the streets are very rare these days and I can’t even remember when it happened the last time. In the past years many Asians (majority of them are Chinese) moved to this little town and its surrounding villages. The people here see pretty much every day several Asians and also WMAF/ AMWF couples can be seen daily. No one has yet said anything towards us or “behind our backs” so I am pretty happy with the current situation when it comes to this aspect.

You can have never enough Lego Duplo

By now Nathan has also overcome more or less his language difficulties as he is pretty fluent in Mandarin and in German. In fact his Mandarin is better than his German languages skills but we do not worry about it as he is improving a lot in it ever since he started kindergarten last summer. Besides those two languages he knows a bit of English and at least few words in Finnish. In the kindergarten they also do not discourage parents and the kids anymore when it comes to growing up bilingual unlike back in the day when my mother was forced to quit speaking Finnish to me. At least in Nathan’s kindergarten they teach also a bit of English for the older kids.

That little man will turn 4 next month!!

I am very surprised how much the situation  improved for us here in the past years especially with some neighbours passing away. We are not even that annoyed anymore when it comes to giving each office here some extra copies of this and that certificate or document, you just get used to it. It is a fact that Germany is far behind when it comes to digitalisation than other “leading nations” in the world. At least we can have now again normal internet speed as our connection went up from the terrible 16 Mbps to 500Mpbs. It was really strange when we moved here and they could only give us that kind of slow connection as nothing else was possible here in this city.

Both my wife and I do not regret moving from Finland to Germany at all. We had a good life in Finland without too many difficulties but everything improved ever since moving here. Life is cheaper in Germany and we can earn more than before in addition to be working from home which is so much better also for the children.  The only thing worrying us right now is to make plans for buying or building a house in the next few years as this apartment won’t be big enough anymore once the children want to have separate rooms, but that is something for another time.

How has your life changed in the past three years?

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

The Christmas Markets in Kiel

Once again we have December and with it the prime time for Christmas Markets here in Germany. Back in Finland we had also some Christmas Market in Helsinki but it was rather pathetic. However here in Germany each little town has its own market and big cities even several markets! For the past few years we only visited the market here in my hometown. That Christmas Market is also not anything special as you can only buy some overpriced food there and lots of booze. Sure there is the ice-skating ring and then one or two amusement rides for children but that’s about it.

One of the amusement rides for the kids

So this week we decided to visit the markets in Kiel which is the capital city of Schleswig-Holstein. Even though the city is not the biggest either it has several Christmas Markets and all of them are so wonderful compared to all the ones we have visited in Finland and in my hometown! All of the Christmas markets are in close proximity of each other so you can walk from one to the other in a few minutes. The markets have different sizes but even the smallest is decorated very well and does not even give you the feeling that is consisting of only few food/ drink/ decoration stalls. The biggest one even has something very special which I have never seen anywhere else. Few times a day a small wooden ship pulled by four reindeers is “flying” from one end of the market to the direction of the Town Hall up to 40m in the air. This is achieved by a steel cable and some engines within the ship. On the ship one of Santa’s Little Helpers is explaining why this year a ship is being used instead of a sleigh (Kiel is located by the Baltic sea with a rich history of ship building and trading).

Here in North Germany Santa’s reindeers a pulling a ship instead of a sleigh

Our little Nathan loved all of the markets and it was hard to drag him home later that day. His favorite was a talking and singing mechanical Moose head at a food stall. At first he was a bit scared when the moose suddenly started singing over him but then he always wanted to return to that location. Besides the moose head he loved the amusement rides and the giant Christmas Pyramid. My favorite part were the many Christmas decoration stalls with handcrafted items. Some of them were so lovely and only the incredible high price for them stopped me from buying anything at all as I had only enough money with me for some of the amusement rides.

Lovely lights in the evening hours

We hope that we will manage next week to visit another city or town for its Christmas market because one thing is certain: Any of the markets will be better than that tiny excuse in my hometown. Believe it or not the market here is so full each evening that you can barely walk there without getting stuck all the time. Needless to say that all of them are only there for the food and the drinks…

Have you already visited a Christmas Market this year?

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