Hagenbeck Zoo 2019

We have sunshine here in North Germany again! What felt like ages with only constant rain (three weeks or so) we have no a period of good weather once again so we took the kids to Hagenbeck Zoo. Last time we had been there was back in 2014 when Nathan was just two months old and we loved it. We planned each summer to go there but well, nothing happened as always got in the way. Sadly we could not take Haruki the Shiba with us as dogs are not allowed there. At first I was confused why it would be forbidden till I realized again that the entire park is filled with small animals running around. You got the basic chickens and peacocks everywhere but also other animals such as Maras and Capybaras. Dogs would be no good in such surrounding.

Someone with a long neck

As I had mentioned back in 2014 there are barely any “cage bars” in the way as most enclosures are surrounded by a moat or something similar to prevent animals to escape. Especially nice was the Penguin Area as those little feathered bros can just jump out of their enclosure when they feel like it. Due to this I got some nice close-up picture of few of them just standing right next to the people. One guy who tried a selfie with one got his hairs searched for food by one penguin. So far the Hagenbeck Zoo is my favorite one as it is just such a nice place. Everything is clean; the whole park is really like a park full of old trees and fields. It just feels so relaxing to be there.

Nathalie with Wapiti Antlers

Wherever you are you have some animals nearby to watch / some maras or capybaras come to you to check out the situation for food. Of course you are not allowed to feed the animals there with some exceptions. At the entrance you can buy a bag full of fresh vegetables and fruits to feed for example the Asian Elephants. Those big ones are pretty much the stars in the zoo as they reach with their trunk over the moat to pick up the food from your hand. But there is also staff watching that you do not sneak in any wrong food. MIL had the idea to give the elephants some sweet bread but we were able to stop her.

Hello there

In case you have some holidays planned in North Germany and enough time I really recommend visiting Hagenbeck Zoo. Additionally to the Zoo they have a Tropical Aquarium area, however it requires its own entrance ticket. We did not visit it so far as the Zoo itself was already plenty enough for us and we had to get home in time for Haruki, don’t want to leave him alone for the whole day either. The aquarium area has of course a lot of fishes and whatnot all but also other animals such as ring-tailed lemurs (King Julien) running around freely and many birds.

 

What is your favorite Zoo?

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Nothing New In Germany

This summer I have not been that forthcoming with crazy stuff from my family. Basically nothing much happened except that worrisome things I wrote about in the past two blog posts. By now all the stress from China has been become just an annoying background noise and we have been only focusing on work and the kids. My dear Chinese mother-in-law is still here in Germany but will leave back to China in the end of August.

Besides the annoying stuff from China we had to manage for three weeks through the kindergarten holidays and thus having both kids with us all day long. For those holidays we had some nice things planned such as trips to the beaches here, traveling on weekends to some cities in the area and such but oh boy, of course the weather had to change to the worse during those three weeks and we had just rain every single day. We only managed to visit Legoland in Billund again and we had semi-good weather with just some minor showers in between. After those holidays were over we managed also a trip to Sankt Peter-Ording here in North Germany where a fantastic beach is located. I must say we had really bad luck with the weather this summer as we only had nice temperature and sunshine on the days we were neck-deep with work.

Now the holidays are over already for a few weeks and something new started for us as Nathalie started kindergarten this week! Little Nathalie aka the Thundergoat can be a difficult little monster so I prepared for the worst when going with her to kindergarten. But for some unknown reason she is a completely different person there. The staff there is super happy with her, she never cries, does whatever they tell her to and is just a little sunshine there. I already told the staff that this little girl they describe can’t be my daughter.

At home we have the usual madness with MIL as describe in the previous post so nothing new from that front. On a personal note I got even nerdier as I picked up during spring again Warhammer 40K after near 20 years away from it. Not writing now anything specific about it but I will have eventually a geek post about my newfound hobby in the upcoming weeks. For now I hope we have some luck in the next weeks with the weather so we can go to Hamburg Zoo again as the last visit there dates back to 2014 when Nathan was just 9 weeks old! This also somehow reminds me that I need to continue editing the last holiday “movie” as I still have tons of material to go through.

 

How has been the weather for you this summer?

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More Troubles in China

In my last blog post I wrote all about Granny in China not doing so well and how Aunty terrorized the rest of the family. That situation was already very annoying but things got even worse. Granny is still doing well and does not suffer and aunty did not improve her attitude either. So from those two is nothing different but another player entered the field to make the whole family grumpy. Out of all people Uncle decided to mess up everything!

Uncle was always calm and unnoticeable, taking care of everything but now it changed. The whole family agreed to give Granny a certain medication to prolong her life. It is no miracle cure as she will still  eventually die from the cancer but it can bring up to a year more with the family. This medication is not cheap as it is not covered by the insurance and cost around 100.000 RMB a year. The family has decided to use Granny’s retirement money (roughly 30.000 RMB a year) to pay for the first few treatments and pay the rest evenly by themselves (MIL and Aunty decided on that). However Uncle does not want anything like that and is angry that they want to spend HIS money as the first payment. In his eyes all the retirement money from Granny belongs to him and no one else.

Evil Uncle

There have been dozens of fights now within the family because of that. MIL even recorded all of his Weixin messages as proof in case he will ever state that he never said anything like that. Uncle came up with all kinds of excuses not to pay for the treatment with “The medication does not work at all, I know a guy who knows someone who has some idea about it all and he says the medication is not working and just exists to steal your money”. Yeah, he knows someone who knows someone with some sliver of an idea about medication, what a great reason.  Meanwhile my friend who is the main pharmacist in a big hospital and who specialized in Oncology states something very different about this kind of medication and is positive that it will prolong Granny’s life for at least half year.

As you can see the past weeks have been really taxing on the family and by now everyone decided to burn all bridges with Uncle once Granny is not with us anymore. Hard thing to do though as the whole family decided to move into the very same apartment block last year! Sometimes I wonder how they come up with their decisions, dicing perhaps?

This looks fragile, let ‘s give it to Nathalie!

Alright enough with this family madness and to more “amusing” things in life: My mother-in-law. I have been not so forthcoming with news about her and it is not because she became normal out of nowhere but because her level of madness became kind of normal for us. There is not really anything special for us anymore when she pulls some crazy stunt or has some weird ideas. Writing this just made me realize how my view about everyday life has changed. For example she had some knee trouble before coming to Germany so she put some special Chinese medication on it for several days. Thing is she was apparently allergic to it so she had a firey red, swollen knee upon arriving here. I gave her some “healing earth” from Germany to put on as a paste on the knee. This paste she needed to keep for 30 min before washing it off and thus far everything went alright. However she washed it off in the shower and never cleaned the shower afterwards turning the whole thing into a muddy mess. When my wife asked why she is not cleaning the shower afterwards her only response was “why bother cleaning it today, I will still use it tomorrow so it gets dirty again anyways”. What a great logic she is applying. No wonder her husband has to clean their apartment three times a day and got grey hairs in his twenties.

Besides this refusal of cleaning up her own mess she is also doing really great in destroying stuff in the apartment. Okay it is actually not herself doing the destruction but Nathalie HOWEVER she enables her granddaughter to do so. Some expensive Totoro statue high on the shelf? Give it to Nathalie and leave the room to find later destruction on the floor. A wooden toy hammer? Give it to Nathalie in front of the TV to have later a broken screen. A felt pen box?  Give it to Nathalie on the white carpet to have later a very colorful carpet. The list goes on and on. She either leaves the room with tools of destruction in Nathalie’s hands or sits actually next to her but checking her phone and not realizing the destruction around her. I have no clue why she would give Nathalie these things without paying attention what is happening or thinking about what could happen. Of course I let my daughter play with these things but I am right there to see nothing bad could happen.

By now those little accidents have summed up to several thousand Euros of damage just in the seven weeks she has been here. It is just insane thinking about it and worse is there is nothing we can do about it. My wife tells MIL daily with the same reply “I know I know, I won’t do it again” while handing Nathalie the next tool of destruction. These scenes are reminding be more often than not on some old cartoons. My understanding of a normal life certainly changed in the past years as the complete madness became the norm by now. Also after reading this whole blog again I have to apologize for this long rant.

Any unusual things entered your life which are by now normal for you?

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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My crazy Chinese Family I married into…

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