Tag Archives: Germany

Plans for the rest of the Year

Over half of the year 2017 is over and much has already happened. Untill the birth of our daughter in May we were very busy trying to “stabilising” our little business. From January till the beginning of May we were investing so much time into our business that we had no time to do anything else. We did not travel anywhere, we didn’t visit any neighbouring towns, we did not even go shopping or eating in some nice restaurant (with the exception of birthdays and the weekend Family Gathering in March).

Basically all we did was work and spend the little free time with Nathan. Due to our work we do not even have any free weekends which can be sometimes very hard when the work seems to have no end. By the time our baby girl was born we had reduced the workload already in order for my wife to find some rest. However it was just reduced workload and thus just two days after Nathalie was born I started working again. Now two months after our family grew by one we started to wonder what we can do to enjoy life a bit more once again after those hard months.

Lübeck in 2015

No, we won’t have any big travels planned such as last year. However we have some smaller trips planned already within Germany. For one we want for Nathan to have some more fun by going to a little theme park in the next few weeks. That theme park is perfect for little kids like him as he can pretty much go into every amusement ride as there aren’t any “wild” ones and there is also a deer park! Besides the theme park we will go to a few cities this summer such as revisiting Lübeck and Flensburg for some day trips. In August we have then our “biggest” trip which will lead us to the dark East of Germany.

Lübeck will be lovely to revisit

That big trip developed only because I got an invitation for a Class reunion from my high school in Chemnitz (East Germany). As my wife had no interest in going there at all just for some reunion I had to come up with some plan. So now we will be driving first to Quedlingburg which is a very old town first mentioned in the records in 922 AD. The old town, the church and the castle are on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994. I was there already once back in 1994 or 1995 with my parents and brother but I do not remember much of it anymore. There we will stay for one night right in the historic old town and then on the following day travel to Chemnitz. Except meeting with some friends and then having later on the reunion I have not planned anything yet. The problem for me with Chemnitz is just that I have no clue what to visit there even though I lived there for two years from 2005-2007.

My father on his way to his old home in 1991

In the late summer we will be trying to travel for a weekend to Poland to revisit my father’s birthplace Kołczewo on the Island Usedom. That trip will be especially important for my father as he had revisited that place only twice before, both between 1990 and 1991.He has not much memories from that place as he was very young when his family had to flee back in 1945 and become refugees till settling down in my hometown (they were living in camps for the first few years here). After that trip we will have only a few more day trips in mind. For us it is only important to get out of the daily routine from time to time. Next year shall be different again for us and I will write about it at some point towards the end of this year.

1990 My father carrying me in front of the old family house. The child standing there belongs to the “new” residents, let’s see if they are still there this year

What are your plans for the second half of 2017?

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Airport Adventures

My crazy Chinese mother-in-law is back. I mentioned in the last post already that some destructive force is living with us once again and I have to say that so much has happened already in the past two weeks. I do not know how she does it but she certainly has this profound ability to wreak havoc where ever she is. It is not only about the stuff she can destroy without even trying it is also about the way she thinks (mentioned multiple times on this blog already). In her opinion there is only one way to do something: Her Way.

I know best

Though the title of this article is Airport Adventures is actually started already before she even reach any airport. Just two weeks before flying to Germany my wife double checked with her that everything is in order. This means that all necessary snacks for us have been packed (serious business!) and that she has all documents with her. Documents such as the invitation letter that she needed to get the Visa and also is required to have on person when arriving in Germany as there is our telephone number listed so the border control can call us when needed. This is important as MIL has messed it up before in 2014 when she was nearly sent back to China again. When you have such a traumatic experience you will always remember what mistakes to avoid – not MIL. She did not only forget about the whole invitation letter but she had thrown it away months ago! All she had to say way “I didn’t know that this is important”.  Well she also threw away her flight tickets because she had taken pictures of them with the phone so that should be enough according to her…

I bet her Marriage Certificate has been thrown away years ago

As you see we had our fair share of trouble already before she entered the plane. Needless to say my wife had to organize all the papers in record time and get them somehow to China in that short time period. After that my wife actually thought that the worst was over before her arriving in Germany, oh how wrong she was or let’s say how naive. The journey started pretty well as she got from Xi’an to Helsinki without any troubles. In Helsinki she then had to wait for nearly three hours for her connecting flight to Hamburg.

Yo, Granny is Crazy

My wife told MIL to send her a message when the boarding would start. Nothing happened within 5 min so my wife asked her again about the boarding and to take a picture of the boarding screen – no reply. Then 15 min before the boarding would close MIL said that the flight is delayed as there is no boarding. So my wife asked MIL yet again to take a picture of the boarding screen to make sure that she is at the right Gate – again ignored by MIL. Wife all nervous started to check on her phone about the flight and voila the Gate had been changed to another one just 20 metres away. Quickly she sent her mother about it and to rush to the new Gate. You can guess what happened. MIL did not listen to her daughter and still insisted that the flight was just delayed. Then when she finally went to the right Gate the plane had just left.

You can’t even imagine how furious my wife was. MIL had ignored all messages, it could have been all avoided by just taking a picture of the screen right in the beginning. MIL’s excuse was only “But I was at the right Gate, how could I believe that you would know  what is going on and which Gate to take?”. Through some miracle my dear Chinese mother-in-law got another flight to Hamburg a few hours later but it was all so exhausting especially as I had to pick her up from the airport around 1am instead of 7 pm.  This whole situation was so frustrating and I do not even dare to mention it again in front of my wife.

What is your worst Airport experience?

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Family Gathering

This weekend we had just our first Family Gathering since 2005. Back in the day it was organized, just like all the previous Family Gatherings, by my Uncle who passed away a few years after that last meeting. For twelve years we did not meet in such a way again until my cousin (daughter of my uncle) decided to change this and started contacting us last autumn.

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The old boys playing some game together (cousin and my brother), in the background my father

First of all it started with a simple family group chat on WhatsApp and from then on the planning progressed quickly (Even my 75 year old father is in that group). The destination for the gathering was found in short time as it was the same place the family had met before. In my case I was around ten years of age when I was there for the first and only time. Back then the group was much smaller as none of the many cousins had children. Even at our last gathering in 2005 there were still many children not yet born. For this meeting we had ten kids making it a total of 21 family members at this gathering. This is the “close” family we have here in Germany. I doubt we would ever manage to plan a Gathering for the entire family as it could easily reach up to 150 people or more.

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All in one group picture

The little village called Tönning was our meeting place right by the North Sea. It is a fairly small village with just 5000 inhabitants. Due to its location it was an important sea port till the end of the 19th century. Then the Kiel Canal was built which made the route via the Eider river obsolete. These days the historical port is a tourist destination with lovely old houses which have been transformed into restaurants and hotels. Just few minutes from our hotel is the Multimar Wattforum which is an information center for the Wadden Sea National Park. This place is just great for kids as they can learn everything about the Wadden Sea from the tides over the important work of the many different worms to the big sharks and wales living in the North Sea. I’d say we all enjoyed the time spent there and it was just so fascinating to see what animals are all living there.

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Later at the dinner (table with tons of kids not shown is to the left)

Later that day we all had a lovely dinner together which lasted until the late evening hours. All in all it was a wonderful time and so great to see all of my cousins again. Especially Nathan had a great time with so many other kids around playing with him. By the end he was so exhausted that he started to fall asleep while sitting at the dinner table. Even my late Uncle was present at the dinner in form of a picture one of his daughters had brought with her portraying him with a big small and raising a pint. The good thing about our close family is that we all live in the same State and that from my hometown (which is right in the middle of the State) it is to each one of my cousins it just take a bit over one hour by car. Now I just hope that we will be able to organize such gathering again in the near future and not to wait another twelve years. We have high hopes to have such meeting again perhaps next year!

Do you have family gatherings?

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 I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

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https://www.youtube.com/