Tag Archives: moving to Germany

Amazing Year 2014 Review

2014 was a really amazing year for me and my family. So many great things happened and we just had really much luck with everything. I am not even sure that I remember to write down each and every single good thing of this year in this post as there are just too many things which pop into my head.

 

But lets start with the beginning.

 

In January the time of Nathan birth was approaching and with it also my mother-in-law three-month stay in our apartment. But, back then the year started not so well as several bad things actually happened. First of all I got final answers from several Universities that they did not choose me for their programs, furthermore freelancing was going very bad and I could not find any stable job at all. To make things even worse we did not find any apartments for our future in Germany and much of our savings were consumed by our car.

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However wonderful February happened. It started with MIL arriving in Finland and giving us already a lot of excitement. Excitement in both ridiculous but also few annoying ways. But what do you expect when three people are living together in a 40m² apartment and one of them is just going crazy as her baby is already due for over 10 days…

Yes, Nathan was seemingly feeling too comfortable in his mother’s womb and extended his rental contract by 14 days! On February the 21st it was then his big day and he joined this world and our family. Both mother and baby were healthy and were able to leave the hospital after two days and come home.

 

March came and with it our new apartment in Germany. After so many months searching for an apartment and losing another bidding process this apartment basically fell into our hands. My parents had helped an old man for many many years in our building and he passed away in March. What we did not know was that my parents and I would inherit everything he owned!

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April was the month we went to Germany and started our first step in the long-lasting renovation process of our apartment. It was also the month when Nathan got baptized, to be precise he got baptized on Easter Sunday. Usually it is impossible to get a baptizing day on Easter as it is a very popular date however we were offered a date and we accepted without knowing that it would be on Easter Sunday…

 

May came and MIL left. Probably I shouldnt be so happy but I was very glad when she finally left Finland after spending three months with us. Of course she was a great help but enough is enough after such a long time. In May also my parents came to Finland to spend their summer in the cottage.

 

June was our “holiday” in the cottage where Nathan gathered his first fishing experiences and played first time in ice-cold Finnish lake water. Tallinn was another good thing which happened as we went together with other friends for a short two-day trip there to relax and eat well (at least I did eat very well).

 

In July nothing really good happened except that Germany won the Football World Championships! Oh, and there was yet another journey through Finland and to our cottage.

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August we had our great holidays on Rhodes which we won through an online prize competition! After that we said our goodbyes to our friends in Finland, packed our last belongings and went again to our cottage to relax a bit before starting our journey to Germany.

 

Then the day of moving to Germany came in September. With two cars we drove from our cottage to Helsinki to take a ship to Germany. After two days on that ship, in a tiny cabin with four people, one baby and two bunnies we arrived and started shortly thereafter the last huge step in the renovating process. Much work was ahead of us but I did it with pleasure as I knew it would be worth it. However September was also full of exhausting runs through the city to get us all signed up, get social numbers and get my wife the German residence permit.

 

In October we celebrated my fathers 73rd birthday and an end of the renovation work was in sight. We got my wife signed up for the German language course and Nathan was doing of course very well.

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November, lovely November. We finally moved into our new apartment and to sweeten up the month I finally got a job, a job I have hoped for so long time as we got with it our health insurance.

 

Now we are here in December. Christmas is ahead, presents still have to be bought so what good thing could still happen? Well, I am working now on finally “refreshing” the blog, something I had planned already for nearly a year. How will it look like? Lets see, it will be probably a surprise for me too! Just wait and see what new things I have in mind for my Crazy Chinese Family. Furthermore I want to thank you all who are reading this blog and thus give me motivation to go on to write down the weird stories of my family.

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Nathan Approves This Message

 

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German Christmas Market

Christmas time is Christmas Market time for us Germans. Every city, every town and every village has its own Market offering a nice little Christmassy atmosphere in the midst of the cold and grey time most of Germany is going through around now. So what is all there on such a market which makes it so special? First of all it is decorated nicely according to the season and furthermore it just smells like Christmas (except the heavily packed Glühwein stands/ booze markets). Henry Lee from Fotoeins has a very nice collection of Christmas Market impressions on his blog including this guide for the Cologne Christmas Markets. As you can see there the bigger cities even got several markets!

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My hometown is not playing in the big league when it comes to these markets but it is still pretty nice. As we live now for over two months in Germany and had not much time to do anything we decided to take a look at the local Christmas Market. First of all, it is surely not very big but still filled with people. Usually this city of Neumünster is practically empty after 6pm. We even have a saying for this kind of thing  in German “Ab 6 Uhr werden die Bürgersteige hochgeklappt <…>” and translates into “They roll up the sidewalks”. It really feels sometimes that all life stops during evening hours. Anyways during Christmas Market time this rule does not apply and people seem to enjoy their life and the Glühwein. This Glühwein is actually Mulled Wine but each country has its own variations. So far my favorite version is the Finnish Glöggi which is slightly different and much tastier than the German Glühwein.

 

DSC02405Here in Neumünster the market offers all kind of things to spent your time on such as the food and Glühwein Stalls as mentioned before but also an ice skating field, little amusement rides for children and then of course the big Christmas tree. Nathan was mostly interested in the people passing by and my wife was focused on the different foods offered (in the end she bought some grilled sausage with bread and a bowl of Mushrooms  in garlic sauce). I used this opportunity to get my very first Glühwein for the past four years and bought a drink called “Schneemann/ Snowman” which is basically just mulled wine with some mix of booze and then on top whipped cream. Now as a specialist in the Glühwein section (not!) I can say that the taste was pretty good but once again there was too much alcohol for my liking.

 

DSC02368I think as a family you can easily spend even in this little market one to two hours (always depending on the child) as there is much food to try and drinks to warm up your soul. Other people who are not so restricted by the mood swings of Junior can spend without problem half a day or more there. However this is usually depending on the thickness of the wallet as the prices are much higher than off-season. I can just recommend to anyone visiting Germany during this time of the year to take a look at one of the (too) many Christmas markets around. In case you go there with your children, no problem, just leave them for some time in the amusement rides while you discover the rest!

 

Leaving Finland

It is finally the time to leave Finland. Tomorrow morning we have to get up around 5am, get into our full packed cars and drive 360km south to Helsinki where the ferry is waiting to take us to Germany. Up till now we have done packing, packing and some more packing in the hope to get as much of our stuff as possible to Germany. It actually mostly worked out however my precious books have stay behind until my parents can take them next year with them in late summer. Looking at our cars it appears that we have done some tuning work to lower them as far as possible. No, it won’t be an enjoyable journey, the cars are so full that our seats had to be put more to the front, my wife will have her seat full of stuff and to make it even less comfortable she will have to carry both bunnies on her lap. Nathan’s seat looks like a cave, surrounded by boxes filled with our belongings (no need to worry, everything is fixed to their spot so nothing can move in case of an emergency full brake).

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Nathan at his great grandparents grave

 

We have done all kind of different strange work since we arrived. Preparing some fire wood for next spring, fixing my grandparents tombstone and checking which poor trees will be cut down next year by my father. My dad is really good in cutting down trees but he really doesn’t like finishing the wood working as my mother in complaining for over twenty years that the firewood is always too big for the different wood fired ovens. We also got our boat out of the water and carried it to our little boat shed. As the boat is made out of real wood we had to do some extra work with it such as drying it first for a week and then applying some flaxseed oil to preserve the wood. The boat has been handcrafted few years ago by our neighbour who passed away sometime later, making it the last handcrafted boat in the area, perhaps even in whole of west Finland.

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The past days have been restless. Awaiting our departure in the cottage while watching nature preparing for autumn. It has been getting colder here, only rarely the sun peeks through the mist which is hanging heavily upon the lake during most of the day. Somehow it feels like it is time to leave, start anew somewhere far away from the cottage, from Finland our old home. I am watching my father walking around our beach, in his own way saying goodbye to his little paradise. He and my mother will be back next summer whereas I will be most likely not be able to see Finland and the cottage for a couple of years, depending on my work.

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I say farewell Finland, you have been my home for the past seven years. Life has been not always easy here but I met my wife here, Nathan was born here so not everything was all that bad. With our moving away I also take away one possible future burden away from you, Mother-in-law will be terrorizing Germany next time, not you Finland.