Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Random notes on German things, kid related

Somewhat random thoughts regarding what we see in Germany lately, all deal with kids in one way or another.

Now we've had several weeks of summer vacation with boys at home and HOT summer day (between 90 and 100) with no air conditioning in most places, we spent a number of afternoons at our local pool.  Pool itself is great - it's outside with some shady grass areas, some baby/toddler areas where they actually put up a tent above the water and a tiny playground.  What I found to be interesting is the lack of SPF shirts that we have gotten used to seeing in the States.  Of course we are more north than Pittsburgh is.  If you look at the world map, then Outer Banks, NC maps roughly speaking with the northern tip of Africa; Pittsburgh is mid-Spain; and if we reverse this logic then Frankfurt runs roughly through middle of Canada.  However, 100 degrees is still hot!

Last week Ilya went to a soccer camp; it was run by an international school so it was English-speaking but from what I heard there were some German kids there as well.  I had zero expectations so it was nice to learn that he spent between 4 and 5 hours actually learning soccer moves and playing the game while the other part of the day was reserved for lunch, water breaks and occasional game of "duck, duck, goose."  The child came home exhausted every single day!  For the first time since we moved to Germany, I also had to pack his lunches and I forgot how much I hate doing that and just how much I appreciate that the boys are being fed at school with a nice healthy satisfying meals.  In Germany, lunch is the most important meal of the day!  Anyway, what I kind of loved about the camp (besides Ilya learning to play the game) is the fact that at the end of week NOT all of the kids got trophies.  They had contests and only those that actually won, got the trophies.  Every kid got a write up about their skills - Ilya has great sportsmanship, decent on shooting and not so great on passing - and he got a couple of Starburst candies.  That's it!  Funny thing is that he wasn't upset about the lack of trophy, he knew that he wasn't the best and he was ok with it.  Now he says that he wants to play soccer in the fall but he also says that he wants to do gymnastics and track and field.  Swimming is non-negotiable so the child might be busy come September and we will probably have to make some choices but I am happy that he is happy and wants to continue playing.

We live in the state o Hessen and here school starts on September 7.  First grade is a HUGE deal here.  Kids get a big paper cone filled with candy and school related supplies; most kids also get that super expensive book bag.  Ilya's school had a meeting in July and they provide all the notebooks, textbooks,etc. for a nice flat fee of 200 euros.  We just need to provide a pencil case with appropriate items inside of it. And of course - shoes to wear inside, phys ed clothing, and many other miscellaneous things are still required.  The school specifically told us not to buy the bookbag since the kids don't carry their books back home but we do need to work on putting together Schultüte.  So far we bought the thing itself, some marshmallows and some raisins.  We also have pencils stashed.
I still have no idea what Andrei needs and will probably have to call school to figure out what's going on and why we don't have a letter yet.

How we are spending our summer:

Passed out on the coach :)

Water balloon fight

Making volcano paper mache

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