I thought it was time to write an update about how we are adjusting to life in Germany, specifically Bavaria. We’ve been here now for 9 months yet it still feels like we’re new here. I guess thats partly because we still have the language barrier. I’ve been going to school to learn German for 3 and a half months now and I certainly have learnt a lot, but its a complex language and doing an intensive course is very rushed from one new grammatical rule to another. Just when you think you have the hang of it, they throw another rule in – its a very complicated language. Still, its enjoyable learning and feels very satisfying when I manage to use it in real life.
Bella’s settled into her new kindergarten well and I had her first review a few weeks ago – in German might I add – somehow between me and her teachers (who don’t speak much English) we managed to communicate for a full 45 minutes – we were all very happy about that. Their view is that she’s very good with her head – memory and telling the time (although only hours) already, but needs more confidence with her peers. That I would agree with. I think life in Germany is very different to England in terms of social behaviour. In England, we tend to step back more rather than push ourselves to the front naturally. We always knew that this was something we wanted her to learn to do here. Outside of Kindergarten, we have done many things. We used to do some classes at Gymboree, – one was an action class and the other a art class. Bella became too old for that. We then tried swimming but they don’t really teach swimming until age 4 and Bella has already become quite confident in the water so I ensure I take her myself every week. Now its summer this is great as there are fantastic lakeside swimming areas. Last weekend we went to Lake Starnberg and all swam in the lake then had a lovely picnic – no scotch eggs or sausage rolls I’m afraid but we did have some yummy salmon quiches.
Bella also takes part in Bavarian dancing and has performed already at two occasions. Her first event at Baierbrunn Dorfest (village festival). I really didn’t think she would do it but she loved it and has been dancing ever since – in the lounge, in the bathroom, in the garden, etc. The next week she danced at Johannisfeur – a festival to celebrate Midsummer. After the dancing, the children all carried flame torches to light the bonfire. It was such a lovely occasion attended by all from Baierbrunn and Buchenhain.
If you ask Bella where she prefers she will say Germany. She remembers England and some things from her life there – she of course misses her friends there, but she has new friends and more space to run and play. She has her new pedal bike and family and friends often visit. She is happy. That makes me happy.
Now she’s settled and happy, I’d like to go back to work and have something for myself. That is our next challenge and possibly one that will determine whether we stay here in Germany or whether we look to move back to the UK (or somewhere else) in the future.