SJ on the Move

Monday, July 31, 2006

A bike for SJ?

This is one of the really cool things we have seen in Germany. Every kid here gets a bike when they are about 2 years old. As you can see from the picture, the bike has no pedals, but they still have a lot of fun pushing themselves along. The great thing is, they also learn how to balance on a bike, so that by the time they are 3 or 4 - they are able to ride a regular bike.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Joy of Steps

It's been a better week in terms of getting SJ to bed without involving the armed forces. We've found the key is to make sure that SJ has a chance to get out every last bit of energy before bed.

Thankfully, the pedestrian zone affords us just that opportunity. It's great to have acres of car free space for SJ to run free, and as shown in this photo, climb up and down stairs to her heart's content.

SJ just loves stairs. Especially the stairs around here, which seem to be perfectly SJ - sized.

SJ Shares a Slice

One of the nice things about where we live is that there is an overabundance of places to eat. So, we've taken the opportunity to explore a few of the different food options in our neighborhood.

Here, SJ and her dad share a slice of pizza from one of the local pizza joints. Only Euro 0.50 per slice! Definitely one of the best deals around. They also had 500 mL of Coke for Euro 1.50, which is also a pretty good deal in Bonn.

It's Official!

So, July was the hottest month in the recorded history of Bonn.

We all feel very fortunate to have been a part of such an historic event.

Thankfully, the weather forecast for the first week of August looks significantly more temperate.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Brownian Motion

I'm often reminded of this theory whenever we are out with SJ. Basically, Brownian motion is the theory that small particles move about in random directions quite a bit, but since the movement is random, there is no net movement. Two steps forward, two steps back, two steps to the left, two steps to the right, etc.

This also pretty well sums up our Saturday morning. We were very thankful to receive two packages this week, or more precisely, two notices that we had received packages.

Now logic would have you believe that if you recieve two packages at the same address in Germany that the post office would : a) Ask you to come pick up the package at a post-office that was relatively near where you live, and b) that both packages would be at the same post-office. Unfortunately, neither of these turned out to be the case.

So, Saturday morning we set out to take public transportation to Kessenich, which is a good deal south of where we live, and then turn around and take public transportation to the Old City, which is a good deal north of where we live. As an aside, while people complain about the quality of the public transportation in Boston, which is definitely inferior to Germany, public transportation is very expensive here - $2.50 each way.

We had to set ou early Saturday morning, because like most things in Germany, the post office is only open a couple hours each week when people aren't ordinarily working. So, we got down to Kessenich, waited in line, and proudly handed over our package claim form.

There's a classic FarSide cartoon that contrasts what people say with what dogs hear. In summary, according to the cartoon dogs only hear "blah blah blah" 90% of the time, and only manage to comprehend a few words hear and there. I feel this pretty much sums up most of my conversations in German.

Now, back to the post-office. "The package is not here", came the reply. This was confusing to me, because the slip clearly said to come to this post office to pick up my package. In response to my consternation, the post-office clerk said "Blah blah blah blah blah blah Schumann Street". At least that's what I heard.

Now, I wasn't going to be shooed away too easily, as I already had visions of taking a hike to Schumann Street (which is probably somewhere outside of Berlin), only to have them tell me the package wasn't there either. So, I persisted.

Eventually, I gathered that they didn't seem to have any idea where the package was, but that maybe if we call next week they might be able to find out. Wonderful.

Thankfully, our second trip to the post-office wasn't nearly as eventful. As a Hail Mary, I presented the first package slip at the post-office as well - thinking maybe, just maybe, the package was there. Unfortunately, 'You must go to Kessenich" was the reply I got. Been there, done that.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Milch Schnitte

Here is SJ enjoying one of her favorite things in all of Germany, a milch schnitte.

It's hard to describe exactly what these things are, but they are the classic children's snack here in Germany - sort of the equivalent of Oreo's in the U.S.

A milch schnitte is somewhat similar to an ice cream sandwich, except that it is kept in the refrigerator, and it is not frozen. SJ really loves them, and typically asks for "more schnitte" immediately after finishing one. Unfortunately, schnitte is a pretty tough word for someone who is not yet two years old. I guess she'll pick up that "n" eventually.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Our evening walk

We are still in the midst of the biggest heat wave in Bonn in the past 50 years. It is 95 degrees here today, with a refreshing dip down to 91 forecasted for tomorrow.

So, we endeavour to spend every evening outside where at least there is the possibility of the occasional cooling breeze. We have about 3 usual tours for our evening walk that we rotate. One is to the downtown pedestrian zone, the other is to the Hofgarten field and playground, and the final is to the Poppelsdorf Castle. All of them allow SJ the opportunity to run around for a bit, which every night we hope will result in her being tired enough to go to bed early. What was that quote from Albert Einstein again?

Regardless, it is nice to spend an evening outside. Particularly since Bonn this summer is completely devoid of mosquitoes. I've been told this is not usually the case, but since we have been here we have not seen a single mosquito.

A trip to the Cologne Zoo

SJ and her new friend, Felicity, took a trip to the zoo in Cologne this past Thursday. A good time was had by all.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bedtime? Who me?

At home in Boston, SJ is really pretty great about going to bed. Every night between 7 and 7:30 we brush her teeth, sing her a song, and she goes to bed, usually without any fuss at all.

This has not been the case in Germany. The initial challenge was of course the jetlag. It's hard to go to sleep when your body thinks it is only 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

However, an additional challenge is the fact that the days are rather long here. Sunset isn't until 9:30 p.m., and sunrise is at 5:45 a.m. This makes for a fairly early wake-up time, and a rather difficult battle to get an overtired SJ to bed at a reasonable hour.

Turtle Spotting

Saturday afternoon we took a walk to Poppelsdorfer Schloss, which was the summer residence of the Bishop of Bonn many moons ago.

Now it is home to gardens, a mineralogical museum, botanical garden, and a river with a few turtles.

The best part about a trip to Poppesldorfer Schloss, is that the best ice cream around can be found nearby.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hold on there, Virginia

The internet can be a momentary pleasure, like a castle in the sand that is washed away by the oncoming waves. To throw even more analogies into the mix, it seems that we were somehow able to catch lightning in a bottle the other day - the perfect combination of computer functioning and network connectivity, but alas - no more.

Our laptop seems to have a very curious dysfunction (among other problems). It has one of those "joystick" mice in the center of the keyboard in addition to the touch-pad "mouse" below the keyboard. It seems this joystick mouse likes to have a complete mind of its own. So, if you simply watch the screen for awhile, you will see the mouse cursor move in zigzag patterns. The mouse can be tamed, however, by using the joystick mouse, but it is rather challenging. Trying to wrangle the cursor to hit a specific spot on the screen requires full concentration and a good bit of luck.

As for our network, here we are at a loss. We seem to be in this phase where the network gives us an IP address for a few minutes, and then takes it away, and then gives it back. All for no apparent reason. Ahhh...the joys of technology!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Milk in a box?

Anyone who has lived in Europe knows that "TetraPak" milk dominates the market here. The milk comes in basically a giant juicebox, and comes in two varieties - "fresh milk" which is stored cold and is basically the same as in the U.S., and "stored milk" which is ultra heat treated and is stable at room temperature for months until opened.

The "stored milk" is by far the most popular, probably because it is convenient to store and costs about half as much as "fresh milk". Since we've been here we have only tried "fresh milk", but I thought it was time we tried some of the "stored milk" to see how it tastes. So, I bought a liter of stored milk and put in the the fridge to get cold. This morning I poured myself a glass and took a drink.

Well, this ultra heat treated milk that supposedly never goes bad had gone completely rancid. After a few minutes of gagging and washing my mouth out with water, I poured the remainder of the milk into the sink. More than half of the milk was a solid cheese-like substance. This was not milk that had gone a little bit sour. This was milk that had turned into brie. It was undoubtedly the worst thing I have ever tasted in my entire life.

Yes, Virginia, there is an internet

After two weeks of daily frustration, we finally have both internet access and a working computer at home. Albert Einstein and/or Benjamin Franklin once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". For the past two weeks we have repeatedly turned on our computer, only to find that the computer was not working for no apparent reason, or we have been lucky enough to have the computer be working, only to find out that our internet connection was not working. Or in many cases, we have found that neither was working. Last night, however, the moons were finally in the proper alignment as it seems like everything is finally working properly.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beating the heat

Like much of the U.S., currently, Bonn is in the midst of a heatwave. The high today was about 95 degrees, so SJ had to find some way of getting out of the heat.

Hanging out by the fountain offers some relief, as the mist really does seem to reduce the heat quite a bit.

This evening we went to Bagel Brothers for dinner, which seems to be one of the rare places that offers some modicum of air conditioning. Bagel Brothers is a pretty nice place, kind of a cross between Bruegger's and Starbucks.

This evening we ordered a "Mocha Freeze" hoping to get something close to a Coffee Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts - an icy drink on a hot summer night. Unfortunately, it appears that a "Freeze" in Germany is a drink that may have once contained ice, for our drink had not one molecule of solidified water. Oh well, at least the drink was below room temperature.

After Bagel Brothers, we hung out in the DM convenience store for awhile, which is about the only other place we know that is airconditioned. The great thing about the DM is that it actually has a play area for kids with a rocking horse, a wagon, and Legos. The DM is kind of like an upscale CVS, but without the pharmacy. They have non-perishable food, diapers, makeup, photo processing, shampoo, and much to our chagrin - all kinds of soap - dishsoap, handsoap, and laundry detergent.

Our first weekend here we searched high and wide to find soap, but unbeknownst to us there was all the soap we could ever use just a half-block from our house. Although, in our defense, the DM entrance is obscured by construction and the store is actually underground. With the AC, it is literally a hidden treasure.

I'll crunch the numbers, you handle the client

From a fairly young age, SJ has LOVED phones. Cell phones, landlines, cordless phones, play phones, you name it - she likes to play with it. I can't imagine what she'll be like as a teenager :-)

SJ's First Stop of the Day

SJ's first stop in the morning is the Hofgarten playground. This is just a short walk from our house, and it is usually shady - which is good in our recent heat spell. One of the interesting things about the playground is that it seems to be a real international melting pot. SJ usually runs about as many non-Germans as Germans at the playground - English, Bulgarian, Peruvian, etc.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A walk on the Rhein

Sundays in Bonn are pretty quiet. Aside from a few restaurants, everything else is closed. So, without the distractions of television or internet in our apartment, we find ourselves going for very long walks.

BTW, trying to watch the Gilmore Girls in German is very difficult. When you combine Rory Gilmore's mile a minute pace with the fact that German translates at about 1.5 German words per American word, and you end up with complete gibberish.

Thankfully, the weather this past weekend was wonderful which made it very pleasant to be outside.

Ich bin ein Berliner

Every student in German class has heard about the famous John F. Kenney quote where he shows his empathy with the people of Germany by declaring that he is a jelly donut. If you are what you eat, SJ may be a Berliner as well by the time we leave here.

The outdoor cafe is one of the truly special things about living in Europe, at least in the summer. Every single restaurant sets up tables and chairs out in the pedestrian zone every morning, and takes them in every night. It is really pleasant to sit down outside in the shade and enjoy a snack. While we have outdoor cafes in the U.S., they are typically next to the street - since everything is next to a street.


One of the nice things that SJ has discovered in Germany are Playmobile toys. There is a really large toy store near our house with a fantastic collection of all sorts of toys. If SJ has her way, she'll have the whole Playmobile collection before she returns to Boston.

Don't Guzzle!

People frequently ask me what is the most notable difference between life in Germany and life in the U.S. After some deliberation, I think I have come up with my answer.

Back in olden times, as a child growing up, soda was a somewhat precious commodity in our household. On those occasions when we'd have soda at dinner, we were only allowed to have a single glass. If you drank your soda too quickly, you would get the reprimand "Don't guzzle. When it's all gone, there is no more". So, we learned to self-ration our drink during dinner. Take a sip, eat 3 or 4 bites, take another sip, etc.

Now in the modern age, such rationing is completely unnecessary. In the U.S. soda flows like....well like water. If you go to a restaurant, they give you a tremendously huge glass of soda. As soon as your glass is empty, they immediately fill it up - for free! Even fast food places such as McDonald's almost always have free refills.

This is completely different in Germany. When you go to a restaurant, you order your glass of soda by volume - 200, 300, or 400 mL. When your glass of soda comes, the glasses actually have volume marks on them so that your glass is filled up to the appropriate volume, not a drop more. Also, free refills are absolutely unheard of, which is unfortunate, because drinks are incredibly expensive here. A glass of soda at a restaurant will easily be 3 Euros ($4). The net result it that you can't help feeling like you can't drink as much as you want. So, one of the things I am already looking forward to when we return is no longer having to drink out of a graduated cylinder at restaurants.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dessert - Ice Cream

After the Biergarten, we strolled back towards our apartment and stopped for a bit of ice cream. Ice cream cones are very inexpensive in Germany, a good sized scoop with a waffle cone can be had for 0.60 Euros ($0.90).

The ice cream in Germany was something that some of my German friends had raved about, but we didn't find it to be too spectacular. It actually seemed less creamy than ice cream in the U.S., which is the exact opposite of most dairy products here in Germany; e.g. yogurt.

This particular area has a wooden train for the kids to play on. This is incredibly common in Germany, as we have discovered no fewer than 3 wooden trains within a short walk from our apartment.

Dinner - Biergarten

One of the truly special things about Germany are the biergartens. This Friday evening we went with Tomas and his parents to one of the many biergartens that are along the Rhein.

The weather was absolutely splendid, as it was about 70 degrees with a light breeze. Typical fare at a biergarten seems to be pizza, salads, and pretzels - however pretzels in Germany are a bit more like a roll, than we are used to in the U.S.

On this particular evening we also stumbled upon the secret to reasonable service in Germany. If you sit directly next to the waiter's station, you actually have a chance at getting them to come to your table more than once an hour. Good to know.

Lunch - Bratwurst

Traditional German lunch is fairly heart, more akin to what Americans would consider to be dinner. Here we introduced SJ to the most famous of all Germany dishes - Bratwurst. Typically, SJ is not a big meat eater. However, she really seemed to enjoy the Bratwurst.

One of the reasons Brats are so popular here is because they are so cheap. Most non-pork meats in Germany are fairly expensive. However, 6 Bratwurst can be had for 1.30 Euros ($1.70). They are typically eaten with rolls, which were also very inexpensive. One word of caution, however, German bread is very tough. I think I actually have some permanent scarring from a sandwich I had last week. The good news is that German bread never seems to go stale, although I'm not sure how you could tell if it did.

Breakfast - Zimt Chips

Traditional breakfast in Germany is a bit like traditional lunch in the U.S. - cold cuts. If you walk by an outdoor cafe around breakfast time in Germany you are likely to see people eating slices of meat or cheese with a nice and fork. For those on the run, it seems fairly common to grab a meat sandwich.

For us, we are sticking with the more traditional U.S. breakfast - cereal. SJ is enjoying some Zimt Chips, which are pretty similar to Cinammon Toast Crunch. In an effort to "Do as the Romans Do" I tried some of the famous Mueslix, but I think it's a bit too chewy for my taste.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The immigration office

We have now all been successfully registered with all the appropriate German authorities. This was not without some difficulty, however, and two separate trips to the immigration office. No matter where you go in the world, dealing with government bureaucracy is rarely an enjoyable experience.

My first trip to the immigration office earlier this week began with walking into what appeared to be a rather dilapidated building, which is actually somewhat out in the middle of nowhere. There were no signs telling you where you were supposed to go or what you were supposed to do, so I simply walked up to the receptionist and handed her my application form. "Zimmer Elf, Links" was her only reply.

So, I wandered around unti l found a door marked "Eleven" on the left, and pondered what to do next. Do I knock? Do I just go in? Stuck on the door was an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper with numbers written down the side. While I looked for some clue as to what to do, someone pushed past me and ripped off one of the numbers. "Ahh", I said to myself, "you take a number".

So, I ripped off a number and sat down on a wooden chair outside the door. Nothing happened for quite awhile, and I was really beginning to wonder if I was in the right place. I was also still feeling a bit jet-lagged, and it was a bit difficult to remain awake while sitting in a warm room, on a wooden chair, and staring at a poster of Bonn. After about a half hour, however, a woman emerged from the door and said "Nummer Funf!". Okay, so there was at least some activity.
My turn eventually came about, although I silently bristled that the guy who brushed past me got to go before I did. I handed in my VISA application, along with the passport photos we had taken in the U.S.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk." She said. "This will not do."

"What? Why not?"

"You are smiling", she replied.

"What? I can't be smiling in my picture?"

"No, you cannot smile in Germany"

"Trust me, I haven't been smiling that much in Germany, this picture was taken in the U.S."

"You need a new picture".

"Okay", I relented. "On my way in, I saw one of those passport photo booths in the lobby, can I go get a picture taken right now?"

"No", she replied, "that is not sufficient".

"So, you are telling me that the photo booth that is physically in the immigration office, does not take pictures that are suitable for a visa?"

"That is correct. You must go to a photo studio".

"Splendid! I guess I'll be back. Thankfully the office here is "conveniently" open from 8-12, four days a week."

So, the next day we went and had new passport photos taken of the whole family. Jill and I did our best to look as miserable as possible, so we have a nice set of pictures where we look like convicts. Unfortunately, we couldn't seem to get SJ not to smile. They were probably some of the cutest poses she's ever done in a photo studio. However, the photographer told me they were more lenient with children, and if she was showing a little bit of happiness the authorities would look the other way.

So, I returned to the immigration office the next day - this time making sure to rip off a number as soon as I got there. I got the impression that our applications were still not quite up to snuff, but the immigration officer seemed a bit tired of dealing with me, so she stamped our visas anyway. On my way out, I passed by a couple of workmen who were busily packing up the passport photo booth and hauling it away. I guess they finally decided that having a photobooth in the immigration office that does not produce suitable photos for visa applications is a useless waste of space.


The train runs directly behind our flat. This was something we knew about coming in, but there really weren't any other options on places to live. We have gotten used to the commuter trains already, but the freight trains are rather loud. When it gets a bit cooler, we'll be able to close the windows and I imagine we won't notice it as much.
The plus side is that SJ has really enjoyed watching the "choo-choo trains" go by her bedroom window. I am sure that some of her other friends in Boston would be very envious.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Odd Couple

This is SJ's new friend, Tomas. SJ's dad and Tomas' dad both work for the same company in Boston and now in Bonn. Tomas came to Bonn at the end of May, and will be here through October.

SJ and Tomas get together just about every day. They pretty much just parallel play, and only interact when one of them wants to use what the other is currently playing with. Unfortunately, the playground engineers decided that two swings was a sufficient number for the children of Bonn. We can't have too many kids having fun at the same time! So, who gets to be on the swings tends to be a serious point of contention. However, SJ is still happy to have some company.

A fool and his money are safe in Germany

One of the things I appreciate about the consumer driven market of the U.S. is that if I want something, it is fairly easy for me to exchange money for it and get what I want. This does not seem to be the case at all in Germany.

The first problem is actually getting into the store. Pretty much everything is closed on Sundays and after 8 p.m. on weekdays. Saturdays, most things close at 6 p.m., but you'll find plenty of places that are only open for a few hours on Saturday. Many stores will also close at random times during the week - Wednesdays, or Thursday afternoons, etc.

The second problem seems to be finding what you want. This past weekend we walked about 45 minutes to get to Knaubers, the store that supposedly has everything - which is in stark contrast to most places, which seem to essentially carry one item. On this particular evening we were in need of soap. Knaubers started out as a Home Depot, so they have all kinds of things like wallpaper, lumber, tile, etc., but then they expanded into just about every other line of business you can imagine - greeting cards, books, toys, pet supplies, bread, sausages, fresh cheeses, seafood, even a cafeteria. However, as we found out after our 45 minute walk - no soap. No handsoap. No dishsoap. No laundry detergent. No soap of any kind.

The third problem in Germany is getting to the checkout. As anyone who has been to a restaurant in Germany knows, service in Germany is atrocious. You will literally have to wait at least 30 minutes before you get the opportunity to pay for your meal. This seems to carry over to the retail industry as well. Even a really large store never seems to have more than two cash registers open. Since every working person has to do their shopping during the few magical moments when stores are open after work, everyone ends up waiting at least 20 minutes to check out.

The fourth problem in Germany is the means of payment. We were in need of a new wireless adapter for our laptop, so this evening I walked for about 30 minutes to get to the German equivalent of BestBuy. This store really was pretty much like BestBuy, with a large selection of computers, large appliances, flat screen televisions, etc. I found what I wanted and waited my 20 minutes in line (see above). That's when I found out that they don't take credit cards! I was literally speechless. I can understand when the baker or the candlestick maker doesn't take credit cards, but the electronics store?

"I'm sorry, I left my 50 pound sack of Euro coins in my other pair of Lederhosen, can I pay with my debit card?"

"No", came the reply,"Cash or bank card".

"But this is a bank card, see it says 'Debit Card' on there".

"Das ist nicht ein bank card", she said as she pointed to the Visa symbol.

Evidently, bank cards in Germany operate on a different system, so unless I get a German bank account or feel comfortable lugging around a suitcase full of cash, I guess we won't be buying a flat screen television in Germany.

Dad's Office

This past Sunday we took a little field trip so that SJ could see her Dad's office. As you can see from the pictures, it's not large but it's sufficient. In the corner, there actually is a psychiatrist's bench. This was not provided by the company as a statement on my mental health, but rather is a remnant from when this office space used to be used by a psychiatrist. Evidently when my company took over this office, the psychiatrist left this bench here.

The good thing about this office is that it does not face the street, which can be rather loud, especially in the summer. Since nothing is air conditioned in Germany, you have to keep your windows open during the summer to prevent yourself from melting into a giant pial of goo. However, all German windows seem to have the same fundamental design flaw, in that there is no way to keep the winow open. So, in a stiff gust of wind you can have the window slam shut and knock everything off your desk - including your head if you are peering too close to the computer screen.

No coins for the fountain

One of the things that is really interesting about living in another culture is how things that seem so natural to you are so completely unnatural in another country. One of SJ's favorite pastimes at home is to go to the shopping mall and throw pennies into the fountain. While we are fortunate to have a large fountain a mere half block from our flat, throwing pennies into the fountain does not seem to be a German tradition. At least that we have observed.

We observed another cultural difference at the grocery store the other night. The grocery stores here are much smaller than we are used to in the U.S., so negotiating a shopping cart and a stroller through the aisles can be a bit challenging. We had been discussing whether it would be okay to leave our stroller outside the grocery store while we shopped, and decided that maybe it wouldn't be safe to leave it unattended. However, the other night we saw that someone had left their stroller outside while they were shopping, so maybe it is okay. Upon further review, we noted that not only had they left their stroller unattended, they left their infant in the stroller unattended! Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dante Anyone?

This is the view from outside our apartment door. We live on what would be considered the "Fourth Floor" in the U.S., and what the Germans would try and pass off as the "Third Floor".

One of the interesting things about this hallway is that it is completely enclosed - no windows - with a glass skylight at the top. So, you end up with a palpable thermal gradient as you ascend or descend. Street level is about 65 degrees, and with each floor upwards the temperature increases by about 10 degrees. Right when you start to feel the burn of the steps (on the 3rd floor) the temperature bumps up to about 95 for the last remaining flight. Very fun. Word of warning to our potential visitors - better spend about 2o minutes a day on the Stairmaster in preparation :-)

Maslow's Pyramid

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a psychology theory that groups needs into levels on a pyramid. The idea is that humans have certain basic needs that must be fulfilled, before they can focus on the higher order needs. According to Maslow, the basic needs are : the need to breathe, the need for water, the need to eat, the need to dispose of bodily wastes, the need for sleep, and the the need to regulate body temperature.
After one weekend in Bonn, I think we have taken care of the first four. Sleep is still a bit of a challenge, as SJ is having a difficult time adjusting to the time change. This morning we found her asleep under her bed. It appears she fell out of bed and then rolled under it. She was really far under there, so we had to pick up the bed and move it. We were afraid that she would wake up and be afraid of her surroundings. However, she must have been pretty tired since she slept through the whole procedure.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Out for a stroll

One thing we seem to do a lot of in Germany is walk. There's not really that much to do in the apartment, so when we have some free time we head out for a stroll. On Saturday morning we headed over to the Hofgarten. We came across what appeared to be a college graduation, although it really seemed more like a concert. There was a big jazz band playing music, which SJ enjoyed quite a bit. She was bobbing her head and rocking back and forth in her stroller. We also gave her a chance to push the stroller around herself for a bit, which is one of her favorite activities.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

der Kleiner Engel

On Wednesday, we headed off for the airport. SJ slept for about 20-30 minutes on the way to the airport, but that was it as far as naps were concerned. She was tired on the flight from Boston to Newark, but she was pretty well behaved. She enjoyed looking out the window as well as playing "Peek a Boo" with the folks sitting behind us.

During our layover in Newark, SJ discovered moving sidewalks for the first time. What fun! She generally ran herself into the ground during our 2 hour layover, so that when we boarded the plane she prompty fell asleep - before we even took off. Unfortunately, she only slept until about 10 p.m., so just about as Mom & Dad were ready to try and go to sleep SJ wanted to play. So, none of us got much sleep on the flight over to Germany. Oh well, I guess "I'll sleep when I'm dead".

Stars and Stripes Forever

To celebrate the fourth of July, we cheered on Germany in the World Cup semi-final against Italy. Germany ended up losing with less than two minutes to go in overtime. It would have been really exciting to watch Germany in the World Cup Final, but oh well. At least we still get the opportunity to root against France :-)

Me and my Gami and Papi

SJ's Gami and Papi came over on Monday to distract her while her Mom & Dad finished up with their final preparations for Deutschland. It was a big help for them, and a good time for SJ.