Thursday, September 30, 2010


We arrived safely via bus to Berlin.  The kids did great on the bus and enjoyed getting to go along with the "big kids" aka the MSU students.  We stopped at Wittenberg and saw Luther's church.  Really cool.  We climbed the 289 steps up to the top of the church tower to look out over the city.  Beautiful view, bonus workout.  Pics to come later, our hostel has a slow internet connection.

Tonight after getting settled we visited KaDeWe.  Its one of the largest department stores in Europe and was a PR tool for the west during the GDR days.  Amazing place.  Not kid friendly, but super cool.  The first time we REALLY longed for a babysitter since we arrived.  Tim and I could enjoy an evening there.  Yes, I know I am the non-shopper with the even more non-shopping husband, but this is no store, its an experience.

They have counters you can sit at and eat gourmet foods as well as an amazing buffet style restaurant.  We planned to eat there, but there was nothing for kids and it was really expensive.  A coke was 4,90 euros.  The food was well into double figures for a basic meal, but it all looked fabulous.  The gourmet floor was the most interesting- a champagne counter with hundreds of varieties, seafood, pasta, etc all cooked up for you by a professional chef as you watch.  There is 1/2 of one floor devoted to gourmet sweets.  Incredibly expensive, very unique.  The seafood bar had every fish and crustacean I have ever heard of including octopus.  They had a section of American food you can't get in Europe.  I was very tempted to buy some bisquick!  The kids drooled over the pop tarts, cake mixes, and M&M Mars candy.  None of it had prices, so we assume you aren't supposed to feel the need to ask.  We felt not only out of our culture, but out of our socioeconomic group as well.  Had we been there with no kids we would have eaten some really great food and enjoyed a few hours in a very unique place.  Instead we went down the street to the Lego store and watched our kids have a blast playing, ate McDonalds and came back to the hostel.  Here is a website so you can see for KaDeWe for yourself.

Picture an east German knowing about this store while living in a world where you had to wait in line and hope for groceries.  Reportedly when the wall fell this was one of the major places the east Germans first wanted to go.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

pics from Rostock and Warnemunde

Here are some pics from our last day in Northern Germany.  Much cooler today, more typical of the weather this time of year.  The hostel worked well.  Everyone had their own bed and we all got some rest.  Probably going to be our lodging choice for the rest of the trip.  Private baths are preferred, but we did okay with the shared bath today.  A late train made for a long trip home (a little over 11 hours travel time), but we plan to relax and rest tomorrow. 

The ferry

The lighthouse

On the top viewing platform of the lighthouse.

Wading in the Baltic Sea

Family pic at the hostel when we arrived

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today we are in Northern Germany on the Baltic Sea in the town of Warnemunde, near to Rostock.  We took 4 trains and a bus yesterday (about 10 hours of travel).  We got into town late and are grateful to a nice lady at the bus stop who helped us find our way to the hotel and clued us in on how to get around.  We learned it is hard to come into a new place late and try to get around and find food.  I know much more after spending a day here.  Arriving mid-day is a good idea and we'll try to do that in the future. We had reserved seating for the first time on the train and that was another learning curve.  This trip was planned on our own before we left the USA so that Tim could present at a conference here.  We've learned a few things since our arrival that would have made things go a little more smoothly, but things are working out.  Last night and tonight we are staying in a hotel.  They told us the room was too small, but we figured it was like at home and we'd sleep with a kid and be fine.  We needed the room and this was the only conference hotel that was kid friendly.  We are learning to listen.  Tonight Tim and I will sleep with two kids in the equivalent of a queen size bed.  Last night Tim used a robe as a pillow since there weren't enough to go around and Matthew volunteered to go without a blanket.  We asked for more bedding and were told "Nein".  We've figured out that because of our limited German it is much easier for people to just say no to us than try to figure out what we are saying.  It happened again to me today when I was looking for the market.  I asked a lady if it was right or left by pointing and saying few words in broken German, her response: "Nein.", of course.  Its all an adventure and fuel for many family jokes in the future.  Tomorrow night we'll stay at a hostel for the first time as a family.  I am hoping it goes well as we think this will be the best scenario for us while in Europe.  We simply can't find a hotel to accommodate us.  Who knows what they'd do with the Tarnowskis!
Today while Tim was busy working the kids and I had a chance to see the sights.  We walked around town, shopped at the market, picked up some souvenirs, walked to the lighthouse, and then returned to our hotel via the boardwalk. The kids were excited to spend the afternoon on the beach.  I planned a day with coats and wind, but it was unbelievably warm and I regretted not having their swim clothes.  We rolled up our sleeves and pants and set out for the sand.  At this point something should have clicked in my head, but I was asleep at the wheel apparently and forgot where I was.  My children walked eagerly over the dunes and got their first glimpse of European beach life without a "heads-up" from their Mom.  Katey was the first to verbalize (and quite loudly) what they all saw.  She looked up at me and said "Mommy people are NAKED!!"  Oh yes, they are honey.  So I turned them all to me and did a quick lecture on culture and etiquette and then walked them to the edge of the shoreline and told them to just focus on the sand, waves, and building castles.  We've had some interesting discussions this evening and I took efforts during our time there to observe the conduct on the beach making sure we didn't get any further unplanned education while we played.  It was way out of our comfort zones, but everything is lately.  In fact these days I am often wondering where my comfort zone went so I can retrieve it!

Some of you are horrified I am sure that I didn't just turn right around and take my kids back to the room.  Normally I would have and I do have some "Momma angst" tonight.  I can only respond that after a 10 hour train ride and sleeping with 3 of them the night before the mere thought of taking away our promised trip to the beach and day of building of sand castles (for which they eagerly bought supplies while shopping in town) was enough to make me stay.  Spending the day sitting in a tiny hotel room with 4 kids, no husband, and German only TV was more than any of us could manage.  I did cut it short, carefully watched the behavior on the beach, don't plan to do it again, and I pray no harm was done.  Thankfully I don't have teenage boys.

Tim had the camera for the conference, so lucky you, no pics.  Hopefully we will be able to take some G-rated shots tomorrow before we leave this area because the lighthouse is really pretty, the shops along the harbor are neat, and we do want to remember that we saw the Baltic Sea. 

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today was the day the kids have been waiting for. Since the planning of this trip began we knew we'd make the trip to Playmobil fun park. The kids have seen all the pictures on the website, have been planning what toy they'd like to get in the gift shop, and Carter literally asked "Are we going to Playmobil now?" while we were still in the Munich airport.

First of all, I DID NOT get sick on the train!! I was careful to eat more breakfast, ride in a forward facing direction, and look out the window. It was a much more enjoyable trip this time.

Playmobil lived up to all the hype. Full-size models of the playmobil toys for all to climb, jump, slide, etc on. The favorite for most was the Pirate ship. However, the castle, adventure, and wild west areas ranked high as well.

About the park: its a really cool playground on steroids. This IS NOT a theme park. No rides, no lines, no fast passes. Just come in an play in different areas. For example, we've been places with water tables and various things to float and play with. At playmobil the area is Noah's Ark with animals and an ark to play on, and a huge area of water tables full of any and every playmobil toy that might float. Seen parks with castles? How about a castle with dungeon, throne room, a working well, walls, cannons, and a hall of mirrors. Then we went inside the "HOB" for lunch. This is where they set themselves apart. Prepare yourself, I was amazed and I have to share.

First of all really cool bathrooms. Kid sized vessel sinks, toilets, and a 360 degree glass elevator to ride back and forth. Then we went into the buffet/restaurant area. We knew the kids meals were reasonable and the food wasn't bad, but we were still impressed. The kids got a main dish (chicken nuggets and fries for our younger 2, pasta with tomato sauce for our older 2), a yogurt, a drink, and a playmobil figure for 4,70 euro. Tim had an authentic German meal of sausage, sauerkraut, and black forest cake for desert. He'd been planning to try something along these lines for a few days and took advantage of the 4,90 price today. I had a hard time with my German and wound up ordering the most expensive meal- Steak with onions and tomatoes and potatoes 7,90 euro. I felt bad but those feelings ended the minute I tasted it. It is easily the best meal I have had in a LONG time. When have you gone to an amusement park and had AMAZING food for a reasonable amount of money? It has never happened to us. We are used to paying a fortune for burgers and hot dogs. We ate today for 35 euros and I had a diet coke (a splurge here) so thats just a few euros more than a normal meal at McDonalds here. We ate on china plates with nice silverware. They have you pay a deposit on your dishes, but in the end there is no mountain of packaging to cram into a trash can. You simply return your tray of dishes and receive your deposit. They let the kids keep their cups! I can't get over it. Who would have thought I'd report the best food so far came from a theme park.

So, having enjoyed our wonderful meal we moved to the indoor play area. Here all the playmobil toys are available for play. Granted its a great marketing tool, but our kids had a blast! Katey loved the dollhouses and princess sets, Matthew and Carter couldn't decide between the Vikings and the Pirates. Laurel played with all three. They would have spent hours playing there if we'd had the time. They moved on, under duress, to the indoor play equipment and thoroughly enjoyed that as well.

We saw the second half of the park after lunch. A lot of this portion of the park was designed for a warm summer day, but the kids still had tons of fun. They floated boats at Noah's ark, groomed horses and milked cows in the barnyard, climbed all over an octagon rope massive play structure, then threw balls at targets in the saloon and panned for gold nuggets in the wild west. With that we were off to the exit and the gift shop.

Many reviews complained of the exit through the gift shop, but there are two doors clearly marked (albeit in German). One set of doors allows you to pass through the lobby only and then on out into the sidewalk outside. You could avoid the store if you choose. We did not. The kids enjoyed picking out their promised toys. Carter and Matthew both picked out things from the pirate theme, Katey got a princess castle, and Laurel got a vet and dog set. They all were thrilled. It was one of those "only on vacation" kind of things. Its not the norm, but it was a planned treat. However, I again have to give them kudos because the toys were not "theme park" priced. Several sets were actually cheaper than on amazon and in the stores here. The headquarters of playmobil is in Zirndorf (where we were) and this was similar to a factory store in the US. Katey enjoyed more time with a dollhouse available for play and the boys had fun playing with RC vehicles. We stayed until closing and then did the reverse bus, subway, and train ride home. It was a really fun day. Here are the pics:

In the pirate play area

Tim relaxes while the kids play in Adventure Land

Laurel had to have her picture made with the dog figure

The wild west

The throne room (Katey had just fallen down for the third time today!)

Altes Rathaus

We toured the Altes Rathaus on Tuesday afternoon. It was the building where the Diet came to meet during medieval times through 1806. Sort of the city hall of our day. The kids were really good and listened well as we walked through the various rooms and saw artwork and tapestries and learned about the functions of government at various times. Their favorite part of the tour: the torture chamber of course! Below Katey and Carter stand in front of the jail cell. Notice the height of the door!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grocery Goodies

I found everything I needed at the grocery!!! We now have the ingredients for pancakes (salt not pictured, oops):

and just in case you ever need to know baking soda is called Natron in Germany. It took me a week to find that out, but I am feeling proud. I also saved one of Tim's students the frustration as I found her in the baking section trying to figure out the same thing. I'll have to play with my recipe as backpulver (baking powder) here is stronger. Anyway, things are becoming more normal for us.

We are making plans tonight for our first visit to Playmobil Fun Park. Its basically a huge playground built out of models of playmobil toys. We think we have the whole train, subway, bus transfers figured out. It would be easier with our van, but less adventurous. We know it will be a challenge to get the kids out so we plan to stay until closing time and ride home on a late train. Hopefully we'll go this weekend if things come together.

By the way, blogger knows I am in Germany so when I spell check it searches for German words. As a result my entire post shows that is spelled incorrectly except for the occasional German word I include. So I am going without a spell-checker, forgive my mistakes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This little book

I am not sure if it was mine or my brother's but my parents have a copy of a book that now feels like my life. We've read it to the kids a lot when they've been at my parents' house. Tim and I laughed at dinner tonight when we realized we are a lot like the poor man in this book. The man's wife goes out of town and he has to go shopping and can't read the labels. He winds up with all the wrong things, such as soap flakes instead of instant potatoes and the like. He is motivated to learn to read. Its a good story and the kids love it. We are now living it. Tonight it was our ravioli. I bought mushroom ravioli without realizing it. It was fine, but it was comical. Mushrooms are a taste sensation when one expects cheese. Everyday is a culinary adventure here. Another trip to the store in the next day or so, depending on the weather.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baseball in Germany

We attended a semi-finals game for the Regensburg Legionaires. We had a great time. Very similar in many respects to a minor league game, although in some respects very different. Of course the announcer was speaking in German,but there were a few english words here and there. Strange and nice to be able to BYO food to a baseball game! Mike and Jan brought along peanuts and the kids devoured those. We brought crackers, fruit, and drinks as well. Tickets for our family were only 12 euros.

The Regensburg team came back in the bottom of the eighth with 4 runs to win the game so that was exciting. They now move on to the finals (the equivalent to the world series in our major leagues) and some of the games will be held here. I found it very interesting that following the usual celebration by the team on the pitcher's mound and the handshakes with the losing team the players then turned to the crowd and applauded. Here is a pic:

I don't recall seeing that at any major or minor league games (Uncle Billy you can correct me in the comments if I am wrong). It was nice and it made for a nice ending to a fun game. The weather was beautiful. The crowd was polite and it was a great day for baseball. Here we are at the game:

One side note, they charged a 2 euro deposit on every cup and bottle bought from the concession stand. That is one way to keep your stadium clean!!

Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich Zoo)

We had a great time. The Zoo is large and boasts a variety of animals for all to enjoy. Its a 90 year old facility and covers approx. 9 acres (big for a zoo in a large city). We did not get to see everything as we arrived by train at noon and had to catch the train back at 5 pm.

The train ride up went fairly smoothly. We had to move after sitting in 1st class by mistake and could not find seats together initially, we split up 4 and 2. However after a few stops Tim came and got me as seats had opened up in his compartment. I once again had trouble with motion sickness. Why this is happening I can't figure out, I've never had a problem. I was riding facing backwards, perhaps that is why. Who knows. I was always the one wanting to ride the rides that would make you sick and such in my younger years. I dare not try the "gravatron" now. Anyway I was very happy to arrive in Munich.

We took two subway trains to get to the zoo. The kids enjoyed the articulated train. The "surfed" all the way to our stop. Crazy Americans.

The zoo was somewhat different than what we know in America. The most shocking difference to us was that people fed the animals. Always apples, so perhaps that is what is permitted, but it was very surprising to all of us as its such a big no no in the states. Clearly the animals expect it. When a crowd gathers they come toward the viewing area and wait. We saw gibbons and a brown bear both chomp down some tasty treats. Matthew and Carter did participate in what we knew to be authorized feeding. They bought fish and fed the pelicans during feeding time. Carter said "It freaked me out!"

Snacks are different as well. No sno-cones here, instead its crepes:

The baby gorilla was the highlight as far as animals were concerned. Also they all enjoyed seeing a silverback hoard the peanuts from the zookeepers as well. Clearly they knew he likes them as they shook the bucket over his head at the end of feeding. However aside from the animals the favorite thing of the day was the spielplatz (playground). It really was one of the coolest playgrounds I have seen. We crossed over a long rope bridge and then entered into an area with a massive wooden play structure. The major feature was a massive slide and to access it the kids climb up a maze of large beams all going different directions. It was "super cool". I was so busy keeping up with Katey I didn't get any pics, but below is an image from the zoo's website. In the first image you see a large wooden structure in front of the children. The beams on the outside are too keep kids from falling out I assume. They climb up on the interior. For the adults there is a nearby biergarten. So, if one so desires, you could have a drink and watch the kids play. We stayed with the kids and played along, and no I didn't climb up that slide. They DID NOT want to leave, but we feared missing the train.

The ride home was much better. We arrived early to the station. Tim was on the platform when the train arrived, snagged us seats while Matthew, Laurel, and I grabbed food. McDonalds again(I know, that makes twice already :(!!). This time the person who took my order spoke better english and I was more prepared with my German. Everyone got nuggets or burgers as is, no special orders. We still took a long time to be served and frustrated the customers behind us. We are a large family, what can I say?

We wore our homeschool shirts (I wanted to be able to spot the kids in a crowd) but no one said anything. On the way home I saw a sign I could not resist. I am sure it means something different in German. We homeschool but we are not a:


We made the trip to Munich and had a great day. I'll post pictures and tell all about the zoo later tonight. Today has included a trip to the farmer's market this morning and we are headed out to a baseball game this afternoon. Apparently the Regensburg team is doing really well this year so we are off to see them play in the semi-finals. Its a beautiful warm weekend here (in the low 70s) so we are making the most of it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tim reunited with his passport!!

Tim was dedicated. He visited several lost and found offices here today in hopes of reconnecting with his passport. His diligence paid off. When he went into the office in the equivalent of the city hall the gentlemen there pulled it out of his desk and said it just came in yesterday afternoon. Someone found it and turned it in. Now we know for sure he was pickpocketed because it was found no where near where we were. However, we are VERY thankful to the person who turned it in so he could get it back. It was the one thing that was proving very difficult to replace. Now we get to go to Munich just for fun, avoid a costly passport replacement and likely stressful day. We are off on the train early in the morning with a goal of seeing the zoo. We are doing all the outside things we can while the weather is nice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finding fun for the kids

Today was errand day in order to get things together for Tim to get a new passport. We rode the bus as a family for the first time and realized a "by the ride" ticket method was too expensive for us. It cost us 4,80 euro to ride to campus one way. We think we will need to just buy day passes if we need another ride. We are hoping to walk the majority of the time and avoid paying for what we lost in the bus pass during September. When October arrives we'll buy another monthly pass and be ready to ride on cold days wherever we need to go. We ate lunch at university mensa (cafeteria). It was very reasonable. Everyone but Carter was able to get an entree, side item, roll and drink for around 3 euros each. Carter ate two rolls. Just as we predicted he is living on bread. Luckily I have been able to find things in the grocery for him so he is eating well when he is home in the apartment. We can buy peanut butter although it is somewhat expensive. I brought two large jars that will last for a while.

Yesterday Tim was able to find a couple of playgrounds near campus so once we finished up things at the university we went there. Here are a couple of pics:
Kids putting on a show on stage

Really cool climbing dome.

We found a good snack for the kids. The internetcafe in the hauptbahnhof (train station) has breze (pretzels) for ,25 euro each. Snack for 1,50 euros for all of us. It will likely become a regular stop. I was proud because I read the electronic sign and figured it out! I learned several new things to say today. Most importantly "Entschuldigung Sie" which means excuse me. At least I can be polite in my ignorance. Tim impressed us all when he conducted a conversation completely in German with the train ticket agent to arrange our trip to Munich on Friday. I still just start out with "Sprechen sie English?"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beautiful, Scary, and we love the Internet

We've been in Germany for four days. Before I say anything else I should say we are having a great time and it is BEAUTIFUL. See here:

Eating Gelato

Bridge over the Danube, Regensburg in the background

There's been good and bad and its definitely a culture shock, but we feel blessed to have been given the opportunity and are looking forward to all the adventures to come. There is yummy food, lots to do, and we are finding our way around well. So here goes, complete with ups and downs (forgive the detail included so I can remember it all later, sorry friends you're reading my journal)...

Plane flight:

The flight from Paducah was delayed. We landed in Chicago one hour before our flight was to leave. We had to get our bags (we had to check our carryons for the flight) and go up the stairs into the terminal from the tarmac (which the kids couldn't do with their bags, thankfully kind people helped us). Then we ran/walked to our gate for the flight to Munich. Luckily we did not have to clear security for a second time. We got to our gate, lined up to board and took turns going to the bathroom. We boarded as soon as the "potty stop" was done-it was close, but we made it. I was thankful Dr. Tara had given me medication for Laurel's motion sickness because for the first time in my life I was airsick. Not a good feeling when there are four children asking lots of questions. My response "I can't talk to you, I am trying not to be sick!" Thankfully the medication worked well and I was fine after taking it. I even ate a little of my dinner. The meal was good, the kids watched Karate Kid, and other than a leg ache for Katey they slept for several hours. (Why did I put the kids tylenol in the checked bag???)

We arrived in Munich and made the walk to collect our bags. We were blessed that there were carts that were easy to steer so the kids could help. We loaded up four carts with bags and the big kids helped and we made our way to the public area. We were greeted by a driver that had been contracted to drive us in a nice mini-bus/van to Regensburg. He was kind and helpful and thankfully spoke English! We arrived at our apartment about an hour later after a seeing a glimpse of the countryside via the autobahn and made the climb up the stairs with our luggage. John, Mike and Jan were nice to pitch in and help us with all the bags.

We were able to stay awake through the day. We ate lunch in a cafe nearby and dinner at McDonalds (thinking it would be easy, but no one spoke English). We got oriented to a few things around the city by John, Mike, and Jan and then crashed.

Saturday John brought us breakfast and we went to the farmers market and enjoyed walking around on a beautiful day. Late in the day we made our first trip to the grocery. It was very intimidating but after visiting three stores we found one with a good selection of food and German labels. I was overwhelmed and bought bread, cereal, milk, juice, fruit, and chips and wished I had learned more German. The kids were happy because we also found a store with toys and we bought them each a playmobil character. The internet withdrawl begins. If I could only use google translate!!!

Sunday the kids begged to stay home for the day so Tim joined the MSU group on a bike ride out in the country and the kids and I stayed at the apartment and they played and relaxed. It was a quiet day and that evening we went to the Dult festival after Tim got home. Picture a carnival in the southern US with new rides, throw in some large beirgartens, and put it all on a paved surface and you have the Dult festival. The rides were 6 euros each for the kids, so we decided to buy them candy and a doughnut like pastry instead. It was supposed to be the first of a couple of visits, but we saw all we needed that night. It was fun, but like the carnival, once you've walked through it, you really don't need to go back. End of day two, hoping and praying we have internet tomorrow night I need to place an amazon order.

Monday. At this point all the adrenaline has worn off. Kids woke up grouchy and Laurel cried to go home in the wee hours of the morning. No one has slept through the night yet. We all head out to get my cell phone working and for Tim to go into work. We find out that the bus pass he purchased will allow the kids to ride for free with him or me. After 7 pm and on weekends we can all ride on the pass without additional tickets. The ticket cost 37 euros for a month and seems like a great deal if we put it to use. Tim heads off to the university and I head back to the apartment to move furniture around and continue getting settled. We make plans to meet later for groceries. Then the tide turns. Tim gets to the university and his phone was not working. Things are hectic there with various business to be accomplished for the beginning of the semester. Tim turns in our computers and has to leave them to be registered- no internet today. Meanwhile at home the kids are fighting like crazy. We need to leave the apartment to get some air, but I can't reach Tim and am afraid to leave without letting him know where I am. When he calls I am frustrated and crying and he has had a rough day as well. We make plans to meet to get some food. Its dinnertime and we literally have nothing to eat. We meet at the grocery in the mall next to the train station. We buy the kids a snack and I head into the store to begin shopping still feeling somewhat emotionally fragile after a long day. I have a list and I have at least been there once before so I do fairly well until those last few items. Baking soda, baking powder, and cream of chicken soup. Tim has the dictionary and is outside the store, I am inside. I ask for help three times and no one speaks English. Now I am the crazy American walking through the grocery crying looking for someone who can tell me which "creamsuppe" is chicken (which, by the way, I still don't know!). About this time Tim calls to check on me and discovers I've been making calls for 30 minutes to his not working phone. He joins me in the store and finds the baking powder for me, we're one step closer to pancakes for breakfast. He is much better with German than I am, and better at finding someone who speaks English! We go to pay. I've given up on the soup and baking soda I just want to go home and feed my kids. At this moment Tim discovers his wallet is gone. Suddenly a bad day has become a REALLY bad day. His passport, roughly $450, credit card, debit card, bus pass (the same one we were looking forward to using), and flash drive are gone. We leave the groceries since I only have 20 euros in my bag and head to the mall office to see if anything has been turned in. On the way Tim remembers a man sitting a little too close to him on the bench in the mall. Yes, we now know why. We make our way to the police station and we call John and he heads out to meet us and help us file a report. We are grateful he is there to help with the translation. On the way Carter manages to swallow a 1 cent coin. Smaller than the US penny, but he is terrified. My need to deal with the current crisis makes me less than sympathetic. Hopefully it will all "work out" I tell him, we will just have to wait and see. We cancel our cards, are blessed that they will send new ones to us here, and John gives me enough groceries to feed my kids dinner. We sit exhausted in the apartment, knowing it can all be recovered or replaced, but thankful that the day is over and we can start off again tomorrow.

Tuesday...Tim goes to the university to teach class and the kids and I do school. After we finish we head back to the grocery to buy all we had to leave behind last night. I did think enough ahead to make a list grouped by where I found things. We get through the store quickly and feel blessed to once again have some food to feed my brood. The kids and I walk back with our massive load of food - yes the locals thought we were crazy for buying so much, but we had NOTHING. Most here shop small and often. For me this was just a few days and the basics, but it looked like a month's worth to them. Tim calls from the university and is working on the computers and folks there are being very helpful. Hope for connection to the internet abounds!! He calls at dinnertime happy to have things accomplished but frustrated because he used the last of the money he had to get on a bus and it was going in the wrong direction. He has to ride it all the way around and has no idea when he'll be home. It took a while, but he makes it home, computers in tow and is greeted by a grateful family with food! We celebrated a better day with gelato (ice cream).

So I'm caught up. It is really hard and different to try to do the most simple things in a country where you don't speak the language. My empathy for the international students in Murray abounds. Walking everywhere is really a challenge for the kids. The grocery is a long walk and its a real haul when you are loaded with stuff in your backpack. They are being troopers, but its their most common complaint. We may have to buy another bus pass at some point, especially once it gets cold. However, the beauty of the city, the ability to learn new things, and knowing it will get easier keep me encouraged. Now I have access to the internet so I feel like I can get the information I need and I can work on my German!!!! I feel more in control. An illusion I know, but it calms my nerves.

More tales of adventure to come...we head to Munich later this week to file the paperwork to replace Tim's passport. Its Oktoberfest so there will be lots to see and lots of people, lets hope some of it will be kid friendly.

Off to Germany

Here we are with all our luggage outside the airport in Paducah. Believe it or not it all made it despite a late flight and a 45 minute connection in Chicago.
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