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. 


Anonymous said...

No mommy angst dear friend. I would have let them play too! Survival is vital :) Tina

hannah said...

I know you felt some angst, and I probably would have too, but it makes for a funny story! They will probably remember it and tell it when they're adults. I know it made me smile!

Anonymous said...

No harm, no foul....therapy is cheaper than college! :) -Sharon

Anonymous said...

Don't worry too much. Nudity is obviously less of deal in the culture you are experiencing, and it will only bother your kids if you signal to them that it should bother them. In my experience, nude beaches are not sex beaches...when a lot of people are naked it is just naked, and the sexual is removed--especially considering the appearance of many of the naked people! :)

Chalk it up as a good world-expanding experience for everyone and try not to worry. Like they say, we are all naked under our clothes anyway!