Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year Frau Welle Found Social Networks

Tomorrow is the New Years Eve, so guess this could be a good time to look a bit backwards and what has happened during the year 2011. Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that this all took place this year and not ten years earlier, as it should have with any normal person...

In February 2011: Frau Welle joined Facebook.
Before, I was such an anti-Facebook type of person. I had sworn that I would never join. But never say never...
Being a Hausfrau and an expat made me realize that I need every possible communication channel in order to keep in contact with also other people than my closest friends and family. So I ate my words and joined Facebook.

During my almost-a-year in Facebook, I have had the ups and the downs. First, I became addicted to it. Then a bit bored. Then I was mad, because the privacy settings were changed without me knowing. Now my relationship with Facebook is more neutral. It is nice to follow what people are up to, but I haven't had the energy to connect with all possible people I know and thus have only a handful of Facebook friends to follow.

In November 2011: Frau Welle started blogging.
I guess you have noticed that...

For almost two months now, I have been writing about my life as an expat and a Hausfrau. It has been great to connect with other expat bloggers and noticing that some of my posts can actually be of help to someone!

Hausfrau's new favorite hobby!

In December 2011: Frau Welle joined Twitter.
I realized, that many of my fellow bloggers are very active also in Twitter, so I had to join as well. I haven't yet tweeted (is that the word you use?) at all, but I'm starting to get the hold of things.

Let see what year 2012 brings along!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas In a Nutshell

Christmas can usually be summarized in only one word: Food! This year wasn't an exception...

The first round...

What made this Christmas different to the earlier years, was our daughter. Although she couldn't yet undertand everything, she certainly enjoyed being surrounded by relatives and opening her presents!

There is also something else we will remember this Christmas by: the Boxing Day storm!

In the early hours of Monday, strong winds hit Southern Finland. At my grand-parents house, electricity was gone for six hours. But some, like my uncle's family, might need to wait until next year to get their electricity back...

Big branches came down from the pines outside my grand-parents house.

These trees fell down just on the other side of the road.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finally Here!

First snow,

and then our luggage!

Now we are ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It Did Not Exactly Go As Planned...

We have been waiting for snow in Wiesbaden, so that we would get into the Christmas spirit. And on Tuesday morning we finally got what we wished for: snow!

Just my luck: long, dark December until the morning we are about to hurry to the airport.

I'm the kind of person that likes to be everywhere early, because I hate the feeling when you hurry somewhere or if you go in slightly late (well, I must admit that after my daughter was born, I'm rarely on time anywhere). Herr Welle, on the other hand, is the type of person, who does not like to wait. Thus, he usually has a very tight schedule and then he ends up running a bit late. After 11 years and 8 months I am finally starting to accept this difference between us...

Needless to say, it was Herr Welle who had booked the taxi to the airport. It was supposed to come and pick us up one hour and 40 minutes before our flight was departing. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt airport, if the weather is fine and there is no traffic. So the schedule was a bit tight.

But I checked from the Frankfurt airport webpage that the Finnair flight from Helsinki to Frankfurt was one hour late, so our flight would probably be late, as well. So no reason to panic.

Well, no reason to panic until the taxi didn't show up.

Waiting for the taxi

There was a lot of snow and traffic seems to go crazy in Germany when the first flakes of snow come down. Thus, we were not surprised that the taxi was a bit late.

About 20 minutes after the taxi was supposed to be there, Herr Welle called the taxi company. They promised to send another taxi in ten minutes.

Eventually 40 minutes later than our originally tight schedule, we were on our way to the airport. Fortunately, the traffic wasn't as bad as we though.

We arrived at the airport 45 minutes before the flight was scheduled to depart, but we were sure that it would be delayed because of the snow. At the check-in counter, the clerk gave us a rebuke for arriving so late. But then she delayed us even more, when she fussed over the amount of our luggage, although they where according to Finnair's regulations.

After the security control, we found the right boarding gate and to our surprise, they were already finishing the boarding. But phew!, we had made it to the plane!

The flight was ready to leave, but we had to wait for the deicing cart to come and clean the wings before we got to take off. That took two hours! Fortunately, my daughter was happy to walk back and forth the corridor of the plane and to meet new people (I'm not so sure, if they all where as happy to meet her...). After all that excercise, she fell asleep just after the plane took off and slept all the way to Finland.

Well, this would have been enough of excitement, but there was more: our luggage did not arrive to Helsinki with us! Travelling lightly, as they say...

Our current luggage and some of the 'necessities' we have with us

There was nothing else for us to do but leave Finnair with our contact information and continue our journey. The rest of the evening went as follows:
  • taxi drive to the railway station,
  • almost two hours playing in the play wagon of the train,

  • dinner and evening porridge at Herr Welles parents,
  • at 10 pm. call to Finnair's service number (24h open) to find out if the luggages came with the evening flight, just to learn that the service number was closed at 9pm., and
  • two hour ride with car to my mother's house
Finally there!

And luckily we were staying at my mother's home and not in a hotel, so there were clean clothes and other necessities available.

This morning we made a call again to the not-always-open-even-though-it-should-be service number and heard that the luggage was STILL in Frankfurt. But at least they had located them! Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that they will arrive to Helsinki with the day flight and we'll get them tonight.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Packed Puppies Cause Problems

For all of you, who plan to fly during the holidays, here is a great list of things you should take into account:

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things I Would Not Have Found In My Handbag

As I will be traveling tomorrow, I decided to go through my handbag so that I wouldn't carry anything I don't need. Mostly I found some cookie crumbs from the bottom of the bag, but I also noticed that there were a lot of things that hadn't been there before.

So, here are the things I would not have found in my handbag a year and a half earlier:

  • a diaper and some wet wipes,
  • a Hello Kitty box/mirror,
  • small mittens,
  • a Winnie the Pooh Duplo,
  • a pacifier and a box for pacifiers,
  • a bag with rice cakes (yuck!) and cookies,
  • a parrot, and
  • a passport, let alone TWO passports.

Funny, how things change!

To Fly or Not to Fly?

I wrote earlier about our attempts to get our baby to fly to her own christening one year ago (see the post 'Fly, Baby, Fly'). Arranging the birth certificate, Finnish citizenship and passport really took some effort and quite a lot of paper work!

To our relief, the passport was granted fast. The Finnish consulate in Luxembourg received the passport on Monday, and we were going to fly to Finland on the following Friday. As Herr Welle was traveling (again...) and I didn't want to make another road trip with our baby, we asked to send us the passport. First, we asked if they could send it via courier, but for some reason that wasn't an option. The consulate promised to send it as a signed letter. Although a bit worried, we though it would be delivered in time. Even though the consulate is located in another country, Luxembourg is only 200 km from Wiesbaden. So how long could it take?

I had calculated that the passport should arrive on Wednesday. When it didn't, I asked about the number of the signed letter from the consulate. According to the tracking information, the letter had been processed at Frankfurt post hub earlier that day. Yes, the passport was so close!

To our horror, the snowstorm of the century hit Frankfurt just during that week. I tried not to worry when I saw some news about how post started to pile in the post offices due to the snow. Surely they would favor signed letters over Christmas cards?

Thursday passed. No postman. I even stood by the door phone while I was boiling water, so that I wouldn't miss the ring. But there was no one at the door.

The main character of all the fuss had no idea what was happening...
I found the number for customer service of Deutsche Post from internet and started to call around. As the letter was sent from Luxembourg Post, the tracking was not as easy as with letter send within Germany. But finally I had someone on the phone telling me that it was STILL in the Frankfurt post hub. It hadn't moved an inch closer Wiesbaden since the day before! But they assured me that it would be delivered the following day. Phew!

So it was Friday. Our flight was planned to depart in the evening, so we would still have time to get the passport with the afternoon post. Our post is usually delivered around noon. Around 1 pm. I finally started to panic. I called again to Deutsche Post and spoke with a lady, who had probably talked with thousands of unsatisfied customers during that week due to the delays caused by the snowstorms. So I don't blame her sounding bored, but I was desperate! She assured me, that there were no way we could get the letter. That there were millions of letters there in the post hub, so even if the hub was located by the airport, we couldn't just stop by and get the letter.

Fortunately, Herr Welle is able to think more rationally in these situations. He made a call to the consulate and things started to look brighter. The officer at the consulate called the airline, which we were about to use, and explained our situation. She even provided us with a scan of a very official looking document, in which all the information of our baby's passport were stated.

Thankfully, we were flying with Finnair (Finnish airline), both Herr Welle and me are Finnish citizens, we were flying to Finland and as a whole family. I appreciate the fact that the regulations of flying with children are so strict, but I'm happy that the crew at the airline recognized that the chances that we were kidnaping the baby were very low, and they accepted our baby to the aircraft without her passport!

But the excitement didn't end there. As it was still snowing a lot, many flights, for example all Lufthansa flights, were cancelled. Fortunately, our flight was only delayed for an hour. And we even got an empty seat booked between Herr Welle and me, so we were able to place our baby there in her car seat.

Thanks to the nice lady at the Luxembourg consulate and the flexibility of Finnair, we were able to have our baby christened in Finland on the following Sunday as planned!

If you are wondering, how we got back to Germany, we did not need to have such a fuss over it. Herr Welle wrote a proxy to his colleague, who picked the letter up from our local post office and brought it with him to their mutual meeting in Finland.

Flying back home

Tomorrow we will be flying to Finland for the holidays, so it might be a bit more quiet here in my blog. I hope there will be no snowstorm tonight, and our journey to Finland will be less exciting this year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Attractions in Wiesbaden No. 5 - Nerotal

When talking about parks in Wiesbaden, the Kurpark is most likely to be mentioned. Yes, it is beautiful, but it is usually quite crowded, too.

You may not be looking for a quiet spot for sunbathing right now, but in case you would like to see something new on your Sunday walk, I suggest you visit Nerotal.

Nerotal is a park area in southwest Wiesbaden, just below Neroberg. It is surrounded with beautiful buildings and you can also find some art there.

The playground of Nerotal is great also for the smallest children (please see my Playground Review).

From the far end of the park, you can take the Nerobergbahn up to the Neroberg. Unfortunately, it is not in use on wintertime.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best Part of Blogging

The combination of being a Hausfrau and an Expat is not the best possible, if you are trying to create a new social network. Even though I have made some good friends here, it is always nice to meet new people.

So, the best part of blogging... getting to meet other bloggers!

There are quite many expat bloggers in Germany and even here in Wiesbaden. Last week I was lucky to meet one of them, Frau Dietz. What a great person! I can warmly recommend her blog, especially her post about the beer calendar. Wonderful idea! :D

Frau Dietz invited me to the Christmas Market Meetup with other bloggers from this area. The meetup was yesterday and I was sure to participate, even though the weather wasn't the best for drinking Glühwein outside...

The meeting got a bit smaller than planned, but besides us two Fraus, also German Gems and Shoegirl were there. How nice to meet these new people! Even though I have been blogging only for a month and a half, they really made me feel welcome.

Unfortunately, Herr Welle was traveling on business (what a surprise...), so I had to take my daughter with me to the meetup. It was getting close to her bedtime, so she was a bit restless. And as she is now able to walk (now steady enough in outdoor clothing, too), it is not possible to keep her sitting in her push-chair, if it is not moving.

Luckily, German Gems brought also her husband along. He instantly connected with my daughter. And while I was enjoying the Glühwein with the other bloggers, these two walked around the Christmas market. The little girl hurrying around with a big grin on her face, the tall man following with a stoop while holding the girl from her hood. Back a forth, back and forth. What a great sight!

When we got home, my daughter was so hungry because of the exercise that she ate more evening porridge than she ever has! After her bath she was very tired, but was not able to fall asleep, probably because of all the excitement (and all that porridge). But then she slept like a baby until morning!

I'm starting to think that blogging is the Hausfrau's New Favorite Hobby!

Odd Geman Way No. 5 - Purple Fingers

A Finnish friend of mine visits the Netherlands quite often on business with her Finnish colleagues. Last winter, one of her Dutch colleagues had asked her, why Finns have this funny way of using gloves or mittens in winter.


I have noticed, that people do not tend to use gloves here in Germany, either. Yes, it might not be -20°C, but Finns do put their gloves on when it gets below +10°C...

What I am even more surprised of, or even worried about, is that small children do not wear mittens here! Germans might dress their children in down jacket and use footmuff made of real sheepskin when the temperature is still above zero. But the hands of the children remain uncovered.

The odd German ways...

Mittens on!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Accessories Race

I have found myself in arms race with another mum here in Wiesbaden. This race is quite one-sided, as The Other Mum does not know about it. To tell you the truth, I think she hasn't even noticed me...

This all began about a year ago. In several occasions, when I was walking with my baby in the pram to the city, I saw The Other Mum sharing the same route and pushing a pram. She also had a Bugaboo Cameleon, although her pram was off-white, where as mine was dark brown.

Besides the Bugaboo and similar route to the city, we had nothing else in common. The biggest difference was in our appearances. We both had often jeans and a jacket on, and our hair in ponytail. But where my look was created in less than 5 minutes, The Other Mum always looked like a personal shopper had chosen her outfit and she had spent about two hours at hairdresser.

And The Other Mum had a cup-holder in her Bugaboo.

And The Other Mum had a Longchamp diaper bag (Le pliage Hobo bag, in off-white to match the pram).

The Other Mum looked always so fresh and stylish, so I wanted to steal some of her look. First, I bought the cup-holder. It was cheapest at, for 19€. Quite much for a cup-holder, but I reasoned that there would be a lot of use for it in summer with water bottle (there has!) and I saved with the delivery costs, when I ordered the footmuff at the same time.

You can also use the cup-holder for jumbo-size take-away drinks!

I guess I had talked about this quite a lot at home, because on Mothers Day, I got the Longchamp diaper bag from Herr Welle! But to reduce my happiness, he told me he had seen The Other Mum in the Kurhaus parking garage, and she had had a Porsche Cayenne as her shopping bag! And according to Herr Welle, I was not going to get similar for my birthday...

Both the cup-holder and the Longchamp bag came handy last summer in Italy.

I was quite happy for the situation and my paths did not cross that often with The Other Mum anymore.

But this week I saw her again.

And The Other Mum had a new Luis Vuitton bag!

I hope it is not too late to write to Santa Claus...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Deutsch Lernen

My German teacher brought me yesterday a German 'dictionary'. I thought this was a great book to introduce, especially to all mothers out there, who are learning German.

The book is a Hueber Bildwörterbuch. In this book you can find 1000 most important German words described as pictures. It is a great book to read with your child. While she or he is looking at the nice pictures, you can 'accidentally' learn new words!

When I was browsing through this book, I noticed I knew most of the words. So, this must mean that I know almost 1000 words in German!

But I have a great problem with the articles. It is not enough to know 1000 words, but to use the language properly, you must know if a noun is 'der', 'die' or 'das'. In most of the children's picture books, the article of the word is not shown. In this book, however, the articles as well as the plural form and the tenses of verbs are shown.

You can buy this book for example from Hugendubel for 14.95€.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mini Shopaholic

Now it has begun: my daughter visits my purse.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not a Good Idea

... to enjoy the company of your guests with some Glühwein on Christmas Market...

...AND shortly after try out take-away jumbo drinks...

... especially when your daughter is teething and wakes you up for a couple of hours just after you have fallen asleep (no photos available)...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fly, Baby, Fly!

How to get your baby to fly? You need to get her a passport. And to get her a passport, you need to get her a citizenship.

It was exactly one year ago, when we had a bit of drama with our daughter's passport.  So, I though I would tell you about all the snags there are in getting a citizenship and passport to you baby, when she is born abroad.

1. Do not give birth without the birth certificate
We didn't know that, when you give birth to a child, you must also prove that you have born yourself. So, when our daughter was born in Wiesbaden, it wasn't enough that I had my passport with me to prove my identity, but I was supposed to have my birth certificate with me as well. And Herr Welle's (baby's father's). And our marriage certificate.

The lady handling all the paper work in the hospital was certainly not happy with us. First of all, I didn't have German insurance card (not my fault, but more about that in a later post). And then we didn't have any of these certificates with us. On the day we were leaving the hospital, Herr Welle spent quite a while on the phone trying to get these papers. There were two snags: none of the Finnish registry offices thought it was their job to help us, as we lived abroad and didn't 'belong' to any of them. And we wanted the papers in English (well, German would have been the first choice, but much too difficult).

We finally convinced the lady that the papers were on their way and she let us leave. But this meant that after the certificates arrived, we had to make an extra visit to the office where babies are registered. But finally we had a certificate to prove our baby was born (well, plural 'certificates' would be more appropriate, because you get several documents for different purposes).

On our way home from the hospital

2. Be ready to travel because of a stamp
One could think that as both Germany and Finland belong to European Union, things would be relatively easy to sort between these two countries. But we couldn't just send the German birth certificate to Finland. We needed a certain stamp, called Apostille stamp, to the baby's birth certificate, so that Finnish officers would believe the document was real and original.

OK, we would get the stamp. But even if the listing we found on internet said otherwise, the closest stamp was in Darmstadt. This meant that Herr Welle had to make a nice road trip (about 100km, 60 miles) to the city to get the stamp. Finally, the stamped document was sent to Finland.

 3. Wait for the officers to choose who should look at the papers
Normally, there wouldn't be any rush in getting the Finnish citizenship and the social security number when you live in Germany, but you need that information before you can apply for a passport. And you need a passport quite urgently, if you have planned the christening of your baby to be held in Finland before she is two months old. Fortunately, they promised to call us from the registry office as soon as our baby was officially Finnish, so that we wouldn't have to wait for the notification to arrive by post.

4. Try to get your baby to keep a strate face
While you wait for all this paper work to go forward, you can get a bit of extra excitement by taking your baby for passport photo.

The rules for passport photo are quite strict:

  • your eyes must be open, 
  • your mouth must be shut,
  • your expression should be neutral,
  • you should look straight to the camera so that both of your ears are shown, and 
  • the background should be smooth and neutral.

This is difficult even for an adult, so try to get a passport photo of a three-weeks-old baby... Fortunately, the officials are not so strict when it is a baby's photo. In her passport photo, our daughter has eyes open and both of her ears are showing. But also her mouth is open, her expression is surprised, and there are a lot of shadows in the cloth on the background... I later thought that it would had been easier to lay the baby on her back and take the photo from above.

5. Be ready to travel with the baby because of the passport
When you apply for a passport, the person who it is for must be present, even if she is a newborn baby. So, I couldn't send Herr Welle for another road trip, but the baby had to present in the consulate.

There is a Finnish consulate quite close here, in Frankfurt. But it is a honorary consulate, so they do not handle any of the important stuff, like passports. The real consulate is in Hamburg, but the distance there is more than 500km (310 miles). So, the closest one is actually in Luxembourg, only about 200km (130 miles) from Wiesbaden. Great that you can pass the border without a passport!

As we were in a hurry, we needed to get to the consulate as soon as our daughter's information was registered in the Finnish system. Conveniently, Herr Welle spent that week in Korea, so I packed my six-week-old daughter to the car and we drove there just the two of us.

This trip we made exactly one year ago. Now the memories are smoothened a bit, but on that day I swore I would never laugh at this.

There were quite a lot of roadworks going on, so the drive took us about four hours. And as the consulate is only open for a couple of hours before noon, we really needed to get there in time (I wasn't willing to drive there again the next day). Fortunately, the baby was so young that she slept the whole drive there. I found the right place quite easily, but the parking lot, where I had planned to park my car in, was full and I didn't have time to wait to get in. After a small search I found a place to park at the railway station. I unfolded the buggy (that took some time, as I hadn't yet had much practice) and ran to the office.

I took the elevator up to the third floor, but the door didn't open and I couldn't get out on the right floor. So, I went back down, took only the basket and the baby with me and ran upstairs. It was five minutes before the closing time when I stormed in. The paper work was quickly done, but I was a bit disappointed, that the officer didn't even take a look at the baby to check that the photo matched. Fortunately, the officer promised that we wouldn't need to drive back to Luxembourg to get the passport when it had arrived, but they would send it to us.

Before driving back home, I needed to feed the baby and change her diaper. Looking back, I don't know why I didn't breast feed her in the car, even thought there were people passing by. But I took her to the toilets at the railway station. There were a lot of stairs but no elevator. Just as I was mid-way down the stairs, my phone rang and it was Herr Welle calling. I just angrily replied "I'm in no mood for talking" and hang up.

Luxembourg Railway Station

As I was in the toilet feeding the baby, I heard noises outside. It turned out, that someone was being resuscitated inside the men's toilet. When we left the toilet, there were a lot of paramedics and police officers there in the toilet area, but none of them helped me and the buggy upstairs.

As I was walking back to the car, I checked my phone and noticed a SMS. Herr Welle wrote that they had phoned him from the consulate, because I had left my own passport there. I could go and get it (they would let me in even though they weren't officially open) or they could send it to us with our daughter's passport. I decided to pick it up, as I use it as an ID in Germany.

After our second visit to the consulate, I took this picture,
even though I didn't know I would use it one year later in my blog!

After another visit to the consulate and up to the third floor, I quickly ate something at McDonald's and then we drove back home. When we got home, we were both so tired that we fell asleep at 8, even though my daughter had a habit of crying her colic until midnight. As a result of this trip, I got myself a breast infection. And we still had other thrilling moments to come when waiting for the passport to arrive.

But I guess this is enough for one post. I'll tell you about this thrill in a later post. Stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

My daughter has find her a new favorite way to pass time. She takes my finger and walks me through our long hall back to our study. There she pulls me down and indicates she wants to tumble with me. I guess she got this idea, while her grandma was visiting us. The guest bed is not there anymore, but we do the tumbling on the carpet.

After she is finished with this, she goes to the door on all fours and looks over her shoulder. She has this 'are you ready for a challenge' expression on her face. Then we race back to the living room crawling, both of us.

This can be done SEVERAL times a day.

Let me add that the hall is quite long and there are stone tiles on the floor.

The result? Well, the competition is usually quite tight, but more visible result can be found in my knees...

Being a Hausfrau can be quite painful ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Odd German Way No. 4 - the Early Arrival of the Weihnachtsmann

I have found out, how Santa Claus has the time to visit children all over the world on Christmas! I had thought it has something to do with the time zones, but there is another thing helping him: he visits German children already on December 6th!

The previous night, Dec 5th, German children clean their shoes (usually boots) and place them outside the door. During the night, Weihnachtsmann (German name for Santa Claus) brings small gifts, like sweets, apples, nuts and coins, to the shoes. 

Well, this is what my German teacher told me. I guess Santa Claus visits only part of Germany, as for some children it is Nikolaus (dressed like Santa Claus but a different person), who visits on December 6th.

So, is this all the German kids get during Christmas time, some sweets and nuts? No, they will have another visitor as well: Chirstkind!  I thought Christ-child would be a boy, but my German teacher told me I should call the child 'she' (in German das Christkind is neuter). On December 24th, she brings German children their gifts. In many families, she also decorates the Christmas tree while the children are not home.

But you cannot fool these Christmas characters. They must know that we are going to spend Christmas in Finland and Santa Claus will visit us then, so he didn't bring us any treats last night. Or maybe our shoes were not polished enough...

Finnish Independence Day

The Finnish pennant outside the Finnish congregation in Frankfurt

Monday, December 5, 2011

Odd German Way No. 3 - The Nanny Has a Dull Voice

I have finally given up. I will never, NEVER, learn to tolerate the dubbing of TV programs.

First I thought it was just because I didn't understand the language. Now I am starting to understand REAL German programs, but I still cannot follow the American TV series, in which Desperate Housewives or CSI agents speak German. And as it cannot be the language, it must be the fact that I am only concentrating in being annoyed.

As you might guess, in Finland the TV programs are not dubbed. Historically, it has been because it is so much cheaper to use subtitles. But no matter what the reason, I think it has been a good decision.

First of all, it would just sound stupid. As Finland is quite small country, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Brad Pitt would probably all have the same voice. And it sounded weird even to hear the Donkey in Shrek to speak Finnish after hearing him with Eddie Murphy's voice.

Secondly, what could be better way to learn a language than to hear it daily on TV (well, being Expat of course, but I guess that is not always an option). Even older generations learn English by watching the Bold and the Beautiful. You can learn some very useful phrases, which are repeated there in regular basis, like "I love you, will you marry me for third time?" or "I'm going to have a baby with my daughters boyfriend".

But back to the situation with the Odd German Way. About a year ago I got really frustrated with this. So, we bought the Unitymedia TV packet, in which you get also some English TV channels. But quite soon the old episodes of Two and Half Men started to repeat themselves on TNT Serie and, unlike my husband, I'm not so interested in current economic situation, that I would like use my evenings watching CNBC.

And then about a month ago there came the last straw: they started dubbing E! Entertainment. Now my friends Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendra and Holly all speak German. Why, WHY?!?!

So, we decided we would invest in Finnish TV programs. Well, they wouldn't need to be Finnish programs (most of those you can see free online), but this was the only way we knew how to get see fresh TV series, which are not dubbed in German. Yesterday we purchased a two week trial period of Finnish service called 'TV Kaista'. In this service, you get a digibox reserved for you in Finland. On this box, all TV programs from all 12 free Finnish TV channels are recorded. The TV programs are saved for four weeks and you can watch them from internet with your own user name and password.

So, now all Finnish TV channels are available for me to watch on my MacBook or on our television via PS3 (finally some use for the PlayStation!). The only minus point here is that you cannot watch them live, but only after the show is over. It is not a problem with TV series, but my husband was a bit disappointed when he realized he wouldn't be able to watch the ice hockey World Cup matches live with Finnish commentary.

And just my luck: yesterday the two week trial period cost 10€, today you get it for free...

P.S. If you were left wondering about the title of this post, I'm referring to the American TV show The Nanny, which is mainly based on the fact that the lead character has a nasal voice and a funny laugh. But in the German version her voice is plain and normal...

The Christmas Spirit of Rüdesheim

Now that our daughter finally has the new car seat (she has grown out of the old one a while ago...) we decided to go for a test drive. We ended up at the Christmas Market in Rüdesheim. Rüdesheim am Rhein is a small city about 30km southwest from Wiesbaden. And like the name indicates, it is located right by the Rhein.

We had heard some nice comments about the city and as they have a Christmas Market of their own, this seemed like a great time to visit. And we weren't dissappointed. The city has really put an effort in the market, like you can see on the web site of the market (also in English).

What made this Christmas Market special and different from the markets in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, was that it was located on narrow streets in stead of a market place or a square. We need to get back to Rüdesheim on summertime to see how the city looks like in without all the Christmas Market decorations.

Although it was already dark outside, the Christmas lights lit up the market area nicely

The Rabbit Town

The Sunday dinner for two

Little Finland in Rüdesheim

The narrow streets enhance the atmosphere

In Frankfurt I was not able to get close enough to the carousel to take a picture,
here I could not get far enough!