Friday, December 6, 2013

Believing in Nikolaus

Today Finland is celebrating Independence Day, but here in Germany the day is all about Nikolaus.

I wrote about Nikolaus two years ago in my blog post Odd German Way No. 4, but I have now learned something new. Even though Nikolaus looks like Santa Claus, he is not the 'Weichnachtsmann' after all. You can check the details *here*

I had thought about doing this Nikolaus tradition with Fräulein, as I knew they would be talking about him in the kindergarten. But we were very busy yesterday evening so the girls were already in bed when I remembered that we were supposed to clean our shoes!

At that point, I thought that we could skip the tradition this year. But in the morning I changed my mind and sneaked out to the staircase to fill Fräulein's boots with little gifts (our boots are usually so muddy that we store them outside the apartment).

But to my surprise, Nikolaus had already been there! And he had not cared that we had skipped cleaning our shoes!

Suomessa juhlitaan itsenäisyyspäivää, mutta täällä Saksassa nautitaan Nikolauksen tuomista lahjoista. Aloin itsekin uskoa kyseiseen ukkoon, sillä myös minun likaisista saappaistani löytyi aamulla herkkuja!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Long-Awaited Guests: The Visit

We were lucky to have some long-awaited guests last week. I wrote before about our plans and thought I'll share with you some of the things we ended up doing.

When you see good friends after a long time, you don't want to fill their visit with millions things to do. But even though we spent a lot of time just enjoying each others company, there was still many things on our agenda.

1. shopping, shopping, shopping - you can find some lovely picture from my friend's blog *here* and *here*
+20°C and sunshine - not bad for late October!

2. sightseeing with Thermine

3. feeding animals in Fasanerie

and my favorite part:
4. drinks and dinner 'ohne Kinder' - see a picture *here*

It was sad, when we had to wave them goodbye, but we have plenty of guests arriving from Finland during the following weeks, so they will keep us busy!

Kauanodotetut vieraamme ovat jo palanneet kotiinsa, mutta tässä vielä pieni tiivistelmä, mitä kaikkea teimme heidän reissunsa aikana:
1. paljon shoppailua - piipahda kurkistamassa kuvia ystäväni blogista *täältä*
2. nähtävyyksien katselua kaupunkijunasta käsin
3. eläinten ruokkimista Fasanerie-eläinpuistossa
4. äitien vapaailta sushin ja drinkkien parissa!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Windy Day

It has been storming around Europe and it is very windy here in Wiesbaden, too. 

I took Baby out to the balcony for her morning nap, and all of the sudden it was very windy. The wind became dangerously strong in just a couple of minutes. I had to take Baby back inside and decided to record the view from our balcony.

But as Blogger hasn't been very cooperative today, I had to upload the video to my Facebook page. You can find it *here*.

And while you are there, you can click the 'like' button on the Frau Welle site as well ;)

Tuulista. Voit käydä kurkkaamassa parvekemaisemaamme *täältä*

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Long-Awaited Guests: Planning Their Visit

This week, we will get some long-awaited guests: my good friend and her family.

This friend of mine was my bridesmaid at our wedding and she and her husband are the godparents of Fräulein. After three years of us living in Germany, they are finally coming over to visit us!

For many people Wiesbaden is quite unfamiliar, but everybody knows Frankfurt. So, it is not a surprise that they are very interested in visiting Frankfurt.

However, I see Frankfurt as a city of business and finance, with a lot of offices. Naturally, we will take them for a visit, but I have also listed things that they could find interesting around Wiesbaden.

The Nerobergbahn  - a funicular railway that goes all the way to Neroberg. You can see a picture of the Bahn in all the postcards of Wiesbaden, so it is a bit of a landmark. Even though it is very close to our home, we have never ridden with it. Having guests could be a good excuse to visit it and I think the children would like it.
The Nerobergbahn railway, but no carriage at sight

Thermine: the little city train - a good way to see all the local sights could be to take the city train. And this could also be nice for the children.

Schloss Johannisberg - You cannot travel to Rheingau area without visiting a vinery! You can drive to Schloss Johannisberg following the Rhein and eat lunch (and drink wine) at their Restaurant enjoying the lovely view.
The view from Schloss Johannisberg
Fasanerie - There is a great zoo in Frankfurt, but with the limited time we have, I would recommend the local park with less exotic animals. But you are allowed to feed the animals there!
In Fasanerie, the sell food, which you are allowed to feed to the animals
Main-Taunus Zentrum - for shopping. Do I need to say more? ;)

Lalaland Café - Fräulein's 3rd birthday is this week, and I thought we could celebrate it with our guests is this lovely, child-friendly crêpes cafe.

Okinii - The guys will probably go to see some football (can a man visit Germany without seeing a football match?), so me and my friend also deserve a night out. And I have been craving for some tasty sushi since I was pregnant with Baby...

A lot of things to do for the few days there are here... Let's see what they think and I'll report our experiences!

Saamme vihdoin hyvän ystäväni perheineen meille kylään. Jee! Piipahdamme varmasti Frankfurtissa, mutta listasin myös asioita, joita voisimme tehdä Wiesbadenissa ja täällä lähistöllä. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Home Hunting - What I Have Learned So Far

OK, maybe I do have a 'blogger's block', but there is one thing I thought I could share with you.

In May, I wrote about my new hobby: apartment hunting. Our landlord had decided to sell our apartment. That does necessarily mean that we need to move, but if the new owner wants to move in, he or she can end our lease. Fortunately for us, it is relatively difficult to get rid of tenants in Germany. So, if we ever come to the point that we are told to leave, we would still have six months to do that.

I have now been actively looking for a new home for five months. And here are some points I have learned so far:

1. Be fast

Do not leave town/country for two months. And do not be without connection to the internet for more than a few hours.

We spend one week at a summer cabin in Finland and thus noticed a new, nice apartment only three days after it was published in Immobilienscout. After sorting out the timetables, when some of Herr Welle's colleagues could go and see the apartment, it was already gone.

It is probably difficult to be fast enough anywhere, but it does not make things and easier, that the U.S. Army Europe headquarters is moving to Wiesbaden and there are thousands of people looking for a place to live.

2. Do not have children

On our wish list, there the two main points are 2-3 bedrooms and an own garden. In almost half of those kind apartments, it is mentioned that "meant for a single or a couple without children". What? Why?

3. Remember that the broker knows better

I think that our two girls, who are relatively close in age, could share a room for quite many years to come. So, two bedrooms would be enough for us. And if we could find a place with three bedrooms, the girls would still share a room and the extra one would be used as a office / guest room.

But the local brokers seem to think that this is impossible. If I am interested in an apartment with 'only' two bedrooms, the first thing the broker asks is that how many kids do we have. And after hearing the answer, uses all his/her excuses to make me think that the apartment is too small for us. Well, who am I to know...

4. If you are trying to save in the broker provision, prepare yourself for the loss of hair and mental health

In Finland, the owner much pay the provision for the broker. But here, it is paid by the tenant. The provision is usually 2.38 net rent incl. VAT, so quite a lot of money.

If you find an apartment, which is rented directly be the owner, it is certainly a plus. We found one, which we were very interested in and provided the owner with all sort of personal information. When I hadn't heard from him after a few days, I tried to call him several times and send him a couple of emails. But nothing. We heard nothing. It has now been a month and the apartment is no longer in the Immobilienscout, so he has rented it to someone else. But this left me a very unpleasant feeling. It wouldn't have taken him much effort to let us know. Argh.

Wherever we are going to move to, this is what I will miss the most:
all this green (and orange) over the rooftops!

So, what is the current situation? We have applied for one apartment, but haven't yet heard anything back. It has been only a couple of days and there is a broker involved, so even if we do not get this apartment, I hope it won't turn like point #4. I am also in a process of making appointments for a couple of other apartments. Cross your fingers!

Kuten aiemmin kerroin, nykyinen asuntomme on myynnissä ja saatamme joutua muuttamaan. Olen siis nyt muutaman kuukauden ajan etsinyt meille uutta asuntoa. Mikään ei ole vielä tärpännyt, mutta pari asiaa olen oppinut:
1. Ole nopea - uusiin asuntoilmoituksiin pitää tarttua heti. Wiesbadeniin on muuttamassa tuhansia uusia jenkkejä, joten asuntomarkkinat käyvät kuumina.
2. Ole lapseton - tosi moni asunto, jossa on kolme makkaria ja oma piha, on ilmoituksen mukaan tarkoitettu sinkulle tai lapsettomalle parille. Käsittämätöntä.
3. Muista, että välittäjä on aina oikeassa - luulitko, että kaksi pientä tyttöä voisivat jakaa yhteisen huoneen? Paikallisten välittäjien mukaan se on mahdotonta!
4. Välittäjäpalkkiossa säästäminen vie mielenterveyden - täällä vuokralainen maksaa asunnon välityspalkkion. Jos asunnon omistaja hoitaa vuokraamisen itse, säästät toki palkkiossa, mutta saattaa olla, ettet saa kuukauteen tietoa asunnon tilanteesta.
Pitäkää peukkuja, että pian tärppää! :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Blogger's Block

Fräulein has learned to draw her own letter and many more*

Oh, it has been a while. Again.

I must admit that I have had a bit of motivation problem. I have nothing to write about.

Or on a second thought, I might have too much to write about. But I don't know what I should write about.

... and to ride a bike.

I guess I'm having a period of uncertainty in my blogging 'career'. I'm not sure what my blog is about anymore.

I started this blog as an expat Hausfrau. So, is this blog about being an expat? Yes, we are still expats, but we are living our day to day life here in Germany. We do our normal, daily stuff, but the setting just happens to be a foreign country. No much news there.

Baby got her first two teeth in July
and my phone is full of photos like this, as I tried to capture them on camera

Or is this blog about being a Hausfrau? I do have two adorable girls and probably my friends and family are interested in reading about what the kids are up to. But for the rest of you, I cannot imagine is very interesting to hear that Fräulein can draw letters or that baby has learned to crawl*. And as I mentioned, we are just living our boring, daily life here - not much to report.

While in Finland, baby also learned to sit on her own.
And a couple of weeks ago - again in Finland - she started crawling!
She skipped the phase when one is sweeping the floor with one's belly and went straight on all fours.

So, please bear with me, while I'm thinking which direction I should go with this blog.
And I welcome any ideas! :)

*) the pictures are all about the achievements of the girls during our summer holiday in Finland - old news already... ;) 

Taidan elää jonkinlaista etsikkoaikaa bloggaajana. En oikein tiedä, mistä pitäisi kirjoittaa. Onko tämä expat-blogi? Se, että asumme ulkomailla, tuntuu tulevan arjessamme vastaan yhä harvemmin. Tain onko tämä kotiäidin blogi? En usko, että tyttöjemme arkipuuhat jaksavat pidemmänpäälle kiinnostaa muita kuin lähisukua ja kavereita. 

Palaan asiaan, kun keksin jotain kirjoitettavaa. Ideoita saa jättää kommenttikenttään! :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hanis - Mixing Finnish And German

Fräulein has now been in the German Krippe for one year. She has learnt the language quite well. Actually so well, that I noticed earlier that we are raising a bilingual child!

I was a bit worried, what would happen during our seven weeks in Finland. And yes, Fräulein's return to Krippe was a bit difficult. But it was not only the language - most of her friends had moved to the Kindergarten groups as they had turned three years old, there were many new children in the Krippe, and her favorite teacher was on holiday.

Well, after just one week everything was back to normal. Her language and speech (in Finnish) had really developed during our holiday and now her German was improving as well.

Nowadays, she is not only using one word commands sentences, but something more complex. And her vocabulary has improved greatly. She is also able to find the connection between the two languages: "Koira. In the Krippe they say 'Hund'!"

But then there is this one word, which I find highly amusing: 'rabbit'. In German 'Hase' and in Finnish 'jänis'.

Thus, Fräulein calls her bunny 'Hanis!'

Baby and her 'Hanis'

Paluu Krippeen Suomi-lomamme jälkeen oli Fräuleinille vähän hankala. Hänen suomensa oli kesän aikana parantunut merkittävästi, mutta sitten olikin taas aika palata saksankieliseen ympäristöön. 
Jo viikon jälkeen homma kuitenkin alkoi taas sujua ja saksankielisten sanojen ja juttujen määrä on lisääntynyt huimasti.
Mielestäni hauskin on uudissana, jolla Fräulein kutsuu pupuaan: Hase + jänis = Hanis!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yoo-hoo! Are You Still There?

Oh, how the time has passed...

We spent seven weeks in Finland and I haven't told you anything about it, expect for those Silent Sunday photos.

And now we have been home for a couple of weeks. Keeping quite busy, I might add.

And the more time passes and the more there are things to tell, the harder it is to write a new blog post.

So, I will now skip the past two months and just say: 'Hello!', 'Hei!' and 'Hallo!'

I might get back to our time in Finland later, but for now I will just show you what happens when Herr Welle is in China for one week...

When the cat's away, the mice will play sleep in his bed

Heipä hei, täällä ollaan taas...
Silent Sunday -kuvien lisäksi täällä on ollut aika hiljaista, mutta joskos taas pääsisin arkirytmiin. 
Herr Welle on parhaillaan viikon työmatkalla Kiinassa ja kuten kuvasta näkyy: kun kissa on poissa, hiiret hyppivät pöydällä sängyllä

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big Sister

Me: "What two toys would you like to take with you to our holiday in Finland?"
Fräulein: "My teddy and Baby's own toy!"

Very sweet and thoughtful from the big sister! I guess this won't last for long...

"Please, come here, we'll take a photo of you and Baby together....
NO! Not in her lap!"

And yes, we will be flying to Finland later today, so it might be a bit quiet in the blog for the few weeks.

But enjoy the summer everyone!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh Dear, We Are Raising a Bilingual Child!

It should not have come as a surprise. We are a Finnish family living in Germany and our daughter spends her days in a German Krippe.

And as I have wrote here before, spending some time daily in the Krippe seems to be the easiest way to learn German.

Unrelated photos from last week, when it was 20 degrees warmer than today

But still, I have only now come to realize that we are actually raising a bilingual child!

It has taken quite long for Fräulein to learn to speak, but now that she does, it is easy to notice that she speaks two languages. Two languages! My child! I have always been poor in learning languages and now I have a bilingual daughter!

And I have no idea what to do. At first, when Fräulein said something in German to me, I repeated it in Finnish. But it soon started to sound like I was correcting her and that is not the impression I want to make.

I think I should find some books about raising a bilingual child. I think it is important that a child learns to master one language perfectly. Learning other languages is just a bonus.

But for now, as she is only two years old, we will let her use her own combination of the two languages. The only 'rule' I have is that I speak consistently Finnish to her myself.

Poor Fräulein has inherited my hair, which becomes all curly when it is moist.

We will fly to Finland next week and spend several weeks with our friends and family. So, in case some of you don't speak German, here is a small dictionary of Fräulein's most common German phrases:
German English Finnish
Mein! My! Minun!
Nein! No! Ei!
Nicht du! Not you! Et sinä!
Ich auch! I too! Minä myös!
Zu viel! Too much! Liian paljon!
Nur bisschen! Just a little! Vain vähän!
Ich möchte ... haben I would like to have... Haluaisin...
Danke! Thank you! Kiitos!
Morgen!* Morning! Huomenta!
Tschüs! Bye! Hei hei!
Laut! Loud! Kovaa!

Do you notice a pattern here? Most of these phrases end with an exclamation mark - useful in kindergarten :)

*) Fräulein uses 'Morgen!' as a greeting at any time of the day...  

O-ou, vasta hiljattain oivalsin, että Fräuleinhan on kaksikielinen! Itselläni on aina ollut huono kielipää ja nyt oma kaksivuotias tyttäreni puhuu kahta kieltä!

Olen myös oivaltanut, ettei minulla ole hajuakaan, miten kaksikielisyyttä tulisi tukea. Mutta toistaiseksi menemme periaatteella, että Fräulein saa puhua kieliä sekaisin, kunhan itse olemme johdonmukaisia suomen kielen käytössä.

Fräuleinin sanastossa on paljon saksankielisiä sanoja, mutta yllä on listattuna yleisimmin toistuvia sanontoja. Jotenkin huomaa, että nämä on opittu päiväkodissa... :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy Baby

Someone has got a seat by the dining table.

It is even better when you've got company!