Germany: the first couple days

We are here in Munich! The flight was long and exhausting—the kids slept for a total of maybe two hours on the plane, and Travis and I got no sleep at all. Edith was particularly pleased with the whole experience. As we arrived at our gate, she looks out the window and says, “this is just the airplane I wanted!” and as we were waiting in line to board, she melted into tears saying, “the big airplane won’t leave without me!” The flight itself went back and forth between moments of me pleading with God for just a few minutes of sleep for someone in our row and feeling like my sleeping son was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. I also just wanted to shift around, but any movement always woke JH, so I am pretty certain my lower extremities were asleep for a good bit of the trip. So much for my midwife’s instructions to get up and walk every hour. But as all things go with children and in life, I suppose, it came to an end and we were very grateful.

The trip from the airport to our little apartment was possibly the best excitement of the day. John Henry especially enjoyed his inaugural “choo choo” ride through the German countryside into the city.

JH stayed awake for the train ride, but not the tram that finally brought us to our apartment.

The apartment is exactly what we need, which seems hard to believe considering all the trouble we had finding anywhere that would work for us: financially, space-wise, location, etc. I found this apartment after already putting in a request for a different place that was less-than-ideal, but all we could find at the time. Thankfully it was within the 24-hour cancellation window, and this place has already been such a gift. We have two spacious bedrooms, a sweet kitchen with a classic European view, and even a lovely little backyard and patio where we’ve been eating all of our meals. We are a two minute walk from the tram, but our street is so quiet and sweet, lined with apartments and houses that all have the most beautiful little front gardens.

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We are right around the corner from Westpark, which I understand is one of the classic Munich features: large, green, open spaces. We went for a walk there this morning and met a lovely woman who is from Slovakia, but recently moved with her husband and two year old son from Belgium to Munich just to try something different for a few years. She is expecting in a few weeks and struck up a conversation about our double stroller. Funny the things that bring people together. She said she doesn’t know many people in the area and was eager to meet another mother. We exchanged numbers and as she lives right down the street, maybe we’ll go for walks together in the future.

Travis and I have been struck by how many languages a lot of Europeans seem to know. Katarina knows at least Slovak, French, German, and English; she even studied in Texas for a year in high school, where she learned the language. Distance-wise, moving from Belgium to Munich is like moving from Oklahoma City to St. Louis, but it is crazy to think of the cultural change, the language change, and just how many languages and influences Europeans seem to have from traveling around a relatively small area.

So far we have had a few classic American moments, like looking in all the refrigerator sections three times for eggs before being directed to a room-temperature shelf. (Europeans don’t refrigerate their eggs at the beginning, so they don’t need to be refrigerated in stores; an interesting article, here.) When Travis asked the cashier, he asked the question in German and the cashier immediately responded in English; I think Travis was a little disappointed that it was so obvious. I, meanwhile, feel sad that I can’t easily communicate with locals and find myself thinking about what I would say in French in certain situations. But English is so prevalent in Munich that I’ll have no trouble getting around; I just feel bad asking someone to speak my language.

We are enjoying a nice, quiet day today, trying to keep life simple and routine for the babies as much as we can. They are both napping now, and I will probably do the same.

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