This has been a good week. Changes are already happening and we are making progress. First, I need to say that M has an amazing family. I thought my family was pretty awesome, but the welcome and help we’ve received so far is really huge. Tante H is letting us use her address to get a lot of the processes started. This means a lot because we need to register with so many different places and nothing gets started without an address.
So now that we’ve registered with the city saying we have an address, M made it to the employment office to register and upload his resume. He will be assigned a councilor and they will mail him an appointment time. (Yes, snail mail!) They already sent him a letter saying he needs his tax id number and retirement number. We happened to be in Berlin where the retirement main office is this week so we went down and got a number right away! (Fastest thing we’ve done so far). Tax id is theoretically on its way too. Hopefully we can still get an appointment with the councilor in the next week.
Then we decided we needed a local bank account. We tossed the kids in the stroller and walked to the bank. Yeah, we need an appointment for that. Their computers were down so they told us to call the main number. The main number transferred us back to the branch office. Whose computers were still down. We finally scheduled an appointment for this week Thursday.
I also have an appointment on Thursday with a local school principal to register R for 2nd grade. Schools are staggered with their summer breaks. Düsseldorf is one of the latest of them all and school ends this week on July 15. They have 6 weeks and then they’ll start up again beginning of September. I’m hoping that if I talk to the principal, I can get R set up for a tutor before school starts or at least after school every day for the first quarter.
Meanwhile, R is watching all these kids zoom by the house with their bikes. We never had a ton of kids in our last neighborhood and her bike was always a source of argument. Now she was begging for one. Someone told me of Ebay kleinanzeigen (little ebay), which is similar to craigslist. So I got online and found a purple bike with the intent to teach my daughter to ride. I admit, I had visions of me running along side of her and cheering as she got the hang of it. Nope. She got on and took off. Like she knew how to ride the whole time.
We celebrated the 4th of July by cooking our family an “American” dinner. We had sliders and hotdogs, cucumber salad and corn on the cob (which came cooked and vacuumed sealed). But everyone enjoyed it and we had a good time. Missed the fireworks though.
Now that we had all our appointments scheduled, we decided we should take off to Berlin and do some more exploring. We hoped on the ICE train on Wednesday and made it here in 4 hours. It was pretty cool. We quickly figured out the subway and are staying in a suburb called Wedding. It’s a nice little apartment with 2 bedrooms and an elevator (we’re on the 6th floor!).
We’ve really been enjoying Berlin. We went to the Zoo the first day. It was only 73! I freely admit it was the first day we’ve been cold. I enjoyed it for about an hour or so. Next day I started to pack all of our sweaters. The zoo was awesome; we saw hippos, elephants, zebras and lots of monkeys. The playground at the zoo was equally amazing and we spent quite a bit of time exploring that as well.
We’ve done a boat cruise on the River Spree (pronounced spray), checked out a huge park with playground. We walked around the Alexanderplatz and looked up at the TV tower. We found a section of the Berlin wall. I took pictures of the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and finally walked through the Holocaust memorial. Then we even ate Indian for lunch. I am certainly in my element with the amount of exploring we’ve done and am so excited I’ve been able to show my family so many of the places I’ve been to on tours.