This is starting to blur together. I should probably write this daily instead of looking through the photos at the end of each week wondering what we actually accomplished and did.
On Monday we registered R at Ami-Maiwald Schule. She will start in 2nd grade with 28 other students. We met with the principal and got to see the classroom. It was so beautiful with a neighboring room where the students could spread out when they needed to do homework or just sit quietly away from the noise of the other class. R was finally a little bit excited about school. But she now has about 5 more weeks of summer vacation, starting up again August 29th. Provided we stay in the area, and find a place to live. You know, if… if…. if… Anyway, she’s at least registered.
Tuesday M went to the Augentur für Arbeit (employment office) and he was able to meet with his direct councilor. He is officially unemployed here. That means he qualifies for a lot of extra benefits. They want him employed. So they will pay for all his work related documents to be translated (mine we will have to pay for but that is a huge help). Then he has registered for a class that will help him learn how to interview and write German cover letters. The companies look for different things here, so it’ll be very helpful. The other class he is planning to register for will be the HOAI class. It basically is the German construction codes that he needs to know. The employment office pays for all of this. And if he gets an interview, he can also submit his train ticket for reimbursement – even if he has an interview on the other side of the country! So cool. I’m waiting to hear back if we are covered for insurance while we wait too. Don’t know yet.
Then on Wednesday, we finally were able to open our bank account. It still amazes me how much time it took, but it is all finished now. Then I decided to do a bit of shopping at Rewe in the afternoon. I took R. It’s just a 5 minute walk to get to the store, which is really nice. So we started looking for stuff to make Nachos. Getting a bit homesick for comfort Mexican food. Surprisingly, we found taco seasoning, corn chips and tortillas! We also found an entire row made up of hot dogs. I ask you, why are there so many varieties of hotdogs here?!
On Thursday I had my first bit of miscommunication. I thought we were going to meet our cousins at the pool around 9:30 am. So we get to the pool, no one shows up and we have a good time playing with the kids. R discovered the tunnel slide has neon lights inside and loved going down the slide repeatedly. We spent about 3 hours there, had lunch – because apparently every pool must sell French fries? (So I was told.) And went home with exhausted children and parents. Then I get a text from our cousin, shall we meet at 4:30 at the pool? Ok then, we go BACK to the pool and swim with the cousins for another hour and a half. Then we come back home even more exhausted and we put the kids to bed – they FINALLY sleep fast and we wander around in circles trying to pack our suitcases for our next trip. (We must have done well, we only forgot 1 charging cable.)
Friday we started our drive to Vienna. We had planned to be up by 5 and out by 6. Except each of us was so tired and thought the other had set the alarm. Our son is normally our alarm and he was up by 6ish. So… we had a bit later start then planned, but got on the road by 7 and didn’t run into too much rush hour traffic heading out of Düsseldorf. According to Google it’s about a 10 hour drive, and we decided to split it into 2 sections. We drove south to Passau, a little town on the boarder of Germany and Austria. We made it about 4:30 with only a few stops along the way. We stayed overnight out in the fields at this amazing resort hotel. We played in the pool (not as warm but enjoyable) and then walked over to an amusement area where we found a restaurant with a play area in the middle! We ate our dinner while the kids played and got their wiggles out while we got to enjoy live music and a beer /wine. We made one small mistake that night and gave the kids the bedroom with the more comfortable bed. We slept on the couch bed, which was only a ½ step softer then sleeping straight on the floor. We both debated on sleeping in the middle of the kids and who would get there first but we were so exhausted that we passed out in the middle of the argument. Lol. Woke up pretty stiff and sore though.
Saturday morning we enjoyed a good Bavarian breakfast and jumped in the pool one more time before we headed out of town. We needed to buy a Vinette, which is a sticker for the car, a tax to drive our German car on Austrian freeways. It wasn’t too bad, only 9 euros for 10 days and we were able to buy one at the local gas station. Then we stopped at the Media Markt in Wells to pick up a new cable so I could finally charge my Iphone and let everyone know we were on the way and still alive. We made it to my friend’s house and we all got to know each other. It was the first time our families had met. We have known each other for 25 years! She was a homework assignment in my Lakeside German class. I needed a pen friend from a German speaking country. So I received her address and we wrote to each other frequently. She came to Arizona in 1994 to visit me for 2 weeks and I spent a week in 1997 in Vienna. Then we continued to write until 6 years ago when Collette Vacations sent me to Vienna for an Alpine country tour. Since then I’ve been lucky to see her in ’14, ‘16 and now we are spending a week here!
Sunday was a real treat though. We drove west into the Australian alps and found a Little White Zoo in Kernhof where most of the animals are white. It was located on the side of a mountain and we stayed to see it all. Even though it misted rain all day. Even though I was totally unprepared and we had to borrow raincoats from my friend for everyone. It was AWESOME! They had a camel show where the camels put on a play. The trainers fed them a treat to make their lips move when they had a speaking part. We saw white kangaroos, watch white leopards eat their lunch, and the best part was the white Siberian Tigers! We saw the big male tiger and 3 baby tigers just born last month. After the zoo, we drove over to see the Mariazell Basilica, bought some lebkuchen for dessert and drove our way back home. Once again exhausted.