We have arrived!

What a whirlwind week. We sold the truck on Monday, packed up the cabin and said goodbye to Flagstaff on Tuesday. Stayed with friends who are watching our furbabies. Then had to say goodbye to our dear friends and all of our furbabies again. The cats will at some point be reunited with us, but we are looking at a long time in between. Since we didn’t have a firm destination, we couldn’t find a way for any of our pets to come with us until later. Then stayed with my brother and his family until we flew.

We were blessed to enjoy family and friends this week. We felt very loved and cared for all week. Friday morning saw us attempting to spread the weight of our stuff out into 2 suitcases, 2 hiking backpacks, 4 duffel bags, 4 carry-on rollers and 4 backpacks. My brother and his wife generously wore out the kids in the pool and trampoline before we left. My brother took us to the airport where M’s whole clan came to send us off.

All of our luggage

The flight was uneventful. K hadn’t napped, so he fell asleep right away and woke up right before they served breakfast. R loved being able to watch movies on the TV and mom let her stay up until midnight to help with the jet lag. Then she fell asleep until just before we landed. I binged watched movies. I need about 3 more trips to really catch up for the year, but I feel like I got a good dose of Marvel. Lol

Through the airport

We are staying in Russelsheim for this week. We found our studio apartment quite easily. It’s in a fantastic location! We are in the middle of town, 5 minute walk to the train station, 5 minutes from the Main River, 5 minutes from a park and the bakery and grocery store are right around the corner. (Yes, those are separate stores.)

We got up Sunday morning… well, we got up at 2 am and played for about 3 hours before we all crashed at 5 am. Then we “got up” at 11 am. Jet leg is so fun. We decided to wander around the area and discovered a huge car show down by the Main River. So much fun! Kids played at the park, we ate brats and gelato, and we looked at all the cars, took a spin on a carousel and then watched the swans in the river. We came back for a nap and then enjoyed pizza outside on a pedestrian street. It was a great day!

Watching the Swans on the Main River

Feeling better and getting excited!

This has been a good week. Relaxing out in the woods, visiting with family and good friends, and finally getting on antibiotics. It’s been a week of rest and I’m glad we planned the extra time in on this side of the pond.

We have also spent our days hunting down reception for internet and simple phone calls. We have always enjoyed staying out in the woods for the novelty of unplugging. However, that is not so much of a novelty when we are trying to finalize banking, translate documents, and sell our last car. So we’ve headed into Flagstaff, dropped M off at the library to work and the kids and I have found parks, gone shopping at the NAU bookstore and found things to keep us occupied.

We have also been blessed with friends who are willing to make the drive north to see us one last time. A dear friend came for lunch on Wednesday so the kids could play and we wandered around downtown. My best friend and her family came to visit the weekend and the kids had a blast watching it rain, playing in the mud, watching Incredibles 2 and we all had a very competitive game of Clue Junior! My favorite part was still playing cards, but I’m weird like that! Lol

Father’s day was spent with the head of the Linke clan. We ate good German food, played in a huge pool with waterslides and diving boards. K loved the toddler area, and R was super brave going down the waterslide multiple times and jumping off the diving board and even jumped off the high board! She dared me to jump too and mom showed her how to dive off the board. A good time was had by all!

It still feels like vacation. It still blows my mind that we leave, permanently to Germany this Friday. We keep wandering around telling ourselves that the adventure has begun, and so far I’m having a good time.

Our neighbors this week:

It’s over and just begun

It’s official. We are no longer Arizona homeowners. This past week was a week of hard goodbyes. We said goodbye (temporarily) to our beloved cats as they stay with an amazing friend who will bring them back to us. We said goodbye to our neighbors, which was really the best neighborhood I’ve lived in a long time, wonderful people. We said goodbye to our stuff as it gets shipped to Germany on the slow boat. And we said goodbye to our house.

They say that moving is one of the most stressful things a couple can do. The good news is that we are a united front on wanting this move, encouraging our children and getting excited for departure. Yet, the stress of the unknown is still there and we have crashed and burned this weekend all with terrible colds. We are staying in Flagstaff and we were really blessed with our family visiting us this weekend. They took such good care of us while we continue to sleep our way back into good health.

I think leaving family and friends is definitely the hardest part of this move. We have an awesome connection with our family and frequently get to see both sides of our siblings. It is the part I’ve struggled with the most, separating my kids from cousins they love. But, I know in my heart this is the right thing to do. They are blessed to have more second cousins in Germany they get to know, and first cousins in Slovakia. We will find friends and get to know family better. And I love the fact we can face time family every week for free.

So for now, we are focused on wrapping up in Arizona. We are focused on getting healthy for our Grand European tour. And we are fully focused on our children as we jump in with both feet!

It’s ok to feel ….. and find a balance.

Oh so many emotions this week. It’s the last week in the house. This house I have loved and hated. This house that somewhere along the line became my home. I will miss the pool. I’m happy to see the end of packing and selling. I am sad to leave family and friends. I’m so excited to live in Europe.

The kids are feeling it. R has been sad to say goodbye to her friends. K isn’t sleeping and we are solidly back into diapers. But we have our moments of excitement too. What will our new rooms look like? How should we decorate?   R is looking forward to gymnastics again in the fall. K has only been talking about the different kinds of trash trucks. But hey, it makes him happy. Lol

We’ve been trying to balance our days. Time to play and visit with family and friends. Time to pack 5 more boxes and haul stuff outside for the last garage sale. They are long days. Good days. Almost doesn’t feel like we are leaving because we are still running errands, doing play dates, getting milk… except we have no more dishes to eat on.

I’ve been telling the kids it’s ok. It’s ok to feel happy. It’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to be excited. It’s ok to miss people. It’s all in finding a balance.

A purge like no other

I’ve moved a lot growing up. My dad moved up in corporate America, and each promotion felt like it came with a new town. I’ve tallied it up. This is my 20th move. (Maybe there was a few more in Flagstaff for college). But we’ll go with 20 big moves in my lifetime.

I thought I had this down pat. Sell a few things. Go through your closet. Need to have a garage sale or two. Then you pack all your things into boxes and rent the Uhaul or make a few drives – depending on how far you’re going.

This move is … nothing … like … that! This move has been piles. This pile needs to go into storage. Is it really something I need to keep for 7-10 years? This pile I need to pack into my suitcase so we can wander around Europe for 2 months. How many toys and books should we (can we) pack in a suitcase? And the last pile is shipment. We are trying to squeeze everything into 4x4x6 feet. I have it taped up on the wall. I’m still looking around my house wondering; maybe I can squeeze that into the shipment? What about this pile? Can it go too? And because part of the package I paid for was the movers to pack my stuff, I’m not boxing anything. It’s just sitting in piles in K’s bedroom. Which in some ways is nice because it’s one less thing to worry about. And in other ways it’s driving me nuts, I won’t know if I hit that 100 cubic feet until the day they pack it into boxes.   And do they know how to really cram a box like I do?

Meanwhile, I spend my time just purging accumulated stuff. Where did all this stuff come from? Most of the purge is reactive. Oh, I sold that shelf? Guess I should clear it off. 4 month of selling things online and I still fret that I can shovel the rest of it out in the next 3.5 weeks. Wish me luck! The countdown continues.

This is what 109 cubic feet of stuff looks like:

Our move to Germany

About a year ago, my husband came home with a crazy idea. Let’s move to Germany. Why you ask? Well, he’s a German citizen, so are the kids. I’ve been blessed to travel there for work for many years and love it. It was a good kind of crazy as far as ideas go. Then we thought, well, why not? Kids are young, changes can happen, our parents are in good health. We should really try this! We walked around for months asking each other if we were serious and if we really wanted to make the leap.

In March this year, everything just clicked. Nothing in particular happened, just – life is short. We were going to do this, just because we wanted to! So we started taking all the necessary steps to make such a large move happen. It really all started out as a wild dream, but we are now in the process of making everything happen.

People have been amazed that we are taking such a giant leap of faith. And several suggested I blog about the experiences. I thought it was a good idea and also a way to let out thoughts as we heave through this huge move.

Most people begin asking me if we are military. Nope. Then they ask if our job is moving us across the pond. Nope. In fact, we are doing all of this in hopes that we get a job when we get there. Yes, you read that right. My husband, I’ll call him M, has been putting out resumes but we haven’t had a job offer yet. How’s that for positive thinking? We have a couple of positive things in our corner. M is a civil engineer. Germany’s websites are posting over 17,000 available jobs for civil engineers alone. And most friends and family we’ve talked to tell us that once we are there and available for interviews, we hope to find something relatively quick.

People think this leap of faith is the hard part. Not really. It’s the exciting part. Getting to live in Germany and sharing the culture and the world with my children is the part that drives me now. The hard part has been dismantling our household stuff that we’ve been collecting for the past 12 years, selling it off piece by piece. The hard part is watching my children say goodbye to half their toys, or their beloved swing set. Ok, I will admit shoveling out my closet actually felt rather good. But I still haven’t posted the couch because it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat and slept on. Is it ridiculous I’ll miss a couch?

We are taking a few things. I didn’t want the kids to feel like they lost every single toy to this move. That would only lead to resentment. So we have hired a shipping company to come in and we are shipping 100 cubic feet. I thought that sounded like so much stuff! It’s not. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet x 6 feet. Once you start looking at how much stuff you have to fit into that small size, it feels about as small as it sounds. I admit I’ve gotten a bit creative though. This is all about space and not weight. So I’ve gotten a bunch of vacuum seal bags for all of our clothes – and stuffed animals!! That has really shrunk everything down to very heavy size. Creativity is the key!

Right now, we have sold the house and quite a bit of our stuff out of the house. We have piles in every room – to be sold, to be put into storage and to shove into a suitcase. It’s a work in progress and I can only take it one day at a time. 4 weeks before we leave our house and 6 weeks before we depart. But as I tell all my travelers: “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.”

Interview with Paola Layton

We are very happy to have student feedback from our latest Speaker, Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen. The students at German School Phoenix were particularly impressed with his talk and we were able to interview Paola Leyton for her honest opinions. Paola is a new student at German School Phoenix. She had previously studied German in Zurich and Chile, but is now continuing her language learning with us.

This was the first speaker Paola had seen. In the past, we have invited local Germans, Professors and even the Honorary German Consulate to speak to our students. Paola felt that Prof. Dr. Classen’s lecture was “very simple, very open and sincere”. He spoke at great length about the linguistic relationship between English and German and how it has evolved. For example, in northern Germany there are many words that are pronounced very similar in English. Where in the south of Germany, the pronunciation takes on a very different dialect and linguists find fewer English sounds. Paola tells us that “[she] enjoyed everything. He did a good summary about what German means. [I was] able to refresh my memory and hopefully start speaking [German] again.”

Many Thanks to Paola Layton for taking the time to answer all our questions!

Dr. Albrecht Classen, Guest Speaker

Imagine that you’re told to attend a presentation made by a distinguished professor who specializes in the history of medieval and early modern German and European literature and culture from about 800 to 1800. Would you expect to be bored by a dry, serious presentation?

If that distinguished professor is Dr. Albrecht Classen, then that expectation would be wrong. Very wrong.   Just ask any of the students, faculty and friends of German School Phoenix who were fortunate to meet Dr. Classen on Saturday, January 27th. Everyone there was captivated by his enthusiasm, inspired by his energy, and disappointed when his presentation had to come to an end.

Dr. Classen talked to the group about the history and development of European languages and the relationship between English and German.   During his visit to classrooms before the presentation, he emphasized the importance of understanding history and appreciating what it can teach us about the present.

Currently serving as University Distinguished Professor and Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of German Studies at the University of Arizona, Dr. Classen has studied at several universities in Germany, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. For more information about Dr. Classen’s background and publications, please visit http://aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu/.

Our teachers celebrate German week

As we work our way through this week our amazing German teachers are preparing for class on Saturday. We are celebrating National German week and our teachers are ready!

In the children’s class, students will be coloring Hannah the Bear. She is a good friend of Flat Stanley and is looking forward to the many locations the kids will take her.

The beginners 2 class will be reading about “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” and have a Germany quiz (heads up!)

Beginners 1 and intermediate classes have learned about the history, meaning, and celebration of “Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit”
– Watched video footage explaining this Feiertag and original footage of November 9, 1989
– Studied vocabulary pertinent to this day
-Took the AATG Quiz about “Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit” as a Homework assignment
– In celebration of the “fringe benefits” of learning (and teaching!) German, we ate German sausage, tasted 3 different types of German bread, including the famous Pumpernickel, laced with original German “Senf” and “Currysoße”, and indulged in Zimtgebäck, learning food and utensil vocabulary along the way. Lecker!

The advanced class will be taking a fun German Cultural trivia quiz!

Join us as we celebrate on Saturday!


October 2-8 is National German Week!

Welcome to National German Week!  We are celebrating at the German School Phoenix following the suggestions below from AATG.org.  Every day there is something you can do at home to celebrate as well!  Here are some suggestions:

Monday, October 2 – Schwarz-Rot-Gold Day

Kick off the week by showing your pride in Germany and the German language—wear Schwarz-Rot-Gold! Whether you’re at school, at work, out in the community or anywhere else, everyone around will know you’re a fan of German. Hannah’s already dressed for the occasion, so be sure to include her in your events and when you’re engaged on social media!

Tuesday, October 3 – Day of German Unity

Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) is the German national holiday, commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990. The Day of German Unity is celebrated each year with a Bürgerfest hosted by a major city—this year Mainz, the capital of Rheinland-Pfalz, under the motto “Zusammen sind wir Deutschland”. The Bürgerfest also includes the Ländermeile, where each Bundesland can highlight their tourist attractions, cultural treasurers, and culinary specialties. Create your own campus Ländermeile and highlight regional specialties. Celebrate today with our October 3 quiz!

Wednesday, October 4 – National TEACH GERMAN Day

National TEACH GERMAN Day is a celebration of German teaching and learning designed to recognize the important role that German teachers play in our schools and communities and encourage the next generation of German teachers. Find out more on the National TEACH GERMAN Day website.

Thursday, October 5 – Famous German-Americans Day

Hats off to German immigrants to the US and German-Americans! The cultures of the German-speaking world have had an enormous influence on American culture. You’ll find the contributions of German-Americans in every walk of life—actors, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, musicians, politicians, scientists, teachers, filmmakers, and writers. Can you identify all of the Americans with German roots in our quiz?

Friday, October 6 – National German-American Day

German-American Day was first proclaimed a holiday in the US in 1983 to honor the 300th anniversary of German immigration to the US. It commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld, near the Rhine, landed in Philadelphia. These families subsequently established the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies. See how well you know the influence and impact of German culture on America with our quiz!

Saturday, October 7 – German School Phoenix Celebrates!

Students will be taking fun trivia quizes in several classes and our Children’s class will be coloring Hannah the Bear and taking pictures of her this week as we find different ways to remember our German Culture.  If you would like to participate too, please post any pictures of yourself and Hannah the Bear (below) to our Facebook Page!

Hannah the Bear