Friday, March 30, 2007
Now I'm pretty excited because when my husband's contract is up in June we're going travelling and I'm strongly pushing for a trip to Italy, first for the Espresso then for the art. I'm currently reading 'A year in the world' by Frances Mayes. She describes the disappointment on her husband's face each time he experiences a coffee that is below par. I know that feeling of being short changed so well. If anyone knows of great cafes in Paris or Napoli let me know!
BTW I am sorry about the slightly blurry quality of these photos, I have no access to a tripod while I'm on the road. First thing when we get home, I'm buying a scanner!
Monday, March 26, 2007
and then 30 minutes later going through the whole script again. The reason why we do this, is to keep curiosity alive, to let our kids know that curiosity is a most valuable thing and will take them everywhere they want to go in their adult lives. But.....there is a down side to it.
The other day we were walking around the Elisenbrunnen here in Aachen, it's a lovely building built above hot springs, it has fountains and stairs and all sorts of things that children find entertaining. The kids decided to run around the grassed area and I ambled slowly behind. I noticed them both standing still studying something they had found on the ground.
"Mum! What is this?"
"Aaah, a chance to enlighten their lovely little minds!" I thought. I came to where they were and squatted down to see better.
"erggh! it's dog poo!" (most astounded they hadn't figured this out for themselves.)
My daughter nodded solemnly and as we all watched, promptly put her foot in it and gave it a good ol squish! This is what you get for encouraging a child's curiosity, I'm afraid.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I've just been eavesdropping on the kids playing-
DS "Look DD, here's my shop, what are you going to buy?"
DD " A widdle kidden, an a widdle dog, an a wamm, an a poddy.
(Translation: A little kitten, a little dog, a little lamb and a potty.)
DD "Wait! I habben buy-deded dem yet!
I suspect this is how I sound when I attempt to speak German, however DD is probably more grammatically correct. I just don't understand how my lovely little girl can mispronounce every English word that comes out of her mouth, yet I heard her whispering 'Sponge Bob Schwamm Kopf', 'Nein', 'Schuhe' and 'tschuss' in perfect German!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
"I thought there might be a trick to it."
"What were you waiting for? A hologram?" I replied with uncharacteristic sarcasm.
Just then DS came up and asked us what a hologram was.
"Well, it's, ummm, you know, like a picture made with light......"
He looked at me blankly.
"It's ummm, well...... I know! You know that bit out of Star Wars episode 4, where R2D2 projects that message! It's a hologram of Princess Leia!"
His face lit up with recognition, and I felt all smug with my expertise with making relevant cross references.
That's unschooling, you go about your day trying to set up meaningful learning environments and end up with Star Wars as your main learning resource.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Things I love about Germany-
Toilet cleaner gets rid of Kalk and Schmutz
the"Kick Artz" bakery
professional supermarket cashiers
supermarket trolleys that always drive straight
Bratwurst street vendors
extremely polite people
The photos above were taken in Maastricht, a Dutch town about an hour away from Aachen. It was very crowded on Sunday, I can't remember the Dutch phrase for it now, but there is a special one for 'first Sunday of the month, Shopping Day." It is definitely popular, as you can see by the bikes, though that really is a particularly Dutch thing. The bike paths are as well or better maintained than the roads. I love that.
I also like the fact that the next day after rain, little umbrella cemeteries pop up around the towns. Is it a special privilege to be the first one to a potential site? I think that person should get some sort of credit for establishing it.
Sunday- a whole day dedicated to purchasing- we came home with yet another baby doll and extra Lego. But we ate a lot of Frites with Mayo, I hereby swear off excessive shopping.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Paper- needs to be clean and not packed together in boxes or such. Goes in bin with blue lid. Can be taken to the recycling bins at the Supermarket but then needs further sorting into paper and cartons.
Glass- is sorted into Brown, Green, Clear and needs to be placed in the proper community recycling bins found around the neighbourhood. Must not be done during 'quiet time' 1-2pm. Beer bottles, Wine bottles and water bottles must be returned to the supermarket from which you purchased them. Or, if you can't be bothered, just give them to the drunks at the train station and they will return them for the refund.
Bio tonne- this is any compostable matter like food scraps. This one is relatively easy to do.
Gelbe Sack (yellow sack) - seems to be any kind of packaging, I love the fact that you shove all kinds of plastic into this! Only problem is the distribution of these sacks is done by the apartment owners and sacks are only given to buildings once a year. So there is some rationing required.
All the other stuff- used tissues (Must not be placed in Biotonne bin!) Meat scraps ( I think?!) this is a problem, this bin gets emptied every fortnight!
This system took me weeks to figure out. So I think I've got it all sorted (Ha!Ha!) The only things that keep me awake at night are DH's blatant disregard for any of it and the fact that I have a whole chicken carcass and a few big blocks of styrofoam I can't seem to get rid of with a clear conscience.
We're now in our larger apartment, when it's time for us to return home, I just know we'll be absolutely horrified by all we've accumulated in 6 months. One of the pleasures of travelling is only having to worry about the contents of a few suitcases, it's so refreshing to be so unencumbered! However, it's a fact of life that people shop. And being of an artistic temperament, I am so seduced by 'things', I love the toy shops here! I'm going to have to start going to them on my own though, it's too hard trying to get out of those places without desperate pleas from the kids for things and I feel cruel if I buy a toy for myself only.
Apart from shopping, we've been attempting to follow a Steiner curriculum for DS. He's up to the letter E so far. He's quite pleased about learning real writing but has a lot of trouble remembering the phonetic sounds of letters. He knows all his capital letters however, because we're always spelling words for him to type into log in pages on the PC. I think we'll have to start using words such as 'Encyclopedia' and perhaps 'Gesundheit' as passwords to help him boost his vocabulary! Apart from writing practice he's been drawing a lot of monsters, we've made our own calendar and talked about the seasons. In this curriculum they have a very creative approach to maths, I've read several stories about the 4 gnomes- plus, times, minus and divide and we've been practicing sums with a big bowl of walnuts. We've pressed some flowers to learn about plants and DS wants to start learning to play the recorder. I think music is big business here, there's lots of music shops about and DS keeps looking longingly at the piccolo recorders all in pieces in beautiful wooden boxes. These cost about 125 euro, I hope he's not to disappointed with the budget version I'm planning on getting for him.