Monday, 21 August 2006


We have had two sick people in the last week me and Ariana. I'm still sick so I get to stay home from school. It realy hurts. At scool I've got three new subjects History,physik and French. French is cool.

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Back to School

I remember in Australia the new school year was always a time of excitement and a little anxiety about whether the children would have the right teacher and the right friends in their class. Well this feeling is greatly exaggerated when the system and the language is unfamiliar (or barely familiar). To further compound this feeling, Mara started high school today and she is not yet 10. She seems so small to start high school though in other regards she is well equipped as she is fluent in German, is quite studious and very determined. Still, I don't like the idea of her travelling home alone a couple of days a week.

One off the joys of the system is that children finish at different times so lunch can last 2 hours. In addition the first child home will have finished all their homework, jobs and piano practice before the last child is home. This means they are asking for screen time before the others have even had lunch (for me this is a logistical nightmare).

A little whinge: The parents must supply all the equipment but unlike the book packs you can buy in Australia the primary school gives you a comprehensive list down to colours and sizes etc, that you normally can find everything by visiting 2 shops. The high school doesn't manage to form a list instead requests trickle home via the children over the next couple of weeks, but normally with the plea that I must have it tomorrow (fat chance) we don't know whether the urgency comes from the teacher or the children only telling us at the last minute. This is also difficult to budget for and by the end of the period I'm loathe to hand over any more money. End of whinge.

Joshua is in year 7 and will be learning Latin this year which he is very excited about. Elijah has the same teachers as last year which is a bit of a concern. His German teacher is antiquated and his English teacher said that nothing is more important than school work. Elijah replied that family, church and sport were more important than school (and we mostly agree with him -- which is not very German of us).

Ariana is in the 2nd grade and has the same teacher as last year who is very nice. Ari is really good at math but, we must help her with reading English and German. She sounds out everything but has no fluency or much comprehension yet. I think it will all come together soon.

Bryna started Kindergarten -- or as she calls it "garten schule" (garden school) -- this morning and she looked so little with her "princess" backpack on her back. When I asked her what made her backpack heavy she replied "Essens" (which is an English plural of the German for food. Good Denglish!). She didn't want me to stay (she doesn't need me any more :( -- pass the TimTams) and she was very quite when I picked her up. So I asked her how it was and she answered "spass gehabt" (had fun). This evening Mara said "I have maths tomorrow" and Bryna replied "I have garden maths tomorrow". I asked, "What do you do in garden maths?" and she answered "Count blatte" (leaves).

I hope the children have a good school year. I am looking forward with a little trepidation to mornings all alone, as this will be an experience I haven't had for 13 years. I have a list 1.6 km long of what I hope to achieve in my 3 hours a day. :D

Bryna's ready for her first day at kindergarten. Yaay!

Friday, 4 August 2006

Broadband Comes to Town

Even though I knew the village we were shifting to was small I thought that broadband internet access was available everywhere in Germany. Unfortunately that wasn't true and even the largest company (Deutsche Telekom or T-Online, T-Mobile etc) had few options[1]. All I wanted was something that meant the phone could be used at the same time and had no time limit. All phone calls are timed in Germany and so there is no such thing (that I have come across) as a dial-up internet 'plan'[2].

Anyway I was all set to sign up for a UMTS internet account (UMTS is basically internet via 3G mobile telephony) when a flyer arrived in the mailbox announcing a small company who were offering a phone and DSL package to our village. Yaaay! I called them a few days later and, after a couple of questions, signed up. So we are now humming along with relatively fast access at home.

This all means that I think the world can now expect a bit more of a digital presence from Gaynor and the children (especially Elijah!) and possibly even some more frequent blog posts.

[1] Among them, ISDN (only a little faster than a dial-up modem) and Satellite 'DSL'( which receives via satellite and uploads via modem or ISDN).
[2] You just dial up a company, use a publicly available login & password and you pay from there with the requested payment coming with your T-Com bill.