Our little princess just turned four last June 18. Since me and hubby always tell them they have to wait for their birthday to buy the toys they want, last Friday she enumerated all the toys which are according to her, “she needed”. Tinker Bell puzzle, a Barbie, a RC car (Zyc is really the one who wants it) and another one I can’t remember because I already interrupted her and asked why it’s too many and she answered “I need four because I’m four years old”. Waaah! Kids! And guess what she ended up buying? A flute which she just saw that night! She had already forgotten the ones she enumerated that morning! While she’s looking around for some toys, we secretly bought a Disney Little Princess tent as our gift because we noticed that lately she loves to convert some parts of our home into her “house”. Under a table, beside our bed, beside the sofa as long as there’s a chair covering the entrance as her door, that will do. The funniest house I saw she made was two inverted side tables and a pillow on it. She even fell asleep on it with her legs bent because she’s too big. Ah… our little girl. She never fails to fascinate us and make us laugh. The comedienne between our two kids, she just loves to make silly faces, initiates tickling and utters remarks that make it to my Facebook status! I just wish she’ll still grow up to be a woman with finesse even with that humor and silliness in her body. Hahaha!
I love malling. I can spend hours inside a mall shopping, more so if there’s a SALE going on, or even just to window shop. I remember when we’re back home, we used to spend our weekends in SM Mega Mall. We would go there just before lunch and spend the rest of the day walking around, buy things we really don’t need and let the kids play in Timezone. I even called Mega Mall our second home. Here in our city, there’s no mall like the one that I got used to. Mostly here are specialty stores. I think there are only less than five stores that cater to every need of every gender at every age here. Sadder part is malls are closed on Sundays (as I have mentioned before in my “Sunny day Sunday” post). So what do we do on Sundays? Unless it’s raining, we go to parks. There are many parks and playgrounds here to spend your leisure time with your loved ones especially the kids. Structures were built which are very good for the development of locomotor skills of children or even just to play around. What’s a playground without the usual see-saws, swings and a slide. But what’s good about the playgrounds here is they add structures that won’t make it boring and put some twists to the usuals to make it more challenging. As for us mommies and daddies, we can just bring our rackets for badminton or table tennis or even just sit there and enjoy the sun and the cool air.
I’ve been here in Germany for six months and it was only last week that I got to ride on a bus. “Why only now?”, you may ask. Well, mainly because we have a car and I don’t usually go out on weekdays when hubby uses the car to go to work. If there were times that I had to go the city center, I prefer to walk and enjoy the nice weather. But last Friday I just had to ride one because I left home late morning and I had to get back before 12 noon to cook lunch and pick up the kids from school. I felt mixed emotions for I didn’t know what to expect on that ride. My Deutsch is not good and I don’t know if drivers here know how to speak English. That was one of my fears, how can I communicate… While on the bus stop I saw different information posted on its glass wall. A timetable, the bus route, and the fare matrix. So there came Bus #37 (I can only ride on buses #37 and #28 unless I want to go some place else and doesn’t want to come back!). There was the driver and unlike in the Philippines, he’s the one who collects the fare (you just have to put the money on a tray, actually), and with some buttons pressed on a touchscreen monitor your change (if you must have one) and your ticket come out from the machine. There are three doors, the door near the driver is used mainly for those boarding and the two doors are used for disembarking. You should not forget to press the red button near you to send signal to the driver that you have to disembark to the next stop, otherwise you will walk a few hundred meters back! I just wish we have this back home but I guess this will really be impossible. Unless the bus operators are willing to invest in a sophisticated machine like the ones used here and bus drivers be educated enough to operate those machines. Also, this system I think will not be effective on mass transportation where people are all on a rush. And of course, the bus stops! Drivers and passengers don’t really have that discipline to use these stops. Or just maybe in small and selected areas like The Fort. Generally, it was a nice experience and an accomplishment for me. Now, I can go farther away from our home, on my own.
I remember telling you that I will post pics of great cars I see here, right? But instead I’ll just show you some of the pictures I took when we went to Stuttgart and toured the museum of one of the most famous cars all over the world, the Mercedes Benz. Enjoy!
Wait for our next stop, the Porsche Museum! I just hope I won’t forget again the most important thing in tours like this, my camera!
For the past months I have been contemplating on deactivating my Facebook Account. It started when I had just arrived here and I really missed my home, my work, and my closest friends. I thought maybe it’s better to close my account to lessen the pain of missing them. Many of my friends stopped me. They told me that in my situation, which is miles from them, I need FB. This is the easiest way to communicate with them, know what’s the latest, blah blah blah… But 1:00am yesterday I did it. It was a slightly hard decision for me but I guess I just had to do it. For one, I can’t anymore find those people who stopped me from deactivating it in the first place. Talking of keeping in touch, huh! It’s disappointing not receiving a response from those whom you thought are your friends and who’d care if you’re still alive! All I did was wait! I’d look for someone to chat with, upload pictures and comment on updates of people I’m not even close to. And very recently I started playing a new game, Gardens of Time. (See how bored I am here?) Which leads me to my second reason, it’s wasting my time (I just realized that after months of “using” it.) I had low productivity here at home. Sometimes I will pass up some chores just to upload pics or view profiles of people I hardly know! But partly, I’m just lazy doing them, hehe… Lastly and the most important, I just want to focus on learning the language here. I’m really having a hard time. Although I don’t have someone to talk to verbally, which is what I really, really need, I’ll just review, read more and do something worthwhile while I wait for September when I can enroll in the formal language course. So yesterday was my first day of no FB and I survived! There were tempting moments I admit. One of my weaknesses is poor self-control combine it with poor time management skills and voilà! Nothing happens! But I told myself, “Che, you can do this.” And I did! (I just wonder until when, hmm..?) ‘Til my next log in!
It’s very seldom we encounter people, strangers for that matter, to smile at us with no hidden agenda. Usually a stranger does this and later approach us to ask a question. Well that is back in the Philippines. Here in Germany you can come across with people just smiling at you and even saying a simple “hallo”. I walk during mornings and it’s really true that morning greetings can put a smile on your face. Sure it’s a great way to start a day.
I love solving puzzles! May it be a crossword puzzle or a number puzzle like Sudoku. But what I love most are jigsaw puzzles. And one name that always pop into my mind when it comes to puzzles is Ravensburger. Known here in Germany, its name is derived from the city of Ravensburg in the state of Baden Württemberg. It has high quality puzzles and great designs to choose from. Landscapes, beaches, safaris and even cartoon characters. I started loving them six years ago when I was pregnant with my little boy. I’d spend all day putting them together even if it meant hunger, backaches and muscle pains. I even remember my legs getting numb because I was sitting on the floor for hours! At first it was just me solving it but hubby got interested too and started to help. It was our bonding time. I’ve done puzzles ranging from 200-1000 pieces. I wish I could have brought all my puzzles here to hang on my walls. I have also tried a puzzle ball here. I like designs with a romantic touch in it and those that are challenging, meaning few colors and with almost the same shades. Puzzles make me relax and not mind the things that are going on around me. Besides I have nothing much to do here! I’m glad my daughter is also into it. We even have the same technique, we seldom look at the picture. We solve it just based on the piece’s print and shape. Her kindergarten teacher was even amazed how fast she solved a jigsaw puzzle she just saw for the first time. I think puzzles teach us to be analytical and focused, but more than these it teaches us to be patient and persevering and thinking that in time, everything will fall into place the way we want to.
I remembered the first time me and the kids went to hubby’s office which is just across our place. Going there meant crossing a major street. At first, I was wondering why aren’t these cars stopping? We waited and waited for the traffic light to turn red but it wouldn’t. So I waited until no cars pass and we hurriedly ran across it. I told hubby about it and he told me that I should have pressed the button. I said, “what button?” This button: Although there are lights for pedestrians which are linked with the major traffic lights, you will see this pedestrian button in some small streets and intersections. This button is pressed when you want to cross the street, and unless pressed cars will just go through the thoroughfares smoothly and uninterrupted. Nice, right? No time wasted for people in a hurry to get to their work or to their appointment. I wonder how will this work back home… For sure though, there will be crazy people who will play with this and undisciplined pedestrians who will not press this! Oh, and one more! In a few months after this is introduced, some will not already be functioning. Hehe.. By the way, Drücken means Press!
Last Sunday was no ordinary day here in Aalen. Boutiques and commercial establishments at the city center were open. You see, here in Germany and I think in the whole Europe, all commercial establishments are closed on Sundays, except maybe for some restaurants. Valuing quality of life, they set Sunday as a day for the family. Unlike back home where commercialism is all over, here relationships are more important. Hey, salesladies have families too you know. Anyway, it was a great day. The sun’s out and people really are all over town. O well, they love the sun. Understandably since they only get to enjoy it, what, 6 months in a year? And as someone who comes from a tropical country as the Philippines, I think I was the only one who’s not happy about the sun coming out. It was sooo hot my skin felt like burning! While the people are wearing cotton shirts and spaghetti straps, I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt! Haha!! But I’m thankful that it’s not humid here. You don’t get to perspire that much. It’s kinda weird actually coz you’ll feel cold once you get to a shed or the sun is partially covered. Long lines in ice cream stores, iced cafes sipped, and chairs and tables outside the restos so people can still enjoy the sunny day while having a bottle of beer and pizzas. It was also an opportunity for some businesses to showcase their products. Bikes, motorcycles, flowers and gardening/farming equipments (since Spring is just around the corner). And boy, cars!!! My eyes had a feast with beautiful, gorgeous cars there! When the sun’s out here, you’ll see different brands of convertibles pass by you and you can just drool over it! Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Peugot! Wow! Just wow! My son is into cars and sometimes you’ll suddenly hear him shout, “Wow! Nice car! Mommy, look!”. He even knows the brands just by looking at the emblem. I hope maybe next time I can feature these cars in another article but since I’m really not that knowledgeable in cars specifically, maybe I can just post some pics of these interesting cars I see on the road.
Cooking is really a challenge for me. More so what to cook for the day! Everyday I had to ask myself, “what will I cook?”. I suddenly remembered when I was back home when I don’t worry what my kids have to eat that day because, as I have said I had my parents and house help to worry those things for me. Funny when I told my dad that I’m always having problems of what to cook for the day he said, “Now you know..” haha!! Yup, now I know. I’m not really that adventurous when it comes to food. Yeah, I’ve dined to different kinds of restaurants, Italian, American, Korean, Japanese, Chinese but I was never interested on the food itself; how did they do this? what makes it taste like this? I just enjoyed eating them. That’s why my knowledge in cooking is confined with what I eat at home. Asian. I am so lucky to live near an Asian shop. It’s owned by Vietnamese (as the name of the shop suggests) and are really friendly (trying hard to understand my Deutsch, haha!). You can find varieties of Asian products, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Chinese and of course Philippine. They have rice, sauces, sardines (they have Ligo there!), preserved fruits (they also have bottled ingredients for halo-halo!) and canned vegetables. Different kinds of noodles and the instant ones. Even rice cooker (you don’t usually find rice cookers here in Germany). They have fishes and fresh vegetables too, vegetables you don’t usually see in the supermarkets here, like string beans, kangkong and okra. They even have a table/chart of vegetables and you can order specific vegetable if you want that is not available in their store. Of course the prices here are a little expensive, they’re imported! I buy my soy sauce (Datu Puti), vinegar (Silver Swan) and barbecue marinade (Mama Sita) there. I’m just so glad they have them I can cook what me and my family’s taste buds are familiar with.