When you want to renovate your home or just to have a quick fix in any part of it, only one store here comes to mind – BAUHAUS, literally means house construction. All you need in building or repairing your home are all here in one roof. From the smallest nail to roofs, gardening gloves to lawn mowers, and picture frames to wall papers, you name it. They also cut materials like woods and glasses to your desired measurements, housings for built-in ovens or even the whole kitchen block for your home! And since we have the four seasons here, products also vary every season. When we arrived, it was winter so we saw fireplaces for sale or anything that’s for the season. And now it’s Spring and you can see flowers and gardening materials everywhere. People who assist here are skilled and highly-trained. Not just an ordinary sales assistant who points you where the toilet seats are. They suggest what could be best for your home. And guess what? They have a Drive-In for selective hardware materials, too! Cool, right? Convenient for those who don’t want to walk around the spacious store and pick up just what they needed. I wonder when can Philippines have this kind of specialty store…? Great idea for a business huh? Hmm…
I miss McDonald’s! The sundae, the Mcflurry, the fried chicken, even the Burger Mcdo, and most especially the fries. I remember the lunch outs or a snack/dinner before going home near our building or in Glorietta. Good thing there’s a branch here near our place. But of course products are not the same as in back home. They have no fried chicken and spaghetti here! Sad for my kids because these are their favorites. They only eat here the fries and the nuggets. Even the barbecue sauce of the nuggets is different. Unlike in the Philippines where the sauce is a little sweet, here it’s smoky. You can really taste authentic barbecue flavor. I don’t remember if salad is offered back home but it is here. And guess what? The drinks are refillable! They also have these coupons where you can buy a meal with a discounted price. Much like what is distributed when Chinese New Year is just around the corner or when they just feel like it in the Philippines as a marketing strategy. I was really surprised to see these coupons here. The difference? The coupons are delivered to your home enclosed in one of the newspapers or flyers from a supermarket. Another fastfood chain here where we go to is the Burger King, of course the famous Home of the Whopper. It’s just a 10-minue walk from our home. There’s not much difference really as to the products back home. But above all these that I miss is the company, my dear friends I shared with these meals. The laughters, the quiet moments and even the tears… (I will not cry… I will not cry… hahaha!!!).
I badly need a manicure, a pedicure and an eyebrow threading. Since these are pretty expensive here (15 Euros minimum), I haven’t had one since I got here. Yeah I have twissors but they’re not that good and for my eyebrows that have grown too long it will be really painful to pluck. Hubby was about to buy me a battery-operated one as a birthday present. I stopped him. No way I would let him spend 20 Euros for just a shaver! Even for a manicure and pedicure set. We saw one of these gadgets and it costs 40 Euros! I’m not planning on making a career from it, though I think it’s a good product. It comes with a nail file, a cuticle remover, a buffer and more. Cleaning nails here is different from how it is done back home. Here they just clean the surface, remove the cuticles and put on a nail polish. They don’t remove ingrones. Funny I asked my family to include disposable shavers and a manicure set in the package they will be sending. I really miss “Let’s Face It” for my eyebrow threading and Weng, my manicurist in Freshaire. I guess I just have to do them myself..
At last, a dish washer (Geschirrspüler) for me! It is really a big help since I have been complaining to hubby of what frequent washing has done to my hands. Because I wash the dishes three times a day plus strong dish washing liquid, aside from washing the kids from time to time, my hand became very dry. Of course the winter season was a big factor. The lines in my skin became very dry and looked like small scratches. Once I saw blood between my middle and ring fingers and wondered where it came from, I was surprised it was from a tiny cut on my skin. I put lotion but not regularly. Skin color became uneven, dark areas became visible like burnt marks. I even remembered feeling a little pain and sometimes numbness in my hand. But aside from my skin not being dry anymore I will have more time to spend with my family. I felt this one night when after eating, hubby and my kids just sat on the couch and played. While me, still in the kitchen washing dishes. That’s approximately 35 minutes less time spent with them. By the time I finished my back was aching and I have little strength to join them. So even if it’s a little expensive (229 Euros or Php13,000) we still bought one. Convenience and comfort and more time to spend with loved ones, it’s all worth it!
Missing everything and my loved ones back home and going through the adjustments of being a full-time mom, I must admit I have been down lately. I felt like I’m another person. Not the usual cheerful Che. Last Sunday hubby asked if I want to go to Neresheim. At first I was kinda reluctant. It’s a 20-minute drive from our place and it was already 3pm. I was planning to do some ironing that afternoon. Nevertheless we still went there and I was surely glad we did! I really enjoyed the drive, seeing the vast green fields along the way. They were so beautiful that sometimes we had to stop and let the kids run to their delight. When we got there, it was then I knew why hubby was so persistent in bringing me to that place. There is the Neresheim Abbey (Abtei Neresheim). A monastery founded in 1095 by Augustinian Canons and was later changed to Benedictine abbey in 1106. It’s a baroque church and it’s ceiling paintings were in European baroque style. The paintings depicted the scenes in the life of Jesus. It’s the first time that I have seen such a great artwork. With its colors and details even those who don’t have an eye for art will surely be awed. They are truly amazing! (I just wish I can post all the pictures here!) Of course before appreciating all these I first prayed. Thanked Him for His love and every blessing I have received which sometimes I know I don’t deserve, asked forgiveness for my shortcomings and most of all, asked that He’ll give me more strength and help me face whatever I’m going through. I know I can always count on Him to seek refuge. Thanks to hubby who was so instrumental in bringing me to this serene place. I know I’ll be back, CHE will be back…soon.
Leaving is such a sad moment in one’s life. Whether leaving for a new job, new home and in my case, new life. When I was processing our visa application it felt like they were just ordinary papers. I just looked forward to being together with hubby and our family to be whole again. Three months after submission of documents, our visa applications were approved. Reality started to sink in. I thought of everybody and everything I’ll be leaving. My parents who are kind of dependent in me, my only brother who I’m very close with, my friends who I have loved and knew the true “me”, my home which saw every single day of my life and my career which I have mentioned was just starting to soar. Even our car! Hubby laughed at me when I almost cried over the thought of leaving it. I told him I was just beginning to get attached to it. The feeling gave me mixed emotions. I was happy because finally, after one year of being apart my family will be together again. Sad because I’ll be leaving every bit of my life and start anew. New country, new language, new people to meet and hopefully make new friends.
I can say that one of my weaknesses is a massage, especially leg and foot massages. I can still recall when me and hubby used to massage each others’ foot after a long day of malling. We just lie down, heads on both ends and massage each others feet. When hubby went here in Germany I usually get my massages from companions at home, my nanny, my househelp and even my father. Every time I get a massage Ryz is always there “helping”. Actually she just wanted to play with the lotion although she spreads it to my legs. I also massage the kids’ back especially when they have cough or if it’s cold and I need to apply to them a warming oil. Certainly they have loved massages, especially Ryz. One time I was seated on the sofa and Ryz was lying down on the other end, she suddenly put her legs on my lap and said, “Mommy, I want massage.” I really laughed because I used to do this to hubby every time I see an opportunity. Even if he’s sitting down on the floor and leaning on the sofa I’ll just put my leg in front of him as if signaling that I want a massage. When Ryz did this to his dad, what else can he say? “Manang-mana ka sa Mommy mo ah.” (You’re really like your mom.) But he does it anyway…
“Alles Gute, Ryz?” When I heard Zyrch say this, I laughed. I was surprised because I didn’t teach him that phrase. It means “Everything alright?” when he saw Ryz stumbled in our living room. It’s really true that kids can adapt a new language more easily than adults. That’s because it’s what they hear in school. Learning a new language could give you a feeling that you’re a baby again. Identifying every sound of every letter in every object you see. This was what I felt when I was enrolled in a German course before I came here. It was in 2007 when having a basic knowledge of the German language was required to applicants for immigrants here. A certificate for passing Start Deutsch 1 exam should be presented upon applying for visa. And it doesn’t stop there. We have to take an Integration Course here and have to reach a certain level in language proficiency and pass the examination to be able to work. English and German alphabet basically sound almost the same, except for a few letters. C is pronounced as “tse”, J as in Y in English, V as “fau” and W as “ve”. That’s why Volkswagen as pronounced here as “Folksvagen” and BMW is called Be-Em-Ve. And that’s only for the phonetics and not yet for their sound when they are joined by other letters. Did you know that every noun in the German language has a gender? Yup, you read it right. A noun here is either Feminine, Masculine or Neutral. An article before the noun indicates its gender. “Die” (pronounced as Dee) for feminine, “Der” for masculine and “Das” for neutral. That is for their nominative case. I wonder how were the nouns identified…? Who said the “wall” should be feminine, a “table” masculine and a “book” neutral? I haven’t mastered the language (and how could I? We talk to our kids in English and hubby and I talk in Filipino) and I think it will take a lifetime for me to memorize their rules. Uh.. or maybe not, with constant exposure and of course application of the language it will take me just half a lifetime!
Never in my entire life I have imagined that I’ll be living in a foreign, non-English speaking country. It was a 360 degree turnaround for me. There I was, a banker for 13 years with career just starting to soar and now, a full-time housewife struggling to manage a household, taking care of two kids aged 3 and 5 and doing chores I haven’t been doing for years! I had to leave everything and everyone back home and lead a new life. STRUGGLE… a strong word indeed! But it really is for me since I had everything every working mom and wife could have wanted back home. A house-help, a nanny and parents who make sure that everything’s in order at home. This time, it is only me. Of course hubby is helping me but most of the time he’s at work and I’m left alone with the kids. Now you might ask, why is it a struggle? First, I’m not sure I dreamed of being a housewife ‘coz for one I’m not a home buddy. I get bored just staying at home. I love strolling until my ankle hurts, going to malls even just to window shop. Second, I can’t cook. Uhm.. yes I can but only the basics, frying and cooking rice! I can’t even perfect adobo! I can wash clothes. But I usually get fever after doing it manually. Good thing our washing machine here is automatic. You’ll just hang the clothes after the time’s up. I can iron clothes too! My dad taught me when i was in highschool. He was so meticulous and I think maybe that’s why every time I iron our clothes I’m not easily satisfied and I think of him and what he would say if he sees my work. Third, I have no friends here! Except for Bernie, also a Filipina and hubby’s officemate. Back home, I had lots of them. Officemates, confidants, companions, acquaintances, name it! I had a social life then. Fourth, I have no career here! And I think it would be really hard for me to get one. Language is really a big factor. But that’s another story. Since we’re only here for 3 months, obviously I’m not YET happy here but will I leave all of these to get everything I had back home? Nah… I love my family so much and seeing us happy together is more than PRICELESS!
Hi everyone! I’m Che to my family and close friends, and Chy (pronounced as Chai)/Chichy/Chuchy to my former colleagues. My husband’s Zyzi and we have two kids, Zyrch (a boy) and Zhlryz (a girl). Can’t pronounce all three names? I understand, you’re not alone. Hehe.. I was a banker for 13 years until me and my kids followed my husband here in Aalen, Germany last December 21, 2010. Now a full time housewife, with nothing but a whole family. And just like a newborn baby, I hope you can travel with me as I explore this new world I live in.