Friday, October 23, 2015


As we settle into our life in the states, we can’t help but compare things to how we knew them in Germany. Many things here in the states seem to have passed us by but none more so than sports! Everything seems much more full on and specialized than we remember. The kids have gamely stepped into every day sports practice. We sort of shuffle through the week with late dinners and staggered sports pickups. Then the first weekend rolled around and we realized we had practices and games and races on Saturday and Sunday too! But it’s fun. The kids are happy and meeting other kids. The weather is great and we are definitely learning our way around New Jersey! At least to the sports venues!
Tori tried out for the high school tennis team on our second day in country. We google mapped the tennis courts, drove there and dropped her off. She ran laps and started to play. It all went well and Tori made the team but we felt for her, out there playing in such a new environment. The twins and I watched carefully at who she talked to and when she smiled. We noticed her talking a lot to one girl, who eventually became her tennis doubles partner. Tori told us this girl grew up in Singapore and spent one year in Munich at our old school! We were not there at the same time and Tori is one year younger, but the girls know many of the same kids in Munich. The world is a small small place and we like it that way.
Royce has found her groove with a local cross country team and with horse riding lessons at a county run stable. Both are activities she did in Munich but on a much smaller scale. At her first cross country race, we stood mouths open at a couple hundred 11 -12 year olds lining up for the race! Previous races might have been 20-30 kids. Same with horse riding. Our beloved Sara in Munich had five horses. Here the stable has 80 horses and Royce gets to try a new horse every week. Which means every week Royce has a new favorite horse.
And of course, Adam has embraced American football. On-line from Germany, he signed himself up for a local football league. He started playing five days a week in August. He loves the gear, the practice, and especially the fifteen minutes before practice when he throws the ball with the boys. In his league, he is too big to carry the ball and thus has to make do with a little pre-practice offense. He plays four times per week now and watches Sunday and Monday night football when he can. The boys went to a pre-season Giants/Jets game as both teams practice very near our new house. A few professional players live in our town and have showed up at Adam’s practices. He is still a big Packers fan but Aaron Rodgers better start answering his fan mail!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


After a summer of travels, we have relocated to the states. We are on the East Coast, driving through townships and boroughs, on turnpikes and expressways and trying to remember that you can turn right on a red light here! The move has not been smooth but then again that was probably wishful thinking with one teenager and two preteens in tow. But we are getting there!
The kids had a great summer full of friends and independence. All kids began taking the sbahn, the local train, by themselves around Munich and had a few afternoons of doing things sans parents. But the biggest independence came via summer camp. Two weeks away at an international adventure camp. During the camp, they each did a 70 kilometer hike, slept out under the stars and ran out of water and food and had to beg for supplies from townspeople…in German of course. Camp pick up was indicative of each kid’s independence levels. Royce was waiting for me at the camp gate. Adam saw me, waved and kept talking to his counselor. Tori and friends saw me and walked in the opposite direction, unwilling to say goodbye to each other.
 We packed out of our home in Gauting, stayed in an apartment at a nearby lake, the hard to pronounce Schliersee, near the Chiemsee and Salzburg. Despite a European heat wave, we made it into Salzburg for the Fraulin Maria bike tour. We pedaled through European streets and out into the beautiful countryside and tried to say goodbye. Saying goodbye was hard but after a few more days of close to 40C and no air conditioning, it became a little easier.
We landed in the states, the kids giddy and excited. We immediately loved the air conditioning in our hotel, the breakfast buffet and all the English language! After cooling down, we have now become the anti air conditioning people. We take sweaters everywhere. The kids have even been complaining about drafts! Our initial impressions and comparisons:  we’ve got a lot less recycling here and a lot more food! Tori and I went to get breakfast cereal. We walked down the cereal aisle, staring at all the types of Cheerios: Honey Nut, Protein, Chocolate. Needless to say, there is one type of Cheerios in Germany. In a small voice, Tori asked “what happened while we were gone?”
We took the train from our town into New York City. We all found it hard to read on the train due to the English conversation all around. We heard so little English on the trains in Germany that when you did, you stopped and listened. Once we emerged on to the city streets, the kids were excited to see skyscrapers again, saying how they had not seen them since Hong Kong days. In the fashion district, we took Royce to the fabric store Mood, featured in a design show she watches. She wandered around and soon spied a man from the show. Inspired she bought not only fabric but a zipper! We are all looking around and seeing what we can make work. Exciting, overwhelming and messy but definitely lots of potential! A work in progress.