French Tongue Twister

Les chaussette de l’archiduchesse sont-elles sèches? Oui! Archi-sèches!

Back in 2003 we stayed in a little village called Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. The owner of a small antique shop, wrote this tongue twister down for me on a little piece of paper.

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Quote of the Day

The first to apologize is the bravest.

The first to forgive is the strongest.

And the first to forget is the happiest.

– unknown –

red roses

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10 Signs You Have Raised Third-Culture-Kids

The life of an expat family does come with extra baggage. I am not talking about the furniture we pick up in Thailand, or the nicknacks from a one-year assignment somewhere else – no, this is about our experience, conceptions, and funny stories which we get to schlepp around.

Our son was born in Japan and  he flew before he could walk. His first flight took him to Seoul/Korea and then to Frankfurt. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that automatic doors were not the given thing around Germany in the mid-90s.  Carrying him in my arms, I walked straight into a door at the Frankfurt Airport. We were both howling.

Habits are hard to break, therefore I stood in front of doors waiting for them to open. But at least, I did not run into one anymore.

Our kids are only partial Third-Culture-Kids (TCKs), but I recognize these symptoms in them, nevertheless.

1)  They think nothing of flying somewhere just for the weekend to go to a concert.

Cool. We are going places. The local airport is my second living room.

2)  Flying to Hawaii during spring break seems quite feasible to them – until I tell them they need to pay for it.

Our then second-grade daughter had a friend who flew to Hawaii during spring break and came back with presents for everyone (!) in the class. Sure, if he can do it, we can too.

3)  They usually run into someone they know at any airport in the world.

They most often run into their teachers going or returning from visiting family.

4)  They are hesitant when asked where they are from.

When the interviewer at St. Andrews College in Scotland asked our son where he was from, he started off with a sigh. The interviewer replied then, “Ah, you’re one of them!” ‘Them’ meaning the ones who find it hard to define where they are from.

5)  They think all kids go on to good universities.

Our children were surprised to learn that only 14.1% of the German population has a university degree. On the other hand, most kids attending an international school go on to college.

6) They always take off their shoes when entering a private home.

We started this habit while living in Japan.

7) Seeing well-off friends getting a Gucci bag for a birthday present is normal.

Our son once mentioned a schoolmate who got a 18 million euro race horse for her 18th birthday. Then I felt a bit bad, but just a bit,  for not getting him the latest iPhone for Christmas.

8) Returning from a trip and repacking for another trip the next day is normal.

Our daughter came back from a school trip to Berlin Friday evening. The next morning, she repacked for her trip to London on Saturday afternoon. I would have panicked, she thought it was cool.

9) Asking “When are we going back to Germany?” while we are in Germany.

When the children were younger, we visited my side of the family in the Bavarian dungeons. At least, their Franconian dialect sounded like that to them. Since I had to translate grandfather’s German, we could not be in Germany anymore.

10) Being upset over friends moving away, but not for the “right” reason.

Our 4-grade son came home rather upset one day and when I asked him about it, he said: “Andrew and his family are moving to London”.  He was upset, because most of his friends ended up leaving sooner or later.  “Why are we still here? I want to move to other countries, too”, he said.

I’m a baby boomer and grew up in a very provincial area of Germany, where most people went to Rimini, Italy by car for their annual vacations. Or some, who had a farm like my parents did, never even left.

In 1970, right after the Frankfurt Airport was made open for the public with a visitors platform, my aunt took me on a chartered bus trip to this very cosmopolitan city of Frankfurt. We got to visit the airport, stood on the Besucherterrasse (visitor platform), and put our noses against the big paneled windows and watched the first Boeings take off.

We were in awe then. And when I look at my kids’ lifestyles today, I have the same look in my eyes.

Until they announce their next trip. Then they have that look in their eyes… because someone needs to pay for it.

 

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Zitat des Tages

Lesen ist für den Geist das, was Gymnastik für den Körper ist.

(Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body)

– Joseph Addison –
Englischer Dichter, Politiker und Journalist.

St. Ursula Kirche, Oberursel

St. Ursula Kirche, Oberursel/Ts.

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German Lesson: die Revierförsterei

There is an old Norwegian idiom, Man sieht den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht (You can’t see the wood for the trees) and it rings true as I have passed this wooden sign many times in my 19 years in Oberursel without paying much attention. Until now.

It’s located at the cross section of Hohemarkstrasse and An der Waldlust.

Revierförsterei Oberursel

Revierförsterei Oberursel

Today’s vocabulary:

das Revier: terrritory, district, field, region

die Försterei: forestry

The Revierförsterei is the home and place of work of the district forest ranger.

 

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