Pieces and parts…a recap of sorts

20 Apr

I realize I’ve let a little time go since I blogged.  How and why could this happen!?  Haha-well, turns out life is getting pretty full around here.  So, I thought I’d give you a little rundown of what’s been going on.  This is a pretty random hodge-podge of what has happened as of late.

*This week I bought myself some flowers.  The yellow ranunculus and orange poppies just spoke to me and I had to take them home.  There are so many flower shops here so it is nearly impossible to go anywhere without passing one.  Having these little friends on my kitchen windowsill this week really brought me some added cheer: 

*Quinn’s latest words are “danke”, “nein” (the joys of a toddler being able to say no in TWO languages!), and “umbrella”.  Yes, umbrella.  The weather lately has been requiring an umbrella (at least be available) upon going outside and since keeping Quinn indoors is like keeping sand out of your swimsuit at the beach we spend a lot of time outdoors.  Being outside with an umbrella alone would probably not be enough to convince her to say the word (she’s stubborn like that), but being completely OBSESSED with how it opens and shuts and wanting to use it even when it’s NOT raining somehow pushed that word into the category of “necessary vocabulary”.  Not so she could politely observe its presence in the room with a sweet “brella”;  no- so she can scream “BRELLA” in the midst of a tantrum because we don’t want her playing with it and poking out her eye or pinching her fingers or just wanting help opening and closing it for 20 minutes, because yeah–that’s a fun game.  And yes, Joe has spent time outdoors with the umbrella up with not a drop in the sky.  I’m sure people think nothing of it.

*I discovered the best place to buy kid’s clothes here is H & M.  In general I find clothing and shoes to be more expensive here than in the States.  I’m sure there are places to go for the bargain hunter but I consider buying the right kind of milk and tracking down lightbulbs in the correct wattage to be successes (if not challenges), so I just have not graduated to the status of savvy shopper *yet*.  It is just as it is with so many things, you don’t realize how the simplest of tasks can be so much more difficult when you are a foreigner.  Without most of my mainstays such as Target, Gap, Carter’s and OshGosh, I’m left wondering where to go to get even just some basic onesies.  The weather is changing and Quinn is growing (again, she is so defiant), so it was time for a major wardrobe update.  I hit the mall and my first stop was H & M.  While shopping there for myself is about as fun as putting a fork in my eye, buying kids clothes there is the bomb.  Everything is very cute and very cheap.  Since these clothes aren’t going to see many seasons of wear, they aren’t exactly investment pieces.  I think I was able to pretty much get Quinn’s entire spring/summer wardrobe for under $150 euros.  Yay me!  This definitely goes into the success column.

*We continue taking German and um, how can I put this nicely–sucking.  Really it is a very difficult language, especially coming from an English speaking background.  Every noun has a gender and therefore you must know the gender of every thing you are talking about in order to get your sentence correct.  Let’s be honest here, I feel lucky to know that Zwiebel (oh yeah, ALL nouns are capatalized–cannot get used to that one) is onion, I have no clue whether onion is a boy, a girl, or neither.  There are also several “cases” in German so depending on whether your noun is the subject, direct object, indirect object etc. of the sentence you must adjust accordingly.  So in order to say “I went to the store for a loaf of bread”, I have to know whether bread is feminine, masculine, or neutral AND I have to quickly figure out what part of the sentence bread is before I can put my sentence together.  Do you know how hard that makes it to be able to speak a sentence period, much less without taking an eon to do it?  So, yeah when it comes to German I know lots of words and pretty much don’t have a clue how to put them together.  Very useful.

*Quinn continues to demonstrate her love of strangers.  I know lots of kids this age haven’t really developed “stranger danger” yet and welcome attention from people they don’t know.  It amazes me though how much Quinn goes out of her way to interact with people she has never met before.  In fact we are starting to be recognized by people we don’t know at all just because of their experience with Quinn.  Women she visits with at the bakery will pass us on the street and stop to talk–to Quinn.  Or a neighbor across the street will step out onto his balcony to wave to Quinn because he has seen her on our last few outings.  She will stop to wave to someone and seriously wait until she gets their attention, staring at them until they have no choice but to acknowledge her.  She will sit on benches next to complete strangers and put her arms up asking to be HELD by people she has never seen before.  There are so many of these exchanges I wish I had captured on film.  Here is just one little glimpse into Quinn’s apparently very extroverted personality:

"Hi, Ive never met you before but would you like to read my book?"

"Well, if there is no one to read with, I might as well sit here to finish this page-turner."

*I’ve joined a couple different playgroups and am starting to meet lots of other moms with kids Quinn’s age.  And actually, I’ve been lucky in that I have met a few people on my own just in our neighborhood who I have been hooking up with to have coffee and playdates as well.  Socially, it is a slow process when you start all over, especially in a different country.  So, it has been really nice to finally get aquainted with some other people and feel a bit “normal” again if you know what I mean.  Joe too has met a few people; in fact he gets along really well with the husband of one of my friends in town.  He even has played soccer a couple times with a group of guys and he is the only American!  Romanians vs. Germans…plus Joe 🙂

*We have added deer and scallops to the list of foods Quinn has tried and liked.  Now, I’m not judging those that eat deer (I know it’s common to eat), but let’s just say it’s not on our family’s menu…ever.  But, we were invited over to some friends’ house for dinner and the husband is a chef.  And he was serving deer.  Hmmm.  I wasn’t sure how I would manage, but in the interest of being polite I put on my big girl pants and dug in.  Actually it was delicious!  Quinn despite having some social skills that leave something to be desired, is not  a picky eater.  She is easy to please when it comes to food…put it in front of her is pretty much all you have to do.  So when the first course was served she dove in (literally) to the white asparagus and bacon-wrapped scallops.  She loved all of it.  The main dish was braised deer meat with red cabbage (big German side dish) and spaetzle.  Again, no complaints from Quinn.  In fact I could barely keep up with cutting up pieces for her to eat, and instead of waiting for me she took things into her own hands (again literally) and grabbed a fistful of cabbage and anything else she could reach to eat.  Our compliments to the chef!

Life here is going well.  It’s starting to feel more “normal” and we are enjoying meeting new people and trying new things (food, language, ways of living etc.)  But, we miss our family and friends back home very much!  We love hearing from all of you and knowing how you are doing in your lives too.  Happy spring everyone 🙂


6 Responses to “Pieces and parts…a recap of sorts”

  1. Heather April 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Quinn, you are turning into quite the foodie! You are a brave little girl! There is no way I would eat deer meat!

    • Rachael April 21, 2011 at 7:32 am #

      Haha, Heather I totally thought of you when I was writing about this! Quinn is brave- she will eat ANYTHING.

  2. Gabe April 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Peace dude…read this book!

    • Rachael April 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

      Haha, I know…hilarious.

  3. Danielle April 21, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    Glad to hear life is starting to feel normal again. Quinn is seriously sooooo cute!

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