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Greetings from Deutschland!

Posted Apr 19 2013 12:00am
After almost 24 hours of travel, we arrived safely at our final destination in Germany Tuesday morning. Our flights were blissfully uneventful, and hadn't it been for the mean colds both Bjorn and I caught shortly before our departure, it would have been an outright pleasant trip! But even though the two of us were somewhat miserable the entire way over (and were reminded that, by golly, it really is a loooong flight!), the girls did pretty well and only melted down (briefly) after we reached Frankfurt airport. At that point, it was the middle of the night for them and they had only slept for a brief 30 minutes on the entire trip over, so I suppose a meltdown or two was in order :)! Unfortunately, spending 24 hours on airplanes and in airports is not the best way to cure a bad cold - or so I found out!- and so I spent my first two days here in a sick and groggy haze. But I chose to look on the bright side: At least I didn't have to find subs for my classes, and because we were all so jet-lagged, I actually got a couple of really long nights of sleep ... even though those "nights" happened between 3am and 12 noon :)
Don't they look like seasoned travelers by now :)? (Amaya left)
Liana fell asleep right as we were landing in Frankfurt, which did NOT make for a happy arrival on her part :)
The girls are doing really well - I can tell a huge improvement as far as their overall adjustment goes. There are usually a couple of moments early on when they are so overtired and completely fall apart when I wonder if we're not asking too much of such little kids to travel so far and spend  an extended period of time in a (to them still) foreign country ... but within a very short amount of time, I realize just what a blast they are having. They are too young to know or appreciate this, but being here is truly a little kids' paradise - probably the best kind of way to vacation when you are 4 years old :) Imagine full days of roaming outside in the "Hof" (courtyard/driveway area) and yard, playing on swings and in sandboxes, chasing after cousins (all similar in age), having books read by Omi and Opa ... and ending the day with a walk through the village to say "good-night" to all the farm animals.

We are also finally seeing a real German language explosion ... within hours of our arrival, Liana was talking in the German gibberish pretend-language she created last year, and within a day they started to actually talk to my German family - in German! They understand a lot of what is being said in German now (which I knew  from our recent German interactions at home), but so far they have been very reluctant to try out their German words - but no more!

This week, we've laid pretty low (for obvious reasons) - but we went on a couple of little bakery-expeditions (one of our favorite traditions while we're here) and we've spent some time with my brother and his family, who are visiting from out of town. We have more family (with more little kids!) arriving tomorrow, so it should be a busy and fun weekend! I was finally able to resume my tri training today (after feeling so cruddy all week) and I remembered another reason why I love this part of Germany so much: I can go for a run and only have to share the road with a couple of tractors on the entire 6 mile stretch! It was beautiful day in the low 60s ... and seeing what is happening in the Midwest back home weather-wise makes me twice as thankful we are here right now :)

Here are a couple of pictures! (There are lots more ... but the Internet connection is so slow that it took me forever just to upload these few. Check back soon for more!)
Book reading time with Opa! Finally they are not insisting any more that Opa read only "English books" :) 

Liana and Mama sharing a treat at the bakery

Family BBQ in the back yard

Amaya (l) and Liana visiting the sheep
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