“Oh MAN, am I tired!”

This is, supposedly, the cry of every new parent as they welcome, most likely, the biggest change into their lives that they’ve, probably, ever experienced. Well, as likely as this is to be MY reason for the very same expression of despair in a very short time, in this case there was an entirely different reason for it. However, in the name of justification, I like to call this my “Baby Preparation Course”.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge fan of the Olympics…I can watch pretty much every sport and really get into it (even Figure Skating on occasion). Unfortunately, with the Olympics taking place in Vancouver this year, it has made watching them a challenge (read my blog on trying to watch hockey on the internet: https://therocketiers.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/watching-the-olympics-in-germany/) It has also meant that if I want to watch a game live, I need to get up in the middle of the night to do so. So, I’ve been trying to work my sleep schedule around so line up with the Olympics (which should sound familiar to parents) so that I can watch but still manage to get a reasonable amount of sleep in the meantime. This (which should also sound familiar to parents) hasn’t exactly worked to perfection. However, it’s been very rewarding and I’ve been able to enjoy some great hockey (and other things) and, for the most part, the rest of my life hasn’t suffered too badly.

I’m pretty excited for the coming baby and with the T-Minus count is almost upon us, the excitement is growing. I’ve determined that as tired as I get as a new father, I will do my very best NOT to complain about how tired I am. Not sure how this will work out but for now, I’m enjoying my pre-baby Olympic preparation course. It has been SO much fun to be able to do this and I’ve been realizing, pretty much everyday, how lucky I am to live in a world where I can just sit in my living room, sans TV, and watch sports taking place across the world.

Bring on the BABY!

jer

So…being in Germany, watching the Olympics from Vancouver has been…interesting. Let me set the stage first here, I love the Olympics. I know that it’s become an over-commercialized lame-fest in a lot of ways but seriously, I love it. When I was home, I loved coming back from work and watching whatever was on: snowboarding, skeleton, oh and of course, hockey!

So back to Germany, we’re living in a new place now with acceptably fast internet and no tv…which is good, I didn’t like TV in Canada and here…I’ll talk about that some other time maybe. SO anyway, having an internet connection that makes it even possible to consider attempting to watch live-stream Olympic sports has led to problems: how the heck can I get a live-feed in english?

I tried the CTVOlympics.ca site but…no dice. Couldn’t even watch the highlights. Then I tried another site that promised the live-stream but first the site crashed, then it required that you fill out some ridiculous “survey” in order to watch anything, then it didn’t work anyway. SO finally, I was able to get a live-stream from the website of the German television station ZDF, not English but hey, I can kind of understand what’s they’re saying and it’s good quality stuff. Watching Canada attempt to beat Switzerland = Good Times. THEN, they decide that it’s better to show Skeleton (luge on your stomach) instead of the rest of the game! SO I quickly searched around and finally found a live-stream in Swedish! And let me tell you, it was beautiful. What an amazing (sounding) language. It really made the experience a lot of fun…and in the end, Canada won the game and all was right in the world…

SO yeah, it’s amazing the kinds of things you find out about when you can’t just turn on the tv and watch…I rather enjoyed my multi-lingual hockey experience…hope it’s as fun the next game. In the meantime, GO CANADA GO!!

Oh, and check this out: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/954358/Eishockey:-Schweiz—Kanada

me and my big mouth…

February 17, 2010

So…time for personal revelations from Jeremy…today I had a moment where I realized a current trend in my life. This is the trend of talking at people. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never been short on words in my entire life but lately…it’s been irritating. And if it’s irritating to me…

Anyway, this is not a moment of “oh, I realized I’m a jerk I feel bad” and I’m definitely not fishing for any sort of encouragement or sympathy. This is about how easy it is to make a conversation into a rant and pretty much do away with the whole “dialogue” thing and turn the conversation into a series of monologues. I know some people who do this and to be honest, I think we all do. If you’re reading this you know at least one.

It’s amazing how easy it is to stop listening to people. I mean, it’s hard for me to remember the last time where I just listened, allowed for the person to fully complete their thought, waited a few seconds to think about what they said, and then gave a response. Rather, I’m often so overcome by my “great response” that I will interrupt people in the midst of what they’re saying. Maybe it comes from a desire to really “be heard” or the fear that “if I don’t say this now, I won’t be able to say it ever and this conversation will forever be lacking my awesome response”…or something like that.

Anyway, enough of this, just a quick thought and maybe a challenge for you…if you have a big mouth like me that is…maybe we could all take a couple minutes and listen. Like, really listen…might hear something that’s way more awesome than the thing we wanted to say.

jer

So, Stephanie’s pregnant….due any day now… It’s crazy thinking that we’re going to be parents. What’s even more crazy is trying to figure out how we’ll be parents IN GERMANY! So far, things have been great with the Doctor and with the Mid-wife (yeah, they have mid-wives here…which I think is cool) and the latest thing I’ve been dealing with is how to go about insuring our baby-to-be. It’s crazy and complicated business going about figuring this all out. I mean, we have insurance (for foreigners living in Germany)  but the problem is that the company we’re with, while it covers Steph for the birth, it doesn’t really have anything set up to cover the baby once it’s born…yeah…

SO, with that in mind I’m applying to get my “arbeitserlaubnis” or working permit, so that I can work for the Castle and then we would all be covered under my insurance that I would have as a person who is officially employed in Germany. Sounds simple…except that  I’m pretty sure German bureaucracy is set up so that only the people who are really committed to the process will succeed in getting what they want.

Take my driver’s license for example: As a Canadian with an Alberta Driver’s License, I was able to drive in Germany for the first 3 months of my stay here (standard procedure) and then I would have to apply to get it changed for a German Driver’s License. No problem (for me) all I have to do is get my Canadian license translated into German and get some “biometric” photos taken, then fill out the application and wait for my license. Except that they wouldn’t tell me where to get the translation done or where to have the pictures taken (conflict of interest) and I also had to get a proof of residency (from a different town) and then take all these things in. Let’s just say, it took a while to get this together and it was a frustrating process.

And speaking of a frustrating process, it continues with my application for a work permit. However, despite these challenges and my frustration with how it seems to be common procedure to take simple things and make them extremely complicated – which, turns out,  is based on a “we need to do it right” mentality…which still means that things remain complicated…especially because “right” is totally subjective. So yeah, despite all this, I am making headway and learning more and more about German culture.

As for Steph, she’s doing GREAT! It’s been a pretty amazing pregnancy. Definitely a rough beginning with super-sick months and a 2-night stay in the hospital right before her 30th birthday (no big deal)…but overall it was pretty great and you will definitely hear Steph saying these days that she’s a bit sad that she won’t be pregnant anymore soon…and then reality kicks in and she needs to get out of bed, or bend down to pick something up.

So yeah, definitely excited about the baby coming and definitely excited to become a dad…a bit freaked out but I’m pretty sure that’s normal…right? Here’s to new and exciting things to come! (and here’s to becoming better at dealing with German bureau-crazy with every new experience)

jer

moving to a new place…

February 9, 2010

so…unknown to likely many of you, we recently moved to a new apartment in the lovely village of Hurlach. While it has been amazing to see how blessed we are with friends and great people who have jumped in to help us in SO many ways, this move has not been without its difficulties.

1. We’re moving away from the Castle into a flat in the village, which means a LOT of the ways we were used to doing things have changed. Such as: garbage, phone, internet, shoveling snow in the winter, distance to work, and the list goes on.

2.Let me elaborate on the phone and internet situation. We now have a phone but for a while did not. This was because of a complicated process of changing account owners which should NOT have been complicated. The former tenant is a lady who used to work for YWAM but is retired and moved to another city. She called Telekom (pretty much the main phone company in Germany) and they said that all she had to do was fill out some papers which they sent to her. We then took those papers to a Telekom store where we were informed that this was not enough. We then called their customer service (actually someone else called for us because it was all in German) and were informed that it was easier to cancel the account and then start our own account. Back to the former tenant who called Customer Service again and was told that we could fax in the papers and then change the account to whatever we wanted after this. Which we did, and it worked! SO ridiculous. Seriously, it was like the dude at the store just didn’t want to deal with it…which is very possible. Those kinds of things happen here. Anyway, phone we now have…still waiting on the internet stuff to come in the mail. Good times…

So yeah, we’re REALLY glad to be in our new place, the last months have been intense but yeah, we’re pretty amazed that we can live in a place like this. Here’s a look at the place before and after moving in: