New graffiti trend

It’s new in Hamburg, at least: graffiti on plastic wrap, stretched between two poles.

I think it’s pretty great because it doesn’t actually vandalize anything and can be taken down easily. In fact, it feels kind of special to see them because they don’t usually stick around very long. I’ve enjoyed seeing them around town. There are a lot of eyes, but I’ve seen a few other pictures as well. Once, I even saw one in progress – a guy on my street was spraying a picture of a sunflower. When I came back later that afternoon, it had already been taken down.

This morning, after dropping Theo off at KiTa, I saw this cute little hedgehog.

Have you ever seen this type of graffiti before where you live?

Kita

Tomorrow’s the big day. Theo goes off to Kita. (German daycare.)

I’ve been a mess this entire week, on the verge of tears at any moment. From what I hear, all my other mom friends felt the same, even if they were also excited to get back to work. I won’t go so far as to say that I’m excited about work…but I am thankful to have a job to go back to, as well as to have had this amazing opportunity to stay home with my firstborn as long as I have.

Kita starts off with what Germans call Eingewöhnung, which means that the parent accompanies the child for their first day, both only staying a short time before going back home. The time spent there will gradually increase before the parent has to leave the child all alone at the Kita for the full day. This gives the child some time to get used to their new surroundings, schedule, teacher, and other kids. It’s also good for the parents to get an idea of what goes on there.

Tobias is going with Theo for the Eingewöhnung. I will be taking over a few days next week because Tobias has to work, so I am also excited to get a chance to get to know his new “school”.

Tonight, as I was getting Theo ready for bed, I talked to him a little bit about his big day tomorrow. Zipping up his sleep sack, I told him about how he will go to school tomorrow with Daddy and how he gets to meet his teacher, make some new friends, and play with a lot of new toys. I told him he would have lots of fun, and I asked, “Are you excited?” And YOU GUYS, no joke…he nodded his head yes.

He will be fine.

Mommy may not be fine…not yet, at least…but he will be just fine.

Coming to a close

My time in the US is almost over. The week before one leaves is always a strange feeling. Like you want to get in everything and everyone that you possibly can, scrambling to get it all done. I felt that way leaving Hamburg, and I feel that way now. Every time I think about it, I feel a little bit teary.

Everything will be so different once I get back. Theo starts at Kita, I start back work. A new normal will emerge, and we’ll have to get used to a new routine. As with any big change, I feel a little bit apprehensive about how it will all be. It will be an adjustment, but I’m also sure it will be fine in the end. It’s just a lot to think about right now.

We went to Ocean City with the family two weeks ago. And we went to Chicago last week, just the three of us, and enjoyed a nice visit. My cousin, Jen, lives there and she hosted us there for the week. We had a fabulous time getting to explore the city, and I even got to visit a few old high school friends who have since moved out there. We have had wonderfully warm weather…which I am definitely going to miss when I’m back in Hamburg. (A friend just emailed me that it already feels like fall there and you need a sweatshirt. Yuck! It’s not even August yet!)

I feel like I’m all over the place here. I’ve definitely gotten out of practice of writing. I just haven’t needed it as an outlet as much recently because of all the travel and just hanging out here at home. I hope I will make more time for writing later, once I’m back in Hamburg and life works back toward “normal”. With two weeks away with little internet access, I’ve come to realize something. This long stay in the US has been nice to disconnect a little bit. Living without a smartphone has been strange.

I’ve checked less instagram, read maybe only 1 or 2 blogs, and even let my emails pile up, which then stressed me out to have so many unread emails. And I realized that I need a change. I need to simplify my online presence, unsubscribe from email lists, and take a few blogs off my reading list. Because I noticed that I haven’t really missed it, and the sheer volume of information out there that I feel the need to catch up on is overwhelming, and that’s strange to me. It feels so unreal. It’s been a nice break, and I may need a little more time to work through these changes coming up in my life and get back to a routine before I’m back here, regularly posting about my life. Bear with me. I do hope you are all enjoying your summer, and I hope to find you back here when I’m ready.

Back in Maryland

Whoo boy, lots to update! But just a quick one for now…

Theo and I flew home to the States on June 2nd. He rocked the plane ride (and I ended up with an extra seat next to me, yay!) and I survived a transatlantic journey alone with my 12-month-old.

My 12-month-old is now a 13-month-old as of yesterday and my mom hosted a[nother] birthday party for him here at our house last weekend. It was so much fun. More on that later once I can access some better pictures. :)

I don’t have many pictures right now BECAUSE I FORGOT MY COMPUTER CHARGER. Oops. Tobias is coming in July, so I will have him bring it with him when he comes. So I stole a few off Facebook that my friends and family have posted for now.

It’s strange and interesting how normal everything feels. As if I’d never been away. Which is exactly how I felt last time I went back to Hamburg after Christmas. Everything felt normal there, too. There are a few things I miss, of course — my husband being at the top of that list! — but for the most part, I feel very at home here. Which makes sense, because I’ve still lived here longer than I’ve lived overseas, but one day that balance will shift and I’ll have lived abroad longer than in the place I was born. I wonder what that will feel like. But for now, I’m feeling GREAT and I’m so happy to be a part of my family’s regular, everyday life again. It just feels…comfortable.

Theo’s language skills have increased exponentially since he’s been here. His first new word? CAT. He loves chasing around my mom’s cats. One of them, Murrfee, is pretty mean and generally keeps to herself, but the other, Mollie, is surprisingly patient with Theo and puts up with a lot of not-so-gentle attempts at petting from him. He keeps trying to give her his toys, too. She’s scratched him three times already, which sounds like a lot, but seeing as he spends at least 70% of his day chasing after her, that’s not all that bad. The first day, she scratched him right next to his eye, though — I’m so glad she missed his eyeball!

He’s also been repeating a lot of words, including HAT, EGG, and THANK YOU. And he often points at things and says DAT, asking for more vocabulary words. It’s been fun. I’m not-so-secretly happy that his English is doing so well right now. It will surely change once he’s at his Kita (daycare) come mid-August.

Theo got to see some turtles for the first time yesterday. They were hanging out in the courtyard at my mom’s school. I just love watching him. He’s got such curiosity about everything.

We’ve been thoroughly enjoying this warm, summery weather. Thank God. A real summer. Complete with trips to the pool (or splashing around in the baby pool out back), lunches outside on the deck, and shorts, tee-shirts and flip flops. And finding ways to cool down, like eating fudgesicles or drinking Slurpees. I let Theo have his first taste of both, and he loves them, of course.

Summer is good. Life is good.