Hi there! It's been awhile, so let's chat and catch up...
Jackson is FINALLY out of school! German schools in our region run until mid-June and then he gets a 6.5 week break until the beginning of September. His first day back will actually be August 30, but it's pretty much just a party day.
First day of 1st Grade in Atlanta and Last Day of 1st Klasse in Germany
Brandtley just started kindergarten at the beginning of June. (For those not in Germany: kindergarten is all of preschool starting at age 3, though some also have programs for children starting as young as 18 months). And he loves it! He's such a happier kid when he can go to school and he's starting to pick up some German phrases too! (I posted here about some of his first phrases)
Since he had taken such a lonnnnng break as we waited and since Matthew was working most of July, Brandtley has continued to go to "school" even though Jackson is out. This has been a really nice change to get to spend some one-on-one time with just Jackson, which hasn't really happened much since Brandtley was born! His school will close at the end of this week for the rest of August.
Also, bonus for us = the spontaneity of eating whatever we want!
We love Fleischkäse
And also the awesome sausages you can find everywhere!
Both boys had an end of the year church service. Brandtley's service was at a Lutheran church and was in celebration of the retirement of the Kindergarten's director. Jackson's was at the Catholic church next to his school and was a send-off for the 4th graders. They were both very sweet. And both included the singing of this lovely song by the children which all of the parents seemed to know too. (Note: I looked up the song on youtube since I wanted to find the words and this link is not from either of the kids' services). The chorus ends with the line "Und bis wir uns wiedersehen halte Gott dich fest in seiner Hand." / And until we meet again, may God keep you firmly in his hand.
Brandtley lining up to sing with his class
Brandtley's class singing
Other than that, we've taken some great bike rides along the Rhein, we've continued to enjoy the street musicians of Bonn, Jackson pulled his 3rd AND 4th teeth on his own, we got library cards, I've continued going to Deutsch lessons, and I've also been driving with an instructor.
Such a beautiful view - there's a bike/walking path all along the Rhein. This is several km south of Bonn
I want Jackson to read this! So far, he's devouring English books but his German reading isn't at the same level quite yet to allow him to really enjoy the story.
The boys called this their taxi!
The car I get to drive. It has the instructor pedals & everything. :)
So far the driving is going well. I've had 2 lessons. The first for country driving, the 2nd for city driving. I've heard that I'll also need to be signed off on the autobahn & night driving before I can take the test. While I'd rather not put in so much time, it really has been helpful. There are a lot of road rules not included in the written test. Plus, my instructor doesn't speak much English, so I'm considering it an extra German lesson each week. He's willing to meet me halfway, though, and we're both learning dozens of new words. The one I hear most often is "Schulterblick! Schulterblick, da!" as he's reminding me to look over my shoulder alllll the way (which indeed is very important so that I don't hit a cyclist).
I can tell the instructor isn't worried about my actual driving ability, but during the city driving, he would sometimes get concerned and say "WHY would you DO that??" To which I had no idea what I had done. He finally had me pull over into a bus pick-up to pull out some diagrams of the road. My problem is mostly that in order to pass the test, there is a very specific order in which I must perform a turn - showing visibly that i have looked in the rearview & side mirrors BEFORE turning on my signal, then very clearly demonstrating my Schulterblick, which may or may not need to include both shoulders depending on the structure of the intersection. An extra Schulterblick is viewed as wasteful, though, and should not be done since other drivers would not be expecting me to pause for this unnecessary step. There is a general understanding here that if everyone knows and follows the rules correctly, then everything will work smoothly and efficiently.
[Also, it is incomprehensible that one could safely turn right on red in the States. That is SO DANGEROUS!]
By the end of the city lesson which lasted 2 hours, between remembering the rules and trying to communicate in German, my brain was wiped out. And then as I became more cautious, I was also told "Joanna, don't be FEARFUL when you drive. Why are you fearful?" So there's that too. 😂
Now I must go. Jackson & I are walking to the store to pick out all of his school supplies for next year, along with a stop at the library for more books and maybe a coffee or croissant. We hope to travel as much as possible during the month of August while school is out, so we're getting a head start on preparing for back to school in a few weeks.