Sunday, May 26, 2019

Winter in May !?

I made this illustration a couple of months ago. Spring came early here in Düsseldorf. It was warm and t-shirt weather already in February-March. Trees were blossoming and everything going from brown to green. But May has been a very cold month and we have been using down-jackets and gloves again and Summer feels far away. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

German progress

I thought I would do an update how my German is coming along. My dream is to read this in a couple of years when I will be pretty fluent in German and smile at this update.
I started my German course week 7 this year and it is organized by Internationella skolorna Düsseldorf which is a language institute and a foundation connected to Folkuniversitet in Sweden. Basically Swedes can move down and learn German language and culture here in Düsseldorf for free and German students can apply and learn Swedish - basically it´s a cooperation between the two countries. The school is located very central in Düsseldorf on Berliner Allee on walking distance from Könings Allee and Altstadt.

I am studying German for beginners, A1+ and A2+. I studied French in school so I have no experience more then that I have been to a lot of horse shows in Germany and can say my names is and I live in.... My German studies are full time which means minimum 4 hours tuition each day and a lot of interesting excursions. I said when I applied that I will not manage to go to school everyday because I am working on other things and also want to make sure I get chance to go to the gym at least a couple of days per week. It was ok to start the course even I could not commit full time every week if i tried to keep up and study at home also.
If I look back I have learned so much in these 14 weeks and I am proud of that, even though I have a lot still to learn of course to be fluent and at times I feel frustrated that I can not say what I want to say... It is funny learning new languages two step forward and then one step back.
We have three great teachers which are native speakers which has a lot of experience and they are good at different things. Nadia has a lot of experience of teaching beginning German and she is using great methods such as listening to songs and read, understand and sing the lyrics of the song. Also she figured out we like art and so she has not only taught German but also a lot about art history and art styles. Nadia is the teacher whom I have learned the most from and I love her pictures she has painted instead of following the book. Haike is younger and she likes a lot of structure and grammar. She speaks Swedish so she can help with the Swedish German connection. Jürgen is an old hippie who has showed us around Düsseldorf and also taught us "real" German as you would hear it on the street and not in the schoolbook.
So What have I learn - well yes I can order in a restaurant. I can communicate with four year old kids in kindergarten ( well I understand most and can pretty bad reply but at least I am trying and testng...) Filip´s teacher gave me an applause one morning for saying what I wanted to say in German and that I keep thinking about when I am having a less good day..
Here some of my work in school:

And these are my great classmates also from Sweden, Sebastian and Rose-Marie

And this is "Kö" Könings Allee - my very nice walk to school from U-bahn 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Easter in Wittlaer

Easter has been and gone long time ago, but anyways I thought I will write a few words about our Easter 2019 here in Wittlaer, Düssledorf. Actually it was our second Easter here. It was Easter time 2018 when me, the kids and my dad came down first time to Düsseldorf to see our new neighborhood and house which Loren had picked and already lived in part-time for a couple of months. He was nervous that we would not like it and I was nervous that we would not like it. The house was pretty empty because our furniture moved from Sweden during the summer but anyways we got a good feeling and felt positive that the move to Düsseldorf will be a good move.

A year later and we feel like this is our home and know our ways around.
Easter 2019 was summer warm - 25 degrees and sunny
A childhood friend of mine and her son came to visit us. Anything special you want to do or see I asked and she said " Enjoy the city feeling and see tall buildings" And so first day we went with U-bahn into citycenter of Düsseldorf. We walked along the Rhein in the hot weather and had beer and lunch in the restaurants right by the river. We walked past Schlossturm it is the last remaining part of the City Palace which burned down in 1882 and an important building in Düsseldorf and today home for a maritime museum. My friends son really wanted to visit the museum and as we had not same interest we said no not right now, probably he will remember the museum he never got to visit forever. Instead of museum we tried ice-cream at a very popular ice-cream place in the city before we headed home and instead of city enjoyed the nature close to us.

I love the little stream down by Einbrunger Mühle (mill) It is so mysterious and calming with the little walking path next to it. It is something about the small stream which slowly flows through the green forest and eventually will join the river Rhein where the water flows fast and far. Kids was throwing sticks in the water and followed them flowing down the stream. And of course they wanted to feel the water and ended up with socks and shoes in the water.

In the evening Mila came to the great idea that we should have snacks and drinks and watch the sunset on our balcony. I have to admit we don't use the balcony very often because we have the garden but this was a very good idea and hoping to repeat it this summer.

The following day was also very nice and warm and we decided to have a bike-ride and to show Kaiserwerth and the beach on the river Rhein. The sun was very strong and warm that I had to go and sit in the shade for a bit and kids had to test the temperature in the water.

The Easter rabbit had hidden Easter eggs while we were gone and kids were happy although a bit  suspicious that it was us and not a rabbit leaving the eggs. Mila was anyways happy it was traditional Swedish Easter eggs ( eggs you can open and fill with sweets) as she had been a bit worried it would be chocolate eggs which she doesn't like. So all happy and quite sitting on the stairs having sweets.

For dinner we prepared a pretty traditional Swedish Easter dinner with herring, eggs and meatballs etc. But added Asparagus and Hollandais saus which is in season now in Germany. 

On the Sunday we got invited to friends in Rittergut Kaldenberg (an old manor here in Wittlaer dated back to 1437 which has been converted into apartments) to go on a egg hunt and Easter breakfast together in the garden. A very nice initiative and the magic of being an expat is that we can create new traditions together with other internationals when we are far away from our home-countries, families and traditions we have there. A mix of flavors from many different cultures and countries and from the the country we live in. I am very grateful for this adventure which we are having here in Düsseldorf. 

We waved bye bye to our friends and hoping they want to come and see us soon again.