Kindergeld : My 3- year old’s basic income in Germany

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A Third Culture Kid enjoying the cold Autumn walks

It has been revealed by Internations, and there’s no denying that Germany is probably one of the best place on earth to raise a family. I am a first- time parent and raising my child in a culture totally different from where I grew up with, has been the focal point of our expat move. Of course I know that all parents ,in general, desires the best for their child, and this is the reason why I wanted to share my personal experience why despite of the crazy weather and difficulty to learn the language, I think Germany is a better place to raise a kid and be a child!

 

You might be surprised, having a child is Germany seems more of a blessing, an enjoyable reason to defray the nonchalant first-world country problems that weighs every family on a daily basis. With its excellent health benefits and support to parents, both financially & socially, raising a child here can be rewarding!

Raising an Expat child, which has windows to multiculturalism or rather, raising a  Third Culture-Kid child in Germany is a privilege . Aside from the extensive leisure activities, safe environment, a more play-based educational system in the early years, every child has their own allowance up until they reached the age of 18.

My three-year old daughter has a monthly income of 192 Euros that goes to our German  bank account paid by the German government. So simple as it sounds and yet so generous. When we came to live here in Germany and heard about this, we are extremely happy. Happy in a way that as parents, we all know that every single Euro matters when you are raising a child. Kindergeld is a great help to our family budget.It is granted as a tax refund, primarily to meet the constitutional rule that income is untaxable up to a child’s subsistence level.I am not talking about the amount itself, but as an expatriate parent like me, this amount is really something tangible, with this I can feel that the government “cares” about my child, and to every single child living here.

I am sure that I’m not the only one who is grateful for this. Although it seems to me that this country is an advocate of  “Ordnung“( or order) and everything seems to be ruled by rules, I see that hard work really pays off. All taxpaying expatriate residents of Germany are, like Germans, entitled to Kindergeld if they have children. Also called as” Child Benefit“,  the German government give all families, expats included, to help defray some of the cost of raising children. It can run from €190 to €221 per child per month, and is usually made by a fund transfer into a German bank account. We all know that raising a child is expensive. From diapers to milk, Kindergarten expenses and other essentials, plus the never-ending cycle of buying toys!

Just about any taxpayer living in Germany with children can get the Kindergeld, whether employed, self-employed or independent. You get it as a rule that until the children turn 18, though it can continue until they are 25 if they are still in school or meet other requirements for an extension.

This amount also varies depending on where region in Germany you are living.

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Kindergeld amount 2017 (standard amount):

Child benefit for the first child: 192 Euros per month
Child benefit for the second child: 192 Euros per month
Child benefit for the third child: 198 Euros per month
Child benefit from the fourth child: 223 Euros per month
The child benefit amount will be increased by 2 euros per child compared to the end of 2016 for 2017.

If you are a parent and planning to move to Germany or living here and about to have a baby, then this is good news for you! If you’re interested to know more about this, you can check it Here.  I will share to you the steps we took for us to avail of this benefit. It was easy, smooth and practical in all sense. The child benefit application must be submitted in writing and signed. Note that all the forms will be in German . Applications may also be submitted by an authorized representative, who must submit a written power of attorney (for example by members of the tax-consulting professions). An oral application, for example by telephone, is not possible

Official details in English are given Here.

Here’s how to apply :

  1. Anmeldung ( Application) – Open to all family members. This is to prove that the family is living in Germany.
  2. Birth Certificate : translations of them if they are not in English / German. If child is born in Germany, a birth certificate is issued separately to apply for Kindergeld, which should be attached in original. We translated my daughter’s Arabic birth certificate into Dutch & German languages because her nationality is Dutch. We also brought along  the originals with the attestations showing it was legalized both from the German embassy in Kuwait and the Netherlands embassy there.
  3. Your passport
  4. Forms to fill up are listed Here.
    • Haushaltbescheinigung (KG3a) – A proof with your address (This has to be certified as per procedure below)
    • Tax identification Number ( both parents & child)
    • German Bank account ( where the transfer will be made)

Procedure:

  1. Fill in following Forms:
  2. Take the Haushaltbescheinigung, and your passport to your local KVR/Rathaus (The place where did you registration/anmeldung)
    • Officer will verify the form and  pay the applicable fee. You will be issued stamped Haushaltbescheinigung.
  3. Put in the envelope:
    • Stamped Haushaltbescheinigung 
    • Antrag auf Kindergeld (filled in)
    • Birth certificate
    • Residence permit copy (Aufenhaltstitel)
  4. Post it to the office of Familienkasse belonging to the city you live in !

That’s it. You will now get your Kindergeld in 3-4 weeks. Keep the letters from Finanzamt safely for future references.

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Can’t make up her mind: Aspiring to become a Doctor today, tomorrow a Gardener, and next week will be a Veterinarian!

More than the benefit itself, I am really grateful that my child is growing up in a place where the family oriented lifestyle is very high.When I am writing this post, I am not actually surprised that Germany is considered a great place to raise a child and live abroad. Generally speaking, Germany is an economically strong nation, it’s a hard-working nation, and it’s a nation where the people feel a strong pride in their country. Right from the beginning, from childhood, they feel important !

Back in my home country, we don’t have such things as  child benefit. You as a parent is responsible to allot savings for your child. I grew up in a culture where there is an endless pressure on “getting rich” to be able to afford everything, seeing money as an achievement or a social standing. As a child, I don’t have such as this “benefit“. I have other siblings who, along with me, strive for all our needs to be met along with all other basic necessities.I saw both the joys and misery of raising multiple kids and I realize the effect of poverty and the support from government, or the lack of it. Families with more children  struggles to meet both ends.I think that beyond the cost, it is also the reason of advocating Family planning.

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My Third Culture Kid

Kindergeld is a form of love. There’s so much love for children here in Germany that I cannot sum up in this post. I will try to write more in my next post about this. Anyhow, top it all, let us not forget that having a child, and children are special gift. With toddler tantrums and all their screaming, Yes, they all deserved to be raised in the best way that we can give to them.

 

Have you ever had a “child allowance”when you were a child?

How did it make you feel?

 

 

 

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Rounded |A State of a Change

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Neatly piled round logs covered in snow.

When I looked at this photo, I can’t help but to wonder what’s the compatibility relationship of Fire (Hou in Chinese)  and Wood (Mu in Chinese) , being two of the most dominant elements. In most cases, as much as they appear to be, they are complementing each other.Wood, when consumed turns into Fire, but if you add Water ( Shui in Chinese), the liquid form of snow, then a breakdown happens. If you think of it, the Chinese Zodiac elements is a worthwhile subject to ponder, it is the basic of everything. The Five Movements, Five Phrases, Five Steps or Five States of Change embodies the changes we see every single day. Take for example , the seasons.

If you see them in your neighborhood, you know what these pile of logs means. The cold winter is coming so stacking up piles of logs for indoor fireplace is as adamant as shaking the dust from your well-kept winter wardrobe. It denotes the upcoming change that is bound to happen. It makes sense actually, before winter, there’s Fall. Autumn is the time where most trees loses its leaves, making it barren and almost dormant for any growth. It is the time to prune the trees and its branches. Some goes to better use, but the latter ends up as firewood. The word “Firewood” itself denotes a combined effort to make a state of change : Fire.

I took this photo from our holiday in Austria. As we walked through the bend, beside an almost frozen river, gazing towards the majestic Alps, I saw this cottage, with pile of rounded logs on its side. It is totally covered in snow. I thought ; why they aren’t covered properly? The spaces between the rounded logs creates a channel for the snow , making it like a mosaic. When I see something like this, of course, it calls for a good photography subject. One move of log from the middle could signal a change of order from top to bottom.

But then, who cares about the arrangement? They are all going to a common destiny : to be used as a firewood to create heat.

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Preparing for Winter : Round logs neatly piled

Even in the most common sightings, a state of change is evident. Maybe its pretty ordinary for you , but hey, I found some insights from this.

Have you learned an insight lately?

This post is inspired by this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge |Rounded

Auf Wiedersehen October, An hour of melancholy

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An hour of Melancholy : Spider webs like labyrinth of jewels

Hello November, but first, let me say my final Adieu to October.

I took a walk yesterday, the last day of October, and it was a fine, cold, grey day.Nothing special about it,  except that we have a long weekend here in Bavaria, so overall, we are just chilling out. All of us in the family are feeling sick, but still, we are fine. It’s Halloween time in almost half of the world, but I noticed that Germans are not so fond of this. Kinder Halloween parties are held in a music club bar where children clad in their costumes danced in the funky lights, grooving to the disco lights, and loud music. I must admit, a threat for eager parents like me as well. My Little one, dressed as a funky skeleton, with a complete face painting done by yours truly was cheerfully emancipated as she partied with other kids. Trick or treating is another melancholic dream, well at least here in Bavaria, it’s a ghost, not as fancy as I have seen in Philippines. I was surprised that although they love pumpkins,  it is best with pumpkin soup ( which I actually made for dinner last night !) and pies , the groovy jack-o-lanterns cheers up the lonely balconies outside , which is a picture of  deafening silence.

I think its detrimental to even ring the bell of a house where all the roller shutters ( or Rolladen in Deutsch) are  firmly shut!

Snapping some photos from my camera, and briskly walking on the carpet of fallen leaves,  here’s what I’ve written to my thought journal ;

October, the only time where I see spider webs as something fascinating. Probably the best time to see spiders webs looking great, beaded with the moisture of the morning dew or mist. Take note, no two spiders webs look exactly the same. I didn’t know about this before, but then, it’s good to know, right?

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My own Autumn melancholy

Walking into the woods surrounded with  colorful palette of autumn leaves may look dreamy and looks magical to others, it really looks beautiful , I cannot deny it. But after a while, this postcard of natural beauty becomes a fleeting moment. At the back of your mind, you know that the dreary cold winter still need to surpass, and I need to endure the cold. I am not so fond of winter that is why I’m saying this. After the ravaging winds we have from three days ago, which ripped off all the surviving leaves from its branches, now everything else is bare and grey. At least for enthusiastic Germans who runs everyday, the colorful foliage provides a great scenery, sort of.

But then, every leaf fallen to the ground and muddled up in the wet puddle only knows its own misery——-and melancholy.

The truth is , I could expect no more from this sight. It is enough. For me, everyday it gets even more ordinary. Maybe only by a pure accident of organic chemistry, leaves are reborn, as they start to die, in an astonishing range of colours that puts their spring birth to shame. We all know the look of  decay. This is the winding-down of everything, slowly towards death. Yet , for those who took time to have deeper insights about autumn, you know that the beginning of the end doesn’t feel like decay, at least on the surface, it doesn’t feel like a crumbling and a decomposing and a collapse from within; it feels like the arrival of a world of new feelings. At first, the sound of dried fallen leaves against a kick, that crisp sound it makes that creates a jolt of excitement is almost the same melancholic exercise from my muscles as I rake down the dried , stubborn , fallen leaves in the lawn  for hours.

That’s the other side of melancholy. How do you appreciate the beauty of a mess?

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Slowly drifting …

If we look closely, in the autumn foliage we can see our own mortality: a beauty with a sadness never far away. It’s the time where sadness creeps slowly, camouflaged in quiet, calmed emotions, basked in agony of anticipating the end of the cold months. Soon, the season to rest and reflect will pass. Like a long passage to cross. But there’s nothing beat the picturesque beauty of blooming colors of spring whilst in Autumn, the beauty comes from an inner understanding of the cycle of life.

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Wildlife watching in Autumn

Where everything looks hazy, the mystery beyond the mist is yet to be uncovered.

And then again, there is the mist, arriving uninviting. To me, autumn mist is something you smell before you see it; it’s the initial hint of the blow of the air as I leave the house in the morning, the first gush of wind which kissed my cheeks as I hop on my bike, slowly  creeping into my nostrils, and the realization from my inner  tissues tells me  that summer is  finally over and the world is turning.

Every morning, I notice that the sunshine is hazy.  I’ve moved all my plants to the biggest window in the house where they can received as much sun that they need to thrive on the coming winter months. It’s a joy to see them gathered together, as if they need each other to survive the gloom. I’ve picked my last  stem of roses from this year, pruning of stems will follow later. I’ve sensed it as early as the last week of August, the end of BBQ season and lounging in Biergartens has come to an end,  the gloomy sight of empty playgrounds, and steaming rivers becomes a panoramic dream right now.

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Auf Wiedersehen October !

This is my thoughts from my One hour of melancholyAuf Wiedersehen October! 

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read , my friends. If you enjoy this post, please feel free to leave your thoughts, I would love to read them as well.

So tell me, are your moods also affected by the weather?

Do you also experience this so-called “melancholic” thoughts when winter is coming?

 

Cheers to November and wishing you all a lovely week ahead!

Tschüss!

Related readings :

The Beauty of Autumn in Germany

 

 

The joy of life with plants

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My overwhelming pot of Oxalis Triangularis

 

” A life with plants is vibrant and full of joy “…

I go by these words nowadays.This is the reason why I respect the social media that I am engaged into right now especially the platforms that I am sharing this Blog and my artworks as a self-taught artist. Instagram , for example  have made me  discover the beautiful side of loving plants.Talented photographers, gardeners, home makers and all these crazy plant people have created a whole new definition of indoor gardening .You think it’s just a new trend,  I tend to disagree, for me it has become a lifestyle. The kind of inspiration that I love. If you love nature overall ,  I guess its very difficult to not appreciate the primitive and raw forms of life that surrounds us— plants! Come to think of it, when people wants to feel better, or release some tension, they go to nature.  I live in a very green city, I have an access to green parks and forest within 5 minutes away from my doorstep. I always visit parks with beautiful landscapes, with blooming flowers and plants, or simply taking a walk into green forests to have a quiet time and nature always do me good. I am so thankful that my new home now, Bavaria, is an oasis of nature. It is no wonder I wrote many things about nature here.

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Oxalis Triangularis

It’s a natural stigma, like an old adage. Even from the beginning, people gravitate to something that make them feel good, an addiction in a good way. Studies shows the many health benefits of simply getting your hands dirty by gardening. Its one proven way to release chemicals Dopamine and Serotonin. It’s not just for old people. Now I understand the joy we had while “Strawberry picking” last Summer or just by drooling over the new sprout of leaves from my plants.

It’s like seeing the eyes of my daughter when she smiles— its beautiful!

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Little tiny friend : Dypsis Lutescens (gold fruit Palm)
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Plants can make an empty corner looks alive

This post is very personal to me since this is the story of how I find an outlet of happiness by “nurturing” plants. I have shared to you how I’ve felt when I sold my first painting. It’s a moment of  pure joy, a newfound purpose. When I have “revived”a dying plant,  something left with only few leaves, but then grows back and bloom, the feeling is the same. My journey as a crazy plant lady started with a small pot of Chrysanthemums I placed in the garden, plants some stem cuttings of Jade plants ( I didn’t even know how to grow them, I just tried my luck!)  followed by few succulents and cactus, then the addiction began. There can never be enough. I am always on the look out of houseplants that are both beneficial and gives aesthetic boost to my home. With this, I involved my husband and my daughter. They know how crazy I am with plants because they know plants make me happy. Here in Germany, where the level of self-wellness is very high, it becomes a second nature now for me to create a lifestyle for a better quality of life.

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Sustainable Life : Plants and Painting goes well

Just like parenting, plant nurturing is a journey of self-discovery of how much love you are willing to give. It’s way more than just watering them. You’ve got to feel your plants, getting to know them, and watching over them like a mother. I am a first time mother and nurturing is something that I am continuously learning up until now. Being an Expat-mama where I don’t have the luxury of  having my immediate relatives for support have forced me to discover myself through the ups and downs of motherhood. It was not easy, there were sad days and tears were shed, especially when my daughter is sick or facing developmental delays. But there were also tears of joy, a sense of being needed, of being loved-back in return. It’s priceless. I know many mothers & parents can relate to this feeling.

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Plant envy : Pilea Piperomioides

Plants have helped me in the process of learning how to nourish  a life entrusted to your hands—and let yourself be nurtured in return. This an important part of fostering a strong, secure sustainability practice or else you will just waste money. Plants are no cheap and requires maintenance just like having a pet. It’s a beautiful purpose in life. I’ve lived in 4 different apartments in the last years and every time I build a new “home” for myself. Each one is a different surrounding and Expat life is like camping. A modern-day nomad.  When you are new to a foreign place, or unsure where you are going in life, I find ways to fully integrate as much as possible. This is the reason why I always try to find beauty here in Bavaria. I focus on the positive side and making this place feels like home. Being a crazy plant mama helps me refocus my energy on staying grateful, abundance, presence, and manage my stress accordingly. My plants have help me “set my roots” here in Germany.My plants have taught me how to become a better person! And they remind me that my actions have a significant effect on them. I don’t think that I can make a single plant alive if I am neglectful. Having houseplants requires responsibility.

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Green is the new Black for Green Interiors

Just like Painting, colors, shades of paint and the medium that I use allow me to embrace every shape and form to create an art composition. I’ve become fascinated with plants and colors that I usually see in my surroundings. Germans are good home makers. I love the way they make their gardens and decorate their balconies with houseplants. From large curtain-less windows, I got a chance to sneak peek on their huge planters, with cascading plants all over. There’s something about the way a place looks so peaceful and cozy when it’s adorned with plants. I noticed that Germans also love fresh flowers.They have different plants and flowers for each season and one of the things I love about visiting the Fresh market is the fresh blooms in display! And speaking of Bavaria, here, almost, or at least from what I see, no matter how tiny your  apartment is, there is always a pot of plant or flower in it.

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Bringing the tropical feel with Ferns

 

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I love the way the sunshine flooded our living room 

I’m telling you, my biggest expenditures lately are my Plants and painting materials. The two important things that gravitates me to living a less-stress life.Living with plants in every room of our apartment  have become a new natural for me in a short period of time. Some have stayed, and some have had to go, but the best part overall is seeing a growth happening, right before my eyes. I killed many of them , I was sad, disappointed at my self and blamed my “overwatering” nature. I am no expert, nor a green thumb. I just experiment, follow the rhythm of nature, researching about how to care for each type of plant, and this actually works for me to keep them alive, and especially —thriving.

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Alocasia’s charm

My daily routine includes tending to  my plants, as I tend to my love ones, feeding them & nurturing them. I am grateful every time  I roll down the roller shutters from our living room to let the sun floods the entire house, giving the golden sunshine to my plants.Through the days, I dream of  new ways to grow green life indoors and cultivating new plant sprouts. I clean the house surrounded by pots of  Jade plants, ferns, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (  or lucky feather),Monstera deliciosa, and Alocasia. I prepare meals for my family in the view of my stunning Oxalis Triangularis, and Snake plant ( Mother-in Law tongue plant) . We share sumptuous meals as a family in the dining area with my Lily ( my Fiddle leaf fig tree) , Calatheas, and spider plant. In our garden, I plant herbs, and grow tomatoes, leeks, rosemary, basil and paprika from leftover veggies. Plants bring beauty into our lives and illuminate for us just what that kind of beauty can do to change the texture of our days and reconnect us to the cycles of the moon and stars and sun. If you are searching to live a more meaningful life, search for more beauty. Stop the negativity. And that begins, as all life does, with plants.

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The number one houseplant : Ficus Lyrata ( Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree plant)

I read in one article that house plants reflect how you feel as a person because they are completely dependent on you. You can tell by the state of your houseplants whether you feel good about yourself or not.

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Monstera Deliciosa 

Plant addiction or not, it really doesn’t matter. If you love what you do and you have joy in your life with whatever you fill it with—-it’s your choice. All addiction pathways are the same no matter what the chemical.

As long as you feel rewarded you reinforce the behavior to get the reward.”

So in other words it all comes down to the fact that we can’t change our craving nature but we CAN change the nature of what we crave.

What do you crave for in life?

I am curious to know, what is your channel of happiness at this moment?

Do you also love plants? How was your experience?

Please feel free to share your opinion of this post and if you are thinking of starting an indoor garden for yourself, you might want to check out what I’ve written on Houseplants that I actually didn’t kill.

Thank you once again for reading my friends. A long weekend is coming up over here in Germany and I am already busy thinking how to spend those days! Can’t imagine that within a month, I’m going back to school and start a whole new routine! Until next time.

 

Tschüss!

Made in Germany, Ordinary yet ingenious!

As a normal consumer, I am always keen on checking where does a certain product is made from or manufactured. Who doesn’t like good quality? Back then at my work  as a Quality Controller and in-charge of the Laboratory, my Boss would always tell our visitors that our Lab is being assessed by a German Lab. It may sound as a cliché but then it always brings the thumbs up.No further explanations needed.

There is something about things that are labelled with “Made in Germany” , or designed and of German origin. It is recognized worldwide as a label of highest standards, value and quality. And talking about German efficiency, It sounds right, and sells right. As an Expat here I value these things very much. I came from a third world country and the mention of “European made, or made in Germany”always gives me an assurance that its a great product. This is my personal opinion.

The other day, me and my sister were talking online when she shared to me that one of their sub- contractors  is Viega Deutschland (Viega Press Systems). She asked me if I knew of their products since they mentioned that they are made from Germany .The moment they knew that its German-made, they have greater faith.

I have been living here in Bavaria for over a year now, and I am telling you, living with German efficiency has a tremendous impact in my life. Germany’s famous stereotype things are way more than their Beer, Cars and Sausages. Yes, the world-famous Oktoberfest (Beer Festival) is one big magnet from Munich, but have you ever wondered what other ORDINARY things you are using everyday,  that actually originates from Germany?

or invented by Germans or Americans of German origin?

I was totally amazed that there are so many things which I discovered to be authentic German inventions. Keep on reading , you might realize that  these are quite ordinary, so common, and that we can’t live without these things anymore.

Made in Germany, Ordinary yet Ingenious!

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Frohe Ostern !

EASTER BUNNY (or Osterhase)

The Easter Bunny, at least as we know it today, first appeared in 16th century writings in Germany. In the 1700s, Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) settlers brought the tradition of the Easter Bunny with them to the new world. Their children believed that if they were good, the Easter bunny would come and lay eggs and treats into nests the children made out of upturned hats and bonnets!

PAPER SIZES

Yes,  the Envelops, office paper, printers, notebooks, filling cabinets,  they are all made in Germany (or at least their size has been established in Germany).

If you are familiar with ISO, EN, and other Quality Standards, I am sure you know DIN. The DIN is the acronym for “Deutsches Institut für Normung”, which is the German national institution for standardization (=ISO). The DIN created the DIN standard that specifies the paper size (DIN A3, DIN A4, DIN A5, etc.) that is used all over the world, with the exception of US and Canada.

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Adidas : The shoes with Three lines

ADIDAS AND PUMA

Even if you are not a sneaker fan or into sports, I am sure these top of the line brand of sneakers always rings a bell. You know that when you got Adidas or Puma shoes under your feet, you feel great. Adidas (the shoes with the three stripes) is the second largest sportswear manufacturer worldwide and was named after its founder, Adolf (Adi) Dassler. Adolf started producing shoes in the 1920s in Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg with the help of his brother Rudolf, who later formed the rival shoe company Puma.

Do you own a pair? What’s your favorite design?

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Proudly German-made : Staedtler pencils , Tradition breeds Innovation

 

STAEDTLER

I have been using this brand of drawing and writing materials from mechanical pencils to technical pens for years! With HQ in Nuremberg,Germany, Staedtler Mars GmbH & Co. KG is a German fine writing instrument company and a manufacturer and supplier of writing, artist, and engineering drawing instruments. The firm was founded by J.S. Staedtler in 1835 and produces a large variety of writing instruments, including drafting pencils, propelling pencils, professional pens and standard wooden pencils.

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Perfected by Germans : Automobile safety

 

AIRBAG

I live in the city where the HQ of Audi is located. Audi is the big thing here in Bavaria and of world-renowned top of the line car. Germans are crazy (in a good way) about their Autos, and cars are a big deal here. I understand why Germany is on top when it comes to cars. Name it, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche to name a few. German car makers make a very good reputation worldwide. But safety is also something that goes with German-made brand, the AIRBAG.

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German pride : Automobiles

Originated in Germany and the first time in 1981 as optional equipment for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the airbag has now become standard. We all know that it has been helping to save lives ever since.

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ASPIRIN : Developed in Germany, and even taken to space!

ASPIRIN

Have you ever had a headache? Everybody does and so this medication is known worldwide.In 1897, the company Bayer developed the first pain remedy with minimal side effects. Aspirin is one of the world’s most-favored medications for pain, fever and inflammation. About 12,000 of the 50,000 tons of Aspirin produced annually still come from Bayer. Aspirin was even taken on the first moon landing in 1969: there was a box of the effective pain-killer on board when Neil Armstrong flew in the Apollo 11.

BACTERIOLOGY

A total milestone in the micro world! When livestock was stricken by a dangerous disease throughout Europe in 1870, Robert Koch discovered that bacteria were the cause of the disease. He was also able to isolate the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. With these discoveries, Koch founded a new branch of science: Bacteriology.

Gutenberg Printing Press

BOOK PRINTING

Johannes Gutenberg was a German craftsman and printer who invented the first printing press with movable type in 1450. This invention revolutionized printing, making it simpler and more affordable. Printed materials were made available to the masses for the first time in history.

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Your personal identity in one small chip card.

CHIP CARD

How many card/ID’s you have in your wallet which has a chip card on it? Today, everyday life is inconceivable without the chip card: SIM (phone card) , credit card, patient card – all important data are packaged neatly in plastic. Your whole personal identity in  one small chip. Even my Aufenhaltstitel ( my German residence card) has a chip!The chip card was developed by Jürgen Dethloff and Helmut Göttrup in 1969. In 1977, Dethloff applied for a patent for the microprocessor card, the so-called smart card, that can be freely programmed thus providing high functionality.

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The giant tree is 45 metres tall and is actually made of 1,700 smaller trees put together. The branches are decorated by 48,000 lights! The organisers of Dortmund’s Christmas market say the tree is the largest “real” Christmas tree in the world!

 

CHRISTMAS TREE (Tannenbaum)

Finland may claim Santa Claus but Christmas Tree came from Germany!

When I had my first German Christmas here last year, I was so curious and delighted even more of the magical tales of Christmas, especially White Christmas, with real snow and real Christmas tree. I never expected that Christmas tree tradition during Christmas originated in Germany. When I saw all the festivities in an authentic German Christkindlmarkt, and how Germans celebrate Christmas, I fell more in love with this tradition. A REAL tree glittering with shimmering lights in the snow is a dream come true.

In 1419, a Christmas tree was mentioned in a written document for the first time. This tree was decorated with candy and pastry and set up by bakers in Germany’s Southwest. The tradition to set up such a decorated tree at Christmas time spread throughout Germany and the whole world. Emigrants brought the Christmas tree to America, and in 1889 the first Christmas tree was set up in the White House.

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PREGNANCY TEST and the PILL

In 1928 two German gynecologists:  Selmar Aschheim and Bernhard Zondek created the first reliable pregnancy test in the history. All women dying to have a baby kisses this small pen-like invention once they found out they are pregnant!

On 1961 from Schering AG, With 50 micrograms of estrogen, Schering succeeded  in simulating a pregnancy in the female body. The market launch of the first pill in Germany had far-reaching consequences: sexual lust no longer needed to result in the blessing of children.

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CONTACT LENS

Do you wear one?Contact lenses were invented and made in 1887 by the German physiologist Adolf Eugen Fick. He first fitted animals with the lenses, and later made them for people. These lenses were made from heavy brown glass and were 18-21mm in diameter.

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FANTA

In Philippines, people are crazy about Coke, while in Kuwait, they only know Pepsi. But did you know that  the second largest brand of the Coca Cola Group originated in Germany in the early 40’s?  And this is not a rumor, the official site tells the story:

“During the World War II: Germany suffered from shortage of resources, including the ingredients used in the Coca Cola formula. The German factory however made the most of those difficult times and managed to create a new soft drink, made of the available ingredients during war. Once the drink was formulated, the factory organized a contest and invited the employees to look for a name for the new drink. And they found one: the new drink was “fantastisch” and “fantasievoll” (adjectives in German that mean fantastic and imaginative) and so the new drink was called Fanta.”
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The mother of all creams!

NIVEA

I love and  use this product for a long time up until now. It was another surprise to me knowing they are German-made! I literally grew up with this product. My mother loves this as well.

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The very first Nivea cream in tin can.

This round blue tin of creme can be found in  every beauty section of leading supermarkets worldwide. It’s a classic  skin care. However very few of us knew that it’s a German brand. Beiersdorf is Nivea’s parent company, which was funded in the 19th century in a chemistry shop in Hamburg. These days they still have their HQ in Hamburg.

Here’s a great brand history about this cream. It’s a worthwhile read!
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Gummy Bears from Germany

GUMMY BEAR ( Gummi bär)

This one is a lifesaver. I love Gummy Bears and my daughter is addicted to this. Here in Germany, they give this to children in the Doctor’s office, in the bakery, in the shops. When you live here in Germany, you will be surprised with the large aisle in the supermarkets allotted only for this product. So many types and flavors.

A sweet, colorful, tiny little bear in the palm of your hand. You pick it up to your mouth, and bite its little head off. The gummy bear. One of Germany’s most popular sweets was created in 1922 by Hans Riegel. He was born in Bonn, and opened a candy company called HARIBO, an acronym based on the letters of his name: HAns RIegel of BOnn. So next time your relatives asks for a souvenir from Germany, let them have a taste of this Gummy Bears!

Curious about how they manufacture Haribo Gummy bears? watch this!

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Blue Jeans history!

JEANS AND YOUR LEVI STRAUSS!

Everybody loves wearing Jeans, and when you are wearing blue , you are absolutely IN. Jeans are forever, but did you know that they are born out from a German mind?

Levi Strauss was trained as a tailor in Bavaria before joining the California gold rush. Here he ran into prospectors and miners who complained about easily torn pants. In 1873, Strauss patented his idea of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. The Levi’s Jeans were born.

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Little Big Steps of a Third Culture Kid in German Kindergarten.

 

KINDERGARTEN ( German Pre-School)

Friedrich Froebel was a German educational reformer who invented the kindergarten (“garden of children”). He opened the first kindergarten in 1837 to protect children from misery at the beginning of industrialization. His kindergartens included pleasant surroundings, self-motivated activity, play, music, and the physical training of the child.

Here in Germany, we call this “Kita” and my daughter started recently in one of the local Kita in our neighborhood. Contrary to the American based system , here, Kindergarten kids are on “Play Based”  system of learning and academics are not introduced up until the age of 6.

 TOOTHPASTE

The person responsible for healthy teeth is the pharmacist Ottomar von Mayenburg. He experimented in 1907 with tooth powder, mouthwash and ethereal oils. What he came up with was a toothpaste he named Chlorodont. With a little peppermint added for good taste, he filled the paste directly into pliable metal tubes. And we’ve been brushing our teeth regularly after breakfast and before bedtime ever since.

TWIN ELEVATORS

Wherever in the world, New York, Singapore or Middle East, without safe elevator systems, the skyline of many metropolises would look different today. The TWIN elevator developed by ThyssenKrupp in 2002 represents a milestone in the history of elevator technology. The new system has two cabins in each shaft, arranged one on the top of the other, which can move to the individual floors independent of one another using the same guide rails.

 I am running out of time and I don’t want this post to be a novel , I’m afraid its gone quite long .These things are all ordinary but come to think of it, what would be our lives today without them?

Bonus info: Other things such as the  mayonnaise, Helicopter, motorcycle,MP3 format,refrigerator,Ritter Sport Chocolate,Steinway piano, tape recorder,telephone,television,Theory of Relativity (by Albert Einstein), Thermos flask, X-ray, Hugo Boss, Escada, Faber-Castell (from Bavaria),  and the Scanner (Klitschograph).All these are genuine “MADE IN GERMANY” Contributions to the world!

More clever things you didn’t know but of  German inventions are listed Here.

Thank you for reading my friends! Hope this helps you know more about the ordinary yet ingenious German contributions to the world! And if you are an Expat living in Germany, I am sure you live with these things, ingenously !

If you enjoyed this post, please don’t hesitate to leave some love and comments which one is your favorite! Until next time!

 

Tschüss!

 

The Blue Flock Art project

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Der Blauschäfer by Rainer Bonk ( Blaue Friedensherde )

I know the nursery rhyme ‘ Baba Black Sheep’ but Blue Sheep ???!!

While I was living in Kuwait, I knew Sheep because of Ramadan and Eid Al- Adha. If you must know, they are prime element of Islamic celebrations.I saw them from the same “Camel farms” I’ve visited and they don’t  normally “graze“in Kuwait city but they are being ushered to the animal market especially during the Muslim festivities of sheep ritual slaughtering.

But here in Germany I’ve seen something different.

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Blaue Schafe!

Why Blue?

Today we’ve seen a flock of ‘Blue Sheep ‘ grazing right in front of our Altes Rathaus ( or City town Hall ). Totally eye-catching and one-of a kind. In the middle of the square, there are approximately 150 pieces of Blue  sheep sculptures, erected as a symbolic art project which promotes mutual tolerance and peace.

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Someone is feeling ecstatic watching and counting all these Blue Sheep.

From the artistic minds of German artists Rainer Bonk and Bertamaria Reetz from the design series ‘Blue Sheep’, the Blue Flock Art Project  was first exhibited to public in Lido, Venice in 2009 as Germany’s contribution to the “OPEN 12” , an international sculpture and art exhibition. Since then, they continue to roam around all over Europe to promote their advocacy for peace , tolerance and equality. They normally “graze“in historical places, landmarks and iconic cities to create an artistic juxtaposition.

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Where Art and Culture meets

I live in Bavaria and our region is celebrating now the world-renowned Oktoberfest and the sight of overwhelming men in Lederhosen and lots of cleavage sight for women in Dirndls in beer tents downing mugs of beer has now been a  typical sight for me. But seeing these blue sheep for a change is really refreshing, especially for kids. You can imagine how delighted my daughter is when she saw the sheep, and she explained how many are they!

Why they are painted Blue?

They  come in bright Ultramarine Blue color, which is the color of the Earth, ocean and the sky. I recognized this color since I have these in my paints. Blue is a primary color, a powerful base of the color spectrum. It symbolizes peace, unity, freedom and space. It embodies all good moral aspects.

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Grazing in Bavaria !

What makes the Blue Sheep special?

Every blue sheep is  painted and crafted in the workshop for mentally disabled people  ( Duisburger Werkstatt für Menschen mit Behinderung GmbH) , SBK Gmbh in Cologne,Germany. If you are interested to get a collector’s item ,you can learn more about this project here.They have a special offer for schools and hotels.

 

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Blaue Schafe ( The Blue Sheep Art Project)

The Blue Flock of Peace Art Project have been to key places around Europe like Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Köln, Bozen, Dresden, Heilbronn,Dessau, Berlin, Hannover and Strasbourg among others.

 

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( Alles sind gleigh Jeder ist wichtig ) Ambassadors of Peace, Tolerance and Equality

I must say that my Wandertag with my daughter today has been a fascinating one. It’s definitely Fall here now in Germany and I am so looking forward to wander and discover nature’s best, its vibrant colors and festivities.

How about you, have you ever seen this type of sculpture?

Are you fond of sheep?

 

Big Little Steps : First days in Kita ( German Kindergarten)

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Her smile , its priceless!

Milestone Alert : My green Goblin 3-Year old daughter goes to the Kindergarten!

It’s been a while since I’ve written some personal updates about my daughter whom I’ve written a lot about here  in “Raising Natalie “. So I thought that after squeezing some quality time with my ever-beloved laptop which always reminds me of my Expat days in Kuwait since it has Arabic characters in the keyboard, I finally managed to put together this post to celebrate my daughter’s first days in Kita ( or  German Kindergarten). And yes, I called it celebration, because I think, starting in Kindergarten is a great milestone to celebrate just like a promotion or a raise. After all, it’s a signal for growth. Not only for your kids, but for parents as well! Finally, my Third Culture Kid goes to Kindergarten!

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Young, Wild and THREE!

So first, if you are a parent and your child goes to Kindergarten for the very first time, let me give you my warmest congratulations, and say “Well, done!”

I wanted to share our experience how did it go for us with my daughter starting her days in Kita here in Germany. I’ve written before how insane it is here to find a spot for our child to be admitted in the Kita. We literally waited for almost a year! Yes, A YEAR! With almost 10 schools we applied, only 1 responded. Sure thing, as a parent we all have our own preferences for which school we want our children to go, but here and on our case, it’s not just possible. You gotta take what’s given to you. The competition is so tight that you just put your hopes on luck! Anyway, we are grateful for the slot that has been given to us by the local ministry which takes care of these things. It is just in time for my daughter to be readily accepted since she just turned 3 years old last August and her school starts this September.

We ‘re all excited for her! Few weeks before she start, we always talked about Kita to her so she gets familiar with it. When we had our meeting with her teachers, we were asked to prepare the things that she needed like Regenkleidung ( rain clothes) like Matschosen, (which is really a German thing!) a raincoat,rain boots, hat, gym shoes, house shoes and extra pair of clothes(seasonal) just in case she make herself wet or dirty. We brought her some extra diapers just in case, toothpaste, tooth-brush, and her own File folder with her personal identification and a family photo.

Here in Germany, the education system is totally different from where I grew up, or from Kuwait, or in the Netherlands. Here, German focused more on children’s early development through free play, totally opposite from the American system where there is a stress on learning the academics at the very young age! Here, in simple layman’s terms: Kita is a place to play and learn things through play. Social skills are polished by  stimulating the child’s development through unstructured modules. They learn things naturally and reading comes later. I never see any alphabet or numbers on the walls. I remember that in Philippines, Kindergarten & pre-schoolers are taught to read and write, paint, count and so forth and there is a reward system. Like if you behave well or achieve something remarkable for a certain activity, there is always the recognition. Remember the stars on the hand? Over here in Deutschland, those things are not the norm. I think I am the only one whose teaching my daughter to write and count!

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Ich bin Krankenschwester! ( I am a nurse!)

When her teacher saw that my daughter reads the writings on the bulletin board and the names in their coat racks, she was really surprised! To top it off, I already announced to the teacher that my daughter is the only one who just can’t sit. She is so restless that she always wants to be on the go, running, playing and hyperactive. They saw it on the very first day. I haven’t even had the chance to say a proper goodbye because she already run into the playground and her teacher is running after her! We start with her staying in the Kita from 8 am to 11 am for the first 2-3 days, then gradually increase the times she spent there up to 2pm. On the first day, they asked me to leave after 1 hour and stand by phone to wait for any updates. Around 11 am, I picked up my daughter and felt relieved that she was playing by herself, cried a few times but they were able to calm her. I can see signs that she is ready for Kindergarten but the  challenge of Separation and Hunger are two big things she is overcoming slowly, at her own pace.

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Reading books is one way to make her calm.

My daughter is very social and yet uncontrollable especially when she is too absorbed with playing. She’s the explorer type so I know that the hardest part for the teachers to do is to tame her and make her listen. She has a lot of personality and her attitude stands out being the defiant. Oh yes, there were lots of crying, screaming, and defiance on these days and the worst thing is, she doesn’t like to eat or drink during Brotzeit (snack time) or even during lunch. She doesn’t like to be in their group, she refused to stay there in their room and prefer to be in the middle group where she spends her time pretend-playing, and obsessing about dressing up as a nurse and Doctor. By the end of the week, she caught her first virus , also maybe because we are having a terrible rainy-cold-crazy weather these days, so she got  severe colds and when I pick her up, she was already warm.

It was not an easy start  for us. In fact it gets bumpy at the end of the first week. Nevertheless, during the course of the  days up until today, I saw that she made some progress. I was happy today because when I opened her lunch box, only few pieces of cucumber are left, we are making real progress! She sat in the table with her classmates and began eating together.I know there are more challenges to come for her, like sitting in the potty and probably sleeping there, but I trust that my daughter will overcome all these in due time and finally adapt to her new routine.

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First Days in the Kindergarten

As for me, I don’t know about you or for other parents how did it go, but I really felt weird during the first day of my daughter in the Kita. Call me crazy, but I felt sad, disoriented ,and a bit out-of touch. I missed my daughter from the moment I left and my heart was crushed during the time I was going out to leave and  heard her crying. I asked myself if I am a terrible mother? I can’t imagine that my hyper-active kleine madchen(little girl) will be needing me less and less. Its a mixture of happiness for her growth and yet why all these weird feelings inside me!? The separation anxiety is real now!

When it comes to the familiarization phase, it is important to observe and regard the many signs that our children sends out. There is a possibility that children react at a delayed stage (even months later) to an unsuccessful adaptation.

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Big Little : First days in the Kindergarten

As the winds get chillier, and colder, signalling that Autumn is here and soon everything will be in full Autumn colors once again, my daughter is facing the new chapter of her life ; taking the Big Little Steps in the Kindergarten and we as parents, need to moved on as well. This Familiarisation period  ( or Eingewöhnung in Deutsch) might not be easy from the start but I know, soon she will feel secure, safe and comfortable in her new environment. I am relieved that though the teachers barely speaks English, still we found a way to communicate and understand about the matters of her settling-in the Kindergarten.

 

How  about you? How was your own experience when your child goes to Kindergarten for the first time? (If you have a child...)

What were the struggles you’ve met along the way?

 

 

 

 

 

Wild carrot | Structure

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Nature tripping: The structure of the wild carrot { Daucus carota)

Yes, you might have noticed that I am under the spell of Greens nowadays. I am loving all plants and thought that green is really the new Black! Here in Bavaria, the southern part of Germany, I have seen such an expanse of wild fields. From exotic plants to fine greens that all my Bavarian neighbors adorns their gardens and balconies to colorful blooms, especially in Springtime! One moment I am walking in the cobbled stone streets in the Old town where the stones speaks of hundreds of years in history and for a few minutes, I am lost in the middle of a wild fields full of greens and wild flowers. I find it rather luxurious to have the best of both worlds, seeing the urban developed structures, and the virgin, raw, and natural beauty of forests surrounding our city. Take for example this wild flower we’ve seen in a field full of bushes and wild summer flowers near to a playground.

In a typical place lies a nature wonder, a sweet surprise which goes unnoticed by hurries of life.

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Spiny fruit?

Taking a closer look at this flower, from the umbellifers ,from the family of Apiaceae , the Daucus dakota, or the wild carrot. This wild child is so striking, with its well-structured seeds covered in spikes and form into a ball while the umbels are still young. When they sprout, they have the same patterns.

The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath.
A solitary purple flower often occurs in the center of the umbel. After flowering they turn to seed and contract and become concave like a bird’s nest. The dried umbels can detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.

Did you know that the fruit are egg-shaped with seven ribs and hooked spines which will attach to animal hair.
Daucus carota is very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock but Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves and a root which is a slightly thickened tap-root that smells like carrots.

Amazing right? I never knew that wild flowers could be so interesting as this!

What about you, have you discovered anything about nature and its structure?Or what about the wonders of 2017 Germany’s flower of the Year?

Inspired by this week’s Daily Post’s Photo Challenge |Structure

The Streets of Nuremberg

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Wandering in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany

Isn’t it  good to be out and have a short trip once in a while? There’s something about getting lost in a new city. Wandering through the unknown alleys, skimpy streets , clueless, and  eager is a feeling that is familiar to all travelers, backpackers and curious wanderers. There is always the mixture of excitement and ardent anticipation to see what is beyond over there, maybe on the look for a surprise, or even wishing for your imaginations to be real. Can you relate?

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Let me share with you our wanderings in Nürnberg, the second largest city in Bavaria. Nuremberg is a 950-year-old city with romantic flair, drawing in heritage buffs, foodies and artistic souls alike and yes, a haven for the little ones as well.

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Street sightings, intricate details

We decided to skip the museums since my daughter will surely get bored in it and since its a nice weather, we opt for more outdoor activities. But walking through the streets of Nuremberg ( or Nürnberg as the locals referred to ) offers anyone a great kaleidoscope of history, arts, and charm. It is impossible not to stop and take a closer look because there is so much detail to ponder about, making me think what is it all about. For the record, Nuremberg was once one of the most important residences of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and has an almost completely intact city wall. The distinctive pink stone gives the city a fairy tale atmosphere.Its not everyday that I see a city with a palace on a hill, the Kaiserburg, or the Imperial Palace looms in the view the moment you start to wander in the Haupmarket,so that must be very distinctive.

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Local art gallery

Do you also find  it fascinating to follow the current of the river while sightseeing? I find it so relaxing to have a few moments of peace while admiring the Pegnitz river , and when I turn my head around, I see the rows of cafes, filled with chattering tourists, and the streets filled with clash of cultures. There are two bridges, Museumsbrücke  and Fleischbrücke , crossing the Pegnitz river to the Hauptmarket .The main street north from here, Burgstrasse, runs up to the skirts of the beautiful castle which we managed to climb – the Kaiserburg. This is something we never regret despite the uphill part because we had lovely views up above the castle.

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Admiring the architecture and intricate details of the old and restored buildings.
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Getting lost in Burgstrasse,one of the busiest  street of Nuremberg

As we continue to explore, we head straight to the Haupmarkt ( Central Market), which is famous for the Christmas Market and Christkindlmarkt during Christmas season. This is a huge square with tons of sights to enjoy. On normal days, you can see a huge stalls of different local produce such as fruits, veggies, sausages, cheeses, honey, garden plants, souvenirs and so much more. There are so many street food as well. We bought some grapes and it was really good. On the right side of the square situated is the Frauenkirche, a beautiful church and you can never miss to see the Beautiful Fountain ( Shöner Brunnen).Aptly named “The Beautiful Fountain”, this is a major  highlight of the central market square in Nürnberg. It was designed in the 1380s by Heinrich Beheim, a stonemason, and was intended to top the Frauenkirche.It stands at an impressive 19 meters (62 feet) high and is bedecked in gold. There are 42 stone statues surrounding the fountain that depict allegorical figures, churchmen, electors and heroes. This fountain is always full of tourists trying to rub the copper ring  believing that your wishes can come true!

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The Frauenkirche and the Schöner Brunnen
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Wish I may, Wish I might…

Do you spot the precious ring?

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Das Narrenschiff or the “The Ship of Fools”

It’s a sunny day and we are eager to cool down, but knowing there is not much shops with Air conditioning in Germany, we decided to walk further to get ice cream then we found this  statue called “Das Narrenschiff” or The Ship of Fools. Children loves to swing in here,even adults, a famous meeting place. My daughter played here for a while so we spent an ample time looking at this bronze statue of a boat carrying seven people, a skeleton and a dog . It is planted in a main road, in an intersection, and catches the eye of travelers. Based on a popular sixteenth century book by Sebastian Brant, this piece was sculpted by Juergen Weber off of woodcuts by favorite Albrecht Dürer. This artwork shows an expelled Adam and Eve, their murderous son Cain and other violent figures. It is a scene showing the destruction of the world. Another fascinating fountain that we saw along the way and everyone should not miss is the Ehekarussell, or the Bitter sweet Marriage Carousel.This is my favorite so far.

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As part of discovering the local culture, you’ve got to taste the local food as well. With all the walking that we’ve done, it is imperative to eat. As I wrote before that as a foreigner living in Germany, the amount of Sausages can be overwhelming! But then again, in a country known for its bratwurst, many German cities have their own specialty sausages, including Nuremberg. An authentic Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is made from low-fat pork enclosed in a lamb casing, twisted into sausages that measure from 7 to 9 centimeters long.Another must-see and must-try to do is shopping for some authentic Lebkuchen! Just going inside this store makes me hungry. I love everything about the dainty bakeshop of  Lebkuchen Schmidt.

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Delicious and authentic Lebkuchen and yummy goodies!
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Tourist’s mementos displayed in the Haupmarkt

If you love shopping, visiting Nürnberg won’t disappoint you. Wandering in the city center leads you to one busy shopping district line up with shops, and yes, it’s that time of the year to not miss the Summer Sales so you can give it a go.

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The busy streets with shops on both sides.

Once you get tired, you can always grab a bite and drink and sit in one of the cozy cafes alongside the road. Another wonderful pastime is just watching people and taste the local beer.There are plenty of restaurants, clean bathrooms, and even changing rooms for your little ones. One thing that disappoints me is that I didn’t find any play areas near the city proper. Maybe they are nearby but it seems that I haven’t seen any directions through it.

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Hustle and bustle in Nuremberg

 So much to see, so little time. I leave the rest for you to discover by yourself. If you love street art, you need patience. You need to explore further. To find good street art in Nuremberg is really hard. Best is to get lost completely then your chances are high to find some nice murals. If you are not the history and architecture buff, you can always hop on to other off-the beaten path attractions in this city.

Nuremberg, I will see you again sometime soon!

Have you seen Nuremberg? Do you think it’s a fascinating city?

If you’ve been there, what are the other cool things you can add to this list?

The Heat is ON in Bavaria

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32 degrees today! What Summer feels in Bavaria

This is the real thing now, the heat is ON in Bavaria !

What Summer fun are you engaging now?

Nevermind  the plague of Wasps and bee season, summertime is finally here and in Bavaria, in my old little city, everyone is just feeling ecstatic of the fine summer breeze, or rather, toasty winds since we have 32 degrees now!

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A very inviting Lake where we had picnic and splash. This is just one of our pit-stop from our cycling en-route (35kms) .

Have you seen summer flowers yet? They are blooming, giving us perfect backdrop for outdoors. From our garden to the nearby parks, summer flowers can be so exotic just like the Echinops Ritro!

I came to Germany last Summer, and I’m telling you, this season is probably the best season to enjoy Bavaria. To make the most of beautiful nature, lots of sun and water fun is essential. This week we have temperatures ranging from 18~32 degrees C . With this we have all the reason to spend time outside given the favors of so many holidays. Staying in when the weather  is perfect as this  is  definitely a S-I-N. Generally, Germans, or the typical Bavarians, adore the sun. Soaking up under the sunshine until the last ray of the sun until 9 o’clock at night. You can see them  sunbathing in the banks of the river Danube, lying in the grass in the parks, or just right in their balconies.

With the kick-off of the festival season, the Spring Pfingstenvolkfest,  Die Welt is bunt, Bürgerfest, and strawberry season, it feels like summer arrived early since we have a very sunny spring. I have written countless times that from the moment the day breaks, people here are out, (including US!) and ready to explore— and yes, with their dogs, clad in outdoor clothing, in their bicycles, with their walking sticks, off to the lake, and drinking beer in the bier garten promptly at 10 a.m on weekends!

So here I wanna share with you some of the fascinating things  about ‘Summer Feels ‘ here in our region. Whether you are just visiting tourist or a local, sure thing that you don’t wanna miss out on these activities!

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We do BBQ like the German way!

Grillsaison ( or Grilling season)

Summer is not complete without BBQ and Germans really take their grilling to the highest level! You know its summer when you breathe in the smell of BBQ in almost every house on a fine weekend. Since we have 9pm sunsets, this is a perfect way to bond. Be it in an open park, garden or in the tiny balconies of apartments, German take their grilling time seriously. Months before summer starts, we are flooded with different kinds of grill paraphernalia, from the garden tents, lounging seats, and yes, ‘the meat and wurst‘. About 70% of Germans have BBQ every  weekend and its typical to see a grill machine in every garden. Pack a picnic, a mat and  head to the lake, throw a piece of sausages ( wurst) and meat cuts into the charcoal grill and drink beer. This spells the perfect “Gemutlichkeit “or what the Dutch called “Gezelligheid” .

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The Grillsaison has finally begun!

Poppy fields  and wild flowers everywhere!

When summer time comes, in between wheat fields and every single empty space is filled with this fragile reddish-orange wild Poppy flowers. When I run and cycle, I can’t help but to stop and just be amazed by how  these simple wild bulbs can change the whole neighborhood and the way I feel. Sure, Tulips are my favorite flowers , but then there’s something about a field covered in Summer poppy blooms. It looks so calm, peaceful and so pretty!

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Close up encounter with red Poppy flowers last week when I was cycling.

 Eis Eis Baby! 

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?

Ice cream parlors and shops are finally open here since late Spring. On warm, sunny days, there’s even a huge line outside. You really need to sweat out first before you enjoy their wide selection of Eis ( ice cream). My daughter is crazy about the richly flavored popsicles and ice pops which comes out in watermelon, kaktus, and yogurt ice cream. One is not enough, eating ice cream is definitely a threat we always enjoy during summer especially after we are all sweaty from cycling around.

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Eis Eis Baby!

Make sure to eat “spaghetti eis”: We promise it’s only a stupid name. This concoction is really just a strawberry ice cream sundae with vanilla “noodles” and strawberry sauce with white chocolate flakes standing in for the cheese. Guten Appetit!

Sunbathing in a make-believe beach!

This is the photo of the Donaustrand, a place made to look like a beach beside the river. It is the platform located in front of the river Danube and facing the New Castle. During summer, this place is a magnet for Germans and all outdoor lovers to enjoy a relaxing time, especially during sunset. This is a place a for  open-air concerts and the ” Live Orchestra Nights” where you can enjoy live music, drinking with friends, and lounging in recliners and sunbathing like you are in the beach .This is such a cozy place.

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A shot I took while lounging in the Donaustrand and enjoying sunset drinks.

Hanging out your clean laundry outside

There is nothing like the smell of clean laundry, hung out to soak up the fresh air. Hang out your sheets before the drying racks take over your apartment for the winter.We have a huge space in the garden and I just love how the sun do wonders on the sheets! I love this since it really saves time from tedious long cycles of drying. Natural is always better!

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Skinny dipping in some lake

Skinny dipping and baring it All !

Oh yes, Germans are very liberal and no-nonsense people when it comes to nudity. In some lakes, there are areas which are particularly allotted for “nudist”. Here, people are no hang-ups in baring it all and soaking up the sun from dawn to dusk.Germans think nothing of stripping to sunbathe. They do it on beaches, by lakes, and in heavily frequented urban parks. It’s very common to see unclothed people on regular park lawns or topless on balconies. Germany is one of the few places in the world where naturism occurs not just in secluded areas, but in the heart of major cities. German-style public nudity, known as Freikörperkultur (or “free body culture,” and usually shortened to FKK), dates back to the 19th century; it’s not just an activity, but a culture intended to reshape behavior.

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Pack a picnic and your mat and head on to the secluded fresh lakes!

For some people who are not into this and for families with children, there are lots of areas in the lakes for them to swim.We love to discover lakes where my daughter loves to play and here, they are just plentiful!

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Running through the Lake with this view.

Fitness everyday

In summer, I see a lot more people getting active and staying fit. People do things “manually” and live more. They love to do things by themselves. Mowing the lawn, tidying up their garden, people here loves to do things—no maids or house helpers! People run and cycle no matter what the time and temperature. They walk more and use the car less as much as possible. With abundant jogging areas, nature can be best enjoyed while getting fit. Germans adore the  “pig”and heavy pork-lovers, but even if they sit in the Biergarten everyday and eat sausages, seems that they don’t get fat! Everyone looks so impeccably fit.

Summer Cocktail Drinks

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PROST!!!

It is very typical to see bunch of people hanging around in the lake, or in the park enjoying a nice picnic and sharing summer cocktails. Of course, the beer is always the easiest way to create a cozy gathering but cool drinks and smoothies are always something pretty special. When it comes to picnics, Germans can be proud of their lifestyle!

What about you, what do you love to do during summer?

There are more on this post so I think I will make a post #2! Stay tuned.