Road trip to Braunschweig! Braunschweig is about 2 hours from Berlin and 30 minutes from Wolfsburg. We were invited by some wonderful friends of ours who happen to be Berliners to Karneval! Karneval celebrations come from different beliefs. For Catholics, it provided a festive season of food and fun before the Lenten fasting period would begin. We had never been to Karneval but we decided we would go although we only found out about it two days before the big parade! I didn’t have enough time to go and look for costumes so my kids decided to be creative and use clothing and accessories that we already had. We ended up with two rappers (twins) and a Princess(shocker!). We met up with our friends as they left a day before we did as they were visiting a friend who lives on the street where the parade would be. That was awesome because as we watched it on TV, we could hear the parade getting closer so knew when to rush downstairs. It was a blast! Candy was thrown from every float that passed. We have candy times 4 as I collected my own candy too! This was the best impromptu road trip so far to a new town with some great friends. We walked away feeling blessed. We went with some really good friends, met some new friends, ate great food, and had the best car conversations! It’s all about our journey for his purpose!
Do you remember cops? Oh yes I had forgotten until two weeks ago a lady at the bus stop threatened my kids and then myself. I will try to make this short before I get mad all over again. Normally I pick up the kids up on Tuesdays as we have an appt at 2:30. This particular week we had early release so our appointment was changed to Friday instead. I had forgotten to tell the kids not to take the bus home as usual. They always call me when they get on the bus so I knew they would call soon. Like clock work, they called me and said “we are on the bus”. I told them to get off at the next stop because I was behind the bus but I would need to make a u-turn and circle back around and pick them up at the traffic light. 45 seconds later I get a frantic phone call from my oldest daughter saying that a lady was yelling at them and coming towards them shouting as they exited the bus! I told them to go inside the restaurant behind them and I would be there in seconds. Oh see now this crazy lady done gone and lost her everlasting mind. I threw my car in park and ran across the street. I asked my kids which lady was threatening them and they showed me. She seemed shocked to see I was a woman of color. I then got them to safety and told the trick “that if she ever threatened my kids again that she would need to remember what the current day was because that would be her last, they momma don’t do dat”. I could tell she was off her rocker but then she started yelling unkind German words to me. I responded back in German which shocked her and also set her off at the same time. I knew I needed to call back up first because I didn’t’ know how long the Polize would take. I am usually a patient girl and I am not quick to anger due to foolishness. Well… here is where Natalie Chante’ comes out! By any means necessary will I protect and go to the grave for my kids. I called my girl here in Berlin all I said was” Police will be called soon , crazy lady threatened my kids, I might need you to come and bail me out. She was dressed in 1 min flat no questions. I then called the Polize and explained what happened and that they should come quick because it would be in her best interest. She was yelling so loud the officer on the phone could barely hear me. He asked me if I could walk away so he could get the location of my whereabouts. There was a lot of back and fourth of her yelling and me being calm and getting my point across to her. I was just waiting for her to get into my personal space so that could show her how we do it in the ATL. She was really pushing my buttons and could not stop yelling to hear what I was saying. So I had to pretend she was one of my students from elementary school. She clearly needed a visual presentation. I drew a line in the snow because I wanted her to know I would not harm her unless she got too close. I calmly explained to her that if she crossed the line that it was “on”! She came right to the line..didnt’ cross it but tossed hot coffee and my legs. As I was about to snatch her up…the undercover Polize showed up! God does protect the fools. It took 9 officers to get her to calm down and get some ID. I never moved…I had absolutely no fear what-so-ever! It amazes me how calm but ready I was to take her out as my kids were my only priority and care I had at that moment. I have never been so mad in my life and ready to harm another human being. I was really trying to be a good as my kids were watching and I wanted to be an example. I’ve always told them that unless someone hits you first you don’t put your hands on them. I had to practice what I preached as difficult as it was. It saved her life for sure and me jail time. It was more drama on her part afterwards but the ending was that she was a mental patient and had been arrested 2 days prior in the same place for violence. My children no longer will come home alone as I can’t even imagine what could have happened had I not been there. It was one of those “teaching moments” for them. I would have rather spared them the drama of the whole situation but they are more aware than ever before of their surroundings. I was very proud of them although they all walked away with different feeling about this woman. One of them wanted to pray for her to get proper medicine, the other was just afraid she might hurt someone else, and the other child wanted to take her out! My son thought that they should all pray for her and they all did except one. She was not amused in the least bit with the actions of this stranger. Hmmm….I got work to do! We are all good now. There will be crazy people no matter where you live but I am determined that nothing will knock me down…if it does I tend to get up a little bit quicker each time. We are on a journey towards his purpose and he never said it would be easy. The GPS(God’s Positioning System) is a great thing except it cant always pick up unexpected traffic.
It’s my favorite time of year. Normally I would have already brought out all the Christmas decor but I have yet to do that. I am really focused on the Thanksgiving holidays this year and being thankful now. Although, the minute that I am done with hosting I plan on decorating all weekend long listening to our Christmas favorites! For me it’s the season not just a day. Last year was our first Thanksgiving in Germany and I was the host as usual but I was not fully present. By fully present I mean I went through the motions in a daze. I was missing home, family, and my friends. I was not in a place mentally where I could fully appreciate all the good that God had given me. I thought to myself “why has he moved us”, “why did I agree”? I had also anticipated me feeling normal by this time as most people said it would take about 6 months. 6 months came and went and I wasn’t feeling normal. I remember sitting at the table and just wondering how I got here. By here, I mean the sadness, regret, resentment, the feeling that I was going to be sick, and my kids went to the worse school ever and I couldn’t do anything about it. I wasn’t use to not having control. As, I sat at that table all I wanted to do was cry because I was the most homesick that I had ever been. I am the kind of person that I can “perform” for the occasion. It’s quite exhausting and unfulfilling. I spent almost a year of my life here in Germany going through the motions and not being fully present. I think I was waiting for the moment of “arrival”. Well, that moment came not as I thought it would but it came in the form of my little “Angel” saying “mommy, you don’t seem so happy, did we do something wrong”? That was my wake-up call! I was not having it! I would not have my children feeling like they did something to make mommy unhappy. My unhappiness was my choice. I decided that we are on the journey for HIS purpose not mine and I needed to become fully present in my life and the life of my family. This is the life I was given and I don’t want to look back years from now and think I wasted it on things that I can’t control. I love my family so much and the thought of my family thinking they did something wrong really changed my outlook on my life. As I have said in previous post, I am a work in progress but during the process I need to live not watch life. We have been blessed with an incredible opportunity and friends living abroad. It’s pretty calm here in Germany and so I still have lots of time to work on me and I am thankful for that! For the past two weeks I have been watching movies of my kids through the years and remembering all the fun we have as a family. I’m so glad that I love to take pictures and record video because it’s nice to be reminded of what’s important. It usually ends with me having tears in my eyes because time passes. I was reminded this week as a truly sweet friend of mine lost her father unexpectedly. Life is uncertain, live, love, and smile. Appreciate where you are in life today because today is what matters, yesterday has passed.
Our last Christmas in USA 2010
She fell down but she kept pushing..Life Lesson
We love groupon! 10.00 Christmas excursion
I will always be there to guide you
She has no idea the smile her dad has on his face…priceless!
I have been asking myself a lot lately was this the right decision for our family to move to Berlin. Last January my husband came home and said”babe, there is a job opportunity in Berlin I want to apply for” I said” go for it”. I did not think another thing about it as I was in my own world. I had the best family, gym, small group, church, friends, and best zumba classes around. I thought to myself sure he can apply for this job and if it’s for us to move then God will make it happen. Why would God change all of this because Life Is GOOD…He wouldn’t change all of this. When I prayed at night during this time I always said “Lord, I am not a dream squasher, I know we will move someday to another job because of the company he works for but if the job is for him work it out”. All I have to say is that I am now specific about my prayers. He came home 4 weeks later with an interview. When he said they were flying him to Berlin the lump came in my throat as I already knew he had the job. I played it calm and started to mention the possibility to a few close friends as just a heads up. 1 face to face interview and 2 phone interviews and we moved to Berlin with 4 months! Wow, the man works fast.
Now, I am a girl who loves to plan and I dont’ do to well when things don’t go according to my plan. On the outside my friends kept commenting on my calmness and willingness to follow my husband on this journey. I myself was surprised at myself and my willingness to to this when everything was going well..not perfect but well. We had been wanting a change in our lives but I had no idea moving across the pond so quickly! We have 3 kids all under the age of 9 at that point and we were going to pack up and move to an entirely different culture! What have I agreed to my inner voice was saying.
It was a extremely hard first year. I cried and cried and I can’t tell you the amount of times I wanted to just call my dad and say please come and get me. Yes, I am a daddy’s girl to the core. Everything was harder, took longer, and the language about took me over the edge! Being married is hard enough in this world with everything right….you add a huge move with kids,new language, new culture, 6 hour time difference, a dying grandmother and a broken iphone!!! I wanted to crawl in a corner and cry and I did a few times. It took some really great friends to talk me off the floor.
A little over a year later, things have changed in our lives greatly. We have a new school which was the biggest obstacle to overcome as our last school was awful! A lot of things have changed back home and here in Berlin for me. I know that I have a purpose and it’s not MY purpose it’s “his” purpose for our lives. Sometimes you have to get over yourself and stop thinking it’s all about you. As I am changing course and learning a lot about myself I have found that I have so many things that I need to work on and things I want to do my life. I can’t stop time but it will keep ticking. I choose how I react to this season in my life. I am following God on this journey, no more pitching a fit and fighting him. I love and miss everyone back home and the good times but now it’s time to make more memories. As a mom, wife, friend, I need to work on “me” so I can be a better person for my family (someone has said to me). Selfless people truly want whats best for you and not what’s best for them.
I decided that we will not be sitting around wondering what to do every weekend? It was getting old and boring. We are living in Europe and time is flying by so we need to venture out and explore this beautiful country! I decided that our first stop should be Dresden. We took the IC train which I learned was different than the ICE train. It was ok just not as nice as what we had before but I know the difference now.
Its been 8 months since we moved from America to Berlin! It has been quite the roller coaster ride for our family! In this short time we have had quite a few accomplishments here in Berlin! I have managed to teach Zumba, dh got a promotion, bought a car, and the kids are becoming very good in German! We are learning our way around Berlin and getting to know the city day by day. Its hard at times but nothing like it was in the beginning. The kids and I have made quite a bit of friends and they are all very nice! We still miss our friends in America but it’s nice to have new friends also!
We have officially been in Berlin for 3 months! I can’t believe it’s been that long! We have so much still going on! School began, we moved to our permanent house,getting organized, putting up pictures and photographs, making friends,etc. I am still overwhelemed! I am still trying to get use to calling people with a 6 hour time difference. We have our good days and not so good days.
We keep ourselves busy with meeting new people and just venturing out every weekend!
The Good is that we are growing closer as a family! We always have spent time together, but we spend everyday together! I feel like I am getting to know my family more than ever! I am getting to know my husband better too! It’s a whole new world for all of us so we talk alot about things that we see and hear. We are all catching on to the German language with frustration but never the less we are catching on. In my opinion, the kids are doing great but I think we will need to keep the Rosetta Stone going. The food is good and low fat. It’s very fresh and mostly organic throughout Europe. My kids love going to the market just about every other day to get fresh fruits and vegetables. That is something I will miss when we move back to the USA.
We have to reminded ourselves thatthis is the chance of a lifetime and this was totally God’s will for us! It will go by quickly so I am trying to start enjoying the experience,and it has been an experience thus far. Our in-laws love Germany and they are coming to visit us in 3 weeks! I am decorating and want everything to be perfect when they arrive. I love playing hostess so I will have my cup filled when they are here. I think I’m the most excited!
The bad is I miss my friends, the kids miss their friends, and most of all we miss our family! A lot of our friends we consider family so… It’s really hard as you know I am a social butterfly! I always want to just pick up the phone and call someone but I have to check the time so they don’t think someone died when the phone rings at 2am! I miss ZUMBA in the states with my girls! I am a dancing queen and not seeing my 6:30 Zumba crew or being at the parties is rough! I have a lot of pictures that hopefully will be up tonight and we return for the summer in 2012! We are going to party everyday!
The not so home..no target, Kroger, Publix, Bath and Body Works, but most of all..NO CHEESECAKE FACTORY! That will be the first place we go to after being picked up from the airport! I can taste it now. Im sure my body will rebel after not having “fat” in my body for a long time. Oh well! I will take one for the team!
For the most part things are going very well! I think we have the ideal apartment in Germany as far as location, neighborhood, and size. My husband was totally right when he picked this place. I really should listen to him more often as I can’t always be right all the time no matter how much I want too!!
We have moved from corporate housing to our permanent home in Wilmersdorf! It is a very nice swanky area. It took two days for the moving company to unpack and put everything together. The only thing we had to do was to put our clothing away and that is a huge job! Dh has been working effortlessly to get wardrobes and dressers assembled. He did an awesome job!The moving company can only assemble what they took apart not items that were new in boxes. This weekend was not so much fun and we unpacked and unpacked.
Our washer and dryer arrived 2 days after we moved in! It’s all in German so dh is going to download the English version so I can figure out how it works. Of course, I’ve translated what I could and tried to compare it to my washer at home as it’s very similar! I am so thankful for a washer but mainly the dryer as I had to hang up clothes to line dry for a month! Ohh the things in life that you take for granted!
So, we are still unpacking and trying to get to know the neighborhood. We have had 3 neighbors come and introduce themselves to us. Dh met two of them when I was not around and when they saw me they immediately figured I was the wife. I must say they are very eager to help us anyway that they can and they speak English! Mrs. Metger loves the kids and they love her dog! Rileigh is really sucking up with the smiles.
My favorite time of day here is the evening. It’s nice to go for a evening walk with the kids and not have to worry about cars or sidewalks. Sidewalks are everywhere in Berlin. We also have bakeries, cafe’s, groceries, open markets, and restaurants just yards of our place. Dh loved this neighborhood when we first came to look. I knew he wanted to live here when we came! I am happy that this worked out as the couple that we are renting from was relocated for a few years also. I am excited for them as they moved to Cairo, Eygpt!
Overall, we are all happy to have our stuff so we can start living! We have been living out of suitcases for almost 2 months! The one thing I would change and will change it we relocate again is timing. The kids and I won’t come until EVERYTHING is ready. It’s just too hard and confusing otherwise. We are learning day by day how to be Berliners for the next few years. Our dsl is delayed until the 25th so I have to use this internet stick to blog! Rest assured that when it’s here I will be blogging everyday!
I have been trying all sorts of new things in Berlin. Yes I know this is a shocker as I don’t venture out much on food. I met a new friend in Berlin! I actually met her on Toy-town which is message board that every piece of information you need if you are an EXPAT! I found a nail salon, eyebrow threader, and Brazilian waxing that way. I do not need Brazilian waxing but just in case…lol. I was looking for social outlets as I am the social butterfly.
Here is my newest friend Nicole! She is from NJ but has been here for a few years and she loves it. She has given me the scoop on Berlin and we have a lot in common and yet we are different. I can tell she is a real whoot! We met one evening by the new place that we will be living in next month as that’s the only place that time knew how to get to at the time. What I thought was going to be Italian turned out to be a French restaurant!! Yikes! We had a long conversation about everything. She convinced me to try truffles which I am in love with, and Crème brûlée! It was delicious! I can’t wait to try it again! I tried to play it safe and order a lemon tart for desert as I have had that before. She picked up on that right away and had me try her food. I was hooked! This girl is going to be good for getting me out of my boring food habits. I can’t wait for the next adventure.