Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Frankfurt: The Arrival

Our flight from Singapore left at 11.30, so we had an arvo nap and then somehow managed to keep Mads awake until take-off. Luckily, there was a small play area at the airport, and lots of excited kids (surrounded by tired parents). Then five minutes after take-off, she was asleep. And stayed asleep for ten of the twelve hours! It was incredible. I didn't sleep at all, but I wasn't expecting to. I don't understand how anyone actually can sleep on a plane (in economy at least, which has been my only experience of flying). A couple of times I started nodding off, but as my head would fall forward I'd instantly, and horribly, wake up. Is my head heavier than normal peoples' heads? Do other people have some technique that keeps their heads in position? I don't get it. It's like those earbud things. I cannot keep them in my ears, especially my right ear. Is my ear deformed? The only way I can make them stay in place is if I stay very still and tilt my head back slightly. No one else seems to need to do this. It's all coming back to me having a weirdly shaped head. Oh well. At least I had ten hours to stare at my slumbering daughter in delighted amazement, occasionally muttering 'das ist fantastich' to myself.

Everything continued to go smoothly after we landed. Customs, no probs. Bags all arrived in one piece. Taxi, no worries. When we arrived at the flat (which did actually exist - hooray!) our upstairs neighbour was there, as planned, awake and ready to let us in. She'd even bought us some basic supplies and made us a card, which was very, very kind. Mads was very excited to see her son, Vicco. She shouted 'do you want to go and play in my room Vicco?' Vicco doesn't speak English yet, but smiled politely and then hid behind his mother, just a little. Later they brought down some lego for Mads. So freaking nice!

The flat is lovely and light (and warm) and close to all the important things (supermarket, park, train station, library, trink-halle). It is very strange to be here and I keep reflecting on the incredible good fortune we had in getting this flat in the first place.

We are going to need some German lessons, and soon, because although a lot of people speak English of course, it sucks not understanding what people are saying, especially for people as nosey and Thieu and me. And Mads really needs to be able to talk to kids in the park or she'll go nuts. I did have a loose plan that Mads would learn fluent German at kinder and then we'd just get her to do everything (buy the groceries, speak with the immigration department, the bank etc) but perhaps this is a bit much to expect. My ambition has always been to acquire enough German to hold my own in conversation with a four year old so that I won't embarrass Mads in front of her friends, but I'm realising now that this is perhaps aiming too high. Maybe I should aim to understand a slow-speaking 3 year old. We have been watching German kids TV to try and pick some words up from that. Mads' approach is to just make up words that sound vaguely German and use those.

Here are some things I've noticed so far:

- the pedestrian traffic lights are silent and we keep missing them because we're waiting for the 'BEEUW!tok-tok-tok-tok-tok' noise.

-they don't have hot cross buns. But they do have bun-shaped-bunnies, which look a little cross (at least, the one-eared one I bought for Mads this morning looked slightly peeved).

-Germans are confused about the notion of a de-facto relationship. We met someone from Matt's work yesterday who said 'What? After ten years you still haven't decided if you want to get married or not?'

-Frankfurt is a lot prettier than everyone led me to believe. Hooray for low expectations!

-you can buy vegetables in Germany. I will take some photographs to prove it.

Next post's topic is: German toilet design and what does this say about the German personality?

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