Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Six Weeks Here!

It is hard to believe that I have been the mom to a teen now for six weeks. J and I went to his appointment for his hand. The good news is that he is healing well. Bad news is that he isn't quite healed enough to play sports. We couldn't take a chance on it breaking worse if he fell on it again, and then there would be no avoiding surgery. He has a recheck in four weeks that could lead to him being able to play in the playoffs. I am hoping that he can do that because he has found out that there has been a sort of take over in the soccer leagues back home. Basically, if you aren't Turkish in his region you aren't playing no matter how good you are. Playing here may actually end up being his last time playing competitive soccer. Knowing how important that is to him, I really hope that his hand heals good enough to give him that chance to play.

This past weekend, Jannis had his first mandated AFS orientation. He enjoyed himself there. He made many friends, but that is the way it is wherever he goes. There was a host parent orientation before picking up the kids on Sunday that I attended. It was very enlightening. I used the information basically for kids that may come because, quite frankly, there aren't any issues here with J. I know that may not be the case with future kids because kids and cultures vary. I saw that with my grandparents' kids. With the exception of the whole public transportation part of the program, there were things that I learned even though they didn't apply to my present kid. On the ride home, some things led to interesting conversations. We also enjoyed the uninterrupted talking we could do. It was just J and I in the car. L stayed home to watch T. It also gave J the chance to see some of the fall colors. Some areas on our drive were getting quite colorful.

Yesterday, J went to a friend's house after school. They only had a half day due to teacher conferences. He came home last night and tried to figure out how to use his graphing calculator the school let him borrow. It didn't come with a manual, and his math teacher told him to play around to try to figure it all out. Note to self, send this as an example to Obama for his education reform. L did think to Google the calculator and lo and behold we found the manual to it. J then read that as he has a math test on Wednesday and needs to know how to use it by then. Last night, we watched the Phillies clinch their NL East title. Hopefully, I will be able to land some playoff tickets. J would love to go a game, and there would not be any environment more electric than that.

This week there are a couple of soccer games J is attending. The big thing is that we are going to Hersheypark this weekend. I will post how that goes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Has Arrived!

Okay, I know you are all are impressed to get another post so soon. Now T is too young to use some of the dreaded phrases that kids use to really just irritate their parents. We have heard are we there yet from him, or what's for dinner? We have even heard those from J. He is usually content with waiting to see what food is put in front of him. He also asks how far things are before we leave, so that takes care of the other question. In this day and age of ordering online there is one that we have had to hear for over a week now. Has my Ipod come? J ordered himself the new Ipod Touch. He has been waiting patiently....yes, that is used with a big sound of sarcasm there, for it to arrive. One interesting thing to note here is the differences in prices here. I knew US prices for many things were cheaper than in Europe. We have relatives that buy out places when they come to visit. J's Ipod was $120 cheaper than it would be for him to buy it at home. What you find interesting is some of the other things that are steals here. One of things I was surprised to see J wear was Carhart. He has jeans there. Now my southern and hunting friends will probably fall over to read this. Carhart is considered luxury wear in Germany. Now most clothing is expensive in Germany. To hear though that J can buy five pair of Carhart jeans for the price that he pays for one pair here is amazing to me. He is waiting for the day that he gets to go shopping over here. He will also be purchasing another suitcase to go home, so he can take everything back with him. It is the little things for him in life. I am just hoping his father doesn't regret that credit card he gave him. Good thing he put a limit on it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Month

This past week marked one month that J has been with us. It seems though like he has been here much longer than that. To say he has fit in well is an understatement. Our days now are filled mostly with a regular routine of things. We may not be doing exciting things everday, but we are really enjoying each other's company.

L was out of town last week, so it was really nice having J around. We all had terrible colds, but it still was nice to have someone around to help out. It was also really nice to have someone around to have a conversation other than a toddler.

J is doing really well in school. He is having difficulty sometimes translating back into English what he wants to say. Overall, her is doing well. He is very school conscientious. He wants to do real well while he is here. His teachers have been wonderful to him with the help they give. I was really proud that he brought up his Trig grade. He worked and studied very hard to do that.

Yesterday, he went over to a friend's house. He got the chance to play paintball. He had a wonderful time. In Germany, you have to be 18 to play. In many parts of the country, it is even illegal. He was thrilled that he can play here.

Today we watched J's favorite team Borussia Dortmund play on his computer. They beat their rivals today. J was very happy. L was working on the boat, and said he could hear us cheering from inside. This afternoon we are watching NFL games. Right now, J is doing one of his favorite chores....mowing the lawn. We have a riding lawnmower and he thinks that is great to use. Other than that, we haven't been up to much. This coming week, J has his recheck appointment on his hand. He also has an AFS weekend orientation to attend. It should be another busy week here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Week of School and Tooth Pain

Well, J started school this week. He had made friends before the start of school, and they were willing to help him navigate his first few days of school. I guess the first day wasn't normal due to assemblies, so really Tuesday he got a chance to get into the swing of things. I am taking turns with the neighbor taking J and their girls to the bus stop. Technically, the kids could walk it. It is the length of the road, but the thing is that everyone has different trash days, and they really don't want to come in contact with a bear that has food in front of it. We have some really large bears here.

J has been the good child this week. T has been teething. He got four teeth in this week, and to say that he has been miserable is an understatement. There hasn't been much sleep for T and the grown-ups of the house. J is on the other side of the house, so he could manage to sleep. J has had to deal with the crankiness the other days of the week. J has been very good with T all things considering, but it has been hard. When you come from being the youngest, the big brother role can be somewhat challenging. Heck, I didn't want to be around T, and he is my kid.

J helped L work on the boat yesterday. They are getting pretty far with it. The hope is that it is done, and back to being water ready by Columbus Day weekend. Today, J is going to the Scranton Italian Festival with his liason. Tomorrow, he is going to a demolition derby with her family. J also learned how to operate the riding lawn mower, and did a great job mowing the lawn. He was very excited to do this.

Today, T is almost back to his normal self. We are taking it easy. I got a tip on some good deals going on online today, so I actually started my Christmas shopping. This has to be the earliest I have ever started. Tomorrow, we may go and do some shopping before J has to go to the fair. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend.