Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our First Adventure: The Train Ride

Today the girls and I went on our first train ride into Duisburg town. I packed them nice, warm and snug in our 2-in-1 stroller (means single stroller with two babies in it) and off we went in search of adventure. It's a whole 5 minute walk to the train station. And 2 flights of stairs up to the platform. My plan was to unload the girls, get them to hold hands and walk up the stairs slowly by my side while I carried the stroller. Totally do-able but lucky us, we had a nice young gentleman offer his manly services and lug the stroller up for me while the three of us girls walked up the stairs hand-in-hand. That was a good start to an uncertain outing.

And so we reach the platform and well, it was nothing but a platform! I wondered where the ticket counter was, no one around to assist in times when the ticket machine didn't work. That's probably because the machine works all the time. So I decide to give my (very little) German a go and approach this older couple. "Entschuldigung, meine Deutsch ist nicht gut. Aber was bahnhof zu Konig-Heinrich Platz?" They seem to understand me and walk across to the information board. The man comes back and tells me the name of the station. He even helps me purchase the ticket from the machine, and buys me a 'kinder' (child) ticket. Not too sure if he did that on purpose or by accident, either way it saved me 0.90 euros. The lady tells me which platform to board the train and that it would arrive in 5 minutes, AND its only 1 stop away! What?? We were all prepared for an adventure! 1 WHOLE stop? Gee. Anyway, in exactly 5 minutes the train stops in front of us, we board and 3 minutes later we alight at our station. Very exciting journey indeed. Oh I shouldn't complain, 2 months from now and I will be grateful for this; the simplicity.

Thank goodness there are elevators at this station. Just when I am relieved that I need not worry about carrying the stroller down and not being able to 'hold' my little girls, the little girls start arguing over who gets to press the elevator button. Gah! Elil pressed it the first time, Nila got to press the button inside the lift. Ok, problem solved. So, how do we get to Konig-Heinrich Platz from here and how long will it take by foot? Again I practise my German, this time on an elderly lady. She understood me; of course it did not take too much, I just mentioned the street and she pointed straight then 'links' (left). Aha, another 5 minute walk! And so we were there. A long street with shops on either side, backerei's galore, a WOOLWORTH's, McDonald's (we had our lunch there btw), a mall and a Kartstadt (A German departmental store), C&A, H&M, Esprit. Not a giant mall, but decent - you won't get lost in it. The girls keep asking for Mega Mall, "when are we going to reach mega mall mummy?" asks Elil.

We walk into WOOLWORTH's, the first shop I see. We are comparing prices and quality in different stores, just so we know where to go and where not to. I tell the girls they get ONE thing each. Elil cannot make up her mind between Disney Princess handsoap or glittery, shiny fairy stickers. Nila made up her mind instantly with a Disney Princess mug. In the end, Elil chucked the handsoap for the stickers and Nila put her mug away and grabbed the princess handsoap from her big sis. Ahhh gotta love 'em! And so we walked around for a bit. Went into Hema, which had some pretty nice house stuff, a little more costly but also better in quality and look.

Soon it was time to go back, the girls had a playdate with Jordan (playdates? so soon? yup!). And so we had our McDonald's and back to the 'bahnhof' (station). Getting back was not as easy as getting there. I managed to get my ticket pretty easy because they have a language selection on the machine, that was great, I felt so efficient. Until, of course I could not find the correct platform to wait at. There were more than a dozen and I had no idea which line to take. We walked up and down the station, and asked for assistance from 2 people who like me had no idea. Finally, I find an information counter where they guide me in the right direction. Yay! In no time we are home and 15 minutes later we hear a ring at the door and there is Jordan with his face pressed against the glass. What a wonderful day we had! I look forward to the next adventure, maybe into Dusseldorf with daddy doo-doo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life Goes On

This morning I brought Elil and Nila to the park nearby. It is  the Duisburg-Wedau Sports Park and School. It is a ten minute walk away from our home and it's facilities are open to the public. The Duisburg Stadeum is right next door. There are also lakes where apparently they hold annual regattas. And jogging/cycling and walking friendly trails too. Several different play areas for children. Today the girls played in a wooden sunken-ship playground. The play area is covered in sand; the girls are not used to this, getting sand in their shoes. I let them run around barefoot. Connected to the sunken-ship is a man-made mini lake, with a stream and small waterfall running through it. It's a whole lot of fun for the kids. The girls could not resist the water and so I stripped them to their undies (totally unplanned) and they splished-splashed about in the cold water without feeling any cold. Lucky the sun was in and out so they didn't freeeze. Not too sure what the German lady watching us was thinking though. Not too impressed with this Asian lady allowing her kids to 'freeze' in the cold. They were fine, really they were.

This morning hubs left for Sargans, Switzerland. He will be back in 4 days. I miss him dearly. So soon after our big move and he's gone again. This is his third trip in the 16 days we have been here. I look forward to his return. It's time for us, the girls and I to have our 'daddy' back. He's been away far too long and too often in the past. These girls need more and more consistent hubby and daddy time. Never has his hugs and kisses felt so good and oh so fine. I was missing the electricity and power in that touch. Well, it's back now and hopefully back for good! *Sigh*

The 42"LG LCD (courtesy of hubs company) standing on the floor in our echoing (still pretty empty pre-furniture arriving) living room is on 12 hours a day. This is our only source of entertainment other than going out for a walk (sometimes the weather not permitting), or the sand box outside (again depending on weather conditions). All the girl's toys and most of their books are in the container awaiting clearance somewhere in Duisburg Port (i think). Thank God for the media player hubs got just before we moved. He's loaded it with a decent  (some indecent ones too, not for the kiddos of course) array of movies and cartoons sufficient for movie marathon after movie marathon and back again. Once our DVDs and Blue Rays get here, no more Tom and Jerry, Mr. Bean (animated or not) and Spongebob Square Pants for me. I have seen enough to last me 10 life-times!

With all that being said, I am grateful and feel so utterly blessed and I cannot thank the Lord enough. Thank You for me, for who I am (the good and the bad), thank You for the man I married (eventhough he truly drives me nuts at times I love him deeply), for the perfect little monkeys You have entrusted in my care, Thank You for the life we have had and enjoyed, for the future You have in store for us. I surrender us to Your care. Amen.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding.
                       In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New Beginnings

We have been relocated. Hubs, myself and the girls. Halfway around the world; Dusseldorf Germany to be exact. 10 nights now, away from our home in Damai Mewah. The holiday feeling has started to fade and so begins reality. I miss our home, the neighbourhood, the people who live in it still. I miss my family the most. This is going to sound so cliche but you don't realize how much you take the people you love for granted until you are miles and miles apart. The saddest part about the distance is that grandma/pati, grandpa/tata, aunties, uncles and cousins don't get to be apart of our lives, we won't get to grow up together. However, it would make reunions and family gatherings so much more rare and treasured.

I look forward to our new life in this part of the world, where every 3 months the season changes. Soon the colours of the leaves will change. Red, orange, pink, yellow, brown I tell Elil. She cannot fathom it. Everything we see on the side walk is amazing to her as we take our brisk walks in the cool and windy evenings. Hazelnuts that have fallen from the trees, all kinds of cones from the many pine trees, maple leaves, even pebbles are unique. They look forward to the snow, a white Christmas this year I hope. For now, the days are still long and so I put my sweet angels to bed when the sun is still out and they tell me, "...but its still early mummy!" They fall asleep so easily anyway, no more afternoon naps after a full day of school. Works well for me, bedtime is no longer a struggle. They love their bedtime stories still. Rhymes for Nila, they are short (she can only focus so long) and sweet. Mermaid and princess stories for Elil. Sometimes we have a little of reptiles and dinosaurs too just to spice things up.

When our first year is up, I intend to be apart of the working world again. Nila should be in school and I should have better grasp of the Deutsch language. Something simple, part-time maybe to pass my time and fill my pockets if only just a little. Good thing 1 Euro can go a long way, much longer than a Ringgit. I look forward to it. An adventure has just begun, a young family of four is on the wagon. We are in it together, through the good and bad, happy and sad. Wish us well, were on our way....