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About emkay

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  • Nationality Anglo German
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  1. What are you watching right now?

    Fascinating and disturbing Netflix documentary. A ‘must see‘ especially for parents... ‘This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations’ Interesting and useful websites...Thesocialdilemma.com and datadetoxkit.org      
  2. I agree, especially as the child is already in the 3rd class. Two years in Switzerland could mean he’d have to go back a year at a German Gymnasium *if* his Hochdeutsch has suffered.   I can only speak from the experience of my daughter changing from English to German aged 11 and my refusal fo teach her any of my poorly learned Hessisch German as a child.  She is about to start Uni on the Swiss/German border so we have just gotten familiar with some cross border living options...Zurich really isn’t very far and maybe even commutable? Of course, the possibility of another border closure would make things more difficult.     All the best.
  3. My first reaction is that your wife may be right!  Two years is a short time though at a crucial point in your son’s education if gymnasium is an option for him. On the other hand, it would  be a great experience and better sooner rather than after Grundschule.      I don’t know how easy it is for any child to get a place at Gymnasium and often based on Grundschule teacher recommendation.  Maybe check with a potential German gymnasium how they allocate places to children coming from Swiss Grundschule. Maybe even a Schulamt in the area you may move back to. I’m sure that these circumstances aren’t unfamiliar in the DE-CH border areas.   All the best.
  4. The laws about employees and Kurzarbeit

    I’m not sure if I understand this correctly regarding the percentage paid of the Kurzarbeit shortfall...60% with no children, 67% with children. My husband asked his HR department why his shortfall addition is only 60%.  He was told that’s because my daughter (his stepdaughter, Freibetrag on his Lohnsteuerkarte) is now over 18.     Shouldn’t he receive the 67% as she was still at school when Kurzarbeit started and will start university in October? Does it make a difference that she won’t still be living at home from October and will receive her Kindergeld directly?  Is there an issue because school finished in July and she is still home and not working until October when uni starts?   Any advice very much appreciated. 
  5. Don't panic! Test of national catastrophe alarm

    Update...just checked with Vodafone...I didn’t understand all the technicalities though it’s not possible to use any wall sockets for an analog wired phone though our Fritz ox does have an analog socket.  Also useless in the event of no power. 
  6. Don't panic! Test of national catastrophe alarm

    Useful too to not rely on mobile networks or internet...or even electricity supply. Good to have a normal radio (battery, solar, wind-up) and cable connected telephone (power supplied through the telephone socket).
  7. Don't panic! Test of national catastrophe alarm

    Ours was hardly noticeable over neighbours lawn mowing...   I asked the same question. Ideally get an app for alerts ie, we now have HessenWarn. There are several ie KatWarn. Or, apparently, switch on TV or Radio to find out what’s happening.  Don’t call 112 or 110. 
  8. Why are you unhappy today?

      You meant well jeba...impossible to know what’s for the best.  You gave the kitten a chance to live and very sad it didn’t make it.  Please don’t stop caring for other animals.     We’ve tried to save countless animals, some make it, some don’t. We now have 2 of our cats we’re caring for palliatively. We’re grateful for each day that passes when they seem well.  Dreading making the final choice for them one day. 
  9. Why are you happy today?

    Happy to see this today. Never seen such a phenomenon...   ETA. Just found this explanation.... Halos around the sun or moon are caused by high, thin cirrus clouds drifting high above your head. Tiny ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere create the halos. They do it by refracting and reflecting the light. Lunar halos are signs that storms are nearby.
  10. My daughter showed me this documentary...fascinating and seems to make a lot of sense in terms of likely human health benefits.      It’s certainly true that modern living involves less and less direct connection with nature let alone the earth itself. We also seem to be sicker than ever.  Many moons ago, I lived on a tropical island for 2 years.  The first thing I was told by the island elder was to throw away my shoes as ‘they are bad for the human life and the body’. Two years barefoot including daily jungle walks, scuba diving etc, certainly did me no harm though I kept my shoes for occasional city visits and air travel!   Googling shows some scepticism based on limited and poorly controlled research and trials.  The free option for grounding is to simply walk barefoot on the ground whenever possible.  There are also various indoor products available that connect to the earth in a power socket.  Some of the websites for these products do seem suspect.   I’d be really interested in opinions or experiences...
  11. UK rental income on German tax returns

    Just a quick question to check that this is still the case...ie UK rental income does not have to be declared on a German tax return? My husband’s new Steuerberater isn’t sure.   Another question is, if anyone happens to know...as I’m applying for Bafög for my daughter, is it necessary for my UK rental income to be declared as foreign income on the Bafög application? And, include copies of HMRC Self Assessments and the relevant notifications of zero tax due as income is far less than my personal allowance?  We have contacted Bafög though the advisors weren’t sure.   Many thanks in anticipation.
  12. When we moved here 9 years ago with my 11 year old daughter, it was surprisingly difficult to find German tuition for a native English speaker.  Since then, there are more Nachhilfe companies that are generally good I believe.    We used Schülerhilfe in our town for one-to-one teaching.  They tend to recruit students rather than qualified teachers. Here is the price link for one of the branches of Munich Schülerhilfe. https://www.schuelerhilfe.de/fileadmin/Bilder_Zentrale/Preislisten_GmbH/471_München-Bogenhausen.pdf. The ‘Einzelunterricht’ (if available) cost for 45 minutes is 35€. We opted for 4 lessons per week, usually 90 minutes at once rather than split. Additionally, my daughter’s school organised for an older British student to provide 4-5 hours of German tuition per week at school at a cost of 10€ per 45 minutes.    Private tutors (often students) may cost around 20-30€ per hour.  Many advertise on eBay Kleinanzeigen. Your child’s school may also be able to advise. At your eldest child’s age, teachers are likely to recommend going back a year and various social activities.   I helped a Canadian family two years ago with their search for suitable schools for their children in Hessen.  Private schools were an option though after they visited those in the area, they opted for a public school.  I spoke to various school authorities on their behalf to assess the suitability of various school’s German learning classes for foreign children. At that time, there were special classes of around 20-30 migrant children of varying ages, from different countries with no common language. Some had never attended school in their home country. One school authority manager stated that this level of German teaching is unlikely to assist a child achieve a medium to high level of German education.   My daughter’s former maths Nachhilfe tutor has recently qualified as a teacher and is responsible for such classes at a school in our area.  She too confirms that so far, she cannot envisage that any of the pupils will be able to enter main stream classes.     All the best.      
  13. This is a useful link showing Deutsche Post/DHL parcel prices.   https://shop.deutschepost.de/dhl-paketpreise I always choose a postage option that includes Tracking (Sendungsverfolgung) and insurance for items of value.    
  14. Here’s an ad from eBay Kleinanzeigen for pet care at home.  Usually on a once or twice daily visit basis.   https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-anzeige/katzenbetreuung-in-bonn/1467936463-133-23685  Have a look at other ads too.  You can also place a wanted ad for free.   I would definitely recommend home visits over a cattery especially as your cat is an indoor pet.  A good carer will spend time with your cat during a visit to avoid loneliness and boredom. When I offered this service some years ago, cats were either not interested in anything other than food whilst others were keen to play, be groomed etc. In addition to feeding fresh food once or twice daily, some owners used automatic feeders that I’d clean and refill...just for extra cover.  It’s always a good idea to check with a carer what would happen in the event of your delayed return...especially in corona time.  I only ever returned keys once the owner confirmed return. 
  15. Why are you happy today?

    We had so many wasps around our terrace that it was almost impossible to sit outdoors. As we don’t want to kill them, we put a few saucers of water (shallow enough so that they don’t drown) mixed with a little sugar and honey several metres away from our terrace and they love it. We’re no longer bothered by any!  They only live 12-22 days and quite fascinating to watch.  Usually around 30 in the saucer though camera shy!  We move the saucer slightly further away regularly.