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About Elfenstar

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  • Location Mannheim
  • Nationality American
  • Hometown Austin
  • Gender Female
  • Interests not interested in much...
  1. Goods that Americans miss most?

      I lived off of Hamburger Helper, Kraft mac & cheese, and Top Ramen in college. Who didn't, right? Then I came to Germany and either gave up on my comfort foods, found substitutes or tried to make them if I was desperate (for me that was Tex-Mex food). Then I'd go home for the holidays and be sooo happy to make Hamburger Helper. It tasted horrible, so artificial. Learning to cook from scratch, made me realize how food really tastes. Here, I don't even use Maggi fix. I couldn't believe how my taste buds changed.   I will admit though, queso  made with Velveeta cheese still makes my mouth water :-)
  2. Goods that Americans miss most?

    yup, I usually bring back several large packets. I freeze most of them. I've found corn tortillas now at Edeka, but they're not the same.
  3. Just trying to bump this up to see if there are any new recommendations.   My old hair dresser left the salon and I'm not following her because the prices at the new place are ridiculous. So I tried out someone else, twice and I've realized my hair looks like shit because they have been straightening it first (blow-dry, flat iron), then cutting it. I've enjoyed the straight hair for a few days... Anyhow, the problem is, in its natural state, the curls spring up differently, not in a perfect row as with straight hair so I've got a "hole" in the back of my hair. It looks awful.
  4. Maternity leave and the law in Germany

      This was my situation exactly.    I logged in once shortly after the birth to send out a birth announcement to colleagues. Then again about half a year later when I got "bored" at home, then probably once a month after that. I'm glad I did because a huge reorg took place and no one had informed me personally, it was all communicated via email.
  5. Moving to NRW from Chicago

      That, for me, is all you need to make your decision.    I was a trailing spouse (albeit with a baby) when hubs had a job opportunity in Singapore. We wanted to be away from the big ex-pat enclaves, a bit more where Singapore life really took place. Well, after a year I regretted it. Sure, our flat was cheaper, but hubs had a 45 minute commute by underground to work. So he had to leave between 7 and 7:30 a.m. (sometimes the underground was so full he had to wait for the next one) and wasn't home until well after 7 p.m. We had no time during the week together and I was resentful.  A 50 minute one-way commute - 2 hours a day - is a lot of time.   My current commute (by car) is 35-40 minutes door-to-door. That's the longest I will ever do.
  6.   She's not allowed to leave Germany with the kids without your permission. If she does so, that is considered kidnapping. It is unusual for one parent to have sole custody of a child in Germany. Even if you're living apart, you can still have join custody.
  7. Single foreign parent, financial assistance

      normally, the main breadwinner (in this case, the man), leaves the house. you stay put with the kids.
  8.   Those are 2 different things. "Mutterschutz" (paid maternity leave) gives her time off before and after the delivery, so the time a woman gets before the birth to prepare for it, and after, to recover from it. In German, it's 6 weeks before and 8 after. Once that's over, then  "Elternzeit", which is parental leave, kicks in. For those in Germany, it could mean getting a percentage of the last years monthly salary for a certain, fixed period of time. Both parents can share this.   Your wife pays taxes in France. So I don't think she's entitled to Elterngeld in Germany. Doesn't mean she cannot take a year off under the French system.
  9. Getting fired with an unlimited contract

      Don't they have to give you at least 3 Abmahnungen before firing you? But at least his/her/your lawyer knows what's coming.