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Everything posted by arunadasi

  1. My daughter is feeling a bit down due to the  grey Ireland weather. So I promised her a week's holiday (with baby) in November. She was in Lanzarote last February and loved it, and I remember fondly an intransit day in Tenerife many years ago. The temperature should still be warm then. But it's a four hour flight.   Any suggestions for somewhere really warm in early November, and maybe not so far from Dublin?
  2. Suggestions please for warm November getaway

      Nope, that won't do it! Already at it.  I'm OK, off to Guyana next week. 
  3. What's got you flummoxed today?

      I  learn something new every day.
  4. What's got you flummoxed today?

          These days you have to appear in person: they take your photo "vor Ort" as well as your fingerprint. It;s not so easy for my daughter to fly to London and back just for that -- she has a baby and is breastfreeding.    
  5. What's got you flummoxed today?

    I understand that -- (though I didn't know she'd have to pay emplyees out of her own pocket!). I still think it's awful to leave the post unattended for six whole weeks.   In fact, I'm even more flummoxed, after reading  your link!  That a country like Germany can't pay for its own Vertretungen abroad, can't pay for a decent office in Belfast.      
  6. What's got you flummoxed today?

      I was flummoxed earlier this year when my entire faith in Germany as the epitome of efficiency was shattered. I mean, surely represention abroad should stand out as a glowing example of how perfectly smooth everything in Germany works.   But not so with the Germany Consulate Belfast. My daughter's passport is about to expire so she needed to apply for a new one. She contacted the Belfast Consulate via email but received no reply. So she went online and discovered that there actually is no German Consulate in Belfast -- there's a German Consul who actually lives in Londonderry which is at the northernmost tip of Northern Ireland. I assume she must have an office in Belfast...   Anyway, my daughter called this consul only to get the message that the consul would be out of office until early September. That's all. No mention of a stellvertetende Konsul or any such thing, or what to do in an emergency. She called the Dublin Embassy -- which is the opposite, a state-of-the-art setup currently undergoing renovations, but super efficient-- and they said they cannot help; her only option it to go to the German Embassy in London.   I mean, come on. Even I, as a lowly social worker in a hospital, had a Vertretung when I was on holiday. I find it super lax. The consul was unavailabke for six whole weeks.   Often these German Consuls are just ordinary people given a Mandat. The German Consul in Guyana for many years was a German expat who ran a furniture store and changed money (illegally) on the sly. A very shady character.   More recently the German Consul in Guyana is actually Dutch. Were I to live in Guyana I'm sure I could be a German Consul (if I were younger maybe). for that matter, I told my daughter she should apply for the job.
  7. What's got you flummoxed today?

      Sometimes it is these Asian and African countries that lead. I believe it was Rwanda that was the first country to ban all plastic bags. I was in Tamil Nadu, India, last year when the ban on plastic came into effect. It was interesting, because I had actually seen plastic bin bags in the supermarkets in December but didn't buy any. Come January, they were all gone, from all the shops. So I googled and sure enough, Tamil Nadu had banned all single-use plastic as of January 1st. Now all of India has banned single use plastic. It was inconvenient at first we we soon got use to improvising, finding ways of rubbish disposal with newspaper etc. I was in Sri Lanka in 2017 when a ban was imposed, or about to be imposed. I remember there were actualy demonstration in Colombo against the ban.   It's easy to dismiss them third world countries, but it's not always fair. I'm always impressed in India at how resourceful people are with what they have. The repair things over and over again before chucking them out. They can make anything. Years ago, my baby buggy lost a wheel during the flight over. I asked around, and in a cople of says some local workman had made me a new wheel out of wood -- and fitted it, and it worked!
  8.   Well, living as I do on the Irish border and crossing it (or family members crossing it) sometimes several times a day, you never know after Brexit. My daughter lives in the north, I (and my son) in the south. We all go back and forth. Son and I are her main babysitters.
  9. Brexit: The fallout

    Oh, I feel quite at home again after a year! Same old folk with same old bickering! I love you guys! 
  10. Brexit: The fallout

      While I agree that it is the way it is and we can't quibble about the past, your comparison really doesn't work. The referendum was "status quo" or "change".  In a general election there is no status quo; there are two candidates. People who don't vote don't care enough and are content  with any candidate. People who don't vote in a referendum are content with the status quo.   But it is as it is and we have to deal with the consequences, that much is true.
  11. Brexit: The fallout

      I always believed that those who didn't vote at all are actually clandestine remainers. Surely if the non-voters were pro-Brexit they would have made the effort to vote for it -- not voting means they were basically content with the status quo, and simply weren't interested in change. 
  12. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

    I really do believe that there is a certain type of mentality that does or can do extremely well in the German system; that is, there is compatibility. And the parents of such children get very defensive and protective and genuinly believe that the kids who don't do so well -- it's their fault, the parents should have tried harder, this and that. I do admit without reserve that it was not understanding the system and how it works that caused some problems for me. But in the end I think there was a basic incompatibility.   I had a similar conversation recently with a German friend of mine from way back well; we met up again after about 30 years.  She was very inflexible in her arguments that the German system is fantastic and that an "allgemeine" education is the best; that is, the kids should learn all subjects up to Abitur and be good at all of them because that's the only way to make them fit for Uni and the world.   I prefer a mix and match system, the way it was for me in the UK, and which is truly the best for some pupils. I would have totally failed in the German system. I needed an education in which my strengths (English language, foreign languages, arts) were reinforced and I could withdraw energy from the subjects I truly, genuinly couldn't come to grips with - which was mathematics. So I managed to scrape through British O levels with maths, and then drop it completely at age 16, and concentrate on language and do well in those subjects. My friend was appalled. It seems she would have preferred me to fail completely at keeping up in certain subjects, and then learn a trade -- which would not have worked at all. With all due respect for trades -- I'm far too impractical and clumsy to go in that direction! But now my friend considers me badly educated.   I think my son could have shone in the German system if only he had been allowed a little more freedom to do things his way, and not to toe the line, and if I had been more aware of my own role. My daughter is like me in many ways; totally incompatible with the German system.   I suspect that the Chinese and Singaporeans are even more rigid than the Germans, the parents even more pushy. In some ways I admire this way of doing things; they do achieve results. But finally, it's not for me.   I have to say, that the British go far too much in the other direction, thus you get what they call the Mickey Mouse degrees and lowering of standards so as to support the weak students, so that more students can be winners. My daughter went from an average British Uni to TUM, and she says the difference was like day and night. TUM was much, much, a hundred times better, and she enjoyed it, even enjoyed the pressure -- as an adult she was far more capable of adapting than she had been as a child. She has a very low opinion of British unis and the study ethic of students there, who, she says, were more into partying and getting drunk and getting laid than in studying.
  13. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

          No. Both my kids had only ONE teacher for the main subjects (Maths and German) all through primary school. My son's teacher absolutely hated him; I'm not exagerrating. He had had a brilliant teacher for his first year, he adored her and she brought out the best in him, but she left and her replacement was a horror. I could tell some stories about favouritism... he had her from 2. Klasse to 4. Klasse and she gave him a Realschule recommendation. The other teachers -- I don;t even know who they were, they were minor.   I removed my daughter from the Grundschule in the third year and put her in the Waldorfschule. She learnt nothing there and the bullying was even worse than in the Grundschule. Again, it was just one teacher the kids had for the first 8 years (I think!) of school.    This is all in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Even when my son returned from England, having done really well at school there, top grades, the Gymnasium principle wouldn't accept him. He actually said I was trying to sneak him into the Gymnasium through the back door. Even though he had, in effect, repeated a class (left at the end of 4., returned after a year to enter the 5.)
  14. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

      If I could do it all again, knowing what I know now, I would. I was too compacent; I didn't "get" the German system, buy also, I believe, there's a certain type of learning it's really suited for, and neither I nor my kids could ever have thrived. I would have ended up in the Hauptschule, I'm certain; both I and my daughter have more "soft" strengths, artistic, creative, that don't count for much in D. And my son was too individualistic. He figured out ways to calculate things not using the given system; he'd get the right results in maths, but he had to show how he did it, and never could. He'd write marvellous stories, and be told he used too much imagination. Things like that.   I was interested in following what they learned, but actually sitting down and practicing with them -- I never did that. I think there was a certain mental incompatability with the German system. All three of us did well in the UK (in my case, also Guyana) system. I also much prefer all day school -- slower, more time for everything. But -- well, it's all over now. Thank goodness.   My granddaughter is also having problems in Austria, it appears. Her mother has decided to homeschool her. I'm not sure it's the right decision. She's here right now and obviously very, very bright but I can't see her thriving in a German school, and I assume Austria is similar.  
  15. Hello everyone, I'm back with an urgent question! First of all, a big wave. As many of you know, I retired to Ireland last year. I started out living in a room in a comfortable B&B with a lovely Irish couple in the coutryside; it saved money and also I had a bad hip and didn't want the responsibility for a home of my own. Also it gave me time to figure out how and where I really wanted to live. I moved into a nice brand new rented flat in town last month and all is well. My son had moved in with me and has a start up business, my daughter lives over the border in NI with husband and baby girl, and at the moment my other granddaughter is here on holiday. So all's well.   But I'm having the usual problems with the Barmer. I'm still with them; they covered me automatically when I moved to Ireland. My income is as follows: The bulk of it is a widow's pension paid through the Versorgungsamt B.-W. Then I have my normal pension which is about 500€, and two other tiny pensions from Germany. And a tiny pension from the UK.   I also have quarterly income from the sale of my books, which at the moment is quite good, at least as much  (annually) as all the pensions put together (but varies from year to year). The Barmer is still trying to work out how much my monthy Beitraege should be -- I didn't have to pay a single Beitrag last year as they are still figuring it out. One day I'll get a fat bill.     I've been tax resident in Ireland since 1.1.18. I have an Irish accountant who is doing my taxes for that year; that is, my taxes from my self-employment.   Last November I went to India for three months. This was soon after I had my hip operation and was part of my recovery. At this point I wrote the Barmer cancelling my insurance. I never heard back for them about this, not even after two reminders,   (In 2017 I also went to India for three months. I was able to cancel my insurance immediately  for that time, and join back when I returned to Germany, so that I didn;t have to pay Beitraege while abroad. It all adds up after all.)   Anyway. I wrote Barmer again recently, confirming once again my cancellation. They informed me I had to be in the German system in order to be covered by the Irish public system.   I replied that, after a year, all residents of Ireland are automatically in the Irish system (HSE) and thus I don't need German insurance any more. The HSE isn't too good, it's slow and cumbersome and doesn't cover everything like the NHS, but it's free and it'll do for me as I also get German Beihilfe and I have a small Irish private insurance. No need to pay Barmer a couple hundred a month.   Today they wrote back, as follows:   ...fuer einen in einem anderen Mitgliedstaat wohnenden Rentner, der nur eine Rente aus der deutschen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung bezieht, gelten die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften ueber die Krankenversicherung, wenn man keinen eigenen Leistungsanspruch im WOhnstaat hat   Ein Anspruch (...) aufgrund des Wohnens, wie es bei Ihnen der Fall ist, ist nachrangig.   Bezugnehmend auf Ihre Schreiben vom 17.08.19 teile ich Ihnen mit, dass bei Ihnen, da sie kein Einkommen durch eine Beschaeftigung oder durch eine Rente in Irland haben, weiterhin die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften gelten und sie Weiterhin in Deutschland bei der Barmer versichert sind.   In other words, I'm not allowed to cancel my insurance policy? How can this be? they make such a fuss about accepting people; can they really force you to stay in if you live abroad and don't want to and have other arrangements?   I did a bit of googling and found this:     Bei Rentnern, die sich für ein Leben im Ausland entschieden haben, besteht in der Regel keine Versicherungspflicht bei der deutschen Krankenversicherung und Pflegeversicherung für Rentner. Entscheidend ist, in welches Land der Senior seinen neuen Wohnsitz verlegt. Befindet sich der Wohnsitz innerhalb der EU oder in einem Staat des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraumes oder der Schweiz, kann der Senior solange in der deutschen Kranken- und Pflegeversicherung versichert bleiben, wie er Rente aus Deutschland bezieht.   So, it is "kann", not "muss"...???   Grateful for all help and advice. Sorry this is so long. German Papierkrieg as usual...   (Edited to add: I do indeed have a "Beschaeftigung in Irland". I am a writer and get income from this; although not paid from Ireland but from the UK.)  
  16. I think there would be complications in claiming UK residence and registering to vote. I just checked the Northern Ireland info and I afaik would have to apply for permanent residence. This would also mean being tax resident in NI which I don't want to be for various reasons. Looks like I'll have to suck it up, unles SOLVIT has a solution. I'll keep this updated. Could be interesting for others.
  17.   I can't, as I'm not a UK citizen. Unless you mean local votes? I'm not sure if I can...
  18. GP visits are €50. I get Beihilfe, so I am reimbursed 80% of all my medical costs. I also have private Irish health coverage which also covers GP visits plus hospital care -- I am totally overinsured at the moment!!!! That's why I want to ditch the Barmer.    
  19. Thanks Panda. I see more headaches coming my way! I'll get through this too. I think they know by now there is no Meldebescheinigung -- but I do have official letters addressed to me there.   Or maybe I just move "officially" back to Guyana -- I do still have property there. Going there in September.
  20. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

        That was one mistake I made myself. I did not realise that parents are virtually co-teachers. I never practiced Diktat etc with my kids -- and unfortunately my husband didn't tell me that this was the requirement. I didn't do it because of my own schooling --  nobody ever gave me homework help and I didn't expect to have to do it. So I do claim some responsibility. But I also think it's really not fair for the parents to have to co-teach and practice. It gives parents with a good academic background a huge advantage over, for instance, working class or immigrant families -- particularly since it's the mothers who do most of the co-teaching. I anywat couldn't have co-taught mathematics. It was always my weakest subject, and I discovered that everything I knew from my own schooling was irrelevant here -- they use completely different methods for, for example, log division, multiplication, etc. I never understood the German methods. I think teaching is the teacher's job, not the parents.
  21. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

    It definitely didn't work for my two kids. I hate to play the racism card, but my son was most definitely discriminated against by teachers as well as  other pupils. I won't go into details here but he was extremely bright -- I'd say even giften mathematically; he was reading  books far advance of his age by age 10. And yet they gave him a Realschulempfehlung. Even though he was perfectly bilingual English-German, he never got above a 2 in English once in the Realschule -- the teacher knew better. I don't want to go into details but that was the reason I sent him to private school in the UK. My daughter was dyslexic and they were channeling her into the Sonderschule. She too went to private school in the UK. She now has a first class honours degree from the UK and started a second degree at TUM Munich - which she had to break off because of pregnancy. Both would have failed in the German system, for different reasons -- but being "foreign" didn't help.
  22. I miss the sunshine. Ireland is as they say: mostly rainy and grey. And to think I always said I'd retire to a tropical country! However I can put up with it I've decided. It's cold I dislike rather than rain. And the people are maybe the best in Europe, certainly easier to get on with than Germans.   I don't miss the lack of personal engagement between people. Here, everyone wants a chat with you, from the bus driver to the doctor; it's never just business as usual. The greeting  is How are you? And the established answer is Not too bad, as if "bad" is the default! 
  23.   Maybe; I'll see what they say. Maybe they know ways around it. Otherwise officially moving to NI seems the only option.
  24.     The photo in my profile is from 2017, taken on holiday in Sri Lanka! I'm a bit older now, going on 68. I'll update it soon.   I have a medical card, but it is because of my Barmer insurance. I would not be eligible if I did not have the German insurance, as it is income based and I'm above the threshold. But I wouldn't need one, as I have Irish medical insurance as well as Beihilfe.
  25. Thanks White Rose. I shall contact them today.