Relocating to Munich from San Francisco; looking for advice

204 posts in this topic

27 minutes ago, jeba said:

She better thinks twice. As a kid I had a hamster and I still remember how horrified I was seeing that she had eaten all her babies. There were only the heads left.

Cannibal rodent stories are best saved for pre-teens at sleepaway camp. :) 

I was given mice to raise, 72 years ago, and I still have dreams that I've come down to the basement to find I haven't fed them for months and that the cage is full of partially-eaten corpses.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, john g. said:

My next real pet came along 20 years ago when I met my still partner Nicole- a cat I named Hemingway ( RIP)🙏🏻

 

You were really E(a)rnest in your quest for a pet! :D

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, katheliz said:

Cannibal rodent stories are best saved for pre-teens at sleepaway camp. :) 

I was given mice to raise, 72 years ago, and I still have dreams that I've come down to the basement to find I haven't fed them for months and that the cage is full of partially-eaten corpses.

 

Halloween is round the corner. Nice theme for the neighborhood Haunted House.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, jeba said:

She better thinks twice. As a kid I had a hamster and I still remember how horrified I was seeing that she had eaten all her babies. There were only the heads left.

 

Yikes!!! We cant even use this as an argument against her. She will be deeply disturbed for the next 200 nights.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, GoldenLizard said:

 

You were really E(a)rnest in your quest for a pet! :D

What happened? My animal loving partner Nicole told me an old lady in our part of Hamburg couldn’t cope with yet another cat so we went round her place with a cage. And the cat was on a bookcase, looking very serious ! I opened the cage door and, with his serious look on his face , he jumped right down and into the cage💋.


I said to Nicole “ er guckt so ernst “ ( he looks so “ earnest “) and, lightbulb moment! German word “ ernst “- English word “ earnest/ serious “ and,  moi , “Ernest Hemingway! “ But only one word is enough- so Hemingway it became, poor deaf Hemingway ( born deaf , white Turkish van species ) and he was a soulmate for nearly 20 years.

RIP, babe💋

 

PS: haven’t had a lizard as a pet yet! But if we ever meet up in Germany, the lizard food or beers are on me!😂

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, john g. said:

What happened? My animal loving partner Nicole told me an old lady in our part of Hamburg couldn’t cope with yet another cat so we went round her place with a cage. And the cat was on a bookcase, looking very serious ! I opened the cage door and, with his serious look on his face , he jumped right down and into the cage💋.

I said to Nicole “ er guckt so ernst “ ( he looks so “ earnest “) and, lightbulb moment! German word “ ernst “- English word “ earnest/ serious “ and, “ moi , Ernest Hemingway! “ But only one word is enough- so Hemingway it became, poor deaf Hemingway ( born deaf , white Turkish van species ) and he was a soulmate for nearly 20 years.

RIP, babe💋

 

Great Story!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 28/08/2020, 11:43:45, MikeMelga said:

In summary, the German educational system is great if:

  • you are German and have parents that are university educated 
  • you think hard skills will dominate the XXI century (they will not)
  • you can withstand the pressure and selection process

 

Fixed that for you.

 

Children of German blue collar workers tend to do almost as poorly as foreigners in the German system. 

 

On 29/08/2020, 02:49:28, GoldenLizard said:

Thats brutal! My kids don't have blond hair, blue eyes, white skin or a German surname. That was never a factor here, but I recognize that the SF Bay Area is a world apart - a melting pot.

 

I'm Canadian (but not white) and although I like living here I am glad I didn't grow up here and if I had school age kids I would probably leave Germany. On the other hand, education in Germany has been discussed to death on this website and I don't feel like going over everything again (use the search function).

 

On 29/08/2020, 02:49:28, GoldenLizard said:

 

You are right, the feedback I got was from some colleagues who came to Germany some 35+ years ago.

 

You should also be aware that katheliz is an old white American women stuck in the past and whose kids' attended school here about 50 years ago; she refuses to acknowledge that the world has changed in the past half century and you should take her rosy coloured outlook with a grain of salt.

 

On 29/08/2020, 02:49:28, GoldenLizard said:

 

Am so glad to have run into you @MikeMelga on this forum. Honestly, I never kept track of my kids in school here. Will make sure not to repeat the mistake in Germany. And hopefully all turns out fine.

 

 

It is not enough to hope. You need to be proactive. 

 

Call the school board tomorrow and ask them about options for your son. 

 

 

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, engelchen said:

Call the school board tomorrow and ask them about options for your son. 

 

Thanks @engelchen for your concern. In the last few days, I am even wondering if I should switch the kids at some point to private/international school if any of the things being discussed start happening.

 

@PandaMunich has provided the link to State School Advice Bureau (Schulberatung) and they have an email there as well. I plan to write them an email and find out the options available to my son.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely planning is the way to go - I am generally (with caveats) enthusiastic about the German system and my 4 have been through/are going through it, but they started at KIndergarten so already had language in place. Also I am a teacher and therefore am not completely clueless in the face of unexpected directions.

 

Your 10 year old is over the edge of comfort for joining this system - like Katheliz I would recommend repeating a year, getting Nachhilfe and joining clubs to get the language fixed as quickly as possible and to get a sense of belonging in the community.

 

One thing which I felt was entirely unexpected and a powerful force in German schools is the autonomy - schools vary unbelievably, teachers within those schools vary unbelievably and the experience one family is having in a city/area/school may be absolutely incomparable with yours even though on the face of it all things look pretty equal. The teacher is more a monarch in their own tiny kingdom than a valued part of a greater whole. This goes both ways - a really good teacher is not much affected by a crap head, but a poor teacher is likely to be unsuppported. Schools are not really communities in the sense you might expect. There is a very unhelpful system where after some years and processes, a teacher may become a Beamter, which is a status involving usually better benefits, but also absolute job security even in the face of what I would see as unacceptable non-professional behaviour. They are almost impossible to get rid of. There are as you would expect a vast number of committed and trained teachers who are keen to get the best out of their pupils, but you will come across both.

 

Private schools are seen by many Germans as a soft option for kids/parents who cannot hack the state system, and there are plenty which are badly run and have massive staff turnover - disguised as 'we have a young and enthusiastic staff' ;) - obviously there are great ones too. 

 

Statistically, engelchen is absolutely right to warn you off - we all belong to a subset of the population with which Germany generally has poor results, regardless of parental achievement, and planning and preparation are required so that it doesn't all go horribly wrong. There are loads of people who have had it all work out - several TTers have kids who have recently completed their Abitur absolutely successfully, and others who have been very happy with their kids having the opportunity to go through an apprenticeship system and learn a useful trade/go into business, so don't feel as though it is impossible, just that you will need to keep your eye on the ball and be more involved than you might hope for, but pick your battles very carefully - some stuff is merely alien and unrecognisable, and not necessarily bad :).

 

7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29.8.2020, 20:32:23, robinson100 said:

There seems to be a cricket club in Munich - looking at some of the players´names, I suspect they are mostly of Indian or Pakistani background, though I could be wrong.

 

There is a cricket club in our neighbouring community up here in Schleswig-Holstein.  Keep getting themselves into the local press.

I went along there a few days ago - 100% "Pakistani background".  All dressed in black & the ball was white - in my day the players were dressed in white & the ball red!  In the midst of unintelligable shouting (Urdu?) there would be calls of "Good ball - good ball".

 

I did not let on that as a British Citizen cricket was part of my DNA...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, GoldenLizard said:

 

Thanks @engelchen for your concern. In the last few days, I am even wondering if I should switch the kids at some point to private/international school if any of the things being discussed start happening.

 

If your company is paying for relocation, check with them if they pay for international school as part of the package. Otherwise private schools can extremely expensive with 2 kids.

If they pay for it, then your options are great in the north of Munich. You have 2 BIS campus and St. George. You also have Phorms, a bit more to the east/south.

Most schools offer a good discount for a second child.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi GoldenLizard

 

I can relate to your post very well. My husband and I moved from the Bay Area to Munich last September and we also had to live out of our suitcases for the first two months until our container arrived. Figuring out what to pack and bring with us was one of the hardest parts as you can only fit so much !

 

Everyone's advice on weather has been right - temps last year went down to 0 or -2 and there really were only a few days of light snow that melted quickly. But what I noticed is after living in the Bay Area for a long time is that the temps here did feel really cold to me. It rarely goes down to 0 in the Bay Area even in winter, and here in Munich there is also a wet cold which means you need a winter jacket and shoes that can be both warm and withstand water. 

 

My first purchase in October last year was a pair of Gore-Tex high top sneakers with fleece inside. Gore-Tex boots would work well too. As others mentioned, they have good soles are are both rain/snow proof. 

 

I also ended up buying a couple sweaters including a thick winter wool sweater. I was thinking that I could get away with layering a couple long-sleeve shirts until our container arrived, but found I needed the heavier sweaters sooner.

 

By December I bought a down winter coat with a high collar and goes down to my knees. This is an every day jack to wear to work, outings, etc. I'm not sure if REI or North Face would have them - especially not right now as the Bay Area is in it's warmest months?

 

The other purchase that I made was a pair of long underwear. This was mainly due to attending a December FC Bayern game, but I ended up wearing them under outdoor clothing in December and January when we would go for walks / hikes outdoors. In the winter here, you want to get outside to get some fresh air when you can, so keep in mind that you do want some stuff for outdoor warmth as well. 

 

I can certainly appreciate not wanting to deal with all of this when you first arrive. Your first few months are going to be so busy just getting settled. But, on the flip side, there are stores here and they carry the clothing that is best needed for this type of weather. 

 

One other tip for packing the suitcases that caught us off guard. When the Lufthansa agents at SFO realized that we were moving out of the country, they made us weigh all of our carry on luggage. I've never had to do that before and weren't anticipating it, so at the last minute we were at the counter shifting around all of our belongings from carry on to checked luggage. Of course, we had all of our electronic devices with us, important paperwork, other items that our moving company wouldn't be responsible for and so it was quite an ordeal to figure out what could be shifted.  

 

Good luck with your move!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree with Jill_ about buying stuff when you arrive.  I tried to buy things before I got here, but in the end they weren't quite right - either for the weather conditions or the social situation.   You'll find you need different types of shoes/boots, coats, scarves, hats depending on where you end up living and how much walking you will do - different stuff for driving to work or trekking to the grocery store.

 

I also found that my clothes just somehow didn't look "European" and everyone immediately knew I wasn't from around here. It's very subtle, but there is some difference!  I think I blend in more now - at least they don't start talking to me in English anymore.

 

Finally, It might also be nicer for the kids to be able to pick out new clothes which are more like what they see their new classmates wearing.  There are enough reasons to be bullied, but at least "uncool" clothes won't be one of them (and it seems impossible to know what will be popular with kids in any given month!).

 

 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kalifornierin said:

Finally, It might also be nicer for the kids to be able to pick out new clothes which are more like what they see their new classmates wearing.  There are enough reasons to be bullied, but at least "uncool" clothes won't be one of them (and it seems impossible to know what will be popular with kids in any given month!).

Speaking of it, Germans kids use some very expensive backpacks from a specific brand, I´ve been told. If you don´t buy them, you are "non conform". Anyone knows the brand?

Funny thing, that does not happen on my private school, everyone takes what they want.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Speaking of it, Germans kids use some very expensive backpacks from a specific brand, I´ve been told. If you don´t buy them, you are "non conform". Anyone knows the brand?

 

 

ErgoFlex.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, kiplette said:

Your 10 year old is over the edge of comfort for joining this system...

Not quite. Ordinarily I agree with @kiplette all the way. I don't think I do here. But she and I have had five children each go through the German schools, so we've had a more varied experience than most ex-pats.

My three oldest children (then 11, 12, and 14) did have to struggle, and the youngest did the best. They were hampered at first by their lack of German, but while 10 is at the edge of easily acquiring a .language, your son isn't starting from zero. He already speaks more than just his mother tongue and he's also enthusiastic about learning another language.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, engelchen said:

 

You should also be aware that katheliz is an old white American women stuck in the past and whose kids' attended school here about 50 years ago; she refuses to acknowledge that the world has changed in the past half century and you should take her rosy coloured outlook with a grain of salt.

 

 

The first part of this sentence is, I think, unduly harsh and unnecessary, but I do tend to agree with the last part.  I would not take advice from someone who does not have current knowledge of the state of German public schools.  They are vastly different from when I was a child, and for the most part not in a good way.

 

We moved here when my daughter was KITA-age.  After looking very carefully at the local Grundschulen, we were appalled.  Completely disorganized, huge class sizes (some with 50 kids!), classes with no teachers because the teachers were on permanent paid leave and could not be replaced, large numbers of children who could not speak German or English, and rampant behavioral, social, and cultural problems.

 

We ended up deciding to put our daughter in a private school.  The parents of my daughter‘s KITA friends couldn‘t believe that we would pay money for school when we could send her to a local public school for „free,“ but we were sure we were doing the right thing.

 

Fast-forward three years, and as of now all of my daughter‘s German KITA friends are now enrolled in the private school.  The parents (and their children) learned the hard way.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Children aren't any different today than they were 50, 100, 500 years ago. School systems change, teaching methods change, and children still learn. My two granddaughters currently in German schools, Gymnasium and Grundschule, are doing just fine.

 

EDIT: Sorry, I agree that one anecdote proves nothing. But my son and DIL have no complaints about their local schools (Traunstein). Vierling's school history is Rosenheim, his wife's is Ottobrunn, so their comparisons cover differing areas.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, katheliz said:

My two granddaughters currently in German schools, Gymnasium and Grundschule, are doing just fine.

 

Did they start later with no German or have they grown up here? I think that is the discussion.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, fraufruit said:

Did they start later with no German or have they grown up here? I think that is the discussion.

My comment was a response to the complain by @Space Cowboy that public schools are failing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now