Monthly Archives: September 2009

A bicycling accident

David likes to ride his bicycle to work whenever he can. Since our town is essentially uphill from where he works, David’s ride in the morning is fairly easy, but coming back in the afternoon involves more work. He says it takes him about half an hour to ride to Penzberg, and forty-five minutes to return to our town of Bad Heilbrunn.

On Monday morning, I was surprised when at 8:30 or so, I heard David return to our house. It turned out he had been in an accident. Apparently, when he was turning left onto the path toward Penzberg, a woman in a car wasn’t looking or paying attention. David thinks she was texting/phoning or looking at her GPS. The woman either clipped the end of his bike, or caused him to swerve off the road. David flipped over his bike, landing in a farm field which, fortunately, was soft due to a mix of soil and manure.

We immediately went to the local doctor in our town. The doctor documented everything and said that since David was on his way to work, it’s considered a work accident and we don’t have to pay a thing for doctor’s visits. (At the most, however, we would have had to pay 20 Euro). The local doctor sent David to a clinic in Bad Tölz, where he saw an orthopedic specialist. They took seven x-rays to make sure there were no broken bones. There weren’t. Instead, David has soft tissue damage and was given a note to take the rest of the week off. He has been at home, recuperating, and will return to work on Monday.

We are very grateful that David was not more seriously injured. It could have been so much worse.

The bike itself has a bent wheel, derailleur, broken shifter and possibly a bent fork. We took it to a bike shop in Bad Tölz, and hopefully it will be repaired quickly. Despite this upsetting accident, David is eager to be back on his bike, riding into work.

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Photos from Tierpark Hellabrunn – the Munich Zoo

In mid-August, we went to the zoo, and I wrote about how much fun Rosebud had with the monkeys in this post, “Rosebud Interacts with the Monkeys”.

Our friend Jeremy shared his pictures with us, and I wanted to put some up on our blog. As I mentioned before, it’s a beautiful zoo. The pictures don’t quite do the zoo justice.

Rosebud and Mama at the zoo

Rosebud and Mama at the zoo

Rosebud looks at the animals

Rosebud looks at the animals

Rosebud practices walking at the zoo

Rosebud practices walking at the zoo

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Dory: [Reading a door] Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay". Hey, it's spelled just like escape."

Dory (Reading a door): Hey, look. Es-ca-pay. Hey, it's spelled just like escape!

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Mom, look at the monkey!

Mom, look at the monkey!

The monkey is playing with me!

The monkey is playing with me!

In the primate house

In the primate house

Lemurs?  Or wannabee housecats?

Lemurs? Or wannabee housecats?

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school of fish

school of fish

Rosebud: Mama, I've had a big day and I'm tired.

Rosebud: Mama, I've had a big day and I'm tired.

Bonjour, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

In the middle of July, my French friends Claire and Estelle came to visit Rosebud and me. They are both Mathematics teachers, and visited me in Indianapolis in 2006. We could never have predicted that Claire and Estelle would be visiting us in Bavaria in 2009! Claire and Estelle were camping near our house here in Bavaria, and then during the day we took several outings together. Our first trip was to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and then on to Walchensee/Kochel.

Since my camera was kaputt by this stage, Claire offered to send me a CD of photos from the trip. I found a letter from Claire in my mailbox today, and she included the picture CD. I selected some of the photographs from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to share. It’s truly a picturesque little town. I think that when we think of Bavaria, the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen epitomizes the style and look of those charming Bavarian homes with their murals painted on the walls.

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I especially love this house.
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It has many typical Bavarian features, such as the cross-timbered beams, the overhanging roof, the geranium flower boxes and the shutters on the windows. The sign says that it’s the “country home Kuchler” (Landhaus Kuchler) and that you can rent it for your vacation (Ferienwohnung). The shape of this house, however, is unique for a Bavarian home. Most of the homes in our area tend to be quite large and rectangular, as they’re intended for several families to live in. The house in this picture is much smaller and the layout looks different from the typical Bavarian country house. I don’t know about you, but I think it is a very cute home and would be wonderful to rent for a summer or winter vacation in Garmisch.

Here’s one of the tributaries flowing through Garmisch. I never cease to be amazed by the startling clarity and blueness of the water here.
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This home, actually a building used for a business, shows the artistry that is evident in the murals.
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Here’s another image showing an aspect of a mural:
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The woman, dressed in the traditional Tracht – Dirndl costume, is saying (I believe):
“Was thuast di’ so braucha
und hupfst uma dum?
I’ wirkl di’ dengerscht,
um Kagerl rum.”

I honestly can’t say what that means, for it is in the Baierisch dialect, and probably a local one at that. The lettering is based on the old Fraktur style. The first two lines probably ask something like “What do you need that you’re hopping around?” I think the third line has to do with being hungry, and the last one? I have no idea. And my guesses here could be completely wrong! I am getting better at figuring out Baierisch, but it vastly differs from standard German. One of my neighbors, an older woman who loves talking with Rosebud, uses a lot of Baierisch when she talks with me. I’m gradually figuring out some of the expressions but mostly have to fill in the blanks from contextual clues.

Rosebud going for a stroll in Garmisch!
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Garmisch-Partenkirchen is at the foot of the Alps, as you can see in this image.
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Possibly, Austria is visible in this picture! One reason tourists go to Garmisch is to visit the Zugspitze, which is the tallest peak in Germany. I haven’t yet gone to the top of the Zugspitze, but I hope to do so by next summer. As you can imagine, Garmisch is filled with tourists all year long, because you can ski during the winter months and hike the rest of the year.

While with my friends Claire and Estelle, I spoke French the entire time. I think that Rosebud was curious that suddenly her mama was saying something completely different, that was neither English or German.

Mama and Rosebud in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Mama and Rosebud in Garmisch-Partenkirchen


My friend Mia suggested I speak to Rosebud in French for a few hours each day, and I might just do that so she is exposed to all three languages. Anyway, I really enjoyed speaking French. At first, I felt a bit rusty and had difficulty finding the right words. But after a few hours, I was speaking as fluently in French as ever. When we went to this restaurant (in the picture), I had troubles switching back to German and even spoke a little French with the server without realizing I was doing so. It’s a pretty normal thing to happen when you speak several languages, but I am always amused by this phenomenon. In a strange way, it gives you an insight as to how the brain – or my brain, anyway – processes language and turns on a “switch” somehow to access either French, English or German, depending on what situation I am in.

Rosebud Stories

Since many of you love hearing about Rosebud, I thought I would write a little about her latest adventures.

She’s definitely a toddler now, and at times her frustration leads to the infamous toddler tantrums. But all things considered, Rosebud is usually easy-going and a happy little kid. I feel very lucky to have such a sweet-tempered daughter.

Rosebud said a new word today, which was cookie. She often reaches for her Butterkeks – a butter cookie, kind of like graham crackers. Now she’ll be able to request them in addition to reaching for them! Interestingly, I’d say she hears the English word “cookie” as frequently as the German word “Keks” and also the British/Austrialian word “biscuit”. I am completely intrigued as to why she decided to use the word cookie instead of Keks or biscuit. I’m really enjoying hearing and seeing her language and cognitive skills develop.

Yesterday evening, Rosebud was looking at the picture of a dog in one of her books. She pointed to the picture and then said to me: “It’s not a kitty. It’s a doggie.” I about fell out of my chair! That’s rather sophisticated for a 16-month year old child. However, my mother-in-law told me that David was the same way, so she clearly takes after her daddy.

The weather has been very fall-like in the past few weeks. It was foggy and chilly yesterday morning, but by the afternoon, the sun had come out and it warmed up quite nicely. I put Rosebud in our baby backpack and we set off on another fantastic hike, toward the tiny hamlet of Hub, a farming community which you can see on this map (the blue dot marks the community of Hub, and the blue line is the trail we hiked):

We saw many, many cows along the way. Rosebud was fascinated! The sky was mostly clear where we walked, but we could also see low clouds and fog descending upon the mountains which you could see from Hub. It was really quite a gorgeous sight, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to take a photograph of it. Perhaps I can get a similar photograph on another day. One thing is sure, though – the new baby backpack has been such a good purchase (thank you, Aunt K). It allows Rosebud and me to hike in areas, such as Hub, where a stroller would have been impractical. I love it!

Rosebud and I are on our own for a few days, as David is in Berlin on a conference. He is staying in the Kurfürstendamm area of Berlin, which, I believe, is one of the nicest areas in Berlin. It’s definitely a great place to go shopping (or perhaps, just window shopping). David is really enjoying Berlin, even though he’s mostly busy with his conference. Maybe he will write a post about Berlin when he gets back, as I know all of you would enjoy reading about that.

Since we’re on our own, Rosebud and I had a lovely little “girl’s night” this evening. We did some drawings, read plenty of books (one of Rosebud’s favorite activities) and then we watched Sleeping Beauty on Blu-ray (the movie looks stunning on Blu-ray). Rosebud snuggled with me on my lap and hardly moved at all during the movie, so I think she really liked it. Either that, or she was a sleeping beauty herself. 😉 I suspect some of each is true.

Tomorrow we are heading up to München-Brunnthal to go shopping at IKEA. It should be fun! Among other things, I’m looking forward to the Köttbullar, or Swedish meatballs, if we have time to eat at the IKEA restaurant. Mmm, Swedish meatballs. Rosebud is very fond of them, so I will probably get a big plate to share with her.

Tegernsee

At the end of July, Rosebud and I went to Tegernsee with our friends. Tegernsee is another gorgeous alpine lake, with stunning crystal clear water. Here’s a map to give you an idea of the area:

This is the official tourism site of Tegernsee, which has a neat panorama view. The German Wikipedia entry on Tegernsee is also informative (the English page says very little about the area).

As my digital camera was out of commission, I had a great time using my SLR instead. We scanned in the prints, so they’re not quite as nice as an original digital photo would be, but I’m still pleased with the results.

We spent a lot of time at the park, which was an ideal place to let Rosebud play on the grass and watch the people there.

Beautiful park at Tegernsee

Beautiful park at Tegernsee

People-watching at Tegernsee

People-watching at Tegernsee

I attempted to keep Rosebud’s hat on her, but she preferred it off. It’s funny, because six weeks later, she likes putting her hat on. I think she finally understands the purpose of a hat, to protect her from the sun.

Rosebud and sunshine

Rosebud and sunshine

Hat on!  Apply directly to the head!

Hat on! Apply directly to the head!

Rosebud, sitting pretty

Rosebud, sitting pretty

The first biscuit was delicious, but I'm not sure about this one.

The first biscuit was delicious, but I'm not sure about this one.

We spent most of the afternoon strolling along the lake. It’s a well-known tourist area, and we saw plenty of well-dressed people, fancy cars and the like. And no wonder, as Tegernsee is extremely beautiful. But it’s also a great place to start a hiking adventure, as it is close to the Alps. We saw plenty of tourists wearing hiking gear.

View of Tegernsee, looking south toward the Alps

View of Tegernsee, looking south toward the Alps

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Along the edge of the lake, there were lots of resting areas, parks and benches, making it a great outing for us. The next time I am in Tegernsee, I’ll probably pack a picnic lunch.

Rosebud in Bloom

Rosebud in Bloom

This statue was also quite cute, of a little boy fishing next to the lake.

Statue of a boy, fishing

Statue of a boy, fishing

And in this picture, you can get a sense of how clear and pretty the water is.
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When we return to Tegernsee, I very much would like to rent a boat or take the ferry out on the lake. There is much more there for me to explore! Aren’t I lucky to be a stay-at-home-mom, as I get to take my daughter to places like these? We would have never dreamed of these opportunities before Rosebud was born.

A Rosebud update

On August 13th, Rosebud joined the upright crowd and took her first steps, unassisted. What a thrilling moment that was! She’s doing great with her walking and will soon add running to her repertoire. I was looking back at pictures we’ve taken of her when she was a newborn, and thought to myself just how much a child changes from birth to their first birthday. I’m also asking myself, when did Rosebud become a toddler? It feels like it happened overnight. She was a baby, and now she is not.

A week ago, we visited her pediatrician for a routine visit and a booster shot. Rosebud now weights 8,590 grams (18.94 pounds) and is 72 centimeters tall (2.3 feet tall, or a little over 28 inches). I believe that her second cousin, who is now about nine months old, weighs more than her. She’s wee, but I’m not concerned. She’s growing well, developing well and devouring pretty much everything in sight. For example: Rosebud likes peas, and I mean, she really, really likes them, and has now added the word “pea” to her ever-expanding vocabulary:

She is even uttering short sentences, such as: “Dis is a bubu” (bubu is her word for book, one of her obsessions) and “Dis is a ditty” (ditty = kitty, another one of her obsessions) and even this amazing sentence: “Dis is a bubu ditty”, whereupon she brought me her book about cats. 😮 Some other words that we understand include blankie, doggie, duckie, tea (she has a play teapot), hello, bye bye, baby, what’s this?, bunny and apple. She’s been adding one new word a day to her spoken vocabulary, all in English. Of course, this makes logical sense as English is what we speak at home. When we’re out and about, we’ll speak in German some of the time, but primarily she hears English.

As a language teacher who has studied how children learn and develop their language skills, it’s been fascinating for me to see it in action. And, unsurprisingly, Rosebud seems very interested in anything having to do with language (after all, her parents are avid readers). Lately she’s even wanted to curl up in bed with a good book to look at the pictures.

Here’s a video of Rosebud playing with some colored pencils, which she quickly abandons in favor of playing on Mama and interacting with the video camera:

And this video shows her at play in her bedroom:

We are very proud of our delightful little girl!