How big is your circle of real friends

After living in Germany for nine months, we visited the US in November for three weeks, passing through three cities. (Los Angeles, Walnut Creek, and Portland) Going to visit friends and family got me thinking about my life here . The vast majority of my time it’s just the four of us. Robie has four nights of martial arts split between two schools as well as her German integration class each morning during the week. The kids go to kindergarten. Me,… I spend most of those times alone or with the kids.
Beyond our daily routine, our circle of friends and family is small. There’s my friend Mishi ; we see her and her family about once or twice a month, my niece Janina, and my older sister Daniela. The latter two, we’ve only seen a handful of times, since they live in other cities.
It got me thinking, how much of a life is it to have so few people? Returning to the USA prompted me to compare and contrast.
If you moved away from wherever you’ve been living and returned for a visit, how many non-family people would you make a point of visiting? For me the numbers …

How to help a language learner

Part of the point of moving to Germany has been learning/improving German. Learning a new language is not easy and each of the four of us have quite different experiences. Since I have the strongest German of the four of us, it’s got me thinking about the ways in which the others help me and how others could help me.
First a short description of where each of us are.
Robie is moving the fastest, largely due to discipline and motivation. Before moving, she spent a lot of time on Duolingo. Once we got here, it wasn’t until September than she began a formal class (3.5 hours M-F). In between, she used a couple books. She is very quickly becoming able to interact with people. She can read some German kids books to our kids and mostly know what’s going on.
Malcolm doesn’t really realize that German and English are two different languages. He doesn’t say yes anymore; only Ja. For him, it seems that there are a bunch of words around him the he doesn’t know. Some of them are English and others are German.
Lydia is aware that the languages are different and it puts her at …

Interesting trivia about getting an apartment in Germany

I’ve spent most of my life living in the USA. I lived in Frankfurt, Germany from birth until age 7 and I spent 2.5 years in Israel between April 1998 and end of 2000. Otherwise, it’s all US, ranging from living with parents, college fraternity life, roommate in Silicon Valley, and finally owning. I own some property that I rent out and like anyone else who has a pickup truck, I’ve helped lots of people move.
None of that hinted at the surprises I had here.

No kitchen

About half of the apartments on the market have no kitchen. Yes, they do have a room where the kitchen will go, but… Here are two random kitchen pictures I’ve lifted off of which is the main way people find a place.
nokitchen2 nokitchen
It seems there are some things missing. What could it be? hmm. They are very nice. Good to have a window. The tile is a little outdated perhaps, but it seems that there’s something else not quite right about these kitchens. It would be nice if they had a pantry, but still, there’s something else but I can’t quite put my finger on it. A built in microwave would …

Miles's thoughts