Saturday, October 21, 2006

One Month After Arrival - Work Assignment

Hi All,

I started work on a real project at Tele2 on Thursday (no longer on the bench). I am testing a new DSL product they will be offering. I work directly with an American and a good team of people.

Other than working with really nice people there, one cool thing I found out on my first day is that the Tele2 manager for whom I am working was an exchange student in North Carolina. His wife was also an exchange student in Tennesee. They are both traveling to the US tomorrow morning and doing some hiking in the Appalachian mountains. I found this out on Thursday - the day that I started. The funny thing was that on the way to work that very morning I spoke to a lady on the S-Bahn and because of my accent she asked me where I was from. She then told me that she was an exchange student in the US many years earlier and had just called her host mom last Sunday for her host mom's 70 birthday -- crazy to think about being 70.

It was a good day. There are a lot of good days. There are a lot of hard days, but that's just part of moving I guess. Just have to keep going. Still no house yet, but things are moving along and I think we'll find something soon.

One other totally crazy thing is that I fly to Sweden to meet with the Tele2 development team next Wednesday thru Friday. I knew the development team was in Sweden, but not that I would fly there four days after starting. Crazy thought!?!?! :-)

Oh, yea. We have a Landline phone number. That's cheaper to call us now.

With Love,

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

3 Weeks After Arrival


If you haven't heard, the Wheeler family has moved to Düsseldorf Germany. This is something my wife and I have talked about doing for many years and as of 22 September 2006 we were able to finally return to Germany (it was were we originally met). I began work today on 2 October and tomorrow is the Day of German Reunification - the day East & West Germany were reunified after 40 plus years of the iron curtain separating country.

I've put together a couple of thoughts from our first 10 days or so. Not necessarily in order or importance or chronology.

First off, in addition to moving countries, we have also just increased the size of our family - Tamara would say this differently as "just increased" included a long 9 month ordeal, followed by a long, very long 6-7 hour ordeal. Ian Robert Wheeler was born on 31 August, just three weeks before we traveled to Germany.

I have learned a great lesson from Ian and continue to remind me and my children of this lesson - regardless of what country we are in Ian does just fine. He does everything he needs to live regardless of where we are - he gets food, sleep, fill his diaper, and receives and gives love. This is all any one needs to live and this lesson has helped our family greatly as we have lived without many things we thought were essential - internet connection (I'm at an internet cafe), a back yard or garden to play in, certain "American" foods, etc.

Here are some of the details of our life here. We live in a two story furnished apartment in the heart of northern Düsseldorf (an area called Derendorf/Pempelfort). This is a busy area of town and several street cars pass our house and there are many types of shops available in the area. This is much different from the farm country we lived in back in Wisconsin. But it is very nice. There is a Delicatessen in the first floor of our apartment building and so this smells nice when we leave the house in the morning. We are training kids in how to shop and live in a city - they take turns running errands with us to the bakery, or grocery, or newspaper stand.

One of the best features of our apartment is the fire station that is one block away. This means that at least every two hours we hear sirens - the really cool European sirens that we only heard in the movies back in America. Emma (16 months old always gets excited when one goes by). With the windows shut, the kids (and us) now sleep through the sound. It has become background noise and normal for us.

Here are some of the best things about our first ten days.
First, the Latter-day Saint congregation in Düsseldorf offered to help us at the airport and to get settled the first day. This was huge as we had about two large truck loads of luggage (not sure how we got that all through the check-in or the airport, but it was a lot). The kids had a place to play after and Tamara had a place to sleep while I ran and took care of some errands. They have continued to be a great support.

Second, a good friend from Hannover came down to help us out the first weekend. She brought the kids chocolate and helped us figure out many things that would have taken much longer, and generally provided much help throughout the weekend.

Third, going to church on the first Sunday was awesome. It had been over 14 years since I went to Church in Germany and it was wonderful to be back. The first song that the congregation sang was entitled "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord." The phrase that struck me was "I'll go over mountain, or sea, or plain." I had just done that and felt a great peace and love as we sang the words in German.

Fourth, the kids are starting to speak German. We have been speaking and training them in German for several years, and they have now begun to speak themselves. They started asking what things mean in German, and have started reading some of the billboards, and grocery packages at home. So that is a good sign. Obviously they have a ways to go, but are headed in the right direction.

Our biggest challenge now is to find the right house, in the right location, with the right features, at the right price. We seem to be able to find 3 of the 4 items items in several houses, but have not yet found all four things in one house. Hopefully we'll find what we are looking for soon.

Much Love,
The Wheelers
Gardner & Tamara
Shantal, Spencer, Hannah, Emma, Ian