Thursday, May 29, 2008

Important Information

Email Subject: Wichtige Information: Unsere Kaffeemaschine ist wieder da!!!!!!! Schöne Grüsse Verena

English: Important Information: Our coffee machine is back in the office!!!!!! Kind Regards Verena

This was the subject of a recent email at work. Verena is the office manager. And when she says - coffee machine - she means a sweet top of the line machine that makes the entire range of coffee: espresso, latte, cappuccino etc. The company where I work as a consultant has machines from Jura, a Swiss company.

I'm not a coffee drinker (due to my religious beliefs), but I remember people organizing their own coffee pools at work in the states. Here it is much different. People have good coffee available at any time. The coffee is provided by the company. The cups are provided by the company and cleaned every night. This is very practical for guests who visit a company, including people interviewing for a position. Everyone is offered something to drink - water (with or without carbonation) and hot water for tea is also available on demand.

It is an interesting difference between the office life in the states and in Europe. I remember the typical coffee machine in the states being run down and filled with hard water deposits. This probably depends on where you work a bit, but I don't remember a sweet cappuccino, espresso machine like I have found here. Not all companies have the sweet full service machine, but the company I am working for right now has about 6 of them. My consulting firm has one main machine and I don't remember what is available on the other floors.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Emmas First Day of Kindergarten

Emma went to Kindergarten for the first time today. She was very excited, and has talked about Kindergarten (pre-school) for sometime now. Here are my impressions, in no particular order.

My first thought this morning was - bag work and go with Emma and Tamara to Kindergarten, but . . . alas that is not always possible. I went to work early, because I had to leave early today. When I saw Tamara's post this afternoon before leaving work (Tamara called me to let me know about the post) I was totally proud as a dad. Emma looked so cute - with matching shirt and hair bands. And I could see the excitement in her eyes at the various activities.

I was hoping to congratulate her when I got home around 18.45, but she was already in bed. I was bummed. Then I noticed Ian - he was smiling at everyone and hugging everyone - he even hugged me, which he usually doesn't do right away after I come home. I haven't seen him that happy that late at night in a long time. I was thinking Ian was glad to have Emma gone for a few hours as well and to have mom all to himself for a day.

It was a nice change for Emma, Tamara, and apparently Ian. I am looking forward to continuing adventures of a 3 year old in German Kindergarten (which is called pre-school in the US) and will be expecting a German speaking explosion from Emma similar to what happened after we had a German nanny a few months back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Square Dance Music

I finally found how to get some good country music in Germany. O.K., not sure about good, but it sure brought back some memories from Ricks College, when I was first introduced to such songs as Achy Breaky Heart, Boot Scootin Boogie, and No One Else On Earth. I got a CD with 40 songs (many of which I've heard before) from for only 6,68 € (roughly $10.50).

I ordered square dance music for an upcoming activity we are sponsoring with Shantal's class at school: a Daddy Daughter Dance at our house. This is a type of activity I miss from the states and from my congregation growing up. And since we have chosen life here in the German Democratic Republic for now, my only hope for having such an activity is to bring the activity here.

In order to make it unique or interesting for the German parents and kids, we've made square dancing the main attraction (we did a flag football superbowl in February for Spencer and boys in his class). This was a suggestion from one of the parents in the class and since all American children learn the dance in grade school, we thought it would be fit well.

I'm really looking forward to the activity with Shantal. We practiced some moves last night. I found some software that allows you to choreograph a dance routine (Face Corner, Allemande, Dosado, etc.). After choreographing the dance routine, the software will play the routine for you. This was extremely helpful, because I have not square danced since I was in grade school.

We are planning on inviting some friends over to practice - they have two boys and two girls in their family (mom, dad, boy, girl). That way we'll have nine people (eight dancers and a caller) and we can practice teaching someone other than our family and see what will and won't work.

It should be a good time. I hope several girls come. There are 10 girls (including Shantal) in the class.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


A Letter to some current missionaries from the youth program I worked in back in Wisconsin.

Hey we had a really good week this week. I am in my last two weeks of my contract at Tele2. I will start working for Vodafone on June 1st. I'm a little nervous about the change since I have worked at Tele2 since Oct, 2006 (we arrived in Germany in Sept, 2006). But I will rely on the Lord and trust that a way for success will be provided.

In trying to finish up my work at Tele2 we ran into some delays and had to work overtime - that meant working today on a state holiday. Since I wouldn't be working that long and there would only be a few people there I took Spencer to work with me. He is 9.5 years old now and loves the games at He found a cool elf-meter schiessen game (soccer penalty shot game). It is 2-player and I could play goalie while he shot (on the same keyboard) and vice versa. It was pretty fun.

Spencer also found that Playstation II is coming out with an Lego Indiana Jones game (like Lego Star Wars). It made me want to buy a Playstation. Ours is broken. The first problem with buying a playstation is that our kids are still young and will probably break this one as well (Ian 1.5 and Emma 3). The other problem for us living in Europe is that if we buy an American Playstation (cheaper) we can't play any games we buy in Europe. If we buy a European Playstation then we can't play any of our old games, but we could buy games here in Europe. Ah, the troubles of fatherhood.