By now it is about one year ago since our life got turned around by 180 degrees. From a pretty normal family life with daily routines like work, daycare, shopping, cooking and weekends with various activities. In December 2012 we packed everything and moved to Germany. My home country, where we have just spent holidays as a family. But we did not have much time to settle down and get back into a routine. Munich was just a stopover before embarking on our one year journey around the world.
Suddenly we were surrounded by a “German world” and it was not only me speaking German. It was everyone! We could hear the difference on Anton. Previously he would be pretty good separating Danish and German, but apparently he got a bit confused and started to talk to Anders in German. So we had to find a place where he could continue to have some Danish inputs. Fortunately there is a Danish weekend school in Munich. So at least once a month we could “dive” into a little Danish world. A playgroup with typical Danish rhymes, songs and stories. Apparently there are quite a few Danes with children living in Munich that like for their children to have an idea of the Danish language and culture. It becomes a small breathing space in everyday life, where they can be Danes with other Danes.
Not only the language part was new to Anton. Not being with his friends in daycare also took some time to get used to. Needless to say he did miss his daily routines and all the wonderful and skilled teachers. It was hard to find a playgroup in Munich where he could just start right away. The churches offer playgroups for smaller children, but it is just two times a week, from 9-12 in the morning. It is better than nothing! Anton had some time for playing with other children which was important! It does get somewhat boring just hanging out with his parents or his Oma.
Another big change was to go from a large three-room apartment to a small, but cozy two-room apartment. Furthermore we had to share our bedroom with Anton. But we saw it as a good way to practice for the journey. Preparing for the campervans etc. Anton had his own little bed in front of ours. It went well! He did not wake up when we went to bed later than him and turned on our reading lights.
So from December on he could enjoy spending time with his parents. A big change. Our everyday life slowed down to an entirely different pace after we got our things and got settled in Munich. We had time for everything. Getting up in the morning. Having breakfast. Get dressed and out the door. We had a 2-2-1-2 deal. This meant that 2 days per week I had my “working days”, 2 days for Anders. 1 day Anton would go to his Oma and stay overnight. This would be our “couples-day”, including sleeping-in the next morning!. And then we had 2 days all together during the weekends. A whole new world for all of us! Anton had a lot of time just with his Papa or Mama. Papa’s days contained visits to cafés and trips into the city center. Mama’s contained walks along the Isar River, trips to playgrounds etc. Oftentimes Oma would join us!
Anton developed from a very observant child into an open and outspoken little man. Previously it would take some time in the morning at daycare for him to get into the game with his pals. He preferred to start up slowly and get his “overview” of who was there and what they were doing. Now he just needs a short few seconds and he jumps right in! Playing with all the other children... He doesn’t care how old they are, what language they speak or how many they are. One day a much older child asked us, if we were aware of the fact that he could be a bit dominant. Yes, we are perfectly aware of that! Also, that he can be a bit of a “drama-queen”. It is good that he is determined. We just have to make sure that we steer things in the right direction as he gets older!
He is doing really, really well on this journey! He loves to fly, drive in the car or campervan, and to sail whether it is boats or gondolas. He is comfortable in changing surroundings, with many different people and the ever changing weather. He is MUCH better at expressing himself. It doesn’t matter if it is in German or Danish. He also speaks a bit of English by now. Of course, like all children his age, he will try to push his boundaries. Sometimes he can be completely impossible!
We cannot know if he will remember the entire journey later on in life. But he will remember the time he had together with us. Most likely also some of the places we have seen and the people we have met. He has turned into a small man with his own mind and determination. But with a good heart!