Saturday, October 18, 2014


Hey there.  In the interest of little time I'm just throwing my thoughts out there at random. 

~  I'm about 10 years older than everyone in my grad school program.  That doesn't make me feel old at all

~  I'm the only American this semester.  Probably the only married person and the only mom. 

~  I don't remember anything about statistics.   One of our professors said we should know what variance, standard deviation, etc..  I remember the terms but all I got was a picture in my head of points on a graph with zero meaning attached to them.  That turned out to be right!   Sort of.   Anyway I'm sure this will fine.  At least I remember how to calculate an average.   Doesn't matter that people learn that in grade school :)

~  Another professor told us we should be familiar with the resent history of Europe i.e. the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Conference.  Since I got my degree a million years ago and we only studied either world or American history I have no clue about European history.   I'm sure this is going to be fine.  Right?  Right. (My first reading were 40 pages on the Treaty of Lisbon and the last fifty years of European history so I feel slightly better).

~  I have nine classes.  Nine is a lot.  After four weeks it drops down to seven.  I think I can handle seven but the next weeks are going to be mad.

~  Of course I got deathly ill right before school started.  I finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics.  I really love my GP for that.  Now I'm better but I haven't run or worked out in weeks. 

~  Trying to eat a low GI diet for my blood sugar is going to be kind of challenging.  Tried to take a banana one day but it was mush in less than an hour.   What else can I pack in a lunch that isn't a sandwich?

~  It feels great to be out in society everyday as a person instead of as a mother.  Taking public transportation is much easier without a stroller.  Students are open and friendly.  I like talking to people every day instead of just once or twice a week.

~  The DB has been intermittently striking all week so I got to take the long way home a bunch of times.  That was ok but I really hope the DB is up and running consistently by next week. 

~  Spending a little bit of time away from Sophie each day has been great for both of us.  She throws fewer tantrums, I'm much more patient and she gets to bond more with other family members, friends and care givers.  I love that she likes her Kita and is happy to go there every day.   The guilt would kill me if she didn't like it.

~ Louis is house trained and has fallen pretty easily into our routine.  I'm glad we kept him.  I can't say that I love him yet but I like him and I'm glad he's around.

~ Next week is my first full week of classes since many are starting late.  I'm still terrified of keeping balance but hoping for the best.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

German Apothek: cold and flu

In honor of being sick for the millionth time this month (darn you Kindergarten full of germs!) I thought I'd write an informative blog post about over the counter cold and flu medication.  

Chances are if you are an expat in Germany at least once you went to the Apothek miserable with a cold and walked out with some kind of homeopathic medicine that didn't seem to help at all.  I haven't met any expats who don't miss the over the counter medicines from back home.  For a long time I thought cold medicine didn't really work here.  That's not so.  Germany has pretty much the same cold medicine we have in the States, you just have to know what it's called and ask for it by name.  Don't trust the pharmacists to tell you what to take!  They always recommend the more natural homeopathic treatments.  Even better is having the doctor write you a prescription.  Our health insurance covers almost all prescriptions, even over the counter stuff. 

First things first, a daytime decongestant that actually works!  Just be careful you don't take it with paracetamol. 

Wick DayMed Erkältungs-Kapseln
For night time cold and flu suffering I love this cough syrup.   It is slightly less effective than the green flavor but it tastes so much better.  If you need something stronger buy the green death flavor, it has a couple of extra ingredients (mainly alcohol) that make it taste horrible but also work better. 

MediNait Erkältungssirup = cough syrup
These throat numbing cough drops are fantastic.
Halstabletten = cough drops

If tablet decongestants aren't working well enough try this nose spray.  They also make this nose spray for toddlers but good luck administering it!  Sometimes if we do it super fast we can get it up our child's nose before she has time to make a plan of resistance.  It really does help, but sometimes it's not worth the fight with a cranky sick kid :)

For regular pain relief I like Ibuprofin.  Beware, it has the same name in Germany but is pronounced differently.   Also called Ibu-ratiopharm.

 Tylenol goes by the name Paracetamol in Germany.  Remember, German pronunciation means it sounds nothing like how you would say it in English.
For babies and small children liquid pain relief is the way to go.  Some pediatricians will always prescribe suppository medication for babies so I always ask for Saft (liquid) medications.  Depending on the age of your child you can get 2% or 5%.  Sometimes is comes with a spoon or a Dosierspritze (syringe).  I found that the Dosierspritze works way better for babies and toddlers. 

Ibuprofin in liquid form for for babies.
Paracetamol (Tylenol) in liquid form for babies.
Histamine blocker for those with allergies.  They have all different types, this is just the one we happened to have on hand.

Lastly kids cough syrup to help toddlers get rest at night.

This covers the basics for over the counter cold and flu treatments in Germany.  If you are looking for a particular brand of medication but don't know the German name you can easily find out the name online.  If you Google the English name most common drugs have a Wikipedia page that will tell you name of the drug in different countries.   I usually use this when my doctor prescribes me something I'm not familiar with and I want to read about the side effect etc. in English.  

And if you really hate going to the Apothek know that most over the counter medications can be bought cheaper on, sometimes even in bulk.

Gute Besserung,


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spargelhof Klaistow and Buschmann und Winkelmann

I'm so excited to tell you about Spargelhof Klaistow/Buschmann und Winkelmann, a.k.a my favorite place in Brandenburg!  Usually we go to the forest, wild park and petting zoo but last week after a long talk with the rabbits we put Louis in the car and headed over the playground, fair, restaurant area.  I wasn't disappointed at all.  It's nice there is so much at one spot, it's impossible to get bored and perfect for kids.

We love it.
Spargelhof Klaistow/Buschmann und Winkelmann is what I refer to when I talk about 'the farm'.  It's a combination Wild park, amusement park, play ground, petting zoo, pick your own farm, bakery, restaurant, ice creamery, high ropes course, forest park, craft fair, farmers market.  Most of it is free and it is amazing.  I snapped these pictures when we stopped by one day after Kita.  It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours.   You could easily spend the whole day there.

Giant straw bunny, why not?

Inside the restaurant.
 In honor of Fall they had these gourd sculpture things set out.  I was so excited to see that the farmers market part had spaghetti squash.  There isn't too much variety at our local markets.  Sophie always asks for the homemade ice cream.  It's super delicious.

ALL the pumpkins and squash.

 The huge playground is new.  It was constructed this Summer.  They have a giant slide and big water play area with lots of different stations and a small wading pool.  There is also a bobby car 'race track', tire swings and bouncy pads in addition to the normal equipment.  Nice little enclosures have rabbits, goats and sheep.  

 I enjoyed the craft fair and can't wait to go on the weekend with extra hands so I can actually shop.

It's not true that Northern Europeans don't have a sense of humor.
 I was excited to see carving pumpkins too! 

 Louis Update :)

On Monday I took a look at Louis and was just like, I am keeping you come hell or high water.  I don't know why I changed my mind.  Maybe because Louis isn't my problem.  He's a smart dog who is already potty trained and leash trained and will come and sit on command.  He's friendly and he never barks.  I will still have all my real problems if he goes, high blood sugar and maybe glaucoma.  I will still juggle a million things.  My child will still throw temper tantrums and hide snails in her pockets and not want to brush her teeth in the morning.

When we first brought Louis home Sophie rejected him for two straight weeks.  Every time he tried to play with her she cried and told me to take him away.  She did not like the strange puppy who jumped on her and didn't know any tricks.  Then one day she played with him and now they are best friends.  She likes him more than TV and obviously I can't consider giving away a dog that she wants to keep. 

For now he goes everywhere with me and I'm kind of happy about the company.