We’ve now been on the ground in Berlin for 3 days, and life has been full speed ahead. Lillian and Audrey had to take an entrance exam and interview on the morning after arrival for the Nelson Mandela School, we’ve toured a few schools for Emilia and Josephine, and we’ve explored the areas in and around the Schöneberg neighborhood mostly on foot. On top of keeping everyone fed, engaged, and happy, Vivian and I continue to research Grundschulen (elementary schools) along with housing options that will strategically allow us to send our kids to these schools while maintaining the balance between good schools for the younger two, affordable housing, walkability, and an easy commute for the two older girls to and from their school. It reminds me a little of our World trip and trying to find good places to stay for our little army of 6, but the stakes are much higher.
The kids have been terrific and appreciate being involved in the process of considering schools and neighborhoods. And luckily, there seems to be a playground around just about every corner to provide a pick-me-up for the younger ones. In Berlin it is actually quite difficult to walk more than a few hundred meters without stumbling upon a playground and some green space; and these aren’t your everyday playgrounds. Maybe because people tend to take more personal responsibility (less litigious than Americans) the slides are built higher, the spans are wider, and there are features like climbing walls, zip lines and rope bridges. In America, we’d probably have to sign a 3-page liability waiver to let our children roam these “dangerous” places, but in Germany it’s just how they roll.
In Germany, not only can adults satisfy their caffeine fix with an excellent cup of coffee no matter where you happen to be, but your children will have the kids’ equivalent of a Starbucks around every corner too!