Monday, January 30, 2012

All packed up...

...and ready to go! This is our last night in the US. I can hardly believe how quickly our time out here has gone. Our next update will be from Germany.

Here are all of our possessions; it's simultaneously very little stuff, and a lot to carry through the airport!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Language learning

For the past three months or so, we have been working on learning as much German as possible. This is hard before you move. The fact that in 2+ weeks we'll actually be living somewhere where English is not the native language feels so abstract right now. It really does not feel real at all. Furthermore, we don't know how to go about acquiring a second language. I had a decent amount of Spanish in school, but I wouldn't say I'm "conversational," and Dylan has had even less foreign language training than I have. We have researched and read up on language learning, and there are just so many different approaches. Do you use a program that's all audio? Flash cards? All written? Learn the grammar first, and then the vocabulary? Or just focus on vocabulary? It's so confusing, there is so much different information, and so many different methods!

At some point we decided any method of German-learning is better than no method, so we've started working with whatever we can get a hold of. So far we've used Babbel, Fluenz German, Instant Immersion German, Pimsluer, Wikibooks, and our German-speaking friend, Sarah(!). According to Babbel, I have a vocabulary of over 800 words. In Fluenz I've finished the first session and have started on the second. I'm fairly certain that by the time we actually get to Germany I will be able to use and understand all of 2, maybe 3 phrases. It's just so different to study it on the computer or from a book than it is to actually use what you've learned in conversation. It does not help that I am embarrassed to attempt certain German sounds even in my house all by myself (yes I do realize I need to get over that). It just feels so unnatural for me to clear my throat while attempting to speak! 

I'm hoping once we're there I'll be able to find a German class I can take, and in the fall I want to enroll James in German kindergarten. I figure if we're going to be over there for 2+ years, we should learn as much of the language as we can. It's never going to be easier to learn German than while we're living over there.

Have any of you learned a second language? What did you find most helpful?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


My family and I are preparing to move 5000 miles away from our home in Boulder Colorado, to Garching, Germany. Why the big move? Well my husband (Dylan) has received a Post Doc job at the Max Planck Institute, and since we had nothing better planned, we thought, "why not"?! I've started this blog to document the big move, record all the interesting things we see and learn in Germany, and to allow all of our friends and family to join in this adventure with us.

In case you don't know us, I'm Grace, wife to Dylan and stay at home mommy to James (2.5) and David (1). For the next three weeks, we're living with my In-laws in rural Colorado, until we make the big move January 31st. Right now we're spending our time frantically trying to learn German, planning for every possible need we might have in 12 hours of flying with two small toddlers, and trying to figure out how to fit our whole lives into 4 suitcase, 2 carry-ons and a diaper bag!