ONE WHOLE Q U A R T E R OF THE WAY...
We have completed our first 6 months in Berlin. In some ways it seems to have flown by, where did the good weather suddenly go? Yet, in other ways, it seems so long ago that we lived in Derby. Looking back on the past 6 months, I think I would sum it up by saying that I really like it here, but I'm not exactly sure why. As my life is so much harder here.
Getting the negative out of the way: I HATE THE MEDICAL SYSTEM HERE!
I am 100% sure that they have great doctors here (and also 100% sure that they have some lousy ones too, like that weird clown-loving GP that I saw first), but I really would like to just see one GP, and not have to find my own specialists, and it is probably much better to have a paediatrician, but to be honest, I find it easier to just drag us all to the doctor together and get us all over-innoculated at once.
Oh that's right. Should you decide to move abroad with your children, I'd advise you to make sure that their red books are completely up to date with all their information and innoculations. I had just assumed they were, and even if they weren't I never really realised that it would really matter. Not that it does. Just that Orla has now just had an extra polio injection than the rest of the European population.
We've only just got a letter from Price Waterhouse advising us about forms we need to fill out that will make the whole health insurance annoyance easier. Instead of me having to take my passport, and nearly every other item of ID with me along with my private insurance card and my European Health Insurance Card every time I either need a repeat prescription or need to see a doctor; get them all photocopied (every single time!); see the doctor; get billed; go to the bank to pay the bill; give the bill to Stevie to claim back through the insurance company; then wrangle with the insurance company that it is something that is covered. This will all change (supposedly). We will be issued with new cards which the receptionist will swipe and hopefully that will be that. We'll wait and see. Call me cynical, but I can't quite believe I won't be showing them 3 cards, my passport, and all my ID, etc etc.
What do I like about being here? APART FROM THE CHOCOLATE...
Well, the chocolate is good, and I never knew how much love I could feel for Choko Liebniz. I know you can get them in the UK, but with so much (ahem..) choice in British supermarkets, I never gave them a second glance.
But what I really like about here is that there is so much to do. Hell, if I wasn't filling my days dropping off kids, picking up kids, learning German, seeing doctors, and arguing with the Commerzbank, I think I'd be having a great time. We generally fill our weekends with something new and different to do. At home I think we just got into a routine and we did go places with the kids a lot but it's less enticing when you have an hours drive in front of you to get to a zoo, compared with a 10 minute walk, or the closest aquarium is in Birmingham, and the closest dinosaur is in London. Here, it feels like we have everything on our doorstep, and that is the best thing about living in a capital city. In the summer it was great because we went out every evening when Stevie got home from work and we went places and saw things and ate out and generally had fun in some really nice weather.
I feel like we packed in quite a lot of sightseeing and activities over the summer and I still have a big list of things that I HAVE to do next summer. Our plans over the winter are to see the museums and galleries, though I am sure there must be some ban in place for taking toddlers.