We have been having a wonderful time. The sun is shining (most days) bright and warm. There are so many amazing parks I never noticed when they were covered in snow that are now covered in all sorts of flowers. Its like the city has come alive. There are children everywhere (yes, most of them are without parents, but its a German thing), and bikers have taken over the city.
When we first got our bikes, I seriously considered turning around and giving them away. Biking around with Ilya attached to the back is REALLY hard - kinda like dragging a 40 pound boulder everywhere you go (yes, I did just compare my child to a rock, but in a good way). I took four or five biking trips to the city center and nearly died each time, all the while dreading the expiration of our tram pass (the countdown to when I would be forced to use my bike as my sole means of transportation). The pass ran out Friday and Saturday, we jumped on our bikes to see if I would even be able to bike all the way to work with Ilya. I don't know what happened. It was like my body suddenly decided that it was a BIKING GOD because I hardly broke a sweat going from my house all the way at the other end of town (at least twice the distance to the city center). Going home was no problem at all and we even rode to the park for good measure to play ultimate frisbee with our friends.
That is the other thing that I love here. My friends. I have the greatest group of friends ever, and they all love Ilya.
I am carrying on conversations in German - I probably have about a 40 word vocabulary but I understand quite a bit more. I ask people to help me all the time with Ilya's stroller and THEY UNDERSTAND ME! Its really thrilling. Ilya's teachers only speak German, but I still managed to understand them gushing to me about how brilliant she is (Ilya currently speaks more German than the other kids in her class who are all native Germans). I start work on Tuesday where I will have 20 first graders all speaking to me very fast in German. At once. Fun!
See how boring happy, positive posts are. Maybe thats why all the best writers are always depressed. I still hate all the smoking that takes place here... :)