Category Archives: Germany

Flag facts

When we’re asked what flag is our country’s one, my children (and I) have a similar reaction like when someone asks us “where do you come from?”.

If you ask my three children which country or culture they feel more close, they would tell: Swiss, Dutch, German, Italian, British…

When my son was asked lately to indicate the flag of “his country” for a yearbook, he hesitated. It took him a few days to fill in the blank and he finally decided for the Tricolore, the Italian flag. In a restrictive way, our family has the deepest bonds with Italy (where I grew up and my son was born), Switzerland (where I’m born and my husband’s passport country) and Germany (my passport-country).

When fellow blogger Becky Mladic Morales from Multicultural Kid Blogs asked for contributions to her June MKB blogging carnival about the topic “flags”, I decided to write down a few informations about the three flags that are the most important for my family.

The Swiss flag

The Swiss flag is a red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag. The dimentions of the cross are formally established since 1889: “The coat of arms of the federation is, within a red field, an upright white cross, whose [four] arms of equal length are one and a sixth times as long as they are wide.”

The origin of the flag is described in several medieval legends: it is first attested at the Battle of Laupen in 1339 where the troops of the Swiss Confederation used a white cross. The modern design of the white cross in a square red field was introduced only during the Napoleonic period. Its first use was in 1800 during the Hundred Days by general Niklaus Franz von Bachmann – he used it in his campaigns of 1800 and 1815 – and was introduced as official national flag in 1889 after having been introduced at the federal treaty of 1815.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-09 um 21.05.56

The shape of the cross in the Swiss flag is the base for the Red Cross symbol, a red cross on white background. It was “the original protection symbol declared at the first Geneva Convention, the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Armies in the Field or 1864. According to the ICRC the design was based on the Swiss flag by reversing of the colours of that flag, in order to honor Switzerland, where the first Geneva Convention was held, and its inventor and co-founder, the Swiss Henry Dunant.” An interesting fact: no historic record has been found of an association of the Red Cross emblem with the flag of Switzerland earlier than 1906.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-09 um 21.15.32

The German flag

When Germany’s feudal states tried to unite in 1848, the first flag of Germany was adopted, even if the union didn’t occure. The flag consisted of equal widths of black, red and gold. Those three colours appeared also on the uniforms of the German soldiers during the Napoleonic wars. When the states finally united in 1871, the colors were replaced with black, white, and red until 1919, after the defeat in World War I (during the Weimarer Republik), when the German republic was declared, the black, red, and gold flag returned.

After a little more than a decade later, the flag was retired in favor of the Nazi party flag, which also became the National flag until World War II, when the tricolor flag was welcomed again. During the time when East and West Germany were divided, East Germany added its coat of arms to the flag. Since 1989, the German flag returned like the original tricolor.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-09 um 18.17.59  Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-09 um 18.18.51

There are different theories about the colours black-red-yellow/gold:

 

 

The combination of the colours black, red and gold goes far back in the history of the German Empire. The coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation showed a black eagle on golden ground.
Its claws and the mouth were coloured in red since the 13th/14th century. Oldest witness for that is the ca. 1300 created “Heidelberg Song Manuscript Manesse“.

Already in the year 1184, on the Hoftag (court day) in Mainz, the colours black, red and gold should have been named as “German Colours”.

In the year 1212 Archbishop Siegfried III. of Epstein crowned the Staufer Frederic II. to the German King in the cathedral in Mainz. Here Frederic weared a coronation coat in the colours red, black and gold. That coat was in use for the most coronations of the German kings and emperors until the end of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation (1806). (Flaggenlexikon)

Codex Manesse; Meister des Codex Manesse (Grundstockmaler) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Some do explain the three colours by the uniforms of the corps called “Luetzow Hunters” (Lutzower Jäger): ” This military unit was recruited from non-prussian voluntaries, consist therefore in voluntary fighters from many German states, and count in this way for the vanguard of a national inspired people’s army” and which Karl-Theodor Koerner (1791–1813) described in his poem “Luetzow’s wild, audacious hunt”, where “their black uniform with the red cuffs and golden knobs with the black caps and the black – red – golden cockade thereupon” as very popular. (cfr. Flaggenlexikon)

The Italian flag

The flag of Italy is a tricolour (il Tricolore). It consists of three equally sized vertical pales of green, white and red. It’s current form is in use since the 19th of June 1946 and it was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.

The Cispadane Republic used this tricolour the first time in 1797. Napoleon’s army had just crossed Italy in 1796. – The colours red and white were the colours of the conquered flag of Milan and green was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard. A common interpretation is that the green represents the country’s plains and hills, the white the snow-capped Alps and thre red the blood split in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation referring the three theological vitues is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith and the red represents the charity.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-09 um 21.46.07

If you live in a multicultural family, which are the flags you teach your children about?

This post was written for the MKB Blog Carnival of June, 

the topic being “Flags”. You can find the list of the other posts 

on the website: http://kidworldcitizen.org/ after the 11th of June

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Loriot and his poem about “Advent” – an example of German humour

During this time of the year we’re used to stories showing the values of our traditions and religions. Most of them are shared with children.

The poem I would like to share in this post is about the time of advent and St. Nicholas.

Ödipussi

Ödipussi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is written and performed by the German comedian, humorist, cartoonist, film director, actor and writer Vicco von Bülow (1923-2011) alias Loriot. He is best known for his cartoons, the sketches from his 1976 television series Loriot, alongside Evelyn Hamann, and his two movies, Ödipussi (1988) and Pappa Ante Portas (1991).

In six episodes of Loriot, he presented sketches, usually being the protagonist himself, and short cartoons, drawn by himself.

Loriot’s humour focussed on the peculiarities of German people including the awkwardness of everyday situations and miscommunication in human interaction.

“What I am interested in most of all are people whose communication fails. All that I consider comical results from crumbled communication, from talk at cross purposes.” (Loriot)

His cartoons hinged on the contrast between the presented situation, the dignity displayed by his typically big nosed characters and the picture’s caption. Inevitably one of these elements gets out of line, for example, when he combines the caption “We demand equal treatment of men and women, even if the suckling baby might temporarily lose weight.” with the picture of a bulbous-nosed man breast-feeding a baby in a distinguished manner. The topics of his cartoons were mainly drawn from everyday life, scenes of the family and middle-class society. (wikipedia)

This contrast between absurd an situation and dignified behaviour are very characteristic for his sketches and films. Loriot was incredibly popular. The accuracy of his language and the “high-brow sense of comedy led to the adoption of a large number of phrases and inventions from the series’ sketches into German common knowledge and everyday speech.” There is the “yodel diploma”, the “stone louse” and sentences like “With that, you have somehing on your own!”, “Please, don’t talk right now…”, “There used to be more tinsel”, “Look, a piano! A piano, a piano!” or the laconic “Ach!?” (“Oh, is it?”…).

In this macabre poem entitled Advent (1973), Loriot lent Knecht Ruprecht its diabolic-sinister context from which he originated.

ADVENT

Es blaut die Nacht, die Sternlein blinken,      / The night turns blue, the stars are twinkling

Schneefloecklein leis herniedersinken.      / snowflakes quietly are sinking.

Auf Edeltaennleins gruenem Wipfel     / The fire tree tops are beaming green

haeuft sich ein kleiner weisser Zipfel. / and little snow heaps can be seen.

Und dort vom Fenster her durchbricht / There! From a window  rather bright

den dunklen Tann ein warmes Licht.   / through the trees there goes a light.

Im Forsthaus kniet bei Kerzenschimmer / Lit by candles, woodman’s hut

die Foersterin im Herrenzimmer. / the woodman’s wife sits on her butt (in the woodman’s study).

In dieser wunderschoenen Nacht  / Just in this silent winter time

hat sie den Foerster umgebracht.  / has she committed murder crime

Er war ihr bei des Heimes Pflege / and killed the woodman in great haste

seit langer Zeit schon im Wege.   / she thought of him as rather waste.

So kam sie mit sich ueberein:   / Thus was the plan. At Nichlas Eve

am Niklasabend muss es sein. / poor wasteful woodman had to leave

Und als das Rehlein ging zur Ruh’, / when deer was from the forest creeping

das Haeslein tat die Augen zu,  / the little rabbit started sleeping

erlegte sie direkt von vorn  / a rifle took the woodman’s wife

den Gatten ueber Kimme und Korn. / and took away her husbands life.

Vom Knall geweckt ruempft nur der Hase / The bang annoyed the rabbit’s sleep

zwei-, drei-, viermal die Schnuppernase  / for just a minute, when he was deep

und ruhet weiter suess im Dunkeln, / and in the forest, thinking

derweil die Sternlein traulich funkeln.  / while high above the stars were twinkling.

Und in der guten Stube drinnen / And in the woodman’s snuggery

da laeuft des Foersters Blut von hinnen. / his blood escapes the artery.

Nun muss die Foersterin sich eilen, / The woodman’s wife must quickly act

den Gatten sauber zu zerteilen. / and cuts the woodman – that’s a fact

Schnell hat sie ihn bis auf die Knochen / as custom is for woodmans doing

nach Waidmanns Sitte aufgebrochen. / she skins her husband without woeing.

Voll Sorgfalt legt sie Glied auf Glied / With care she places all the pieces

(was der Gemahl bisher vermied)-, / and keeps a filet for her nieces

behaelt ein Teil Filet zurueck / as festive roast, a tender part

als festtaegliches Bratenstueck / she thinks that this is really smart.

und packt zum Schluss, es geht auf vier / The rest she wraps like Christmas gifts

die Reste in Geschenkpapier. / and thinks of them as precious thrifts.

Da toent’s von fern wie Silberschellen, / Hark! Silver-bells are ringing sweetly

im Dorfe hoert man Hunde bellen. / a dog is barking rather neatly.

Wer ist’s, der in so tiefer Nacht / Who might it be, so late at night,

im Schnee noch seine Runden macht ? / to walk in snow and without light?

Knecht Ruprecht kommt mit goldenem Schlitten / The helper of Santa Claus (Ruprecht) is riding

auf einem Hirsch herangeritten ! / on a stag, and law-abiding,

“He, gute Frau, habt ihr noch Sachen, / he asks the woodman’s wife for presents

die armen Menschen Freude machen ?” / to kids and to the poorer peasants.

Des Foersters Haus ist tief verschneit, / The woodman’s hut lays in the snow

doch seine Frau steht schon bereit: / but woodman’s wife – she isn’t slow:

“Die sechs Pakete, heil’ger Mann, / “Good man, all that I have is gathered here.

‘s ist alles, was ich geben kann.”  / Six wrappings, to the peasants’ peer.

Die Silberschellen klingen leise, / The bells are ringing, nice and pure

Knecht Ruprecht macht sich auf die Reise. / Santa’s helper makes his tour

Im Foerstershaus die Kerze brennt, / a candle in the woodman’s vent

ein Sternlein blinkt – es ist Advent. / is shining there – it is Advent.

(LORIOTs HEILE WELT, Diogenes)

translation into English from © Mathias and tastyarts

St Nicholas and his helpers Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, Père Fouettard and Zwarte Piet

St Nicholas is celebrated in many countries of Europe, mainly in German speaking countries and throughout the territory of the Holy Roman Empire, and is usually accompained by helpers.

This dark or threatening companion of St Nicholas is called Krampus in Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Friuli (North Eastern Italy), Hungary (here he is spelled Krampusz); Klabauf in Bavaria, Austria; Pelzebock or Bullerklas in Northern Germany or Knecht Ruprecht (from Old High German hruot, ”fame“, ”shiny“). In the Czech Republic, the helper is called Čert (Devil) and Anděl (Angel). In Luxemburg he is called Houseker. Rubbels is his name in German-speaking Lorraine and Hans Trapp in Alsace, and Le Père Fouettard in Wallonia, Northern and Eastern France. – In German speaking countries there are innumerable names of this feared figure: Ascheklas, Bartel, Bullerklas, Bullkater, Busebrecht, Butz, Butzebercht, Dollochs, Düsseli, Einspeiber, Erbsbär, Hans Muff, Hans Trapp, Kehraus, Klaubauf, Klausenpicker, Klombsack, Krampus, Leutfresser, Pelzebock, Pelznickel, Pietermann, Pulterklas, Ruklas, Rupsack, Schmutzli, schwarz Käsperchen, Semper, Spitzbartl, Zink Knatsch, Zink Muff, Zwarter Piet etc.

Appearance

Some of these figures have the ressemblance of a red (or black) devil with cloven hooves and goatish horns: like Krampus (which derives from the Old High German krampho “claw, hook, cramp” (9./10. century)).

Krampus!These figures most probably originates from the tradition of the Perchten. In the alpine regions of Bavaria, Austria and Southern Tirol, these figures are the “ugly Perchten” (Schiachperchten) who have “fangs, tusks and horse tails which are used to drive out demons and ghosts. Men dressed as the ugly Perchten during the 16th century and went from house to house driving out bad spirits.” In some regions of Austria, Bavaria, Southern Tirol and Switzerland, those figures appear in Hordes during the winter (usually to exorcise the winter, later on in February/March), whereas Krampus accompains St Nicholas on the 6th of December.

Uh, d'r Schmutzli.Some others, like Knecht Ruprecht or Schmutzli etc.,  seem more like a rustic version of Saint Nicholas himself. They look very sinister and are dressed in black rags, have a black face and unruly black hair. – Knecht Ruprecht appeared for the first time in a German play in 1668.

These companions come with twigs or whips, rods, a stick or a broom and a sack. They carry a sack of ashes for the misbehaving childern and sometimes they would threaten to abduct disobedient children and put them in the sac. – It was actually a pretty effective method parents used to make their children behave by frightening them that St Nicholas’ companion would take them away in his sack if they’ve been bad.

Le Père FouettardLe Père Fouettard

The French Père Fouettard, the “Wipping Father” was said to bring the whip with him to spank all of the naughty children who misbehaved.

The most popular story about Père Fouettard relates to the year 1150. In this version, Père Fouettard was an inn-keeper/ butcher. It was said that he kidnapped and murdered three children, who were lost and could not find their way home. A somewhat reformed version claims that, the three children, all boys, were passing by the inn-keeper’s house while they were on their way to a religious boarding school. On realizing that the kids were rich the inn-keeper and his wife, kidnapped the three children and murdered them. Several types of torture, all ghastly, are known to have been inflicted on the children by the inn-keeper and his wife, who were set on robbing them. One grisly version tells that, the cruel inn-keeper, and his wife, lured the children, drugged them by offering wine, slit their throats, chopped them into pieces and cooked them in a stew. Another account states that, the children were chopped, salted and stowed away in a salting tub, to be eaten later. (wikipedia)

It is said that St Nicholas, after discovering those crimes, miraculously resurrected the children and returned them to their families. He then forced the inn-keeper to “redress for his crimes” and he had to repent for his sins, becoming Le Père Fouettard. He vowed to follow St Nicholas as his partner forever. – Since then, Père Fouettard accompanies St Nicholas on the 6th of December on his visits to the homes of children. As Père Fouettard, the “Wipping Father”, he whips the undisciplined children, while St Nicholas offers gifts and treats to the obedient ones.

From fearce to tender

In more recent times the fear-bearing creature of Knecht Ruprecht and some of the other helpers mentioned above have been increasingly softened.

In the German speaking countries, the very popular poem by Theodor Storm (* 1817 † 1888) depicts Knecht Ruprecht  as a ”faithful servant“ whose answer in response to the question of the Christ-child (Christkind) shows just how much he prefers handing out apples, nuts and almonds instead of hitting their rears:

Von drauß’ vom Walde komm ich her;
Ich muß euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
Allüberall auf den Tannenspitzen
Sah ich goldene Lichtlein sitzen;
Und droben aus dem Himmelstor
Sah mit großen Augen das Christkind hervor,
Und wie ich so strolcht durch den finsteren Tann,
Da rief’s mich mit heller Stimme an.
„Knecht Rupprecht”, rief es, „alter Gesell,
Hebe die Beine und spute dich schnell!Die Kerzen fangen zu brennen an,
Das Himmelstor ist aufgetan,
Alt’ und Junge sollen nun
Von der Jagd des Lebens einmal ruhn;
Und morgen flieg ich hinab zur Erden,
Denn es soll wieder Weihnachten werden!”

Ich sprach: „O lieber Herre Christ,
Meine Reise fast zu Ende ist;
Ich soll nur noch in diese Stadt,
Wo’s eitel gute Kinder hat.”
„Hast denn das Säcklein auch bei Dir?”
Ich sprach: „Das Säcklein, das ist hier;
Denn Äpfel, Nuss und Mandelkern
Fressen fromme Kinder gern.”
„Hast denn die Rute auch bei Dir?”
Ich sprach: „Die Rute, die ist hier;
Doch für die Kinder nur, die schlechten,
Die trifft sie auf den Teil, den rechten.”

Christkindlein sprach: „So ist es recht;
So geh mit Gott, mein treuer Knecht!”
Von drauß’ vom Walde komm ich her;
Ich muß euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
Nun sprecht, wie ich’s hierinnen find!
Sind’s gute Kind, sind’s böse Kind?

(1) I came here from the forest / I tell you, it is a very holy night! / All over the tips of the firs / I saw bright flashes of golden light; / And from above, the gates of heaven / I saw with open eyes the Christ-child / and as I wander through the dark forest / I hear a light voice calling me. / ”Knecht Ruprecht“ it called, ”Old man / Lift your legs and hurry! Fast! / (2) The candles alight / the gates of heaven open wide / old and young / shall rest from the hunt of life / and tomorrow I shall fly to earth / as it shall be Christmas again!“ / (3) I said: ”O dear master, Christ / My trip is almost at an end; / It is only this one town / where the children are good“. / ”Do you have your sack with your?“ / I said: ”The sack, it is here; / apples, nuts and almonds / solemn children do enjoy“. / ”Do you also have your cane?“ / I said: ”The cane, it is here. / But only for the bad children, / to hit their right rear“. (4) The Christ-child spoke: ”That is good; / So go with god my faithful servant!“ / I came here from the forest / I tell you, it is a very holy night! / Speak now how I find it here / Are the children good or bad? (©Sutter)

Also in The Netherlands and Belgium, the servant Zwarte Piet was previously a more demonic character, then a Moorish partner responsible for organizing the gifts for the children. Only after 1845, when the primary school-teacher Jan Schenkman writes the book Sint Nicolaas en zijn Knecht (“Saint Nicholas and his Servant”), a Spanish servant is introduced into the St Nicholas narrative. The servant is described as a page boy or young man, and is depicted as a dark person wearing clothes associated with Moors. In 1891, in the book Het Feest van Sinterklaas, the servant is called Pieter (for the first time) and many other names followed until 1920. “In the early 20th century the Civilized Standard Celebration for children, with Zwarte Piet as the standard personal servant of the saint, spread throughout the country.”

During the 20th century, the character of Zwarte Piet changed into a real friend of children. – He still carries a bag, but in the bag are sweets, which he throws around for all children. Also the number of Pieten multiplied and female Piets were included. This paradigm shift offered the possibility of creating several different Zwarte Piet characters. “During the televised yearly event, when Sinterklaas arrives by boat, he is often assisted by dozens of Piets, for example there’s a Hoofdpiet (Head Piet) who carries the book of Sinterklaas, a Rijmpiet (Rhyme Piet) and so on.”

During the last two centuries, Zwarte Piet changed from an “enslaved devil, forced to assist his captor” to the likeness of a Moor, a servant of St Nicholas in the 19th century Netherlands. This new Zwarte Piet also changed the attitude of the Sinterklaas character: he became more severe towards bad children himself and did worry many teachers and priests “due to the depiction of a holy man in this light”. – Today, both characters are much softer. Since immigration increased from the former colonised countries, the “Zwarte Piet became a much more respected assistant of Saint Nicholas, inattentive but playful”. – Due to the recent debates and protests about the future of the Zwarte Pieten in the Netherlands, this all might change very soon. How is the “Zwarte Piet” or “Piet” going to look like? Will the future Pieten be “just” helpers? How will their dresses look like? Will there be different characters of helpers or only one? – Piet has changed so much during these last two centuries, maybe it’s time to move on. But does moving on really mean to completely abolish and reject something that Dutch children (and many adults!) cherish and look forward during this time of the year? What are options that meet the needs of people who want to maintain the Zwarte Pieten and those who want them to “leave”? Maybe a colourful coexistence of past figures and new ones? How would the new ones look like?

I just hope that they will find a compromise that permits children to still sing the traditional songs without feeling judged by celebrating St Nicholas and to wear those colourful clothes while attending the intocht and the weeks following the arrival of Sinterklaas.

English: Two children dressed up as 'zwarte pi...

English: Two children dressed up as ‘zwarte pieten’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One year expatsincebirth

Bildschirmfoto 2013-08-15 um 11.28.06

Yes, today is my blogs’ first anniversary! It’s been exactly a year since I published my first post and I have to say that I really enjoyed writing every single post.

I’ve started blogging one year ago because I had written about many topics just “for me” and wanted to share them somewhere. To write a book about them seemed very appealing but then I realized that I covered so many different topics, that it would have been like a jack of all trades device. A friend gave me the idea to try to write a blog. But it was a few months later, when another friend told me the same, that I really started blogging. It was during our holiday in Switzerland that I choose the name and the main cathegories I would write about.

Selecting a name for my blog didn’t take that much time. My status as an expat-since-birth did pretty much sum up the topics. I did evaluate the different definitions of Third Culture Kids, Adult Third Culture Kids, Global Nomads etc.  in a post called “expat definition maze” but couldn’t find really a cathegory I could fit in, so I created my own one: expatsincebirth.

About multilingualism:

The knowledge I acquired during my studies about bilingualism and multilingualism brought me to write several posts about these topics in the cathegory being multilingual. As a multilingual person, my home are my languages and when I got children, I had to choose which language to speak to them in our multilingual family. With the  “secret language among (my) twins” I introduced the complex linguistic situation within our family. After pointing our the different definitions of OPOL I wrote about OPOL among multilingual siblings.

I find it pretty interesting that multilingual siblings don’t necessarily have the same language preference and that the initial language plan we usually make when our children are still babies, can change for several reasons when they get older.

There are many myths about bilingualism. I didn’t want to list them all up. There are already many posts and literature about this. But one in particular did intrigue me. It’s about multilinguals having multiple personalities. I’m still collecting answers about this in order to write a paper about it. – You’re very welcome to leave a comment on my post about this.

And then there is the myth about code switching being a sign of weakness. Well, it is not, on the contrary: Don’t worry if your child does code-switching!

Those who know me, know that I’m firmly convinced that reading is very important. And it is even more important for multilingual children to read in the different languages they grow up with. For those who don’t like to read, I wrote a post about how to make our children like poetry (and songs!).

Learning new languages for expats is not always that easy. But there are some tips that can help. I did point out the five more important ones that worked for me and added another post with tips how to encourage children to learn the local language.

There are many reasons to become multilingual at any stage. We don’t have to start at a young age to become multilingual. I shared my multilingual journey and pointed out that the most important thing is to be willing to learn new languages: “When there’s a will, there’s a way to become multilingual“.

About parenting:

In my posts about parenting I tried to give some practical advices. Some more will follow but up to now I gave some advices for when the children have the flu and I shared a first-aid experience I had this summer with one of my daughters, trying to remind other parents about refreshing their First Aid skills regularly.

In the colder period of the year Indoor activities for children become more important and role plays can be fun also for the older ones.

I’m not an over protective parent and like the  Love and Logic approach in parenting which consists also in doing lot of questioning in order to make the children take their own decisions from a very early stage. Also helping less helps our children more than we sometimes think, and it helps us too to realize how independent they can be (even as toddlers).

I’m very interested in e-safety for parents and children and the resources that are available about this topic. I published a few posts about  “How to reduce screen time for children” and about “mobile phones for children“.

The importance to spend one-on-one time with our children and how to manage if you have more than one child is very important in my daily life with my kids. “How to make children listen to us and how to listen to them” and “communicating is listening with empathy” are two posts where I point out the importance of effective communication with our children.

I got a bit annoyed by posts called “What not to say…” and decided to post some about “What to say”: “to parents of a child with a disability” and to a “mum of twins” because I prefer positive reinforcement.

I didn’t write a lot about twins yet, but I’m preparing a whole series about twins “from baby to teen”. The first post about this is called “Twins at school: once separated always separated?

When we spend holidays with our children we sometimes don’t really get to enjoy them as much as we would like. By giving them some chores we can easily get some holiday feeling too.

In order to lead a happier life, despite of all the movings, the changes and having many tasks around our kids, families and work, I wrote a post about the fact that our happiness depends on our selves: if we decide to be happy and take action we will succeed.

As I’m raising my children in a multicultural context and see many different parenting styles every day and I’m really fascinated in the different parenting styles across cultures I wanted to find some answers to the question “Do you think the cultures you’ve been in touch with did influence you in your parenting style?“. I’m still collecting feedbacks which I will publish in a paper. You’re very welcome to leave a comment on the post.

About expat life

I did publish several posts about expat life in general and some specific ones about the Netherlands and Switzerland. I will add some more about Germany and Italy, and maybe some other countries.

About ATCK’s raising TCK’s

Lately I got involved in several discussions about ATCK’s and TCK’s and joined several TCK groups online. I’m planning to write a small book about this and am preparing a questionnaire for ATCK’s (Adult Third Culture Kids) that I’ll soon publish on my blog.

I found out that TCK’s (and expats, global nomads etc.) often “tend to “start cutting bonds around 3 years into a friendship”” and that three is a magic number for TCK’s. Other topics in this cathegory are the good-byes, the ways “people call you“, the impossible question about “where is home” that TCK’s don’t like to be asked and “what kind of memories our kids will share with us“.

If you are interested to participate in my ATCK survey, please leave a message in the responses of my post “Are you an ATCK raising TCK’s” and I’ll get in touch with you.

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The most satisfying aspect of running the blog in this first year has been interacting with bloggers and parents from around the world. I found many like minded persons and am having really interesting conversations with people around the globe that I’m really grateful to have found this bloggosphere.

 I’ve joined several groups on the internet and met some of them also in real life. The Multicultural Kid Blogs group on Facebook did even start a own blog that I strongly recommend. Then there are the fb groups Mum knows Mum, Third Culture Kids Netherlands, Expats in The Hague which meet regularly and Third Culture Kids Everywhere etc. that all give me very interesting ideas and inputs for posts.

I would like to thank all my followers for joining my blog and for leaving very interesting comments! The almost immediate response to my writings is amazing and all your feedbacks are very precious to me.

Van harte bedankt – Vielen herzlichen Dank – Con un grazie di cuore –

With a heartfelt thank you – Merci de tout coeur – Gracias de todo corazon!