Time for another interview in my A Kid’s Life series. This series is a way for all of us to see how families from other countries and cultures live their daily life. It’s surprising how similar some of our daily habits are around the world!
This time we chat with Petra who lives with her family in Germany. Petra is one of my all time favorite people . We met in university a long time ago and have kept in touch all these years. She’s kind, down to earth and so hilarious. And the fact we both ended up in Europe is such a bonus. We’ve caught up in person a few times over the years and it was wonderful. When together we revert back to our young (and slightly immature) selves. Petra is super creative and spends lots of time doing amazing crafts and art with her kids. I have many fond memories of sewing evenings with her in snowy Quebec City during our university days.
After reading Petra’s interview I’m in shock at one particular aspect of German culture. People, school ENDS for the day at 11:50am. How do parents manage? And it’s amazing to think that the German kids get only 6 weeks of summer vacation while the Italian kids get 12 weeks of summer vacation.
Petra talks about her multi-lingual and multi-cultural household with such humor and let’s us in on daily life in Germany. Enjoy!
What country do you live in?
We live in southern Germany, near the French border.
Are you and your husband the same nationality?
No, I am Canadian and my husband is French. We found each other in Germany.
Do you both work? Or does someone stay at home?
We both work. My husband works full time and I work part time in a kindergarten. I work mornings 4 days a week and one afternoon; that way I can be home for the kids in the afternoon.
How many languages are spoken in your house? What one(s)?
I speak to the kids in English and my husband speaks to them in French. My husband and I speak French with each other because, well, his English is just not as good as my French. The kids speak mostly English with each other, but German is becoming more and more used. We all speak German fluently.
How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
We have 2 kids. Alexis, our son, is 7 and Nellie is 5.
At what age do kids start school in your country?
Kids start school at 6. Kindergarten is not obligatory, but most kids start going at the age of 3. In the state where we live, kindergarten is free of charge starting when the child is 2 but in other states, such as in the one where I work, one must pay the kindergarten fees.
During the school year what time do your kids usually wake up?
The kids get up at 6:30 and then the race begins. Usually they are fed, dressed and their teeth have been brushed by the time I shove them out the door at 7:20. There is, however, no extra time for such frivolities such as fancy hairdos nor last minute homework corrections with this schedule.
What do your kids typically eat for breakfast?
Alexis normally eats about a half a loaf of bread (good, grainy, German bread) with butter and jam in the morning and drinks cold milk (Germans don’t like the cold drink thing, but I’m Canadian, eh, and grew up drinking stuff cold). Nellie always starts off by trying to get some candy (yeah right) and when that doesn’t pan out she ends up eating a piece of cheese, a piece of fruit and drinking cold water. There is a morning snack at both kindergarten and school (prepared by yours truly) so there she gets some bread (who are we kidding, it comes back with the jam licked off and I can see where she scraped the butter off with her teeth) and Alexis eats another 2 pieces of bread and probably eats the leftovers from any classmates who are not big eaters.
Click to read the rest of the interview…