It sure has been quite the week here at (a)musingsland. Wedding stuff, football, more football, even more football, arrival of the GES, trips to Marblehead and Salisbury beach, cleaning ... enough to make your head spin and heart palpitate when you pause to think about it.
There hasn't been an opportunity for an update, even though I've been on the computer without ceasing for several days straight. I'm building a powerpoint presentation for Linda's wedding, and it kicks ass. So while I had the opportunities here, I focused on getting that done. I just need a laptop with powerpoint on it to play the thing... so wish me luck in procuring one...
Over the last week or two, as you know we been cleaning our entire house. It looks like when we moved in... only without boxes and me crying on the livingroom floor.
I didn't clean Geoff's room, which is a lost cause at the moment with all the other things I need to focus on. I figure... he's a 10 year old boy. Chaos is to be expected. I'm not sure what our GES thinks about that though.
She arrived on Friday afternoon, and by the time she got here she was rather exhausted. Can't say as I blame her. It's a long trip from Dusseldorf. They instructed us to keep her awake until 8pm at the earliest, to balance out the jet lag and time differences. So we did.
We ordered pizza and spent a little time sitting around together chatting at the dining table. She was very shy (not just tired) and for our gregarious and loud family, we had to do some adjusting to our approach.
After dinner, Doug was watching Kenneth Brannagh's version of Frankenstein, so we all joined in. GES sat focused on the movie and listening to the dialogue, which was fast paced and well executed by the likes of Mr. Brannagh, Robert DeNiro and Helena Bonham Carter... all of whom were pretty darn good. I found fault with the movie, but for the most part it was enjoyable.
GES looked like she was at the precipice of keeling over at about 7:30pm, so we told her to go on upstairs and get to sleep. She did... sleeping until about 8:30 the following morning.
I thought she might wake up at 6am or something, so I got up early (and pounded away at that powerpoint presentation... so I made good for the time I had) but she continued sleeping and sleeping. Once the girls were up, dressed, and had breakfast, I took them both to Marblehead. I figured it would be a good bonding time for them. No Geoffrey, no me trying to be cruise director... just the two of them. GES is from a town near Koln, so I figured she'd like to see the ocean. Jess walked her from the information booth to Crocker park, down to the Landing, down to Fort Sewall. They circled back around and went to Abbott Hall and ended up at Atomic Cafe where I picked them up at noon thirty.
We then rushed over to Geoff's first football game. It was 97 degrees on the field... and Geoff only got to play in one down. Not a whole series, but just one down. On the one hand, it was kind of frustrating to see him not play... but on the other I was relieved because of how brutally evil hot it was. He was disappointed too, but Doug gave him the whole talk... and he sprung back after a cool shower and some fruit.
We came and a bunch of other GESes with their host kids. Geoff swam in the pool, and Thane sat in the middle of the party and soaked it all in. He was really funny.
Halfway through the party, while our American kids are acting loud, obnoxious and dancing to Justin Timberlake songs, I tapped my GES on the shoulder. She was standing with three others of her ilk, and they all turned to me.
"Anna, I'm so sorry," I said to her with a look of severe sadness on my face. She looked at me with the "but why?" expression.
"I'm so sorry that they are so crazy."
One of the other girls, Astrid (the GES belonging to Emily, who was at this point rapping and flashing a wad of $1 bills and pretending she had gold teeth) busted out laughing and almost fell down.
"Seriously, Anna, and all of you. On behalf of America. I'm so incredibly sorry that they are insane." Our GES cracked a smile and said "It's okay." I think I've said "Anna, I'm so sorry" about 40 times since then, either because of my son or other kids or something on TV. And, I bet I'll have opportunity to say it a million more times. She laughs and tells me it's alright.
Let's just hope I don't ever have to MEAN it. It's funnier when I apologize with mock concern.
Saturday night ended up with me doing powerpoint, Jess and GES going with the raving hoard to our annual town bonfire, and then to Friendly's for more sugar to fuel the insanity further. They got home at midnight and crashed out.
We let them sleep on Sunday. It was pouring out, and we weren't doing much. Doug wanted to go hiking but it just wasn't in the cards. GES and Doug watched football (while I did powerpoint) and I think she gets what the boys were trying to do. NFL Europe was big in Germany so she was familiar with the look and style of the game. Doug talked with her about sports and what she watches and likes to do, and what other people like to watch and play in Germany.
The rain cleared up enough for us to go to Salisbury beach and have a nice walk and take photos, and play in the arcade. Anna liked skee ball, but like me she lacks mad skill. Jess is really good at it, so she showed off her talents. We had a really nice time. I played with a cattle dog who was a relentless frisbee catcher. Our dogs like to fetch, but fight over the object and rarely end up bringing it all the way back to the thrower so it is frustrating. This dog I played with was a great jumper, catcher and bringer-backer.
There were horses on the beach, and one of them decided she HAD to come say hi to me. I was a little worried that the rider didn't have dominion over the beast, but he told me that she excited to see people and wanted to say hi... so... I'm a whore for other people's pets (it's known the world round) and this horse and I had a nice visit.
The rider was from our neighboring town and this was the first day the beach was open to horses this season. I had no idea they were allowed on the beach in the first place so that came as a pleasant surprise.
It was fun to watch them trotting away, his horse (my new best friend, pictured here) running in gentle circles around the other one. I worried about the running in sand thing... worried they'd snap their ankles and be damaged. But they seemed to be totally into the terrain and ... well, rode off into the sunset as it were (towards Newburyport, where the sun doesn't set but ... it's just a nice cliché to throw in).
The girls went to school yesterday morning. I asked Anna what classes they went to. I like the way she says "Algebra." Jess filled me in on the chaos of the German class. Where once there were 18 students there are now ... 30. So they played games and had fun.
GES told me they don't have busses but they ride bikes to school. Which is great in my opinion... our kids aren't allowed to ride bikes to school because the morning commute is "too dangerous" for them to be riding. Geoff would gladly bike ride to school (we live a mile and a quarter away from his elementary school) but he is totally not allowed. Some parents get really upset by this, others think it is best for the children... so we talked about that at dinner.
Our GES is still a little shy, but seems to be coming out. I'm prodding her.. "PLEASE tell me what you like or don't like. If you hate dinner and want something different... PLEASSEEEE tell me what you like at the market and I'll buy it for you. I'll feed you anything. I want you to be happy and comfortable..."
To whit she just says "it's okay."
So far we haven't fed her anything she's refused or gotten disgusted by. We had chili last night that she and Jess cooked while I was at work. Tonight I think we'll have swordfish kabobs and rice. I think I have enough for five, seeing as I bought for 4.
I think she'll have fun at the wedding. She seems to like to enjoy watching people. She didn't hate the football game and want to leave... I offered to take her home and she said she wanted to stay. She clapped and cheered (quietly). And so far I think things are going really well.
Geoff just took Gonzo for a walk, the girls just left for the bus, and I am going to get ready for work. I woke up at 6 this morning... just so I could fill you in on the details over here.
I'll see if I can save my powerpoint for the web, so you can watch it and enjoy. Gotta maybe resize some of the pictures. It's huge.