Tag Archives: Germany

Parenting American Teens in Germany

Or the Worst Mother’s Day Ever

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way. On Friday, my daughter called me from the grocery store to ask if we had certain items in stock. I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but I suspected that it had something to do with Mother’s Day. My daughter loves to cook and bake, so I assumed that a treat was forthcoming for Mother’s Day.

On Saturday evening my daughter decided at the last-minute that she wanted to see a movie with her friend and her friend’s mother. I said Okay. My daughter then calls me while she is at the movies to ask if she could stay the night at her friends house. I said sure, but don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day and have her mom call me after the movie is over. I fell asleep before I received the phone call from her friend’s mother.

I had been working hard all week on my final essays and projects for my British Lit and Shakespeare courses, so when Sunday finally arrived, I decided to sleep in until 10. I had already discovered that my daughter planned to make brunch after I heard her tell her father not to make reservations at our favorite gasthaus. I woke up, excited at the idea of omelettes, pastries, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

I checked my phone. The mother had never called. I tried calling her, but received no answer. I figured that she was probably bringing my daughter home.

At 1130 we got THE call. The one that every parent fears. The MPs called to tell us that our daughter was in the Nurnberg hospital. WHAT?!?!

She had been picked up by the Polizei at the bahnhof. She was unresponsive for two minutes as the Polizei tried to wake her up.

We rushed to the hospital (just over an hour away). When we arrived, she was sleeping in the waiting room.

The Doctor gave us her blood test. Her blood alcohol level was 1.4 when she arrived at 930 am and 1.2 two hours later. Her last drink was at 4am.

In case you are wondering how a 16-year-old can go clubbing, I should probably tell you that the legal drinking age in Germany is 16. Crazy right?

She had no idea where her coat, purse, and cell phone went. She assumed that her “friends”–who left her at the bahnhof–were in possession of her stuff, but she could not remember. She remembers getting separated from them at the Nurnberg station and then finding a Polizei for help. The Polizei gave her a train ticket to get home. She got on the wrong train. So then she gets off a few stations later and sits on a bench to wait for the next train going back to Nurnberg. This is where she passed out. A Polizei found her and called the paramedics.

Nurnberg is a known party spot for Americans and Germans. There are numerous clubs, fights, and deaths. THis is where most young soldiers (and apparently dependent teens) find trouble.

We have warned her numerous times to stay away. We have told her how dangerous it is and that the consequences for my husband are severe. Like most teens, she ignored us.

We spent the next 2 hours trying to locate her belongings. After a hopeless search, we headed off to find food and take our errant teenager home.

Long lectures, yelling, crying, and more lectures and yelling ensued. It was a long ride home.

At 530pm, her friends finally decided to bring her belongings–which contained her Passport Visa, military ID, and SS card–to the MP station so that someone would know that she was missing. Her “friends” waited almost 12 hours before notifying ANYONE that my daughter had gone missing!

I sat on my patio and watched a young mother play with her little girl. My heart ached for myself and for that mom who has no idea that in just 12 years that sweet little girl will break her heart.

Parenting is hard. Parenting teenagers is torture. Parenting teenagers in Germany is a nightmare.

So here I am, remembering the sweetest little girl that was once my daughter and every  time I think about it, my eyes begin to fill with tears.

I am so very grateful that my daughter was not raped or murdered.

She will rue the day she lied to us and went to clubbing. How do you punish a modern teen? Take away ALL social media, electronics, and friends. If I had it my way, I’d lock her in her room until she turns 18.

Do you have any teen parenting related horror stories to share? Please feel free to comment below!

Vacation Snapshots

Berlin was great! Here are some snapshots from the trip. Travel post coming soon!

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Parkstein, Germany Part 1

Sunday was such a beautiful day in our little corner of Bavaria, so we decided to explore a local treasure, Parkstein (literal translation is Stone Park).

Geology: The Volcano and the Basalt Formation

Millions of years ago, a volcano sat at the center of what is now called Parkstein.

Parkstein 016
Basalt Formation
Basalt Wall
Basalt Wall

The mountain, peaking at about 595 meters above sea level, was formed about 24 million years ago.  The basalt wall itself is about 38 meters (124.6 feet) high.  The hexagonal basalt columns were formed by large eruptions of basalt lava.  It is considered one of the best basalt formations in Europe and is a sight of interest for geologists and those who are fascinated by geology.

Medieval History: The Castle (or Fortress)
Parkstein 023(1)
Stairway up to the summit.

On the way to the summit, the ruins of an early medieval castle tell the story of time. The castle was first mentioned in documents in 1053 and tells a rich history of its occupants from 1052 until its dismantling in 1759.

The legend of the emergence of the Stone Park castle says that a young count was hunting boar in the woods around the basalt formation.  He saw a magnificent boar and he pursued him up to the summit and killed the animal. Attracted by beauty of the place, he decided to build a castle on the summit.

View of Parkstein from the Castle Wall.
View of Parkstein from the Castle Wall.

However, the first record of the castle from 1053 states that the original keep was owned by King Conrad II and burned to the ground by his half-brother, Duke Konrad of Bavaria, during the Christmas of 1052.

The fortress was rebuilt at the turn of the century by Emperor Henry IV and became an imperial seat.  Though the castle changed ownership of the course of several hundred years, it reached its glory years in 1278 and 1435. A 30-year war ravaged the fortress and was eventually abandoned and left to the hands of nature and time.

Castle Interior: The Courtyard
Castle Interior: The Courtyard

By 1798, all that remained were ruins.  However, the town of Parkstein blossomed with the new country courthouse and became a judicial district.  On October 1, 1808 Parkstein became magistracy to Neustadt. The basalt formation, rich in granite, sandstone, and quartzite became a mining zone.

Remains of Exterior Wall

 

 

Turret
Turret

 

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Arrow Loop in the Turret
Recent History: The Church

 

Mosaic Station of the Cross
Mosaic Station of the Cross

 Dispersed around the park are these beautiful mosaic Stations of the Cross.  I could not find any information as to when these were installed, but they look fairly recent–perhaps sometime in the mid-late 20th century, but I am no historian so cannot be sure. Regardless of when they were placed here, they truly are beautifully made.

 

Parkstein 073
Throne of the Fey King

This “throne” is a very recent addition. The wood is not overly weathered and you can see swirls from a chainsaw on the seat.

Just think, in 300 years, people will visit this park and think “no what on earth? I thought Germany had no ‘kings’ in the 21st century?”

I call it the Throne of the Fey–yeah I am aware that the Fey are from Irish mythology.

This is the King of the Fey–and he IS Irish!

King of the Fey
King of the Fey

 

And this log is the home of the little faeries…

Faerie Home
Faerie Home

 

Christ, Mother Mary, and Mary Magdeleine
Christ, Mother Mary, and Mary Magdalene

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information on these beautiful statues and was only able to glean a little bit of information about the church.  There is, however, a museum at the foot of the formation–which I found out about while doing my research for this post.  I am hoping to have more information for you in the follow-up post: Parkstein, Germany Part Two.

Right Side of the Church
Right Side of the Church

 

Front of the Church
Front of the Church

 

Looks like the door is open…Let’s go in shall we?

Church Door
Church Door

Don’t you just love old doors? I was fascinated by this one in particular.

I would love to show you the beauty hidden by these unassuming simple wooden doors.  I would love for you to see the Priests “throne” and the gold gilded ceiling. I want you to see the golden Illuminati symbol on the ceiling above the Priest’s “throne”, but alas, I cannot.

This was the very last picture I took before my camera shut down.  I really MUST remember to bring extra batteries with me.

At least Parkstein is just a 30 minute drive through beautiful countryside.  I will be headed back very soon and will share the beauty within the simple exterior of the church with you.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed this short tour of Parkstein.

Tschüß!

 
Sources:

Basalt Formation

Castle legend

Castle History

 

 

Twist: Bavarian Politics

Politics in Bavaria

Photo By Angelique Stevens: Politics in Bavaria

At first glance it is just a cool political billboard. But then I noticed the US Airforce Bomber–on the side of the corrupt government. Further observation led me to the sign that says “Nobelpries fur Snowden” (Nobel Prize for Snowden). As an American stationed by the US Army, this was not a pleasant reality check.  I saw this campaign ad shortly after finding out that Bavaria will no longer issue International Drivers Permits to US Department of Defense personnel or dependents–which means that we cannot drive beyond the borders of Germany.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

Photograph taken with my Samsung Galaxy S Note III

It’s the Polizei!

Today I drove to Czech for the first time.  I’ve been there before with my friend, but until today she always drove.  I’m one of those people who can’t remember how to get to a place unless I am the driver.  We took my big American sized minivan.

Why is it called a minivan when there is nothing “mini” about it?

Getting to Czech was no big deal.  We went to our usual little shop where she bought her smokes and coffee, and I bought a bag of coffee beans.  Next up was a kännchen Kaffee (a small pot of coffee) while we enjoyed the warm spring weather on the patio.

pot of coffee
Kanchen Kaffee

After we finished our coffee in Czech, we drove back to Germany; our next destination was the used furniture store to look for a bookshelf and small dresser for myself and a wandshrank (a kitchen wall cupboard) for her.

We had barely crossed the border–which isn’t as clearly marked as you would think–when I saw flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror.

What the heck?!?!  I was on a narrow busy street so I pulled into the nearest parking lot, all the while thinking what did I do? I know I wasn’t speeding. I didn’t miss any stop lights or signs. I stayed in my lane. I even remembered to turn off my head lights–always drive with your headlights on in Czech, but NOT in Germany!

The Polizei said something in German. My nervous response was “English?”

Just to let you know–I am ALWAYS nervous when I get pulled over for any reason–which is very rare! Being pulled over in a land that is foreign was quite frightening–especially since I had no idea what I did wrong and have very little understanding of the language.

I fish my Visa and my special driver’s license out of my purse while my friend hands me her identification.

The irony of the whole ordeal was that not an hour before this my friend and I had a conversation about Visa’s, German Laws, and passports.  Then my husband called and asked me where his passport was.  As a military family living abroad, I have to have my Visa on me at all times.

Apparently, there was a theme for the day.

So, the Polizei is standing there and asks if we came from Czech.  Thank God I was in the car with a local (meaning a German)! I might have peed my pants otherwise! She told him that we did just come back from Czech.  He wanted to know what if we purchased cigarettes.

Here’s the low down on buying smokes from Czech if you live in Germany. Each person is allowed to bring 4 cartons across the border.  My friend bought 4 cartons. We were good. I had to open the back of the van and show the Polizei our merchandise.

There is a big problem with smuggling and black market goods in our area because we are so close to the border, so the Polizei randomly pull people over when they cross the border from Czech into Germany.  I knew NONE of this!  I was convinced that I was being pulled over because of my big American van.  My friend explained it all to me and repeatedly told me that I did not get pulled over because of my”American” vehicle, but I’m still not entirely convinced.

After I got back into the van and the Polizei left, I exhaled, put my head on the steering wheel and tried to calm my nerves.  I was not ready to drive anywhere! So my darling friend, who desperately misses having a huge American sized van offered to drive.

Needless to say–but I’ll say it anyway–I let her drive.

The rest of the day was a blast and I got to hang out with some really cool Germans and have a few laughs.  Thanks to these awesome friends that I am making,  I’m understanding more of the German language.

Overall, because of the experience, I’m not so scared of the Polizei now and I have something to laugh about in my old age.