balkonEven on a gray and rainy morning there is always something to entertain the eye outside my bedroom window. I love looking out over the rooftops of Steglitz in the mornings, wondering what awaits me in the city below. I’m slow to gallop down the five flights of stairs and emerge from our apartment building most days, but I really haven’t been idle.

This week I’m starting work as a communications consultant with the Freie Universität Berlin and I expect to receive another freelance contract in the next few days. While my income will be modest, our bank account recorded a big up-tick last week when we received our first installment of Kindergeld. Kindergeld is an allowance given to families by the German government to help with the cost of raising children. This is not a tax credit, but a direct monthly payment into our bank account. Our three children entitle us to receive 558 euros ($770) a month. That will pay for a lot of groceries, even for the two teenagers in the family. Maybe when the battle over Obamacare ends, the U.S. Congress can take up a bill to put more money in the pockets of parents.

Fall has brought a bit more routine and a few more pieces of furniture into our lives. As the days become shorter and the colors of fall fade away, we have a lot to look forward to. This month we will celebrate Brian’s 50th birthday, a very early Chanukah, and my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving.