School is finally out in Berlin and the year brought some changes for our family. When our kids were little, I used to teach them German, but now the tables are turned. I often find myself asking them the meaning of a word and feel like they’ve left me in the dust. While all of my work is conducted in English and mostly done from home, the kids take classes in German and speak it daily at school. At least they’ve helped to expand my vocabulary with words like “Dingsbums” (thingamajig), “verprügeln” (beat up), and “Depp” (twit).
The school year went quite well aside from my daily battles with Sam about the importance of school work over soccer. Now that he came through fourth grade with stellar marks, I can admit to developing an obsession with soccer myself. Sam’s got talent and is about to step up his game with his new membership in SFC Stern 1900, the Berlin city team that plays in our neighborhood. Long before the first signs of World Cup mania, Sam had saturated our brains with his unrelenting stream of commentary about the world’s top teams and players. Sam is especially inspired by professional soccer players who started out at local clubs in Berlin.
The two teenagers didn’t wreak as much havoc on our domestic life as I expected this year. They were absorbed with thirteen classes each semester at the John F. Kennedy School, getting their social lives and after-school activities underway, going through puberty, and various electronic devices. I’m not sure what secrets they’re keeping, but from all appearances they are well-adjusted. With an absence of drama at home, at least there’s plenty of drama on the streets of Berlin to keep us all occupied in our free time this summer.