They’re Here!


When we watch for visitors and see them coming,

we often say in excited tones They’re here.

Going back to our first Fulbright Year, our two

were quite young at almost three and six years.


At home in Upstate New York they had plenty of

neighborhood friends and playmates.  Moving to

Germany meant preparing our two for the

upcoming trip.  As a language teacher, I knew


that younger children have less difficulty acquiring

a second language.  Fortunately, the BBC had just

published a new children’s series called Muzzy.  It

was like Sesame St.  In German!  Our two had daily


German lessons to learn the basics for attending

German schools once they arrived. Our son was going

into first grade and our daughter into kindergarten

which was for ages 3-5 years.  Total immersion!


After six months, our two were very comfortable living

in the village of Schweindorf where they had new

playmates for the year.  They learned a new language,

culture, country, and culture.  Child’s play.  Naturally.


At the end of our year, we again packed up our

belongings for the trip home.  A ticker-tape parade

minus the confetti awaited us in the neighborhood.

It was a hot July day.  My husband drove us with


open windows from the airport to our home. As

we turned the corner, most of the neighborhood kids

stopped playing and shouted They’re here!  They ran

behind our new green van.  What a homecoming parade!


Shouts, waving and smiles.   They’re here!   Their friends

spoke English!  They understood no German.  Not

a problem.  Friends are still friends.  Play is still

play.  Smiles are international.  They’re here!



Note:  It was a magical year for our children.  Yes, they still speak and understand German.

They also learned French.  To all our friends:  Happy Easter, Frohe Ostern and Bonnes Pâques!

This entry was posted in a magical year in Germany, child's play, Fulbright year, learning languages, Muzzy, Schweindorf and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to They’re Here!

  1. Arno Bode ,Cologne ,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann ,
    eine beeindruckende Schilderung über deine Kinder in der Zeit in Schweindorf während deiner Lehrtätigkeit in Germany. Man darf nicht darüber nachdenken wie schnell aus Kindern Erwachsene werden ,die heute mitten im Leben stehen und selbstständig ihre eigenen Wege gehen. Sicherlich haben sie noch schöne Erinnerungen an diese Zeit. Dir. Liebe Mary Ann, Russell und deiner Familie wünsche ich ein friedvolles und gesegnetes Osterfest.
    Alles Liebe und Gute für Euch
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lieber Arno,
      danke für den schönen Kommentar über unsere Zeit in Schweindorf. Unsere Kinder können immer noch Deutsch. Es dauert nur ungefähr zwei Wochen in Deutschland und sie sprechen dann wie damals. Wunderbare Erinnerungen haben wir. Danke nochmals. Dir und Deiner Lilly und die Familie wünschen wir frohe Ostern. Wir werden Schnee haben! Alles Liebe für Euch
      Deine Mary Ann


  2. Living in Germany was a marvelous experience for your children. If only we could all acquire a second language that easily!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, yes it was a wonderful experience for our two. The second time we lived in the former East Berlin. The children were in 2nd and 5th grades. Our daughter had to play catch up with learning cursive handwriting in a matter of weeks. The gap had been 4 years, and they recalled their German just fine. After a couple weeks, our son did not ask for help with his subjects. The language is now with them for a lifetime and can be used again after being in the country for just 2 weeks. I attempted to get NY State elementary school teachers to have a foreign language as part of their curriculum. School districts love to dismiss beginning a language at that level by saying there is “no money” to hire special teachers. I used to counter that argument with an example I observed at a language conference. The teacher had French in college and used to teach her elementary school pupils the language and label objects in the room in French. I personally used to go to schools where I knew kindergarten or first grade teachers and read a story they knew in German. Goldilocks worked fine. Or I did a few body parts and sang Kopf und Schulter, Knie und Fuß, a song they knew as Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes. They loved my visits.
      What am I wearing for Easter? Something warm. We have snow in the forecast. Happy Easter to you! oxox


      • I am all for starting languages early. I never took a language course, and I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance in school. I’m glad you pushed for early intro.

        I think I’ll wear one of the new thrift shop tops tomorrow, adding an appropriate sweater or jacket to keep me warm. Our church is cold all year long. More to the point, I get cold when I sit still. Happy Easter! oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our forecast leaves me no choice but to wear several layers to church. I too have some thrift shop favorites but with snow, I stick to cashmere and wool to keep me warm. Happy Easter. my friend. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily says:

    Such wonderful memories!! Miss it all! Thanks for sharing a lovely blog. Happy Easter! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily, so happy your memories were wonderful. We all miss those days in Schweindorf. You liked Schnitzel with Spätzle as I recall. Your brother with Pommes. And I liked Bratkartoffeln with mine. Frohe Ostern/Happy Easter to you as well. We have snow in the forecast so something warm for me to wear! oxox


  4. Sweet memories… How lovely to be welcomed with open arms and hearts in any language. ❤ Easter Blessings to you and yours, Mary Ann… xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene says:

    What a great experience for your children. I recall shouting, “They’re here!” as visitors arrived at the farm. So exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are such social creatures and simply love to have family and friends visit. I think that is an international expression to shout when we look for someone to arrive. Exciting indeed. Happy Easter to you and yours. oxox

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mabel Kwong says:

    This is a wonderful trip down memory lane, and wonderful memories with your children in Germany when they were young. It sounded like such an enriching year over there, so resilient and open to a new culture and making new friends. And lovely their friends welcomed them back and played like they never left. And amazing your children learnt French and German. There’s much beauty, and understanding and appreciation of other cultures and people when learning another language. Hope you had a good Easter, Mary Ann 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mabel, such a nice comment. Thank you. I do love memory lane. I totally agree with you on learning multiple languages. We become more tolerant individuals when we have learned languages, cultures, peoples and other countries. Our Easter was lovely and with a snow storm. That’s nothing unusual where we live though. I trust you had a blessed Easter as well. Enjoy the rest of the week. ❤ 🙂


      • Mabel Kwong says:

        It’s always a pleasure and privilege to learn another language, and can change your worldview. Lovely you had a good Easter. We’ve all got much to be thankful for. Hopefully warmer weather on the way for you now. Enjoy your weekend 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Once people have delved into and mastered another language, subsequent languages are easier to acquire. Supposedly. Time for hope. Hope for better weather for example. Hope for a lovely weekend as well. Enjoy! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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