more in pet news

I spent a morning drinking bad coffee and reading EU parliamentary articles about live animals from third countries. After an initial scare, I learned that
  • the US is exempt from blood titration (a test that measure the amount of immunity in your blood specifically, in this case, for rabies),
  • there seems to be no required location for the EU approved transponder (and Liv is currently sporting one over each shoulder – US on the left, international on the right), but it must read at 134 hertz and have 15-digits;
  • and finally the EU pet passport process can only be started by an EU accredited veterinarian.
My plan is to follow the directions to the letter, have multiple photocopies of everything, and, if all else fails, have the cute little blonde hold the cute little puppy.


There are only – remember ONLY – two new parts of our move abroad. The easier of the two is preparing my “non-commercial live animal” for import into the EU. I say “easier,” but its really only easier in relation to finding a school to enroll S in this late in the year. We’re this close, just enough that I can turn my attention to this:


In order to move a dog to Germany you need two forms, one from each government, and an ISO microchip. Typically, dogs in the US have a 10-digit chip, which is only standard within the US. For travel to many EU countries as well as Canada and Japan, dogs require a 15-digit ISO chip. Germany offers the option to forgo the international chip, but only if you bring your own pet scanner. These usually run around $300. The chip we ordered was only $17.95 plus office visit. You’ll also need to get a rabies booster for the animal two-weeks after, and it must be after, insertion, because why not?

Of course, our dog already had her yearly rabies booster and of course, she’ll just have to get another one. Because Welcome to Germany. There is always an extra step.

In addition to the new chip, you’ll need your vet to fill out two forms along with a check-up at least ten days prior to your flight. One is for the US and gets sent to your local USDA-APHIS office. If you’re in the VA-DC-MD area like us, you’re in District 1 and should send your forms to the office in Richmond overnight. They’ll approve it and send it right back. That’s it…I think.

beginning again

It’s springtime. We’ve cycled back to new beginnings of well-known things. S had a birthday and now she’s counting down the days until the outdoor pool opens. There will be a graduation celebration and we’ll be there to celebrate. I’m looking forward to adding to my handmade by S jewelry collection for Mother’s Day. 

We’re moving back to Berlin…

and we leave in June. 


So while we’re trying to focus on this friend’s birthday and that school function and grading paper and coming up with lesson plans, we’reI’m also quietly freaking out. We have an apartment – that was accomplished during the adrenaline rush that immediately followed the acceptance email – but there’s still a list of things to do.

In the US:

Find a school for S

Find a school for ME 

Puppy paperwork – we’re bringing our dog, because we don’t like to make things easy!

Pick and choose which things to store/ship/pack 

Figure out what to do with a child who is a pack rat 

Hire movers

Sell our cars

In Germany:

Register at Burgeramt and the Jugendamt for our school Gutschein

Visit the Auslanderbehörde for residency permits

Figure out the logistics of getting everyone to their respective offices and schools 

Go on a glorious tour of all of the neighborhood grocery stores because I am a dork and missed them so much (Who’s in for a giant loop around Bergmannkiez to hit up DM, Kaisers, Marheineke Markthalle, Alnatura, ending with a bang at LPG? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?) 

Buy Meussli. Seriously, I just really need good meussli. And French yoghurt and Apfelschoerle and Federrote and Schwarzriesling. 

My grocery list makes me seem like one of thos mommies, but let me tell you I am definitely not. Case in point – I have never been to SoulCycle. 

They don’t even have SoulCycle in Germany. 

Do they?

Oh, god, maybe I should try it?

No no no. Then I might break my no yoga pants in public rule. 

See I have rules!

That’s so German of me!

Wirklich! Or as S would say: For real!

Back to my list…


Das Ende. 

The District

My S is a city girl. She is never happier than on a train or Bahn. 

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We took her to see “Rock Omama’s” house, because they talk a lot on her fish-price phone. In fact, he is the only one who ever calls. She was really bummed when we couldn’t go inside (Although the White House is once again open to visitors, tours need to be scheduled six months in advance through your congressional representative. I just wanted to get away from the ‘burbs and into the city and I wanted to do it soon).

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We dealt with the disappointment with a trip to her favorite restaurant: Vapiano, a German chain of Italian restaurants. You may remember it from all of the times we ate there in Berlin (and Dresden and Stuttgart.) In fact,we are Vapiano connoisseurs. As such a connoisseur, I can assure you that the American iteration is just as German as its German cousins, meaning you can get decent Italian food there. Much better than some of the typical red sauce joints that abound in Baltimore.
Do you remember bunny pizza? S does!
And to make up for the lack of presidential sightings, S and I shared dessert before heading back to die Bahn. 
There are multiple Vapiano restaurants in Washington, D.C. should you be as weird as we are. Parking in DC may impact whether or not you are able to send your child to college. We park in Maryland and take the metro.

Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Why, hello there. We’ve been working, going to preschool for entire big kid school days, and trying to hold it together while we slug through this our first year post-grad school.  But let’s not get too down. There’s been some exploring, too.

Before it got too cold, we bought tickets for the historic ships moored in the Baltimore Harbour. The first time we tried to do this the dark, murky water was just too scary for S and so we put the idea away for another time. Then, a few weeks ago, we found ourselves downtown and suddenly the idea of going on a big boat seemed like the best thing ever and could we go today, right now?

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She liked going up an down the steps of the USS Constellation, but deemed the sleeping quarters “creepy.” The USS Torsk, a WWII era submarine, made her nervous. The best part was finding the jellies in the harbor, just below the water’s surface. Unfortunately, they didn’t show up well in an iPhone photo, but S is still talking about them so I’m sure we’ll be back as soon as it warms up again.

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Maybe next time we’ll even be brave enough to go on boat that moves.

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The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore has some very rough edges. It also has a few lovely spots. The Baltimore Museum of Art, for example.


Located near The John Hopkins University on a beautiful tree-lined street, the BMA is free year-round – perfect for the, at times, wandering attention spans of littles – and has a wonderful collection of 19th century and modern art. S especially liked this “curtain,” which I sadly forgot to look up. I liked when she posed as Le Penseur.


 My favorite non-toddler related part?


The Kirchner. I was so disappointed that they didn’t have a print of this one in the gift shop. I suppose we’ll just have to go back again!


Baltimore Book Festival, Mt. Vernon

Its been a few weeks, but I can’t let something like the Baltimore Book Festival pass by without a post.


I wasn’t expecting much – feeling a little down on Charm City – maybe some used book sellers and a food truck…if we’re lucky? But the Festiva proved me wrong and showed me that Berlin doesn’t have the monopoly on Strassenfeste. Of course, there were booksellers – old and new – but there weer also authors as well as a healthy representation of local cultural institutions and children’s activities. We even had our first encounter with a costume character.



S wasn’t scared. She was just cautious.

The highlight of the festival was the Peabody Institute, a conservatory attached to The John Hopkins University. The 19th century building is beautiful and was wholly unexpected.


 This year’s festival was held September 27 – 29th. For more information, visit the Baltimore Book Festival’s  website and maybe we’ll see you in 2014!