Hello out there,
we're a family of three, Dennis (35), Sandra (33) and our son Lasse (almost 2) plus our two dogs, Ivan (7) and William (8). Dennis works as a forester, Sandra is a special needs teacher (on parental leave at the moment) and Lasse is busy being a happy and lively child...;-)
We live in the old forester's house right in the forest that Dennis takes care of and enjoy being outdoors a lot. So if you decide to visit us it will be great if you like having trees around you and breathing a lot of fresh air!:-) But though we do have a lot of nature around us, the nearest city is close by (20 minutes by bike, 10 max by car). Also the bigger cities Düsseldorf and Cologne and also the Ruhrgebiet area are within easy reach (about 20-45 minutes by car, depending on the destination). So we're not in the middle of nowhere:-) If you wish to visit cities or certain places, it could be arranged that you to take one of our cars as Sandra doesn't need her car regularly right now and Dennis spends a lot of his working hours in his office in our house.
You would share a lot of daily life with Sandra and Lasse as they don't have any commitments like work or kindergarten. I (Sandra) really enjoy spending the days with our son and taking care of him at home and I am really engaged in developing our own way of family life, of treating each other, of communicating with each other in a way that sees and respects the needs of everyone of us and tries to find solutions that feel good for everybody. That means that we don't perform a typical, "decent education" with our son, we always try to see the needs behind his behavior and we do not have strict rules just for the sake of having rules...;-) Nonviolent communication and relationship instead of formal education are some of the keywords in that respect.
If you visit us, it is vitally important for us that you like children and are keen to meet them with respect, curiosity and gentleness! If you and Lasse like each other it'll be great to have the two of you spending time together whilst I prepare meals or go shopping. And of course, if you like, you're invited to keep Lasse and me company during our day, going for walks, playing in the garden, drinking coffee, meeting friends...:-)
We're sociable people who often spend the weekends meeting friends and family. Dennis likes doing sports with friends (climbing (there's a climbing hall nearby), kayaking, mountain biking, wake boarding) and would be happy to take you along to those activities! I need time for myself from time to time, going for walks on my own for example but I also enjoy shared walks, cooking together, going for a coffee...
Several years ago I spent some weeks in Scotland working as a volunteer on organic farms, lived with the family and I really enjoyed that way of traveling and getting to know a country so I really like the idea of switching sides now and becoming a host! :-) For us it's natural that you live as part of our family, share our meals, come along to our activities and trips and get to know our friends and family.
As we would really like to give our son the chance to get to know you and get used to you, we would expect a minimum stay of at least two weeks (of course only if the situation fits all of us and we could all imagine spending a few weeks with each other!).
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
When you visit us, you can...
...learn new skills (building, child care, dog care, forestry work...)
...learn German and English (and I myself would love to talk English more regularly again!;-)
...just spend time with a young, lively German family and get to know their way of life!
We have a few projects planned this summer, including building a sunroom and a summer house in the garden, completing the playground area, building a shed, tidying up certain areas... We might not manage to complete everything this summer even with your help but we would like to make a start at least and we really like the idea of getting something done and at the same time having fun together, spending time with somebody from a foreign country and immerse ourselves in the cultural exchange!
Beside the mentioned projects we always need help in and around the house, like sweeping the yard, watering the plants, mowing the lawn, hoovering... Our two dogs (one Labrador, one Golden Retriever) live with us as family members so it'll be great if you like dogs and even greater if you are happy to play with them or even go for a walk from time to time.
If you like you're very welcome to help with the cooking or do the shopping (the latter can also be an interesting opportunity to practice your language skills!;.)!
German and English
For accommodation you could choose between having your own room in our house (sharing the bathroom with us) or staying in our camper van which stands in our yard and has its own little bath and kitchen. That's really up to you.
We do not eat vegetarian or vegan but we do pay a lot of attention to healthy food, I (Sandra) try to surrender sugar completely at the moment and we meet for family meals at least once a day. If you eat vegetarian you'll probably find it easy to share our meals as we don't usually eat a lot of meat. If you eat vegan you're of course welcome to prepare your own food in our kitchen but I'm afraid we aren't able to cater completely for you.
During your time off, you can possibly...
...spend a lot of time outdoors and go for walks (shorter or longer)
...climb in the climbing hall nearby
...do stand up paddling or other water activities (on the Unterbacher See)
...visit smaller and bigger cities and their sights (Cathedral in Cologne, TV tower in Düsseldorf, Gasometer in Oberhausen etc)
...spend time with us and our friends and family :-)
There are quite a lot of opportunities, it really depends on your likings of what do do and see
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week