Getting to know me Saturday: The beginning
I was born in Germany and lived there until right after I turned 4. My mom is German and my dad American. They met while my dad was in the Air Force and stationed in the town where my mom was training to become a nurse.
I was what my mom called “the hospital baby”. Let me explain… in Germany they have what is called an Ausbildung – it’s a hands on training program that applies to many different fields of work, where you go to school 1 or 2 days a week and have on the job training the rest of the time. My mom was in her last year of training when she became pregnant with me, hence “the hospital baby”. I was “there” when she took her written and practical exams. I was “there” when she passed them both, highly pregnant in what the doctors thought was her 9th month. You see I was a big baby, so the doctors thought I was due a month earlier than the due date my mom had calculated. I eventually made it out into the world at just over 9 lbs (4.2kg), as a girl and not the boy my mom thought she was having. On the way to the hospital my father even managed to kill a crow… I guess it was on the road and he hit it as it was trying to flying away (in order to not get hit). Do you think he was in a hurry to get to the hospital? ;)
My name is a very common German name – Michaela (it’s pronounced mish-uh-ay-la). Unfortunately for me, they didn’t realize that none of my family over here in the States would be able to pronounce it correctly (most people over here pronounce it “muh-shay-la”), so my brothers and sisters all got easier names. My sister N was born just 13 1/2 months after me. According to my mom, even as little kids we were polar opposites… I was calm and the happy smiley baby… she was little firecracker who had a mind of her own. =)
My Oma and Opa lived in front of the house my Opa had grown up in and we lived with them. It was nice to have my grandparents and my great grandmother so close, but unfortunately because I was so young I don’t remember much of it.
One of the first memories I have (I must have been about 3- 3 1/2 years old) is going to the little local zoo – the Eifel Zoo. I remember feeding the geese, when all of a sudden one of them came up and attacked me and bit my knee!! I haven’t felt too comfortable around big birds since then, I mean come on do you blame me?!
We moved to the states (NE Ohio to be more specific) just after my 4th birthday. Though they loved living in Germany and the life that it offered, my parents decided to move to the US because my mom didn’t want to have to wonder “what if” 15 years later had they stayed in Europe. I wonder though if now – looking back – she’s not wondering “what if we had stayed?” But I’m jumping the gun here.
My parents raised us bilingual, so when we moved I could understand both german and english but I only spoke in german. Living over there that was ok, because everyone including my father spoke and understood german. That wasn’t exactly the case over here… we lived with my grandparents (my dads parents) for a few months until we got a place of our own, so my parents had to act as translators. My mom told me that one time I was in the kitchen with my grandpa telling him that I wanted some “Knoblauchbrot” (garlic bread)… I think it was for breakfast (yes I was an odd child even back then)… I kept repeating myself and was getting increasingly upset because he wouldn’t make it and kept asking what I wanted… he had no clue what I was saying until one of my parents told him! It didn’t take me long to learn to speak english and now you wouldn’t even know that it’s not the first language I spoke (though there are times where my husband would disagree).
The rest of my childhood was normal… we lived right on Lake Erie, so that was a kids paradise when it came to playing outdoors… I was in the Girl Scouts and Indian Guides and did all of the normal things that kids do. When I turned 13 we moved to the Chicago burbs. My dad was relocated through his work… but I’ll save that for next time.