Requisite Appliance: Printer

Did you know that Germans use more paper per capita than any other country?

When we arrived on a one-way ticket with 4 large suitcases and 4 backpacks, we rented a flat for the week while we set up the house rental. One of those -each system has it’s +/- is that tenants rights are quite strong and rentals of any size come completely unfurnished. You’re ‘lucky’ (or unlucky?) if the place comes with kitchen cabinets. Bare wires dropping from every ceiling and wall greeted us that first day.

So what did we buy when we showed up at the Media Markt with a wad of cash (cause Germany is into Bargeld and our bank cards took forever to show up)? A washer, dryer, refrigerator, and a printer to go with the wireless router.

(side note: I’m two years in trying to learn German. It’s not going super well, I’m somewhere around an A2.1 with terrible grammar and negligable conversational skills. Yet all of a sudden, certain nouns written in English look weird if they’re not capitalized. I am loathe to bring up a certain US president, but those tweets make me wonder what language keyboards he has installed on his iPhone.)

Back to the Printer. It’s been two years of filing paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork.

“Pollution plunged his hands into another rack of expensive electronics”

— Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The same copies of the same documents to various agencies, multiple times, to fix errors or because something changed. I managed without a computer for about two years, printing and editing anything I needed. Perfection!

Printer, where are you? – Purple-Glasses

The Big Kiddo’s at-home-school homework uses the plethora of workbooks they go through in the 2nd grade. At the beginning of each school week, his teacher emails about 6-10 additional worksheets to print out. If you don’t have a printer, she offered to drop off the documents when she exchanges the workbooks as the kids finish them. My kid has done a decent job of working through the weekly checklist at his own pace, completing work sessions along side us in the home-office. This means there’s (thank goodness!!) not a lot of outside instruction needed. On the other hand, he absolutely refuses to do any of the items listed as ‘bonus’, and frankly, it’s shaking out a bit too lazily.

So what’s a parent to do with a kid who’s first language isn’t the one taught at school, and in two short years that kid will go on to the big-scary-intense-grading-future-defining land that is High School? Here’s the handful of slightly different print-out projects that my kiddo has willingly taken to:

  • Ozobot Puzzles and coding. Farfar got him this mini robot for Christmas a few years ago. The iPad app is quite fun.
  • Girls Who Code offers new projects every Monday. Several are with pen and paper.
  • The wonderful artist Marlena Myles @mylesdesign has a link on her Instagram page for a guided history and coloring book of Dakhóta Plants and Landmaps of Mnísota. I found her via her recent work for alternatives to in-person artistic placemaking in Minnesota.
  • Kiva U‘ (from which has expanded eligibility for microfinance loans during the pandemic) has age specific activities to do at home.

This month, we’ve also reached outside the school’s Christian Religion playbook and learned a bit about Passover and Ramadan. A very full topic for another post! Prost!

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