As a student you live with parents, in the students’ dorm or in the shared flat. Then, as a couple or fresh married couple – it also happens to live with friends (especially here: in Germany). But once the girl become pregnant – fast fast fast – everybody is moving in to their own place. A little family nest. We didn’t do it. Why?
We live in so-called WG – Wohngemeinschaft, a shared flat, with three more people from Greece, Germany and Singapore. Living in the WG is super-popular in Germany. Until you start the family. – Do you really live the WG with the kids?? Isn’t it super difficult? Do anybody wants to live with a family? – we are used to those questions.
When I moved to Berlin, to Tom, I was very positively surprised. Those WGs here was something totally else than I knew from Poland, where students just rent a flat together only because of the lower costs. WG has a soul, people are real friends and they truly live together with each other: sharing time, kitchen and worries. Like a big family. There are conflicts (like in a family), there are birthdays, there is mess or order, depends on the people.
I grew up in Warsaw, in a tiny apartment, with my parents, granny, brother, dog, few little rodents and a lot of love. There were always neighbours coming by, grandma’s friends, my friends. And I loved it. I was never able to study in the library afterwards, because it was too silent for me. Having a lot of space, having private space – was somehow not a value for me.
Tom grew up in quite big house, as the only kid. He always liked to have people around and starting a students’ life in Freiburg and then in Berlin – was a relief. When he moved to Berlin, together with 3 friends, they found the flat, we are living in right now. A good team, good vibes. But then – the girl got pregnant and… the girl and the guy moved out.
I loved living in the WG: always something is going on, always somebody has some visitors. If you want calmness – you go to your room. If not – you open your doors or go to the kitchen, where we have a couch and which serves the role of our living room.
When I’ve got pregnant we also moved… to another room. A very big one, half-circle wall on one side, and four windows into three different sides of the world. A bit like few rooms in one. A lot of space, a very bright space, it’s our perfect, family place until now. – You have to explain the readers that rooms like this don’t exist in Poland for example – told me a friend, who a bit inspired me to write this post.
So yes, we do live in our one room. And it is totally enough for us. The girls have their corner, their closets and their mess to clean up. Once they sleep, there is no reason to be quiet, so often we are sitting on the couch with friends, listening or playing songs. In another part of the room – there is a big desk, behind a big library. But there is also another five rooms in the flat for active living.
Our flatmates are like our family. I was always jealous about those few-generations-families, living together. One can help another, one can learn from another, you are never alone. This is what we have here. I remember this time, just after coming back from the hospital with tiny Hanna, and then with tiny Mila. Oh god, how good it was to have people around during days, when Tom was in the office! To meet people, to take part in some social happenings, without an effort of going out. Not talking about those little-big moments of help, when you can leave the baby with your flatmates to run for few minutes to the shop or for another kid to the kindergarten. Or when you can leave your kids to go out! Not always easy for the couples, whose parents are far away.
Our flatmates are like our family. We know each other very well, our girls know them very well, they know the girls very well. The girls have also more (than parents) examples of behaviour, examples of spending time and doing things. They also know boyfriends or best friends of the flatmates (because they are often here), so the family is even bigger. It’s always funny to see what Hanna is drawing when she has a task to draw home.
They know they can play ukulele or keyboard in one room, they know they can play some more logical games with our friend engineer, they can try preparing some cool food with our friend from Singapore. Maybe I am naive but I see so many of those advantages (and I can hardly find disadvantages!). But don’t mix it up with some collective bringing up kids. No no. They know what mama is and what papa is, and – still surprisingly for me – every time any flatmate offers them chocolate or chewing gum, they would first come to us to ask for a permission.
What about getting used to too many people, who are then leaving (getting job somewhere else, moving to the boyfriend)? Girls take it somehow naturally. – She is leaving for 8 months to Argentina – I was trying to prepare Hanna for the time without one of the flatmates, one of her best friend! – Ok Mummy, but why? – Because she has a boyfriend there and she is missing him. – Aha. That’s ok. She will be happy.
Of course then they miss people, who left or who are travelling. But we also miss! Like we miss grandparents and other friends. The sweet thing is that they miss the girls too. Sending them presents or postcards. The Greek guy coming back after some Christmas time or something – first is running to say hello to the girls. Lucky them they have so many people, who care, no?
Already quite a lot of people are calling our flat „home“. This makes me very happy and proud. There are always few mattresses and tons of blankets and pillows for everyone. Last week I was laughing, because I wanted to eat ice-cream with the girls in the kitchen, and there was not much left in the box. So I put it into 3 cups. Hanna looked at me with this disappointed look, Mila run through the flat and counted people, they both took more cups and divided the ice-cream between all. – They for sure also want ice-cream! Sharing, Mummy, sharing!
There is also often something going on. We host couchsurfers (one day also post about it, promise!), we host friends and friends of friends. Lately it was mainly musicians, so we had nice concerts in our room. We cook together, we do the weekend trips together. And no worries, when we want to be alone or alone as the family – we just close our doors!
We never had a problem to find people, who „wanted to live with the family“ (when somebody was leaving for good or for a while). Why? Probably you would have to ask them. And why few kids from the kindergarten always want to come to our place in the afternoon? Maybe because we have a biiiig corridor, where kids can bike and run. Maybe not only because of this ;)
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »
As a student you live with parents, in the students’ dorm or in the shared flat. Then, as a couple or fresh married couple – it also happens to live with friends (especially here: in Germany). But once the girl become pregnant – fast fast fast – everybody is moving in to their own place.
Italian version is:
As a student you live with parents, in the students’ dorm or in the shared flat. Then, as a couple or fresh married couple – fast fast fast – everybody is moving in to their own place.
I like your home, your “family” and I’d love to experience it. But I think that I wouldn’t find so easily people with no children who would like to share the apartment with us (we have a 4 year old girl). It is so here in Italy. People think that once you have a child you must be a family, and go to have lunch to your parents every sunday, and you have to meet only other couples with children… I hate this…
We’d love to visit Berlin… maybe we can come as couchsurfers! And if you are interested in Liguria and Genova… maybe we can guest you! We have not so much space but we could manage!
First- love hearing about your experience. Its inspiring and gives me hope.
I live in a WG in .NL and though I know of cases like yours, I live in a house where there hasnt been a child/baby in at least 10 years and it is assumed if you couple up and want a child, you move. Me, I agree with your assessment based on a wonderful experience.. it can be great. I hope somehow I will one day be able to say the same thing.
Będąc małą dziewczynką jeździłam z Rodzicami do Berlina, pomieszkiwaliśmy tam z ich znajomymi, którzy mieszkali w WG. To był niesamowity czas dla mnie – wiele się działo, nie znałam niemieckiego (nie było to problemem dla mnie :)) wracam do tych wspomnień z sentymentem :) Chciałabym pojechać tam teraz, zobaczyć jako dorosła osoba. Pokazać Berlin swojej Córce :)
Bierz córkę i wpadaj do nas!
To teraz nie pozostaje nic innego tylko zaplanować wyjazd:)
Może Radka P. namówimy też ;)
I love your posts. Your family is always so inspiring to me.
You have a place to crash in Canmore, AB, Canada if you ever decide to visit. I’m looking at the beautiful Rocky Mountains right now as I study…
You know we will come, don’t you? :)
I like your way of living – it’s not popular in Poland at all… Do you rent this flat or have you bought it together (like many house projects work in B.)?
Z jednej strony fajna sprawa, ale patrząc na to z mojej perspektywy (mam 18 lat), nie wyobrażam sobie życia w takim domu jako nastolatka. Pamiętam, że w wieku 10-15 lat potrzebowałam przeogromnie własnego pokoju, trochę samotności. I mimo, że uwielbiam podróżować, poznawać nowych ludzi, przebywać z nimi, bez względu na warunki, zawsze z radością wracam do mojego pokoju, urządzonego zupełnie po mojemu, gdzie mój brat ma wstęp tylko za moim pozwoleniem. I chyba trochę współczułabym Twoim córkom, gdyby mając 15 lat musiały nadal mieszkać w jednym pokoju z rodzicami, tam zapraszać swoich znajomych i swojego chłopaka. Myślisz, że nadal będziecie tak mieszkać za kilka lat? Pozdrawiam gorąco.
No pewnie, że nie. Zwariowałaś? :)) Jeszcze na razie dziewczyny w nocy wstają i często pomagamy im zrobić siusiu, jakby były w drugim pokoju to trzebaby się nachodzić. Myślę, że z rok-dwa max jeszcze, włączając kolejną półroczną podróż.
Moja wyobraźnia podpowiada mi, że w wieku 15 lat Hania z Milą zamieszkają z przyjaciółmi w następnym WG :D No może trochę później ;)
Strasznie wam zazdroszczę, ja niestety mam taki charakter i wymagania, że takie mieszkanie mogłoby nie wyjść na dobre, ale jak będę miała dzieci to będę starała się w jak największym stopniu brać z was przykład :)
Serwus! Sympatyczna z Was rodzina. Najpierw zachwyciłam się tym co robicie tym bardziej, że sama jeżdżę z pomocą humanitarną (jako lekarz bez granic). Niestety po głębszym zapoznaniu muszę wyrazić mój żal- z tego bloga nic nie wynika. Szczątkowe informacje o kulturze, tylko ciągle Wy i ładne zdjęcia przedstawiające Was. Nie chcę Was oceniać, tylko tak się zastanawiam- po co robić ze swojego sposobu życia i rodziny produkt medialny?
Nie mniej życzę Wam wszystkiego dobrego i szczęśliwego. Tylko może… czasem opiszesz też to co wokół?
Ale przecież to jest blog właśnie o rodzinie, jak sama nazwa mówi, rodzinie bez granic.
Iga, nie mogę się z Tobą zgodzić. Oczywiście dużo jest na tym blog zdjęć całej rodzinki, no ale że to blog o rodzince, to nie powinno to dziwić. Co więcej! Piszesz, że nic z tego nie wynika i więcej powinno być informacji o tym co dzieje się wokół? Ok, ale czy tak musi być i czy to jest normą? Jeśli nawet tak, to przecież Ania ze swoimi córkami i mężem nie musi się w to wpasowywać. Co więcej po raz drugi! Śmiem twierdzić, że ten blog wnosi więcej niż połowa innych blogów. Dlaczego?Bo jest on po prostu o życiu i o miłości. O tym, jak można “dziwnie” żyć i być szczęśliwym. O tym, że nie trzeba wymagać od dziecka, by koniecznie miało dwie identyczne skarpetki na nogach, by było szczęśliwe. W końcu o tym, że “móc” to tak naprawdę “chcieć”. Na końcu tego wszystkiego co jest w nas i wokół nas i tak będzie liczyła się tylko miłość :)
Wow. Dzięki za takie miłe słowa!
Macie rację. Biję się w pierś! trochę poczytałam i no serio… głupio mi, że tak wyskoczyłam.
pozdrowionka dla rodzinki!
I like this post very much. I’ll send you an e-mail about it in a few days, if I can. Although I don’t know you and your family, your blog is really helping me in a tough period in my life… thanks a lot.
Gorgeous. I really like the way you live. If you look for new flatmates one day, please contact us ;).