Trust me.

Sam was invited by a friend to join him and his family in a one day archery course at a local club. 10 hours later he came back very excited and begging to join the club. Had the club's web address for me to investigate it. I tried. It was all in German.

I emailed the person I believed to be in charge. We had a google translate conversation. I'm confident we were both a bit perplexed. He threw in the towel first. I decided to just show up with Sam at the next scheduled club meeting. I made arrangements to meet his friend and his family there as well. His dad speaks German fluently and was willing to be a translator. Amen.

We talked bows and quivers. The men running the club reminded me of dads in the US who volunteered to help run a club their kid likes. One had his 12 year old with him. I finally just decided to trust (what on earth do I know about bows and quivers?!). They assured me they would set him up with good beginner equipment. Perfect. And they would bill me.

Everyone bills you here. I remember calling the number on a vacuum cleaner bag to order more.

"Sure, no problem. Address please. Goodbye".

"Wait! How much and how do I pay you?"

The answer was I'd be billed.

I'm getting ready to leave archery. Sam is going to stick around. I asked what paperwork I needed to sign. Head scratching.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, don't you want his name, his complete medical history, six ways to contact me, my insurance information, and me to release you of liability in case he winds up the target?"


"But what if he gets hurt?"

"We take him to the hospital- but no one gets hurt."


The end of that conversation. I left but not before sputtering a bit about not understanding this whole process. Sometimes, with things here it's like I'm driving along and I hit a road block. That's it. Just stop. No where to go. It's a familiar route but now it's closed. Turn around find another route.

Another route. Another way to understand. Fair enough. Hard when it's your kids though. Grocery shopping, ingredient substitutions- fine. Kids? Harder.

It was a similar experience with enrolling Lauren in gymnastics. Emails and phone calls weren't having any effect at all. I just told her to find a leotard and we'd drive there. Coach looked at us.

"Does she have a dress on?"

Huh? She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Turns out "dress" is what they call a leotard.

"Okay. She can join. See you."

That time I just wouldn't leave. I sat on the gym floor for three hours. I did that four times a week for two weeks. Caroline finally said, "No. I'm not going anymore." She was right. I was secretly relieved and home we went.

I guess I just thought that was a fluke. It wasn't. People still trust and this is not a litigious society. People don't sue like they tend to in the US and if they do, it's not always supported. Just recently I read an article about a postal worker. He disregarded the train's warning beeps that the doors were going to close. He wanted to unload one more package . His arm got caught in the doors. He was dragged three kilometers to the next stop. He lost part of a foot but otherwise recovered. The court ruled the railway wasn't at fault. He seemed ok with putting it behind him. Said he'd already trained for a new job and had moved on. He had his medical bills paid and that was it. It's a different philosophy here.

Anyway, Sam loves it. I love that he's found something he really looks forward to. I'm delighted it's a local club. Very low key. Just bad news for the world's (stuffed) meerkat population. He shot one from half way across the gym floor.


  1. So true - activities over here are definitely different than in the States. We had a similar experience with a circus class - we started late as we arrived in late October (class had begun in Sept.). Instructor explains to my husband that the normal process is for the kid to try 3 classes for 35 euros and then do the full registration and enrollment - but since she has misses the first 3 classes that he wouldn't charge us the 35 euros but we couldnt do her full registration until she had done the 3 classes to make sure she wanted to do it. What - don't pay anything for the first 3 classes? My husband even tried to insist to pay for the first 3 classes - no that was too complicated...they wouldn't accept the money. Try out first , then enroll. It's just different here!! I could so on with several other favorite is happenning again tomorrow - send your 8/9 year old child off on a overnight ski week with her class & teacher. The paperwork - 2 pages! But everyone does it and doesn't bat an eye! Great experience but different mentality!


Post a Comment

Thanks for subscribing!

Popular Posts