What Relationships Mean in Our Lives

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Families: Students' Work -
Descriptions of Families


My Family

My Unusual Family

Comparing Families

Families around the World


Degas, The Bellelli family

Copyright: see commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edgar_Degas_-_La_famille_Bellelli.JPG


My Family

At first: myself!

I'm D. and 15 years old and was born on 14th December 1996. Germany is my home, more exactly: North Rhine-Westphalia, the town of Mülheim an der Ruhr. I live in a big green house and I've my own room. Next to mine are 3 other rooms. In one room my sister lived until she moved out. After that, my mom turned into a "her" room. Now it is a visitor and sewing room. Next to this room there is a very little room, in that we put a lot of books. And next to this is my brother's room. He has a very big window. So … enough about our first floor.

Under us are the living room, kitchen, a meeting room and a bathroom. And of course our adults' bedroom. We have a big garden and a lot of animals. A turkey, dog, cat, chicken, canaries and fish. We also breed rabbits so we have between 20 and 30 of them.
And now I want to tell you our family's history.

I start with my father's mum, my grandma. She came from Hardecksen to care for her aunt and uncle. As they died, they left their house to her. But before this she lived with her family in Poland, which was part of Germany then. They had to leave their home because of the 2nd world war. My granny has been very sad until today that the Polish farmhand couldn't come with them, because he couldn't come to Germany. So they had to go alone to Hardecksen. Here in Mülheim she worked as a shop assistant. And so she knows a lot of people. Every time when we are going on holiday with her, she meets someone who she knows. But when we are here in our city, she knows everyone! Also she's a very social person. She always helps old people she knows and is a very happy person. The meals she cooks are very delicious, too.

And the father of my father came from Stolp (Kuhnhof). That is on the Baltic sea. He also had to leave his home when he was 7. With 3 other kids and his mother! Here he worked as a carpenter and met my grandmother. I can argue very well with him.
Now to the other side of my family: my mother's side:

At first my grandma. I don't know very much about her life, because she doesn't speak much about it. But this is what I know: She was a bank clerk. And she is in a choir, where she met my grandfather. Also she is 7 years younger than he. She was born in 1935 and my grandfather in 1928.

Now my grandfather. He often tells me about the 2nd world war.  It was a very bad time and he can tell me a lot of it. He is a very funny person and always tells me jokes.
My mum is 45 and a housewife. She trained to be a nurse for old people, but she had to stop her work, because she were and is ill. Also she wanted to bring up us kids.   She has an illness, which isn't good for her nerves and muscles. She met my father in a disco. Also she is a seamstress in her free time.

My dad is 48 and a master plumber and does a lot of things with us. Often he rides with my mother, brother and me on the bikes around the area. Also he loves crazy things.
My father's sister (my aunt) is married to a very nice man. She has had a daughter for three years. She is 42. She does a lot of things with us.

His brother has married, too and he lives in the country. But he isn't often at home, because he is a marketing manager and often away. But at home he has horses and Scottish highland cows. His son is impolite.

Oh … I've forgotten my mother's brother. He also lives in the country. His wife is an eye specialist and he is a church musician, so they have a lot of money.

So … enough about my family: Now I will tell you about my siblings ;) I know they are also in my family. My sister is 19 and studies logopaedics. She is my hero, because she is cool. My brother is 13 and goes to the same school as me.

I think family is a wonderful and a very important thing. Without my family it would be very difficult in my life, because they always help me.

(author: D., Germany)


My Unusual Family

My family isn’t my favourite topic because I don’t like all parts of it. But there are some funny and great things. I will tell you.

At first there is my sister. I don’t like her very much, but sometimes she is really nice. Then my mother… She lives with my sister and me in a little flat. I don’t see both of them often, because most time of the day I sit in my room and listen to my favourite music.

We also have a cat and a dog. They are very crazy pets. I like them much.

Those were the people of my family I have to see every day.

Then there is my grandmother. I meet her sometimes on holiday. Then we play video games together. That’s always funny. My grandfather always has to work long. So I don’t see him often. My uncles live with my grandparents. They are nice.

I nearly forgot … my father. I just see him two to five times a month, then he shows me new diabolo tricks.

Okay, those were the important or not so important things about my family.

(author: J., girl, Germany)


Comparing Families

In the following report we compare two families. It’s interesting to see if they are similar or different.

For example A’s and M’s families.

When you ask A something about her parents, the first answer is that they are divorced. But she isn’t sad about it and it is not a big problem for her.

On the other hand M’s parents live together.

Every second weekend, A’s Dad comes by car a takes her with him. Together they always have a wonderful time. In summer they go swimming, climbing or visit a zoo. When the weather is bad, A and her father go to the cinema or have a relaxed evening on the sofa.
After the weekends she isn’t disappointed that she has to drive home, because she knows that she will visit him in two weeks again.

At home her mother and her stepfather are waiting. A’s mother married another man, but her daughter like his character very much too.

M’s grandparents are there in every situation, because they live in the same house. A hasn’t got grandparents anymore. They died five years ago. Fortunately she has her step-grandparents, so she can say with a smile that she has a grandmother and a grandfather, too.

In summer M’s whole family (without the grandparents) drives to their camping site. That is their hobby, because they have been camping for a long time. They found a lot of friends too, so it’s never boring. When the sun is shining, they go swimming in a lake, climbing or do a bicycle tour.

In contrast A’s family like it to drive to the North Sea. There they know a nice woman, who rents her flat to them.

It’s practical that both families have got the few same hobbies, so they can talk about it.
Of course the two families care to spend their holidays in a hot country. That is a similarity of them.

All in all A and M know that they can tell their families everything.  Sometimes they have trouble too, but they think it’s normal and of course they love them all the time.

You see both families are much different, but they are very good friends.

(authors: A. and M., Germany)


Families around the World

All families are different. But they can have a lot of similarities in their lives. People in the rich countries live actually all the same way. Those are all countries in the "West": Europe (north) and North America.

Families in Australia and New Zeeland are actually the same like in (northern) Europe and North America, because a lot of families there are well-off and they are not a developing country. The rich countries or Western countries have a lot of Christians, so they live similarly.

Families in Germany have not many children, a lot of families there have only 1 to 2 children.

North and South America have many native Americans; they are called the Indians. Their families still have a lot of traditions and customs, which they follow very strictly. But in the many groups of native Americans, they have their differences, because of the different places where they live and the different climate.

In the west of Asia are a lot of countries where only Muslims live. The Muslim countries like Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan and the other Arab countries are very strict with their religion. The women and daughters must wear scarves. If they don’t wear them, they get into big trouble with their family. Especially the father gets very angry if his wife or daughter doesn’t follow religion. It is very important for them.

In India and Sri Lanka and the countries around India, they are very strict with their religion, too. The parents also look for a husband or wife for their children when they are still small.

In the east and south east of Asia, the families want to live like the western families. The parents say to their children they have to be like the oldest sister or brother, and if one of the sibling makes a mistake, the oldest sibling also gets a scolding from the parents.
In Russia they are very lovely to each other and close. Many people there get married very early, when they are 18 – 25. So the children have very young parents and a better chance to meet their grandparents and to spend a longer time with them. The family and children are very important for the Russians and the kids get educated with a lot of love but very strictly.

No two families are the same. But the families in different countries have different ways to live and other ways to educate the children. There are families with traditions and families with no traditions.

(author: N., girl, Germany)