Toddler speech boost tips from an immigrant mom

Hearing our kids speak is a real delight to every parent in this world. It’s an important milestone in our kids life, saying that I am an Indian mother, living in Germany, who have a daughter who overcame her speech problems with little magical push from my side. Speech problem in kids especially living in other land is more common, as we live away from the family. The main problem for immigrant kids, who live in a foreign land is the lack of family environment like grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. If a kid grows in this unavoidable situation, then it’s our (parents) duty to put some extra effort to boost our kids to speak.

If you are that worried parent, then I would like to shed some light on your path of encouraging your toddler’s speech process with the tips which worked for me:

1. Speak with clear words even in early stages: Start your full on conversations from the day one (actually even earlier while in the womb). Parents often think the babies cannot understand them and start using words which are not clear and babble like their babies do. That’s a proven wrong method and in later stages your toddler will delay in speech.

2. Sing songs with your child : Singing songs is the best and effective way to develop speech in early stages. It’s the attractive method for kids and my daughter loved to sing songs and rhymes. As a 4 year old now she sometimes use her own words in the rhyme and converse with me, which I find so funny and creative.

3. Read lots of books: Reading books as early as possible is a great way to boost their speech and imagination. I started to read to my daughter when she is just few months old. Start with picture books and few lines stories and slowly upgrade. Spending your time in reading for your kids is definitely a great investment for their future developments.

4. Your facial expressions matters a lot: Facial expressions always helps kids to read your emotions in a better way. It’s a great way of boosting their speech and understanding. Your expressions and bold body language make them understand you better which will lead to conversations. Majority of the speech therapists got positive results by playing emotion identification games with kids.

5. Repeat words: It’s a important thing to do with kids. Repeating words helped my child a lot when she struggled with speaking. I used to have five words in my mind which I repeat for the whole week to her in different situations when she starts picking up that word I will then switch to next five, which helped her a lot.

6. Ask lot of questions: Always be a fool in front of your kid. Act as if you doesn’t know anything and ask questions. Please avoid asking yes or no questions, once they feel comfortable in it then they will fix on it.

7. Role play: This method is my favorite method and it worked out well for me. I used to be her baby and my daughter will be my mom. When we started playing this, I noticed her using more words as she pretend to be me. When kids start to be like us then definitely their mind will search for words to speak like their mommy or daddy.

8. Explain in a way they understand: When kids struggle in understanding you, then take your time and speak with them in a way they understand you. They never expect any logical answers from you so, stop thinking how you explain things and make them understand easily.

9. Go on the flow with the nature: Make kids understand that we get everything from nature like sounds, rhythm, tone etc.. Sound like a birds and animals, make them hear even tiny sounds like the sound of the wind, clock ticking sound, water dripping sound etc.

10. No pressure on kids: My final point for all parents out there is not to pressure the kids to speak. Pressure will most of the times backfire so just go with the flow. Keep trying and make them feel speaking is a real fun.

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on Earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” – Brook Hampton

Hope these 10 points help you in boost your child’s speech. To immigrant parents like me who works hard in developing speech in your kids, keep trying and your success is not too far. Have a happy parenting.

Disclaimer: I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have any professional medical certificate. I hold a medical technologist masters degree and worked for short time. Only this and my experience as a mom are just about it.

Please do comment your tips below which might help other moms.

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Domestic violence help for wives of immigrant workers in Germany

I never thought I would write a blog related to this topic, as I did not realize such things even happen in Germany unless I got questions from few Indian women who are in dependent visa. It’s really heart breaking to hear such domestic violence silently happening here.

The Urge to research in this topic increased for me once I started getting requests to write on this topic. Some women who just need to know what should be done if it happens to them as a precaution. So, I started asking people and done some research in internet and finally got to find little information in this topic, which could help some or simply answer some questions and reduce anxiety for few who are trying to come to Germany with their spouse.

1. Hilfetelefon: If you are in primary stages of domestic violence and if you feel you cannot reach out to friends and family, as you are not sure what’s happening and where to go. Then this site https://www.hilfetelefon.de/ is highly useful. They can offer advice via online and support people of all nationalities, with and without disabilities – 365 days a year, around the clock. They provide anonymous and cost-free advice in many languages 24 hours a day.

You can also call to their Toll free number  08000 116 016. This helpline works round the clock.

2. Women’s Counselling centers: If you want to communicate and let out your problems then there are counselling centers in Germany named Frauen gegen Gewalt. The service is free of charge and anonymous if requested. The female staff members are bound by the duty of confidentiality. There is also local support service where you can enter postal code and language of choice and get the nearest possible support place. There is another site called Frauenhauskoordinierung, which also does the same kind of help like counselling and also provides shelter facilities for victim of domestic violence and their kids who needs the safe place to live till their problems are solved. There is also Fraueninformationszentrum FIZ which also provides help for women problems where you can call or mail or directly go to them for help.

3. Helpline for crime victims: They help people who have become victims of crime and violence. They offer support through phone and online counselling. They are called Weisser Ring. They help with Cyber bullying, rape, pick pocket, home burglary, domestic violence etc. There are also specialized lawyers available for free initial consultation session.

These are very few information I could get and hope it helps some women out there who is in need of help. If someone who knows more information about this topic then please leave a comment below or people who came across these situations and love to help others by sharing the details then ping me personally through Facebook or Instagram and I will post without exposing any details of yours.

Some best German foods for Indians to give a try in my experience

I am basically a non red meat eater, so most of the dishes in Germany are ruled out for me. Still I love certain German food which I really enjoy. This blog is mainly for people who are preparing to come to Germany or new to Germany, who are scared and have lot of questions about German food for you and your kids. I am completing 6 years in Germany now and I can assure that not only you and your family survive but also you can keep your taste buds happy. One important thing to keep in mind that you should be ready to come out of your shell and start to explore German food without judging by comparing with Indian food.

I have divided the German foods into 2 sections, On the go cheap breakfast foods and Restaurant foods.

On the go cheap breakfast foods:

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A typical breakfast in Germany starts off with bread (Brot) or bread rolls (Brötchen) with various spreads and toppings. Which are not expensive and easily available in bakeries. German breads are really worth to try.

1. Butter Brezel/Bretzel (Pretzel ): One among my favorite is Butter Brezel/Bretzel (butter pretzel).

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2. Spinat Käse Brot (Cheese spinach roll): My second favorite is the Spinach roll, These crescent rolls stuffed with spinach and cheese make for a quick and simple breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer recipe. These cheesy spinach rolls are so yummy, the kids won’t even mind the spinach.

3. Schneckennudeln (German Cinnamon Rolls): It is a traditional south-west German pastry but I eat for my breakfast most of the time. It is a traditional Swabian recipe and it consist of ground nuts filling, which is my favorite! There are also different kinds of filling like almond, raisin, poppy seeds, hazelnuts etc.

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4. Croissant: Croissants are staple of any Sunday brunch in Germany, and thez are sometimes referred as Hörnchen (little horns) because of their shape. Croissants are often enjoyed with jam or Nutella.

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5. Salami: Typical German breakfast consist of meat and especially salami with bread. Salami and Wurst are the most attractive thing for children. Even you have never exposed these in India, Children get easily attracted by this as soon as they enter Germany. We as a Indian family who doesn’t prefer red meat will always go for Geflügel-Salami (which is made from duck, turkey and chicken).

Restaurant foods:

The best part in German restaurants is they serve a bowl of salad with most dishes. Do try different types of salads while you are Germany. Some German foods which I really find good for my Indian taste bud without red meat are as follows

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1. Spätzle (German noodle): It is the most common meatless dishes found in Germany.  If you enter German restaurant and ask for noodle, you will get Spätzle. They are made with eggs. If you are a lover of cheese then you can get Käsespätzle (cheese noodle). You can aslo get Spinatspatzeln (Spinach noodle).

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2. Kartoffelknödel/Kloß (Boiled potato dumplings): You get different types of Knödel made with bread, flour, meat, cheese, potatoes etc. It comes with salad and sauce. Make sure to order vegetarian sauce  because once I didn’t give any preference to sauce and ended up with meat sauce.

3. Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes): They are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or mashed potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. Sometimes you will get it as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon.

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4. Schnitzel (Meat cutlet): They are thin pounded meat dish which is fried. It’s my daughter’s favorite  dish and luckily it is made with duck or chicken. It doesn’t need any sauce and kids love with ketchup and mayo and it comes with fries.

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5. Lachsfilet mit Butterkartoffeln salat:  As my family love to eat fish, we always tried to find a good German fish food. I would this dish is pretty good and also Cord and Salmon pan fry is also my favorite.

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There are more food items to add to this blog. Will definitely add some of my other favorite German vegetarian foods too in my next blog. Please leave your favorite German foods in the comments below so, that the newcomers to Germany will benefit from it. Stay tuned for my favorite German street foods in coming blogs.

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Must need household things for those who are new to Germany

When I came to Germany to start my life here, as an Indian few things were new for me and there were no proper guide, when it comes to household things. I couldn’t find any sites, forums or blogs related to it. As most of them live in rented apartments and it’s always necessary to keep the house clean and tidy to the core, because we can expect landlord visits and there are more chances for us being kicked out of the apartment, if your apartment is untidy.  I am not going to discuss about any cleaning products here. I am just gonna say about few affordable household things which will make your life easy in keeping your house clean. And I would say these things are pretty much considered as must haves in every German household.

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1. Stove Scraper (Herdschaber):

We Indians cook a lot and obviously it will lead to mess. The Glass stove tops become sticky with oil what we use. For me it was the best life saver and every time when I use, it makes my stove top brand new again. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any excess crumbs or other mess. Next, add a liberal amount of the liquid cleaner and scrap it out.

2. Microfiber cloth (Mikrofasertuch):

It’s one of the best household thing for the whole house. It’s available in all stores. It can be used for cleaning stove tops, kitchen cupboards, sink, doors, television etc.. It can be used without cleaning products for a wide variety of cleaning tasks and it’s reusable. I will link my favorite and affordable brand.

3. Garbage bag stand (Müllsackständer):

This is very useful for places in Germany where waste separation is done. I use it especially for plastic waste (Plastikmüll). It’s cheap and works great for me.

4. Rubber Toilet and kitchen sink Plunger (Saugglocke pömpel):

 

This is a must have household thing when you enter Germany as we cannot afford for plumber here. This plunger is good for sinks both in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be used in bathtubs.

5. Stainless steel sink strainer (Küche Spüle Sieb Stecker):

 

This strainer is very for every Indian household as we tend to more solid debris. This strainer is highly recommended to filter out the solid debris in the water system. There are plastic and rubber strainers are also available.

6. House shoes (Hausschuhe):

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House shoes are more common German thing here and it’s really a must have in winter. It not only keep your feet warm but also protects your carpet from getting dirty.

7. Duster (Staubmagnet):

This is my favorite and handy cleaning thing. The duster is pushed onto the handle and holds it quite well. My daughter loves to clean with it. I especially like to use it to clean my keyboard and the electrical appliances as it can easily reach even the small gaps and dust well.

I just randomly covered few basic household things which is very useful when you move in to Germany. Will upload more in future. I hope it will help someone who is planning to move or newcomer to Germany.

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5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis

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Raising a bilingual or multilingual kid needs a lot of commitment for every parent. If you decided to raise a child bilingual or multilingual (with the new language like German) there’s no harm in immersing them in the world of German from day one. When I had my daughter I decided to raise her multilingual from day one and the best way to expose her to languages is by books. I slowly started searching for books in German which should be simple and understandable with lots of pictures which should not only attracts my kid but also me. As I too learn with her.

The research shows that babies can distinguish between languages from the age of just seven months, use qualities like pitch and duration of sounds to keep two languages separate. German language can be exposed in different forms like nursery rhymes, books, lullabies, cartoons and television shows. I am not a native speaker and cannot speak very good Deutsch so, I decided to expose my kid to these forms and still working on it.

Take a look at some of my and my kid’s favorite books that I read and still reading to my daughter:

1. Wie heißt denn das?

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This is the first ever book I bought for my daughter. She started her German language with this book. It’s a small book and ideal from the age of 6 months. It’s a board book and I would say it’s worth a buy. I think it will last forever. Still mine look brand new.

2. Mien erstes Bild Wörterbuch

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This is one of my favorite books and it has about 500 words with pictures. The best part of the book is the quality of the book for a such a low price (4.99€ ) and the colorful pictures in it. It is ideal for 2-year-old kids. The attractive part of the book is that it has a small story in the beginning (like the pic below) and then lead to words so it’s very interesting for kids to read the words which connects to the story.

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3. Mein großes Bilder-Lexikon

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This book is ideal for 2 to 4 years old kids. On each double page a theme is presented, with many details and it is very helpful for us moms and dads who doesn’t speak German. Everything is labeled,  so while reading one will never gets into the embarrassment of not knowing what e.g., is an ein Bagger or ein Radlader. I therefore recommend this book to all who have small children. It is a great gift for boys and girls. It costs around 8.97€.

4. Soundbuch In der Wildnis: 10 Tierstimmen

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We bought this for our daughter on her 2nd birthday. This sound book is very high quality book,  that is, it consists of thick cardboard and the sound bar on the side really good and will lasts forever. Batteries are included and so it can go straight after unpacking. This book is little bit on the pricey side (14.99€) but it’s worth a buy I could say.

5. Ein Tag bei uns 

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This book is about little Theo’s daily routine from getting up, playing in kindergarten and going to bed. This book is really good for linguistic development and can be used from early months. The quality of the book is very good and the pictures are very colorful. It’s not expensive too (3.90€).

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It has great picture quality

I hope this blog is helpful for parents like me who try to grow their kids bilingual or multilingual. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on best German story books for kids and bilingual books (English and German) for kids.

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Misconceptions which shocked me about India

It’s been a while since I wrote something in my blog. Recently I finished my B2 level in German language. My 10 months course not only taught language but also got the opportunity to mingle with people from different countries. After getting closer to people from other land, something which surprised me is the misconception what they have about my homeland India. Some made my eyebrows raise and few made me laugh. I realized, India, being a multiculturalmultiethnic and multireligious society, there is no big wonder that people have so much misconceptions. Here, I like to write about some questions which I came across being an Indian in Germany.

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Do you speak “Indian”?

No, of course we don’t speak “Indian,” because Indian is not a language. People have no idea, how many languages and dialects exist in our country and are spoken by everyone. There are about 122 native languages exists in India. So, whenever I come across the question “Sprichst du Indisch?” (do you speak Indian?), my answer will not be yes or no, rather a big lecture of Indian languages.

As shown in Bollywood films, do you guys dance in streets?

I remembered, when my good friend asked this to me “Tanzen Sie alle, wie in Bollywood-Filmen gezeigt, auf der Straße?”, I couldn’t control my laughter. Yes we love to see movies but none of us go around dancing in streets and singing in the rain. We live so normally, much like the other people in the world.

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Have you seen snakes in streets?

It was a weird question which I came across from one of my Greek friend. She literally thought India is underdeveloped and we see wild animals in daily basis. I asked “where you have seen snakes” She replied “In Zoo or Snack parks”, I said “Dear even I have seen it only in zoo and snake parks like you”.  Snakes are not commonly found in streets or in public places except in zoos.

Why Indian food is so spicy?

Not in every part of the country we serve spicy food. If you go to northern part, for example, we have Dal varieties (curried yellow lentils), can be mild. In down south we have delicacies like idli, vada, and the most loving dish curd-rice. We have foods that suit for all kind of taste buds.

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Dal (yellow lentil curry)

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Curd rice

You speak different language other than your national language?

As I said earlier there are about 122 native languages and 23 official languages in India. 60% of Indians have mother tongues other than Hindi. So, its normal for an Indian to speak in his state’s language and not in national language.

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Why can’t you eat beef but eat chicken?

There are people in India who eat beef, It’s something what Hindu religion says and its our choice to eat or avoid. So, people who follow and believe in Hindu religion doesn’t consume the cow. There are many religion other than Hindu, hence many consume beef in India.

Can you teach Yoga?

I always have a weird smile at this question and say no. Because I always felt ashamed that more than Indians, the western world is taking Yoga more seriously (as far as i know). It’s a fact that lot of us don’t do Yoga.

Do all Indian people sleep in streets?

One of my German friend visited India and she saw a large amount of people sleeping in streets and parks and thought its a normal practice for Indians to sleep in streets. But, no not every Indian sleeps in streets. They are bunch of homeless people like the same in other western countries. The only difference is the number of people, which is obviously higher, considering the Indian population.

Does India have a hot weather all 365 days?

Nope! Even our countries weather changes from region to region.  India does get very hot summers, equally cold winters and a moderate tropical weather. Looking at the size of the country it is not possible to have only one kind of weather throughout the year. We have six ecological seasons.

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My first winter experience in Germany as a migrant from a warm country like India – tips which I gained over the years

I was born and brought up in southern part of India. It’s the place where the weather is always warm. Back then I felt cold in winter which was around 20 -25 degree Celsius but after experiencing winter in Germany I changed my mind from cold to warm 😋. In my home town even in winter we can survive without wearing any winter clothes. I always thought cold weather will be good as I experienced extreme hot weathers. Back then I imagined snow as a beautiful glaze of sleet, crystal, snow flake etc. Now after 5 years of living in Germany and after 5 winters, the thought has slightly changed in my mind. Even though I love snow and I always eagerly wait for the first snow and excitement I get to see the snowfall never went down, but getting into the snow or freezing weather on a daily basis has definitely proven wrong about my imagination which I had back then. It’s always beautiful if you are inside the home with heaters on and sipping a hot tea and watching snow or cold breeze through the window. On the other hand getting up at morning 6, where it’s pitch dark outside, me doing house chores and dressing with multiple layers of clothes which added extra kgs to the weight and dressing my kid in same way and taking her to kindergarten daily is not a joke.

I remember going out without covering my head in minus degrees, made my ears numb. I didn’t realise the importance of boots until I slipped in snow with sport shoes on. Went out without mittens in very cold weather which made my finger tips pain like someone prick with the needle. I am the person who never used chapstick back in India but here, after experiencing a bad lip crack followed by bleeding made me realise its importance in winter , which now is like an organ for me which always stays with me. In addition to all I got a best gift called sinusitis which says hi in all winters and it’s terrible. Over the years I learnt to suffer less from sinusitis. One by one I learnt how to survive winter, the skills got strong when I had my baby girl. Through all trial and errors now after 5 years I somewhat manage to adapt my body in this cold weather which made me to write this blog and help my fellow immigrants who lived their entire life in a warm country like mine and experiencing new winter weather. Here are few tips from my experience to you guys.

Stay active. I know when winter blows in, you want to pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep but there is no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when temperature drops. Actually there are advantages in staying extra active in winter.

  • As it’s not humid like summer which make you sweat more and exhaust soon so walking or running extra mile is added advantage.
  • Exercising more results in burning extra calories.
  • Great way to take some vitamin D.
  • Getting fresh air and exercising with intake of vitamin D boosts immunity from cold and flu.

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Dress in layers. Dressing in layers is the key to keep you safe from cold weather hazards. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation. Avoid layering in cotton because when you sweat, the inside moisture is trapped and will make you feel colder. Invest on moisture wicking fabrics and a good waterproof jacket to help to keep you warm in rain and snow.

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Stay hydrated. Winter never indicates us to drink water even though our body needs it. I always forget to drink water during the beginning years of winter season as I don’t get thirst and ended up in headaches. Keep hydrated as much as possible to maintain fluid balance. Symptoms of dehydration in winter are chapped lips, dry cough, nosebleed, headaches and acne.

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Avoid sickness during winter with household things and nutritional foods. I always struggle with sinusitis every winter. Over the years I learned some home remedies to prevent it and helped to ease if I got a sinus infection. The wise method is to invest on a good humidifier. It’s a life safer for me and my daughter during cold and flu. Second thing I noticed is to eat food which gives immunity during winter season like vitamin C rich foods, herbs and spices, yogurt, lots of vegetables like mushroom, dark leafy greens, broccoli and non veg like salmon, chicken soup etc. One thing which also helped is steam. Regular steam inhalation reduce the inflammation.

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Give some care to your drying eyes and skin. Best thing to take care of your eyes and skin is eating omega-3-fatty acid rich foods like fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, soy milk etc. Invest on good moisturizer during winter for your skin. Don’t forget the sunscreen, it’s important even for winter. As I said earlier proper hydration keeps skin retain moisture. Blink you eyes often to avoid dryness due to harsh winter weather.

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Fresh air. Let the fresh air circulate your home once in a while which is healthy for you as it takes away the trapped moisture inside the house which lead to mold formation. The fresh air circulation is always more comfortable and feel good. If you have a baby or kid who has not started kindergarten then just take them out everyday to get fresh oxygen.

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Invest on good boots. I remember falling down with my sports shoes walking on the snow melting ice. Walking on a melting snow is too dangerous that too with a flat base shoes hence, invest on a snow boots or even sport shoes which helps your feet keep their grip on the ground.

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I hope these tips are helpful for people like me who has been migrated to a different country with winters totally different from the homeland being super cold and snowy.

Stay warm and stay healthy

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