But for those of you not on the wonderful world of Facebook, we have officially moved and settled into Germany. (Although, judging by our house, not sure you would say "settled".) It has been quite the experience to move from a house that was small but with tons of storage to a house that is much larger with not a single "closet". If you have been to my house or know me at all, you know i have a lot of
Part of the reason we have not nested as much as I would have liked is we are too distracted with all the traveling we could be doing instead of hanging pictures! ha! We spent Christmas week in Belgium, New Years in Paris, been to a concert in Luxembourg, visited Amsterdam, spent a weekend in Porto, have skied in Austria and Switzerland and we are off to Prague this week! #hardlife #iknow. :) We have been given this great gift to be here for a limited time and we will not be guilty of sitting on our butts and not experiencing it!
Some random thoughts of mine upon moving to The Germanies:
-I personally have had quite a bit of culture shock here. Which was totally unexpected for me. I thought I have lived in Asia for the last 4 years, on a an air force base, rode the train all around Tokyo, made the less than pleasant commissary work for my meal plans, got really good at communicating in hand gestures and charades, drove on the wrong side of the road, learned some Japanese and I survived. So, Germany? I got this. a piece of cake. My first purchase at a German store: I go to check out and the lady starts speaking to me in German cause she's, well, German. Of course I don't have a clue what she is spouting off to me and obviously waiting for a response and my first and really only thought is, "Can't you see I'm American?!" and then I realize...no, she can't. I look just like her. *face palm* While many Germans speak English in this area, I find I get really nervous when I go to the farmer's market or shop off base, because they can't tell I'm a foreigner and I hate to not be able to communicate. In Japan it almost seemed easier because I stuck out and so no one even tried to really communicate. Normally I don't like to stick out, but in this case it seems more comforting for some strange reason.
- there is schnitzel ev.ery.where. and they serve french fries with everything. like, everything. I like french fries as much as the next person, just don't expect them to come out and be served with my chicken salad. :)
- the lack of closets. (see above.) My maiden name is Schrank (which means wardrobe in German). The joke never gets old (at least to Tdub) that he came with his own "Schrank" and my parents came to visit this last weekend and we had lots of "Schranks" in the house. Guaranteed cheesy jokes for the next 3 years with that one.
- we are SO close to SO many countries. Coming from Japan where you were literally on an island, you had to take a flight to leave Japan and get to another country to travel and you better have about 12 days of leave (vacation time) in your pocket, or you couldn't go. In the first 3 weeks of being here we had already traveled to 4 other countries. FOUR. I couldn't believe it. I still can't wrap my mind around that I can be in another country in 45 minutes. This is also the girl that's coming from TX, where you are driving for 3 days and finally get to NM. While this is something I am so grateful for and do not take for granted to have this life experience, it is also kind of paralyzing. Like where in the world do you start?!? What country do you go to first? How will I ever choose what to do in that city or how should I get there? Trains and cars and planes, oh my!
- I have come to notice there is a little police officer in every German. They have rules, they enforce them and they follow them.* This hits fairly close to home as I have lots of German blood running through my veins and finally makes sense why I am such a rule follower.
- A line? What's that? they don't wait in them. I have to be honest, it drives me nuts. *(guess standing in line isn't a rule and doesn't apply here?) I am constantly getting cut in front of and ending up further from the counter or entrance than where I started. Coming from Japan where there is a nice, single file line for everything and even the tsunami survivors were patiently waiting in line for their scoop of rice, I am not used to having to push and shove to hold my spot. I was here before you, buddy. But I'm getting a little fiercer every day. :)
- Sundays. are. awesome. The whole country of Germany respects and uses this day as a "quiet day". Everything is closed. It is actually illegal for stores and shops to be open and sell anything. You can't wash your car, mow your lawn, (enforced by your local German neighbors, who actually have noise meters to make sure your decimals of noise aren't too loud, not kidding. again, please refer to little police officers for this one.) and while some Sunday's it drives me nuts I cannot go buy some eggs or run my vacuum cleaner, most Sunday's I am so thankful for a day of quiet and rest. Where the day can be spent how I think the Lord intended it, as a Sabbath.
- Kinder Eggs (which are illegal to send to the states and I will be fined $5,000 per egg if found. So you can guarantee the rule follower in me will not be sending any kinder eggs in your care packages. :) sorry.) and Happy Hippos are gonna make me fat. For real, they are to.die.for. Cruel I realize, as I cannot send you any kinder eggs to try for yourself, but trust me or come visit me. :) they are good!
- The PCS Fifteen is a real thing, people. For you non-military folk out there "PCS" stands for Permanent Change of Station (i think). So pretty much it's when you move from one duty station to another. For those of you that have endured a overseas PCS, you will know exactly what I am talking about. But if I could just
*Enter PCS 15* This is where the weight gain can really set in. Eating out every meal, or trying to survive on hot pockets and microwavable lasagna with plastic cheese is nor healthy or great on the waist line. Plus you're in a new place and want to try all the local foods, and for us the German Christmas Markets did not help. Even with a daily workout routine, it's the amount of stress and the laundry list of things to be done with a move...you look down and it's not so pretty. :) So as a military community, the PCS 15, is something we must embrace and be glad we only move every 3 years.
- the US dollar is not equal to the Euro. So we will be fat AND broke when we leave Europe. :)
While half of our hearts are still in Japan (pretty sure everyone here is sick of hearing me talk about Japan, sorry!) we absolutely love it here and it's feeling more like home everyday. I am attempting to stay a little more current with this blog in hopes to share with you, but also try and keep all our adventures straight to be able to remember and cherish them! And to that one person, thanks for reading. ;) Cheers!