Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012


We have been so busy running around taking care of errands that sometimes we have to eat out. We happened to find the McDonald's close to Bitburg Air Base (the base closest to our home, but not where James is stationed) so we decided to grab a bite. Let me say that European McDonald's are nothing like the ones we are all used to. The ones here are nice... really nice, in fact. They had leather seats, nice tables with lit candles on top, clean atmosphere, and delicious food. The menu was pretty similar to the common foods you will find in the states, but they had a few different things I haven't seen before. Best of all, they have a REAL McCafe. The drinks are made fresh similar to Starbucks and they had a really nice dessert bar. I was pretty impressed that this fast food restaurant was still 'fast', but upscale. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Germany 101

Every so often I thought I would do a 'Germany 101' post, listing some of the facts and info I've learned or realized. If you have any questions and want me to answer them, comment and I will try to answer next time.

- You cannot warm-up your car. If you are parked for more than three minutes you must turn off your engine.
- A lot of houses around here have solar panels on the roof.
- Bitburger Beer is brewed in a village where Kylee will go to school.

-Most of the streets inside villages are narrow.
-Some village streets really are paved with cobblestones. 

-They have these weird obstacles in the road.

 -These are common in the older villages.

 -They have Aldi's here in Germany. We have one just a short drive from us.

-This means 'exit'. Americans will sometimes pronounce it 'Ass Fart'. I'm sure thats not too far off form the actual pronunciation. 

- I think the food tastes funny here, even the American food at the commissary on base. Sprite tastes disgusting!
- 'Bitte' means 'please' and 'your welcome'.
- 'Guten tag' means 'hello' or 'good day'.
- Traffic lights are not popular around here. Round abouts or traffic circles are everywhere, and I LOVE driving through them.
- People really do go super fast on the Autobahn. We were going 90 mph and people were still zooming past us.
-There are steep hills everywhere.
-It seems to be normal to have a bathroom as soon as you open the front door. European fridges are really small. There are no closets nor pantries in German houses. Kitchens are not built in. If a German moves they usually take the kitchen with them.
- German schools only go half a day.
- We have had one day of partial sunshine since we have been here. Apparently the sun is rarely seen and it rains often. The temperature has been in the 30's here.
-There are 'American' foods at German restaurants, but they taste funny.
- Thankfully, fast food places are not common around this area. We have seen a 'Subway' in the town close to our village.
- In Germany we drive on the same side of the road as we do in the States.

We found a house

Here is our new house! We move in on Wednesday when our stuff will be delivered there. I cannot wait to settle in and make it our own. It has 5 large bedrooms and 2 large bathrooms, a backyard, garage, a river with a small water fall in front of the house and a lake at the bottom of the road. We live in Biersdorf Am See, Germany. (Translated to The Beer Village by the Lake.) From what I understood from the Landlord there will be a terrace built on top of the garage this summer. 

Do you see those white things covering up the top half of the bottom two windows? Those are roladens and built into the house. They are metal 'curtains' that are on the outside of the window. Nearly every house has them. 

Here is the pretty waterfall across from the house. Its right across the street. The kids cannot get into it, nor fall in it because there is too much foliage. 

I will post more pictures this week. It took 20 minutes just to upload these two pictures. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

As Wyatt would say: 'Awkward'

Yesterday was the first time I felt like a tourist. Awkward.

We had just arrived to the house we were going to look at but the landlord wasn't there yet. Kylee, of course, had to use the bathroom. Keep in mind that these villages are NOT a small little town in the states. I could even compare it to Beach City, Ohio. You can't just find a little convenient store in most of these villages to use the bathroom, and I wasn't going to have her squat along the road right in front of our potential house. Up the road there was an illuminated sign that said 'Bitburger' (which is apparently a local beer). It was the only place that seemed to be open to the public so we ventured in. It was a pub or some sort. Several older men where play foosball when we walked in and turned around as soon as they saw the door open. They must not be used to people coming in. Anyhow, they gave us a funny look, I said something about 'toilette' with a funny look on my face, and got another funny look back. Eventually they figured out what I wanted. We must have missed the signs on the door because Kylee ended up using the men's bathroom. Oops.

I realized I should try to remember some of that German I was learning. But really, I get nervous and go blank. And I decided that I wouldn't get mad at people in the states that don't speak English well. Cause I am sure these German's are tired of us American's not knowing their language.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Send me your expired coupons!

So, I noticed things at the commissary were a bit more expensive than normal. I am going to start using coupons. The cool thing is, I can used expired coupons up to 6 months past the expiration date! So, would you mind saving your coupons you don't use and mailing them up our way? I would REALLY appreciate it, especially since there are not ads here that have coupons in them.

We made it!

Here we are, in Germany. So far I'm loving it. I will admit that first day we got here I wanted to go home, but in my defense I had NO sleep in over 24 hours, I didn't feel good from the plane ride, and its was raining here. Plus, it just wasn't Minot. BUT after much needed sleep I woke up ready to enjoy Germany.

So, the plane actually ended up leaving at 1130pm Baltimore time. It was a horrible wait as we had to be out of our hotel at 2pm. The kids were so well behaved though. They took the boredom much better than I did actually. We hung out at the USO most of the time so at least there was TV, snacks, and comfy chairs to sit at.

Once we boarded the plane Wyatt literally fell asleep right away. The plane didn't even move away from the gate before he fell asleep. Kylee dozed off shortly after take off. James is apparently used to sleeping on long flights so it was easy for him to go to bed. However, I was just too uncomfortable to fall asleep. Plus, I watched a few movies on the plane. Dinner and Breakfast were both served but I wouldn't suggest trying the food. James enjoyed it but I thought it was horrible. I guess when your used to eating food at the Chow hall for a year any type of food is considered good.

Anyhow, we were originally scheduled to land around noon Germany time, but the airport was closed. Odd isn't it? Actually, Germany is pretty big on going to Church and closing around lunch time so there are quiet hours in place. Our plane was landing on a Sunday so there could not be any noise from the base until 1pm. The pilot told us he flew super slow over the ocean to try to get to Ramstein AB around opening time, but still ended up having to do a few circles for about an hour before we were able to land.

The landing was HORRIBLE!!! I thought I was going to throw up. I'm usually a pretty good flyer, but for some reason this was bumpy and had my stomach in knots until we touched down. Once we departed the aircraft we had to have a customs briefing. Basically we were told what we could and could not have. We couldn't bring in more than 10,000 euros. (We obviously didn't have THAT problem.) We also couldn't bring in meat, dairy, and some other type of product. Getting our luggage was easy and we weren't checked going through customs either. Our sponsor met us at the airport so that we had a ride from Ramstein AB to Spangdahlem AB which is about an hour or so away. I really wish I would have taken a picture of ALL of our luggage. It was an ungodly amount of stuff: 7 bags, 2 carseats, 5 carry-ons plus the kids (they are considered luggage as we had to carry them half the time).

Ok, I will have to update about our current living quarters later today. Its pretty awesome I must admit, even with all the quirky cute German touches. I will hopefully add some pictures of it as well.

I have a friend taking me to the commissary later today so that I can get more than a few things. After James' briefings today we are going to look at a house (hopefully). I'll update later on that as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back at the airport

We are sitting at the USO at the airport in Baltimore waiting till we can try to get tickets for the next flight to Germany. It shouldn't be a problem getting on the plane, but they wanted us here 4 hours early to check in. We are to check in around 530 but not fly out till 930. I really hope we get on this plane. I know we have priority over most of the other travelers because we are on military orders and they are just trying to fly back to Ramstein AB after being on leave. We should land in Ramstein AB around 1pm Sunday (German time). The drive to Spangdahlem is only about an hour, thankfully. We are all so ready to be there! Lets just hope they have a room for us!

I'll update again once we get settled. :D

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good Bye Minot....

Hello Baltimore???

Yes, we are stuck in Baltimore for a few days.

Because it was -35 in Minot the morning we left and because it took 2 hours for a mechanic to change a light bulb in the cabin of the plane, we missed our flight from Minneapolis to Baltimore and therefore missed our flight from Baltimore to Germany. So, here we are stuck in a hotel room in Baltimore till Saturday evening when the next flight leaves for Ramstein AB, Germany. The kids are doing pretty well being in a hotel room again, but we all are bored. On the bright side, we only have 24 hours left till we can head to the airport again :D

Here are some pictures from the flights so far...

Kylee and I on the plane in Minot, waiting to take off (which was an hour wait)

Daddy and Wyatt waiting as well. 

Finally taking off! Bye Minot. :(

Somewhere over North Dakota. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goodbye house

Today I had the final inspection on the house. After several days of packing and cleaning we are officially homeless. It was very hard to leave the house. I didn't think too much of it until I saw the growth chart we did on the kids' wall. I realized our new house wouldn't have that.

We are staying in the Temporary Living Facilities (TLF) here on base. Its not too small and has all that we need. There is two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and small dinning room as well as two bathrooms. I will have to take pictures after I finish putting stuff away. Its pretty cluttered at the moment.

James will be home in TWO days!!! 48 hours and we will be on our way to the airport! He leaves Korea tomorrow night, so he's got about a full days worth of traveling to do. Poor guy. I feel bad for him because a week after he gets back we are headed back overseas.

I'll update later. I have to go switch laundry before someone steals it from the laundry room :D