...living, working and playing.
05.12.2009 - 12.12.2009
So, it would appear that I am only updating about once a week. I guess that's going to have to do for now. It's been a busy week. Still trying to get all the paperwork and BS done. It's still frustrating at times. It would be nice if there was someone that really knew what needed done and when...I'm certain that the whole thing could go a lot smoother!
As much as it pains me, I have decided to leave Aco with Mom for a few extra weeks. The home/apartment owners here have quite the racket going on. I was hoping to move into a different 'temp' apartment soon, so that I could bring Aco out here but it's just not a good decision financially. The cheapest places are wanting around 100euro/night for a place! It's crazy! That's over $4K/month!! Yes, I do get a stipend for housing but I just can't see spending it on housing when I can use it for other things like my car and other fun stuff! So, I'm staying here at the base hotel until I find something permanent. Hopefully, by the beginning of February.
It's amazing how easy it is to meet people here (other Americans). Everyone is friendly and as anxious to have someone to go out with as I am! I only have to be alone if I choose to be.
Had a day-trip to Trier on Saturday with the USO. It was a good time and a very long day. I finally got to try the fabled Gluewein, pronounced "glue-vine". It's wonderful! Hot spiced wine...warms the tummy! I could have indulged to greater lengths but controlled myself.
The Christmas Market in Trier was out of control. The masses of people were nearly too much... A lot like a local fair or community festival at home. Lot's of food stands, crafts and (unlike home) alcohol! The Germans sure know how to have a good time!
A couple of interesting tidbits: The door below has numbers written along the side, these are a tradition. According to the tour guide, when the owners donate to the local charity (I think the orphanage), they will put a date on the door. It's supposed to be good luck! Porta Nigra or "Black Gates" are This is a very distinctive part of Trier's history and if you want more information you can click here. Trier is reported to be the oldest city in Germany..
I can't rotate the pic, so turn you head sideways and you'll see that this particular family has donated every year since 2003!
I also visited the Roman Baths and played with a kids machine and got a little present for Trinity!!
Here are more pictures of the day.
My favorite shot of the day:
30.11.2009 - 05.12.2009 48 °F
I have told myself for the past 4 days that I need to update everyone on here but I have been totally stressed out and not in a mood to write. I'll try to fill in the best that I can....bear with me....
I spent a relaxing night in Chicago and slept well. Made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The flight to BWI went smoothly. On arrival to BWI I needed to find the USO office in order to find out where to go to check-in for the military transporter flight that was going to take me the rest of the way to Ramstien. There had been several 'army boys' on the flight from Chicago so I simple followed them when we got off the plane (assuming that they were headed to Ramstien), and I was right.
When I got to the USO office (right at baggage claim, if your interested), the lady behind the counter looked at me as if I were from another planet. It was quite obvious that I really didn't belong here, sans camo!! When I explained why I was there and showed my orders/emails/etc to prove that I was supposed to be there, she politely directed me on my way.
The check-in line for the flight was enormous! I was told that the plane hold 350 people and I think that 300 of them were in line in front of me! It actually went pretty quickly and seemed very well organized. It was interesting seeing major ammunition and multiple pistols and semi-automatic guns of all sorts being inspected in the line and ok'd for the flight! At least I feel safe on this flight...it isn't going down without one hell of a fight!! haha
During the wait, I met another civilian travel RN; Peggy. It was great to know that I wasn't completely alone! Peggy is Mormon, married with kids and from a military family so we don't have much in common other than the job, but she is nice and we shared some company waiting for the flight.
The military transporter flight was quite interesting. The kid behind me (about 12 y/o) was an annoying little shit and wouldn't let me sleep. I spent most of my time in-flight drinking at the back of the plane with two service-men (Grady and Dave). Life isn't all bad ;o)
I have spent my time since arrival in the most un-organized and frustrating 'in-processing' that I have ever experienced. It's been quite trying at best. My sponsor isn't a true civilian (she is married to military) so she doesn't really know everything that I need as a civilian. I do finally have my CAC card (have to have this to do anything here), so hopefully things will run a little smoother now.
Skype has been great! I have been able to call all my family at home and connect without any international fees (THANKS RANDALL)!! At least with skype, I don't feel completely alone here. And, I figured out how to text from the computer to phones in the US. I have a skype-in number that those of you at home can call to contact me, email me if you want the number. I won't talk on it (incoming) much because it does charge me but you can call me then I will call you back. I hope to have a real cell phone soon, so I will pass that info on as soon as available. In the mean-time, there is always the Red Cross if you really needed to contact me for an emergency! ;o)"
Today, I finally got off the base and explored the village of Landstuhl a little bit. It was nice to get off base for a little while. I am really liking the men:women ratio's here ;oP
Next weekend, I am planning to take a USO sponsored train trip to Trier to visit one of the Christmas Markets and indulge in some Gluswien (hot spiced wine, is what i'm told).
das Leben ist Schön
Life is Good
I'm not certain if I can really say that I am officially on my way yet or not? I am away from home. I made it to Chicago via Amtrak today and am lounging at the Hyatt (got a great deal on Hotwire). It was a little bit of an adventure getting here though (no, nothing bad).
I couldn't sleep last night and had an early morning wake-up call for 0530. I had to make the train in Waterloo at 0730 and didn't want to feel rushed. About 0400 I finally got tired and figured that if I fell asleep, I would be a horrible bitch to everyone if I only got an hour of sleep so decided to spare everyone and stayed awake.
I was surprised at how busy the mock-station was at Waterloo. There were at least 20 people boarding at the same time as me! And here I though that I would be the only one there.
I slept on the train most of the way to Chicago. Getting from the Amtrak station to the subway was a bit of an adventure. I had forgotten that the transfer wasn't in the same building and couldn't for the life of me, remember where I needed to go. After 2 wrong directions and about an hour and half of walking (with backpack) through and around downtown Chicago, I finally found the right place! At least it didn't pour down rain on me!
If I've been asked once, I've been asked a thousand times; 'aren't you excited?'. I am...I think? It's weird, I was more excited when I first found out and now that I am actually on my way it's almost like I am numb to it. I don't feel apprehensive or overly excited, I feel more at peace than anything. I don't know if it hasn't hit me yet or what?
So tomorrow I hop on a plane to Germany.....
The weirdest thing about all of this is the fact that I have NO keys...!!
The count-down is dwindling....
There are equal parts anticipation, fear, excitement and sadness.
I've spent the past few days packing and moving. I'm living with boxes and a mattress on the floor. Some days I feel like I am overwhelmed with things to do and other times I feel like I don't have enough to keep me busy.
Hotels and flights are booked. My 'to-do' list is almost complete. If there is something that I have forgotten, it's nearly too late. I'm taking the Amtrak to Chicago on Saturday and spending my last night in the States alone. I don't know how I feel about this...it's a little sad.
I have a trip to Louisville to drop off the household stuff to Corey for him to use, and two Thanksgiving dinners to attend. It's going to be a very busy 5 days (actually only 4 left here at home). It will be nice to have the family together before I leave.
My emotions have over-taken me on several occasions for no real reason. Having to leave not only the kids but also Aco is a little difficult to say the least. But I am managing.
I have learned a lot in the past month about the people in my life, both near and far. I have been lucky to have made some wonderful friends. I have also been afforded an opportunity to see people for who they really are, and learned who I can count on and who I can't. It's funny what you think and what is real....
A little bitter-sweet....
I arrive in Germany at 0920 (Germany time) and will immediatly begin the paperwork 'in-processing'. It's going to be a very long day for me as I will leave at 0900 EST the previous day. I will attempt to put a note up here or on FB to let everyone know that I have made it safely.
My US phone service will be disconnected on Nov 30th. I will be using skype initially for calls to the states and email or FB will be the best way to contact me until I can come up with something better. If you would like to be able to contact me via skype, shoot me an email and I'll give you the details.
I am looking forward to the experience and hope that you will all take time to write and hopefully visit when you can....