A Travellerspoint blog

Lots of Living and working and not enough PLAYING

I was reading an article on www.bootsnall.com the other day and I just can't stop thinking about it. I'll find it and link it here later...it was about 'travelers' vs 'expats'. I can say now that I have experienced both of these. As a traveler, I have enjoyed the US, Vietnam and Italy. Now I am experiencing living as an expat in Germany. These are two very different worlds....

I have decided (possibly prematurely) that I do not enjoy being an expat. I much prefer the life of a traveler. I really have no interest in continuing to live here in Germany. I have a decent job, a nice apartment (that I really don't want) and have made a few friends since I've arrived. I really liked the feeling of being able to move every 3 months if I wanted too. I'm probably a little jaded on my opinion right now but that's how I feel.

Being a traveler....I love the feeling of not knowing what the next week is going to hold, or where I will be staying in two nights from now. THe excitement of reaching a new city and finding my way around holds something for me. Where I'm going to get my dinner or what the 'free' breakfast includes and if it will be enough to hold me over until lunch. The push to explore, knowing that I've only a few short days and I'll be gone....it's like a drug, I want more.

Right now, I'm feeling stagnant. Like I am somewhere that I don't fit. It's ok not to 'fit' if I'm traveling but now I am living here and not to 'fit' is not a good feeling. After finally putting my finances together in the states so that I could afford to travel and enjoy my life...I am feeling the crunch of living on a restricted budget. Between making less money and having to set up an entire house and now having BILLS.....well, I am feeling strapped. I'm sure it's just a fleeting thing.....hopefully. Besides the fact of all of the above, yes: I'm in Europe. I should feel blessed but there are a few hurdles standing in my way in order to enjoy being in Europe. I'm trying to work these out and hopefully it will happen soon....

Only 285 days left until I can freely leave Germany and not owe the US Gov't anything.....maybe my opinions will change by then?

Going to go play with Aco now!

Oh...http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/10-02/expats-vs-backpackers-why-all-the-hate.html here is the link to the article. My bad, it was backpackers not 'travelers'.

Posted by Khandilee 12:47 Archived in Germany Tagged business_travel Comments (5)

A Man's (or woman's) Best Friend Arrives

It's been a little over 2 months since I left the states and left my little one behind. She has finally arrived. Mom and Dad had a hassle free flight to Frankfurt. On arrival it was like no one even cared that they had a dog with them....they literally could have walked out and no one would have been the wiser. It was Dad's first time flying and I think he secretly enjoyed it. Of course, I don't think that he will ever fully admit that due to the fight he gave me over getting out here!

Aco's homecoming was nothing extraordinary. I got her out of her crate and kissed on her a bit, then took her out to find a patch of grass to relieve herself. I won't go into details here.... I didn't even cry; believe it or not!

We stopped at McD's at the airport and had a bite of breakfast before driving on to my place 1.5 hours away. When we got to the apartment, we were all tired. Daddy was asleep before we set foot into the door. Ok, not really but it was very close to that!

I had to work that night so off to bed I went with hopes that Aco would join me.... My hopes were crushed when she trotted up the steps and found a comfortable spot next to Daddy. I think she likes him a bit.... She did finally find her way to my bed sometime during the day.

The next day, we tooled around town a little and stopped at the German grocery. We picked up some cheese and sausages for the road trip. I took Mom and Dad for a fine dining experience for a street-stand frankfurter! We spent the rest of the evening resting and preparing for our Road-Trip to Paris.

The drive to Paris was uneventful. The weather held out for the drive with no snow. Mom and Dad suffering from jet-lag and me from third shift work, we decided to relax on the first night in Paris. We went to a little restaurant just next to our hotel and had a wonderful dinner. The entire menu was in french and the waiter spoke little English. We ended up ordering the pre-fix meal and each ordered a different meat. Mom got 'poultry', Dad 'beef' and 'fish' for me. All of our meals were amazingly good. Plates were cleaned off and little room was left for our deserts of a chocolate lava cake and creme' brule'.....

I had booked a free tour of Paris the following day to start at 2:30pm. We left the hotel early and walked around Paris on our own exploring then began to head toward our meeting place for the tour.....we had planned to get a bite to eat once we got close to our meeting spot, but we ended up getting a little lost and by the time we arrived, it was time for the tour. The guide, Piere was wonderful. He directed us to a cafe' where we enjoyed coffee and sandwiches prior to heading off on the walking tour.

Piere was a wonderful guide and we got an inside look at his area of Paris. After, we wandered toward the Eifel Tower for a night-time view and a few pictures before heading back to rest our feet at the hotel. We were all quite tired from all the walking and I think I was nearly frozen to the bone.

Next, we were off to Brugge, Belgium. I fell in love with this city when Aaron and I visited in December and it didn't disappoint this time. Window shopping, chocolates and good food were had and even Aco enjoyed meandering around the city. Of course, they let her into the restaurants and she even got a chair to herself so she felt like a little princess.

I forgot to charge my GPS so we got a little turned around on the way home and the 4 hour drive ended up being about 6 hrs. In addition, something is going wrong with my car. It's missing and I can't figure out if it's a tank of bad gas, clogged filters or possibly the fuel pump going bad....it's gotten me to work now for two nights and hopefully one more then it's off to the mechanic.

Mom and Dad's visit was way too fleeting. I felt like they barely got here and were leaving again. There is so much that I wanted to show them and feel like they only got a small taste. Maybe they will make a return visit.....

I'll post pictures soon....

Posted by Khandilee 18:25 Archived in France Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

My German Home

I finally have some furniture and am starting to feel like it's my place. Thought I would share some before/after pics for everyone....

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And just for fun....here are some pics of the snow in my backyard about 2 days ago:

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Posted by Khandilee 01:11 Archived in Germany Tagged women Comments (5)

"Severe Winter In Germany"

snow

"Elsewhere in the world, a strong winter storm is pounding Germany.Heavy snow and high winds reportedly caused more than three hundred car accidents in just *one* day.At least one person was killed... And over forty others were injured in the northern part of the country.The severe weather has also shut down major highways and public transit systems in parts of the region.The storm dumped about 12 inches of snow in some areas."

Yeah...that's the news. It's really not as bad as all that but it has been cold and snowy here. Not much fun for outdoor activities, well...that is unless you like to play in the snow. Which I don't! My off days have been spent inside as much as possible and off the nasty roads. I think that I am starting to get a little stir-crazy here. I'm certainly ready for Spring!!

I did get out of the house a little.....watched Avatar 3D last week, awesome movie! Maybe I need to go see it again? I also ventured to the MALL yesterday. In Neunkirchen, about a 30 min drive from me. Fortunately, it's mostly driven on the Autobahn so the major part of the drive was on good roads. Neunkirchen is an old industrial town and from what I saw, it isn't a very pretty town, you can certainly tell it's industrial history on arrival. I spent the afternoon at the Mall, window shopping. There is also an old water tower that has now been converted to a 4 screen movie theater. I've got to check that one out....soon!

Plans are being laid for a trip to Paris while Mom and Dad are here. I promise to take pictures. It's been a difficult trip to plan. As silly as it sounds, I am not at all interested in going to Paris. I know that my parents will love it though so that will make it worthwhile. Me....? Where do I want to go? Crazy places like Krakow, Poland.....Bucharest, Romania.....Budapest, Hungary....Capacidocia, Turkey. Yep, they are all on the list! I'm actually hoping that I'll be 'pleasantly' surprised and actually like Paris. Not holding my breath on that one though.

I'm still dealing with bullshit paperwork with the DOD. It's annoying. I was screwed this week for payday as the reimbursements that I was supposed to get weren't in my paycheck. Come to find out, the employee that told me I would have it this week, simply didn't submit it. Would have been nice to have known this in advance. Really screwed up my budget. Which sucks double since Mom and Dad are going to be here before it gets straightened out! Enough about that.....

I'm looking forward to seeing Aco. It will be nice to be reunited with her. Maybe things will start to feel like normal once she is here with me.

Work is going good. I'm on nights now and starting to feel like my normal self again. Days was going to kill me! I'm going to be trained for charge RN next week. Seems with all the Navy leaving (we are losing 5 by the 1st of March), I will be the ONLY permanent person on nights. The rest will rotate through, so it's looking like it's going to be up to me to keep it running smoothly. No pressure there.....wish me luck!

Scheduling is a little better on the new schedule. I have one stretch of 4 days off in March and am trying to figure out where I am going to spend it. Need to find a sitter for Aco so I can do some traveling without her. There are just certain places that aren't going to be good for her to go with me.

Working on Trinity's flight for Spring Break. Yes, more government paperwork, but if I can get them to cover her flight then it's worth the paperwork. I cant wait to see her and have been trying to get her room put together so she will feel 'at home' when she gets here.

Guess that's all for now....

Stories and pics of Paris coming soon!

Posted by Khandilee 04:22 Archived in Germany Tagged business_travel Comments (2)

The Nitty Gritty on the Job

Since I've been here almost a month, I thought it was probably time to update you on the work side of things. It's been chaotic to say the least.

My first two weeks were spent with a Sponsor. It's my understanding that the Sponsor is supposed to get you through the in-processing, help you find a car, and a house and just simply help you settle in and get all the paperwork completed.

Unfortunately, my sponsor (god love her...she tried), had NO idea what I needed to do! So, we spent the first two weeks running around in circles. Go here to do this and find out that you can't do it until you have something else done first...get lost trying to find the other thing and finally find it to see that they are at lunch for the next hour. This was the process during the ENTIRE first two weeks....uggghhhh!

There isn't any sort of support or distinct processes for the civilians coming in and I have made this my own pet project to improve. I hope that those coming in after me don't have the frustrations that I have had. I have been fortunate to connect with two other civilians that came in the same time as I did and we have tried our best to support and help each other.

I'm on week number 4 now and I think I have most everything done and am ready to start focusing on the work aspect of the job.

Completed:

In-processing paperwork
Bought a car (been lucky that it's still running)
Obtained Auto Insurance (super easy)
Opened a local Bank Account (cant do much here without a local account)
Got drivers license (this was a process, failed the first time).

Wow! When I write it down, it certainly doesn't sound like I've done much.....

To Do:

Find Housing (need to get this done SOON)
Sign up for benefits (have to hurry on this as it's due by the 30th)

I still have two BIG items to complete and I'll be officially DONE!!

The Job....

I've been very lucky on the floor that I was placed on. The staff are great! They have all been welcoming and helpful. I already feel like part of the team (at least on the day-shift).

Most of the nurses on the floor have less than 2 years experience and I can see already that I will probably be a resource on nursing issues.

I'm slowly learning the 'chain-of-command' and appropriate protocol.

So far I have seen the following types of patients:

- appendectomy
- gunshot wound to hand
- ski accident resulting in broken femur
- septic shoulder wound
- s/p IED blast w/multiple trauma: LBKA, R Disarticulate Hip, trach,
- kidney stones
- s/p IED blast w/pelvic, sacral and RLE trauma
- Pancreatic pseudocyst

The nurse:patient ratios are some of the best that I have ever seen (although this might be because we are slow right now).

We have our two trauma patients on 1:1, and the rest of the nurses have no more than 3 patients at a time. It's a slow speed and will probably take me some time to get used to.

I'll try to update more soon....

Posted by Khandilee 01:42 Archived in Germany Tagged business_travel Comments (5)

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