A Travellerspoint blog

Better Late than Never

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View Pre-Germany Road Trip & Europe 2010 on Khandilee's travel map.

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

Posted by Khandilee 17:10 Archived in Germany Tagged women Comments (6)

Officially on My Way

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...!!

Posted by Khandilee 17:01 Archived in Germany Tagged women Comments (4)

Only 5 Days

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....

Posted by Khandilee 19:04 Archived in USA Tagged women Comments (2)

Stats on the Pre-Germany Road Trip

Because I'm a geek and I know that you want to know!!

Total Miles Driven: 7511

Home to Ottumwa, IA = 471 miles
to Denver, CO = 586 miles
to Clearfield, UT = 562 miles
to Halfway, OR = 488 miles
to Portland, OR = 554 miles
to Willow, CA = 491 miles
to San Fran, CA = 337 miles
to LA, CA = 367 miles
to Tucson, AZ = 489 miles
to Nogales; El Paso; Austin, TX = 1116 miles **Most driven in one stretch
to New Orleans, LA = 682 miles
to Ft Walton Beach, FL = 314 miles
to Georgetown, IN = 778 miles
to Home = 276 miles **Least driven in one stretch

Total States visited (only counted if I stopped in a state): 11 States; 2 Countries

Total Days on Trip: 32

Total Nights in Hotel: 7
Halfway, OR = 1 night
Clearfield, UT = 1 night
Willow, CA = 1 night
Tucon, AZ = 1 night
New Orleans, LA = 3 nights

Total Friends visited: 15
Robert; Ottumwa, IA
Jason; Fremont, NE
Teresa K; Kearney, NE
Teresa P; Denver, CO
Kim; Portland, OR
Mike; Portland, OR
Aaron; San Francisco, CA
Judy; Los Angeles, CA
Stephanie; New Orleans, LA
Jenni; Ft Walton Beach, FL
Lisa; Georgetown, IN
Connie; Georgetown, IN
Randall; Corydon, IN
Tony; Corydon, IN
Jason; Corydon, IN

Total New Acquaintances: 14
Lisa; Denver, CO
Dick and Charlene; Hell's Canyon, OR
Jared; Hitchhiking in OR
Peter; San Francisco, CA
Brent; San Francisco, CA
Derek; San Francisco, CA
Matt; San Francisco, CA
Tom; Los Angeles, CA
Don; Palm Springs, CA
Antonio; Nogales Mexico
Trish; Austin, TX
Eric; Austin, TX
Nate; New Orleans, LA
Ricky; Ft Walton Beach, FL

Aco's Doggie Friends: 4
Dakota; Denver, CO
Blacky; Hells Canyon, OR
Bentley; Portland, OR
Leo; San Francisco, CA

I was lucky to have no major traffic jams, no automobile break-downs, no sick days; and only FABULOUS experiences all along the way!

Thank you to all the friends (old and new) that helped make this trip possible!!

Posted by Khandilee 19:26 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (3)

A Brief and Hectic visit Home

After spending a few days in Southern Indiana visiting with my friend Lisa and my boy Corey.....I am back at home, briefly. I will be flying out to Germany in a mere 10 days. I feel like I have a ton of things to do before I leave....

The flights that I booked at Eglin AFB, had to be changed because my sponsor didn't want to have to go to Frankfurt to pick me up. I will now be flying into BWI then transferring to a Military Troop Rotator flight for the remainder of my trip to Ramstein AFB. It will certainly be an experience that few, other than military personnel get.

I have decided to move my personal things out of my apartment here at home in order to save a little extra money. I am taking most of my things to Corey for him to use, and the rest will go into storage. I've been busy sorting and packing.

Aco has relaxed a little bit and seems glad to be in 'home' surroundings.

I found out two days ago that the housing that they have arranged for me in Germany is NOT pet-friendly. I have agonized over this for the past two days and have finally resigned myself to the fact that I am going to have to leave her behind temporarily. I really saddens me. I am a little angry that no one told me that it was going to be an issue to travel with a pet....

I am planning to keep her here with my Mom and fly them both out late Dec or early January. It's really been a difficult decision. So please send good karma that I will find great housing quickly so I can be re-united with my doggie-baby soon.

Off I go to continue packing, study for my German Drivers license and cuddle with my puppy!!

Posted by Khandilee 17:17 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (1)

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