We’re Baaaaack!

31 Aug

Hello, you guys! I’m so sorry it’s been forever since I posted. Once the decision was made, the summer passed by at warp speed. Seriously, I have no idea where it went. But it was so good! We had alot of time spent with family and friends- and even a week of rest and relaxation out at Edisto Beach. The few weeks after getting home from that were when things really kicked into high gear- movers packing and shipping our stuff, selling our cars, getting the house ready to rent, getting the pups’ paperwork ready to travel…Never in my life have I’ve been more thankful to get on a plane because that meant the hard part is over, at least for the next 10 hours! Ha!

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They SO don’t tell you all the work that goes into moving overseas. It was never ending. There were never enough hours in the day. And there’s no instruction manual on how to function once your stuff is gone or once you’ve sold both of your cars or what to tell your 3-year-old when she wonders why her friends are going back to school and she’s not…Yep, it’s all just feeling our way in the dark. Very thankfully, we had our village of support that stepped up to make the transition as easy as possible. We stayed our last two weeks with my parents, borrowed their cars and my grandmother’s, sent Neve with Ms. Lori to visit her friends at school…Not sure what we would’ve done without our village!

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Our biggest hurdle ended up being with the pups. Long story short, Meg our Frenchie, is now classified as a ‘bully breed’ with Delta, which means that they won’t fly her. (WTH?! Who in their right mind groups Frenchies with Pit Bulls?!) Well, because the government pays for our flights, the tickets have to be with the contract carrier. You guessed it- it was Delta. So we ended up having to fly separately. John and Neve flew from Charleston to Stuttgart on Delta. The pups and I flew from Charlotte to Munich on Lufthansa (always an AWESOME airline, btw!), then rented a car and drove the two hours to Stuttgart. I won’t get into all the fun-ness of that arrival day, but just take my word for it that I don’t intend to do it again and that I was beyond proud of myself by the time I crashed on the hotel bed that afternoon!

Alright, enough with the catch up. We’re here! The three of us, the two pups and our luggage have all been in Stuttgart now for just over a week! (Told you I was late to get y’all caught up!) Just to be at this stage of the game is a milestone. We’re staying in a Marriott for up to 90 days while we house hunt. The good news is that, with the per diem funds we’re given, we’re able to have 2 adjoining rooms. So while we don’t have practically any storage (our stuff is in piles around the perimeter), no kitchen (I swear I won’t eat at another restaurant until next year when this is all said and done!)  and definitely no room for running or playing (not sure who it’s tougher for- Neve or the pups), we at least have two beds, two bathrooms and a door in between for naps and bedtime. Jet lag has been a beast- we’re all awake until well after midnight and have trouble getting moving in the morning. We also have internet and free laundry, so that’s a plus, too. Oh, and we got German cell phones! Not sure how folks did it before the age of technology- I’d die if I couldn’t talk and text to everyone I’m missing back home! So if I haven’t already sent you our numbers and you want them, just let me know. (If you have an iPhone, communication will be free- otherwise, we use an app called Whatsapp, so it’s also free 🙂 )

First meal as a resident of Stuttgart! Schnitzel at the biergarten.

First meal as a resident of Stuttgart! Schnitzel at the biergarten.

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We’re in the process of getting our cars. So far, we’ve just had one rental car, which means that Neve and I either take John to work in the mornings or we hoof it on foot for the day. But, John has found a few cheapie cars that he’s going to see tonight (he’s buying just something small and practical to get to and from work), so hopefully we will have our own new-to-us wheels before the end of the week. We decided to build a Volvo SUV for my car, our primary vehicle. It will be ready next weekend, so we’re making a mini-vacation out of our trip to Sweden to pick it up from the factory. We’ll fly there, pick it up, then spend a few days driving the 14 hours back to Stuttgart. We’ll get to see Copehagen for the first time and spend a night in Sleeping Beauty’s castle- Neve is so thrilled! 🙂

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House hunting is moving along. The thought of being stuck in this hotel for three months is enough to make all of us squirmy! It’s tough being in a new city that you’re not familiar with the ‘good parts’ of town, the ‘bad parts’ of town, the ‘up and coming trendy parts’ of town…You’re just not sure where to even start! It definitely helps having lived here for a minute back in 2010 because at least we recognize some town names, street names, etc. We spent alot of time during our first few days just driving around and getting a feel for where we see ourselves being happiest. Stuttgart has it all- big metro city, smaller suburbs and country living. Just like everywhere else on the planet, it boils down to what’s most important to you- size and amenities of the house or location…There are such pros and cons to all, so Neve and I have just been seeing as many properties as we can that seem to fit our bill! Any that are contenders, we take John back to see. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we’ve narrowed it down and have our sights set on one house in particular. Fingers crossed!

House hunting!

House hunting!

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And finally, the work front is so-so…There was a typo on John’s orders apparently, so it’s taken until today to get it corrected so that we can continue moving forward. Our first 10 days are spent ‘in-processing’ through the base- getting IDs, learning the lay of the land, getting German drivers licenses, touring the local hospitals…It’s mandatory for John, and then I attend when the school has space for Neve to visit. Tomorrow will be her third visit and she’s loved it every day so far! Preschool officially starts week after next, so I know she’ll be so happy to get back into a regular routine- and with other littles! Oh she’s missing school and her friends. She’ll be in the German Immersion 3-year-olds on one of the bases to start. It’s apparently one of the most sought-after classes available and we were lucky to snag the last spot as it got a cancellation while I was standing there last week! Because we’re really leaning toward putting her in regular German kindergarten once we get settled, we think this will be the best test run and transition as it will be with other American children, but with German-speaking teachers. Fingers crossed! Before long, I’ll be able to take my language lessons from her instead of paying someone! Ha!

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So there you have it- our first week officially living in Germany in the books! There’s actually something comforting about being back in Stuttgart after these past five years. There have been alot of changes, but there’s plenty still the same and definitely a sense of familiarity. We have moments of, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that!’ just about every day. And I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but John and I are both feeling it- this sense of belonging that we’ve never had either of the times we’ve been here before. Yes we’re new and yes we feel completely lost and overwhelmed the vast majority of the time, but for the first time, we’re here to stay and we’re not outsiders. We’re members of these communities- the Americans living overseas, the residents of this city…It’s kinda neat. 🙂

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Thanks again for coming along with us on this next chapter of our lives. It’s so many emotions all rolled into one and we’re just doing what we can taking it one day at a time. We’re together, we’re healthy, we’re growing our comfort zones and we’ve been given such a wonderful opportunity. Having y’all with us makes it all just a little bit better. Talk soon!

6 Responses to “We’re Baaaaack!”

  1. Georgia September 1, 2015 at 7:49 AM #

    Glad to hear that y’all are back & made the trip safe even tho you had a little bump with the pups. Am looking forward to each report you post & all the great pictures. Thanks.

  2. Marilyn Deatley August 31, 2015 at 10:46 PM #

    Enjoyed your first report of living in Germany. Loved seeing all the pictures too,

  3. Lori August 31, 2015 at 10:46 PM #

    Sending big big hugs your way! Miss that lil lady bunches and bunches! So glad you are getting a chance to blog and we can keep up with you guys via this and FB 🙂 I’m working on Neve a lil care package this week, hopefully it will ship out this weekend. Please tell her we said hello.

  4. Robin August 31, 2015 at 8:32 PM #

    So glad to see your blog start again. Great pictures. Love seeing all of the Stuttgart places again – can’t wait to visit!!

  5. Eleanor August 31, 2015 at 5:35 PM #

    Glad you are settling in, even if it is a hotel now. Hope you have found the right house for the three years. I know you will be happy to see your things again, and wonder why did I not leave this in storage??? Miss you but I can see you three taking over the local area where you will live. Enjoy each experience as only you can!!

  6. Johnny Sims August 31, 2015 at 3:56 PM #

    Glad you are able to slow down a little,Keep the emails coming.Your bud…J.

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