The other day I read this post, “Could we please get gas for under $3.20?” I realized that the question was an innocent one, one that was full of exasperation as gas prices are extremely high. Though my response to the post was probably not exactly what the person asking the question may have been referring to. If you want to to get gas Overseas at United States prices and you are in the Military, you are rationed it or pay double the price; the economy price.
Rationed gas? Really, you ask. Yes, it surprised me too when I first landed overseas but now it is an everyday realization that if you want to get gas your option is to go to the military installation gas station and fill up. There is only one station and the price, is the price. No options, no competing stations, no specials. You get what they have at the price they post and that is it. Period. Another option is to go to designated gas stations that accepts your ration card and not all gas stations accept the rations card.
When you get your gas and pay for it you need to present your card that has your rations for the vehicle predetermined on it and it will calculate how much gas you have left for the rest of the month. Your predetermined amount is granted to you when you register your vehicle and is calculated by an average monthly usage for the type of vehicle you own.
If you go over the rationed amount you pay what everyone else does on the economy and that price is usually double. Sounds fair, right?
I am not so sure but Here’s the thing, Americans love their big SUV‘s. I love mine as it carries everything. Over here, we have stopped using it as much as we did in the States and have taken up a more conservative view on gas intake. Using public transportation when we need to, think twice before we travel somewhere and make many stops along the way and even have bought a more cost conservative vehicle that gets great mileage. So, in one way by being “forced” to think about my gas consumption has made me more aware of how much I use.
On the other hand, I miss the freedom that I had to “shop around” to various gas stations and use my vehicle as I wish and not have to worry about how much it will cost me. I miss the days of taking long drives to where ever. That freedom seems to have been taken away and admittedly I miss it.
I am not sure if it is because I am locked to a certain rationed gas amount or that I enjoyed the freedom of doing what I wanted, when I wanted without the concern of how much gas I used.
Then again, with gas at $3.20 or more in some States, I may be more compelled to think before I hit the “freedom of the road.”
There is so much that needs to happen before we can come home to the United States. The list goes on and on but as we prepare we realize that we will need to adjust to a new culture, again.
I did not give this much thought until I was talking with my teenage daughter who has been living overseas for the past 3 years. She has gotten use to traveling here and that means that when you cross a border to a new country you need to make sure you have your passport with you. To her, it is natural to carry a passport and present it to border patrols, if needed. Though, I will admit, with open borders one generally does not need to show it. One has it for the ” just in case” moments. Her daily routine though of presenting identification to be on Post is that you need to show ID. These checkpoints provide security to the Post. She has learned that you need an ID to go somewhere. Without it, can cause major issues.
We got talking about moving back to the States. We are considering moving to the New England area. Moving between States is normal and I was explaining to her how close Rhode Island is to Massachusetts, that going back and forth between the States is a normal everyday event.
“One minute you will be traveling down the highway and be in Rhode Island then the next exit will be Massachusetts.” I was explaining to her.
Her startled look made me stop and pause. She looked a little confused and I asked her. “What seems to be the matter?”
“How many checkpoints do we need to travel through each day to get to the next State?” She stated quite calmly.
Here’s the Thing….her innocent question made me realize that she has learned a lot by living here in Europe. She has not traveled across State lines and not be checked for a passport or not have to stop to show an ID before entering a new area. I suddenly realized why she had a puzzled look. I was not thinking about things from her point of view. She only knows about carrying identification and that has become her world.
It has made me realize how many things that are taken for granted in the States. That being able to just freely move among States will be a new concept.
“None”, I replied to her. “We will not have to show ID to cross State lines. That’s one of many freedoms we have as being Americans. We can travel freely among the States.”
Sometimes it is good to look around and see what you have before you go and try to find more things.
I had misplaced a video that was done when I read my book Madison & the Amazing Car to the elementary kids here in Germany. That day was so much fun and yes, I was extremely nervous but excited to be sharing the book. The USO sponsored the appearance and the Armed Forces Network (AFN) Eagle mascot walked around with me as I talked and signed books in each of the classes.
The interview with AFN was so much fun! For weeks after the reading they played it on TV!
Click to watch the interview.
Here’s the Thing….sometimes a passion can be overlooked when one thinks that other things may be more important.
So…I am dusting off the cover of the book and sharing with it you.
Buy it here if you want.
Share it with your friends but always remember each day is an adventure….some things can get Lost BUT then they are Found.
Click here to buy the book.
It is amazing how fast time goes by. It has been quite a long time since I sat down and wrote about what has been going on with our experience here in Germany. Each day seems to be moving along very slowly. When I thought about if I had written, it surprised me to see how long it has been since I had been here last.
Time has a way of warping itself to make one believe that it is either passing quickly or slow. Even still, we are now starting to count the days till we are back in the good ol United States.
This past week I was even asked, “How much time do you have left?”
The question made me twist my face, hunch my shoulders and put my hands in the air because, I really have no idea. I am not sure if the Military will come along later after typing this and say, “You are leaving in a month” or if some emergency (Red Cross message) will send me homeward. There is no way of knowing.
Each day is full of uncertain changes that may occur and even the best planner of a day can be derailed by a single moment. Days turn to weeks and weeks turn into months and time just keeps on ticking.
Counting days or hours never seemed to be a part of my daily activities when I was not in the military. Deadlines would come and go but it never seemed to hold the weight of military living where huge adjustments to family life seem to be looming daily. That carefree spirit that possessed my soul seems to have learned how to conform to the structured bureaucratic style of military life.
But, behold, time will change that and that in itself is wonderful.