You are an American in Germany when….

I have been missing from the land of blogging and all other social media because we are beginning our mission to come back home. To say that the process of leaving Germany has consumed my daily life is an understatement. For days now I have been learning everything I can to move back to the US.  It is a big deal after 4 years of being “away from home.”
But then I found this list on Facebook, it was being shared among those who have lived here or still are living here.
As I read it, it made me smile and tear up all at the same time.
30 Reasons you know you’re an American Military Family Living in Germany…

1. Ausfahrt isn’t funny anymore, and roundabouts are second nature.
2. You no longer mind the person behind or next to you only giving you half an inch of space.
3. 2 hrs for dinner is “fast food”. …
4. You judge mustard by how well it opens your sinuses.
5. Jumping across the border to get away for the day is no big deal.
6. You reach for the Jägermeister instead of Pepto Bismol.
7. You think family pictures taken at a castle are “so cliche.”
8. You forgot how to use round doorknobs.
9. You forget how to flush a toilet that doesn’t have a push button.
10. 100 MPH seems like you’re driving really, really slow.
11. You no longer think it is strange that beer and water are the same price.
12. You never go shopping off base without a shopping bag or VAT form.
13. You NEVER shop on payday or the day before a German holiday.
14. You never leave home without your keys, ID card, license, and passport.
15. You think anything with chocolate sounds like a good breakfast.
16. You think it is natural to pass Army tanks on the highway.
17. You answer the phone “Hallo” instead of Hello.
18. You need a power drill and sledgehammer to hang a picture on the wall.
19. You rig your lawnmower and vacuum cleaner to give you an electrical shock if you try to operate them on Sundays.
20. You no longer even want ketchup for your French Fries.
21. Christmas is incomplete without Gluhwein at a castle.
22. You sing “Tschüss” instead of say Good Bye.
23. Your children no longer say please or thank you … it is bitte and danke.
24. You wonder how you ever lived without Rolladens.
25. You wear a scarf every single day …. even in the summer.
26. You plan your route around ESSO locations.
27. You believe AFN is quality programming.
28. You own shoes just for walking …. and know you will walk everywhere.
29. You no longer need google translate at the grocery store and last least ….
30. You have said out loud at least once …. Damn Americans!!
Thanks to all who shared this and I know in some ways I will so miss Germany when I leave. It truly defines what happens when you live in Germany and I will miss it here…BUT…I can not wait to finally come Home.

Take Time to Look Up…

DSCN3791Sometimes having quiet time is quite a wonderful treat. Our time on the river began dramatically but like all storms, it started to calm down. We began to embrace the solitude that this trip was giving us. Sitting, drinking coffee and talking about absolutely nothing was a special treat that we had lost.

It is amazing how simple life really is and how much noise is created by one’s modern-day activities. Modern day time is consumed with planning, defending, correcting, or just plain explaining. This type of living can consume time. To just sit and talk about those things that are not complaints, problems, or issues reminded me of what life must have been like traveling the river in the old days.

One place we were visiting really caught my eye, Melk, Austria. At first I could not understand why we were stopping at such a small city and figured it was just a place to stop along the way.   The Benedictine Abbey of Melk, was here and one of Europe‘s great cultural sites.  Here’s a little background on the Abbey.

The Melk Abbey was built by the Benedictine monks over 900 years ago. The abbey has suffered numerous fires, the plague, and war damage through the centuries. Its present high baroque form was constructed in the early 18th century, and many of era’s most famous painters, sculptors, and stucco craftsmen worked on the abbey.

This place is amazing. The church builders wanted to show how heaven would look. It takes your breath away.


Here’s the thing….The journey is rough at times. It is filled with noise and pressure that can consume.

Standing in silence I reminded myself to look up.

Now I know why we stopped here.

Back in High School….

It is amazing how one single action of putting a posting on a Face book page of an entertainer/ military group could create such an outcry of nasty comments. In some ways it did not surprise me. I knew that if I returned to this one particular page that there would be a few individuals who would find it offensive that I would even consider putting it on the page.

I enjoy reading the page, it can provide a little bit of levity in a way of life that is often filled with extremes. Many people I know actually are quite surprise that I like the page and defend it. What I find interesting is how people comment on the page. The comments from individuals who do not even know me makes me wonder what is the purpose of the nasty comments?

When I was reviewing their bombardment of nastiness, I was actually getting mad at them and wanting to defend myself; which only started to add fuel to a fire I really had no intention of even participating in.  They came from all corners like a pack of dogs circling a new-found prey.  To reason with them seemed to not work. To leave them to say what they wanted and not defend myself seemed like I was somehow accepting the defeat of a group of leather jacket thugs in the hall way of a high school.

A friend of mine who reads this blog came to my defense, thank you. Unfolding before me was a  scene from any high school movie. To me this seemed ridiculous. Reason needed to prevail before we were all fighting…cue music.

To the naysayers, thank you….Stop music…walk away.

Looking for Brighter Horizons…

DSCN3536We were stuck on the boat with not much else to do but to look out across the small town on the Donau and wonder, will we make it beyond this point and travel the river?

The night before our quick stop had left me wondering if this cruise was really a good idea. I mean, we had never cruised before and part of why we had not cruised was because we had heard so many awful stories on how some cruises turn into vacations from hell. Sorry about that, but how else can I describe how I was feeling about this cruise? I was sitting alone outside on the boats deck while the family was trying to get some needed sleep. The crisp foggy air felt good as my hands were being warmed by a hot cup of tea.

I was sitting there listening to the emergency crew and the Captain discuss rather loudly in German, something and it was not sounding good. The storm had caused damaged to the hull and it must have been that jolt in the night that woke me from my semi sleepy state. My mind shifted back to my own thoughts.  Then again, being stuck on a boat, on a river with nowhere else to really go may be a great opportunity to reconnect with my now overly social media stimulated daughter.

There was no access to internet, something else we were told they would have but changed when we got on board. Think about this, a teenager going on a cruise, with her parents and there are no other kids, no Face book, computer access. She was pretending to be happy but she was clearly saving her disappointment for some other time. She was going thru social media withdrawal and that my friend, spells disaster.

The German or some dialect of German was being shouted as I began to continue wondering how I was going to save this Holiday vacation and then it struck me, maybe this was a great opportunity to talk with my daughter, I mean, really sit down and talk. The opportunity to enjoy each other, and with no interruption’s,  we would have each others full attention. I took another sip of tea and its warmth was making me smile. That’s it, we can turn this around. The yelling in the distance seemed to stop and I decided to get up and go inside. There I saw the Captain and some official looking men sitting at a table, they too were smiling. Maybe this cruise will turn its self around after all.

A simple hole in the hull of the boat was not going to ruin this Holiday cruise. We were going forward and cruising this river. Even if we do nothing but sit on a boat and talk with one another.

Determined and smiling, I left the main deck to wake up the family.