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!!
You: (pointing at me and making a face) “She is exaggerating about how long it has been since the sun has shown its face in Germany.”
Me: (defiant) “No, it has been clearly 6 weeks since I saw the sun shine on my pale face.”
You: (correcting me) “No way, you saw it for ten minutes on Thanksgiving.”
Me: (with conviction) “Yep! And that is why I leaped from the dinner table to just run outside and feel its warmth upon my face.”
You: (a confession) “That’s when I ate some of your turkey off your plate.”
Me: (desperate) “When will the sun shine again?”
You: “Told you we need to move back to Florida!”
Florida…..I can feel the warmth of the breeze, hear the birds sing, watch the alligator meander in the lake, feel the sun glisten upon the water. Oh, the sparkles that it makes upon the water….but then I am quickly back to reality, pop open the vitamin D bottle and run to the window for a small glimpse of sunshine.
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.
It has been a while since I have been around to write something here as I have been out and about in Germany. I love being able to travel around this country as there is so much to see and do. I do have a confession to make, I love driving on the autobahn.
For those of you who have not been to Europe the autobahn is the equivalent of the highways in the United States but with one very large difference, speed. On the autobahn you can go as fast as you want in certain locations and fast is the norm. It is crazy but German cars are built for this kind of driving and it is a scary but an exciting feeling when you feel, see and hear really nice cars fly by you going at least 100 mph.
I will say I have gotten my fair share of speeding tickets in the United States. Here, I am fine as long as I follow the rules of the road and put my foot to the pedal. What I do not like is when someone out of the blue decides to come up from behind me and kisses the bumper wanting me to move over. I have a hard time with that.
Next time though instead of moving over to the right lane, I will just speed up and leave them in my dust.
It sounded very exciting to hear that we would be leaving the United States and going to live in Europe. For us the closest we had been to a foreign land was Epcot in Florida. Now we have ventured across the pond to Germany. We were full of questions but one we never considered was, How would it change us?
Here are a few things that we will remember before going back to the States;
1) Never again tell someone in the States to only speak English.
I do not know German. I have only learned a few phrases that have gotten me through the day. I feel so much better when the person I am talking to speaks English. I should learn more German but I find it to be a hard language for me to learn.
2) There is a difference between 110 volts and 220 volts.
Plugging an item into the wrong voltage plug can cause you to spend a lot of money on replacing them. Paying attention to the volts is a lesson one learns very quickly. Especially when it is your computer that you plugged in wrong.
3) Recycling is extremely important.
I have learned the importance of recycling and how it influences the German economy. Everything is recycled and though it is difficult and frankly, a pain in the neck to do, the rewards for doing it outnumber the pain it takes to do it.
4) Learn your History, remember it and respect it.
To live where history has happened is an amazing and a wonderful gift. Everyone should learn the history of where they live. History good or bad keeps us all connected.
So, what do you think are the most important things you have learned by living somewhere else?
I will confess, I am a Jersey girl at heart and love the Jersey Shore…no, not that Jersey Shore but if you travel a little further north and do not blink…you would be in my home town. There is a sense of calm being a no-nonsense Jersey girl but I will confess, as I get older I have mellowed out quite a bit. Snooki had nothing on me in my former younger life. I prefer the Sopranos family though; it fits my personality better. I generally do not tell anyone that I am from Jersey but if the conversation comes up and I am asked what exit, I will state, “Exit 98 was home.”
With that said, I will admit the inner Soprano in me has mellowed considerably since becoming a military spouse living in Germany. I try very hard not to act out my Jersey ways in the military settings I find myself in during the journey of my day. But, there are times that I really wonder what the Sopranos would do if they were stuck in the situations I often come across. For example…..
Let’s talk deli food, more specifically, deli sandwiches. I am sure the crew of the Sopranos would not be in a line watching one person handle special orders from staving soldiers and civilians. That deli employee would be moving faster than lightning to make sure that those sandwiches were made and would do it with a big smile. They would not stop making a sandwich half way done to clean up a mess caused by another employee who happens to be doing something else for an Inspector who decided to drop by during the busy lunch hour run.
I can almost see their faces, kind of what mine looked like except the big difference would be they would have been shouting, “What the f*** are you thinking. Make the sandwich and get me the f*** out of here!” Oh, (deep sigh) I wish I had said that. But there I stood waiting, endlessly waiting for them to finish what they had started. The sandwich took over 20 minutes to be made.
Here, in the military, in the commissary, rushing a government worker is not a good idea. But next time I will tell them I am related to the Sopranos, from Jersey and get me the f*** my sandwich. Tony would be so proud, don’t ya think?