Saturday, November 7, 2009

Welcome to Germany

We have finally arrived to our final destination, Germany! It was a long 40 hours before we were finally in our room at the post’s hotel. As many of you know the week before we left for Germany, I spent a week in Las Vegas and Tim spent his in Ohio. Early on the 9th, Tim and I both flew to Dallas where we met to prepare for our flight to Germany. We got in around 8:30am but our flight was not due to leave until 2:45pm. So we got our bags checked in, went through security, and found a spot to camp out. Right before our flight, we enjoy a nice late lunch at TGI Fridays. We got to the gate with plenty of time but our flight ended up being delayed for an hour due to an electrical lighting problem. By 3:45pm we were on our way. Unfortunately, we were in the last row in the middle section. Tim complained that it was by the bathroom but it ended up being great so we could get up and stretch our legs during our 9 hour flight. We flew American and it was an overall great flying experience. They offered free movies, free tv, and free video games. The flight attendants were very nice and we were able to actually get some sleep on the plane. At the request of my mom and other family members, they insisted that I remembered what we were served. We were served two meals, dinner and breakfast. For dinner, we had the choice of chicken pasta or beef and mashed potatoes. The meal came with a salad, a roll, cheese and crackers and some delicious carrot cake. For breakfast we were served yogurt and a croissant. Tim and I easily agreed that we would be flying American for possible international flights again.

When we arrived to Germany, we deplaned away from the terminal. At the request of a friend, she told me to always remember the day that I took my first step on foreign soil. And boy will I remember… I was suddenly hit with a blast of cold air. Once we took the bus to the terminal, we went through customs. It was quite painless compared to our experience of entering Jamaica. When we got to baggage claim, we were quickly welcomed by a military greeter. We collected all 6 pieces plus our carry-on luggage. We were very surprised to find that the luggage carts are free!!! We were one of the many who flew in to Frankfurt who were also in-processing to one of the Army posts in Germany. We were lead to the Frankfurt Germany “World Class” Reception center where 120 soldiers were signing in. Out of all those soldiers, I was one of the few dependants that traveled along. It was rather intimidating.

We exchanged some dollars for Euros so we were ready when we got to Germany.

Enjoying some animals crackers and watching "Land of the Lost".

Some of the yummy goodies at the Frankfurt Airport.

I really need to learn German.

After three hours of waiting and waiting, they finally boarded us on buses that took us to our posts. We endured a five hour bus ride. However half way, we stopped at a McDonald's. Yup…our first meal in Germany was McDonald’s. We agreed that it tasted the similar to the States although I think my McNuggets were better. We were both flabbergasted by the trash system. The Germans recycle like crazy which is something the Americans could learn from. I did not take a picture but basically the cups get separated on the top of the trash container and they (the McDonald’s employees) separate our trash. Next time I will take a picture. I did not want to embarrass Tim by taking all these pictures however sooner or later he needs to accept the fact that I love pictures. During our bus ride, the landscape was absolutely gorgeous. Due to the speeds of the bus and me napping on the ride, I did not get many good pictures. However I look forward to driving the same roads and being able to pull over and snap pictures on a whim.

The pictures do not show the beauty of the German countryside.

When we got to post, we un-boarded the bus. We were quickly welcomed by our sponsor along with Tim’s friend from Fort Polk. Due to the massive amounts of luggage, it took both of them taking us to the hotel. When Tim checked into the hotel, he was informed there was only one room left and it only had twin beds. We didn’t have much choice so we accepted. We were both asked to meet the commander (basically, the boss). It was a lot of Army talk as I sat there but a great experience for me.

After the informal meeting, we went to the commissary to pick up a few items. We stopped at Subway and headed back to the room. We ate. We showered. Tim crashed as he did not sleep as much as me. I fell asleep a few hours later. The best news from the whole day other than arriving in Germany…we had no jet lag what so ever! We had a wonderful night’s sleep and woke up with absolutely no jet lag!

Day Two

We woke up and attended the hotel’s continental breakfast which is nothing to write home about. The milk is long lasting and the yogurt is runny. Not quite the American continental breakfast I am use to. We returned to the room and stayed in our twin beds for the majority of the day studying for our driver’s test on Thursday. In the afternoon, another of Tim’s friends surprised him. He took him off post and showed him his home. Shortly after, Tim’s friend who greeted us the first day came and picked us up with his wife and son. They took us to one of their favorite German restaurants. Holy cow! I was overwhelmed and way too intimated to attempt ordering my meal in Germany. I pointed. I ordered a sausage salad. What I got was cold slices of sausage in a vinegar sauce covered in onions along with some bread. Not quite what I was thinking when I ordered a sausage salad but I need to remember that I am not in the US anymore. We enjoyed a beer and I am still a fan of Bud Light. What can I say? After dinner, Chad and Gloria showed us their home. They live in a cute German town and there is possibility we will be living there too. Chad brought us home and we studied a bit more for our driver’s test and went to bed. Day two down!

Enjoying our first German beer!

Day Three

WOW!!!!!!!!!! Today was super productive!!! We were out the door by 7am to enjoy breakfast and was at the driver’s orientation by 7:45am. We endured a somewhat cheesy orientation for two hours and took our driver’s test. We both passed. Woo Hoo! We can officially drive the streets and autobahns of Germany! After, we went to the housing office where we put our name on the “list”. We have an appointment Monday at 1:00pm to see the only home available for Tim’s rank. It happens to be directly next to Chad and Gloria (the couple from last night). We continued to run errands. We got a German bank account, a post office box, our German cell phones, updated our ID cards in the system and picked up our rental car. Most of those errands were done by foot so we are quite thankful we are assigned to one of the smaller Army post's in Germany. And our rental car…a Mercedes Benz C Class station wagon and that is the most basic car. Mercedes and BMW are the Hondas & Fords of Germany. Hopefully by next week, we will receive Tim’s car. Ohhh and I must mention the cell phones. I never knew how lucky we were in the US with our cell phone services. First, we have many choices when it comes to providers. Second, cell phone service is cheap in the US. We were paying $120 US Dollars for two iPhones. If we wanted to keep our iPhones here in Germany , we would have to play close to $200 plus 29 cents per minute when calling a cell phone outside of TMobile. (TMobile has the contract with Apple in Germany). So we settled for cheaper phones with no internet and we are paying the exact same as we were in the US. Germany might be awesome but it is certainly not cheap. So now it is evening. We picked up Subway once again for dinner and here we sit on our computers as we watch TV.

Our Mercedes Benz rental car!

Oh and the weather. Cold and dreary. I can’t believe it is only mid-November. I have never experienced a cold, wet winter so my heavy jacket, snow boots, scarves, and hats will come in handy!

I apologize that this post it so long and perhaps boring. Our families requested details and details is what they are getting. Please follow along as we continue our adventure in Germany! I promise many more stories as we begin to explore Europe and pictures to accompany!!



Amanda Green (the 2nd) said...

Putting this in my favorites bookmark!

Mickey said...

Amanda, sounds like you two are getting everything in order. You are going to have such great adventures!! Definately adding your blog to my fav's so I can keep in touch!!

Megan said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the blog!! I cant wait to read more!

Jann said...

Love the blog, Amanda! Will definitely be following your adventures!

Dream of Scrappin' said...

I love the blog and can't wait to hear more of your adventures. Miss you! HUGS to both of you!

RachelleRN said...

Amanda!! I love your blog!! What an awesome keepsake of you and Tim's time in Germany! Can't wait to read more about your adventures. Take care hun!

GramMe said...

Amanda, I bookmarked your blog so I can follow your adventures----
Enjoy your time in Europe!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, this blog is just what we needed to keep in touch with you. Thanks so much for sharing it with us... love the pics, keep 'em coming!!!

Love ya,

~Me~ said...

Not boring at all! I can't wait to read more, and yes, More pictures!:) So you can't read german but you can drive ther now? Hmmm sounds like some interesting stories are ahead...LOL Thanks for sharing it all with us!

Betty said...

You know I wish you weren't so far away but I am so excited for you and Tim to experience another culture. Your blog page you created is adorable. Love, Hugs and kisses

uoduck said...

Glad you made it Amanda. We miss you already. It'll be fun to follow your adventure.


Debbie said...

Amanda, what a fabulous job you have done with the blog. I love all of the details and accompanying photos! And, yes, Tim will have to get used to you taking tons of me, one day he will be very thankful you took the time to document your journey.