Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting Out

Avery turned 5 this month!!!! Wow, she'll start kindergarten this year! So to celebrate we went to the Heidelberg Castle. Truly the best castle we have seen yet, very romantic, I wish we were riding horses around the grounds!  To get there we took the Deutschbahn - the German Train.... I picture the train station like the one the Pevensie children board in Narnia, or maybe a bit like platform 9 and 3/4s. No such luck. It's 2011 and you buy your ticket at a machine, that speaks german...actually we were able to change it to english, phew. But still, there were so many options it was utterly confusing. We got help and boarded a train to a destination beyond ours. That is the thing, you have to know what stop is beyond your stop in order to get on the right train... To get home it was easier. The German countryside is gorgeous here. A little train ride is a great way to get to take it in.
 Happy 5th Birthday Avery!!!

Ave with her new Ipod Shuffle on the DBahn.

View from the Heidelberg Castle

 Heidelberg Castle

So later in the month, sorry I have not blogged more frequently this will be a longer one! We headed to Brussels, Belgium. An impromptu, totally spontaneous decision. And let me tell you that city is freaking amazing!!! Beautiful, old, new, grand and a must see!! The pics are below, but they don't do the city justice, if you come stay with us we'll take you there for sure! Any easy 3 1/2 hour drive from where we live.
In the states the distance would probably take 5 hours to cover, but driving 80-90 mph the entire time assures you get there fast!
Avery and I in the Grand Place, Grote Markt. A city square surrounded by the most incredible buildings covered in statues and gold/copper!

At Delirium a super cool pub with over 2,000 beers to choose from. Being as inexperienced as we are in the way of Belgium beer we had Guinness, in das boot.

That is Avery on the right, sort of gives some perspective to the grandeur of the place!

The Mannekin Pis, Brussels most famous statue, of a little boy peeing.

St Michaels Cathedral, just jaw droppingly gorgeous.

Well, I guess that is enough for now. Not sure where our next adventure will take us, Luxembourg I think. K

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ugh, Germany

This is how the last couple of months have felt, ugh. I blame Germany. I couldn't even update this blog because all of my controls on the blogger website were in German - yes, it took me this long to figure out how to get it to switch back to English!!!

Same thing happened when we bought a GPS, which you cannot live without here btw, Ben somehow chose something like olde world Russian on the GPS and then of course, he had to translate said language in order to switch back to English! We are so spoiled in the US!!!

So we moved into our place right before Christmas, Germany was getting better... But we did have to spend Christmas and New Years with people we barely new...great people though - so that was good, still not the same but I'd like to think we made the best of it. Pics of the house are is a cool place, not what I expected but cool.

The fireworks in Germany are great, 1 for Germany.
The utility companies in Germany are a pain, Germany back to 0.
It snows almost every day here, Germany is down... you see were this is going.
I've found one awesome German store I love, not clothes, but something - Germany plus 1.

Seriously though - we are meant to be here I am sure.

We've met a really great couple and are having a blast getting to know them - so that is a highlight for sure.
P90X is on again..
Ben has a couple of job prospects we are getting busy working on, so prayers for that are welcomed!

I can't thing of anything else clever or appropriate to write about so out for now... K

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Right" of Way

Hello, folks, Ben here to offer a short post about the quirkiness of the German traffic laws and other silly situations that come up for Americans moving to Germany.

The term “Right of way” literally means that in an unmarked intersection, in Germany, where multiple cars meet at the same time, the person to your right has the “right of way”.  If you are having a hard time picturing this, just imagine how it would look to see 4 vehicles all speeding toward an intersection from different directions all with green lights. 10 feet from the intersection and all of the green lights turn red, with no yellow signal to warn any of them, followed by all four cars slamming on their brakes and waiting for someone to do something. This is the system the Germans chose rather than putting up signs at intersections. There are many other traffic differences which are quite remarkable, like priority roads, hash marks on poles that tell you that you are 240 meters from a train crossing, parking on sidewalks, and driving on streets that look remarkably like sidewalks  but I won’t get into that right now.

Power is also quite different. Frankly, I am completely shocked that a continent so concerned with their carbon footprint would make every outlet 220 volts. Most of our stuff isn’t here yet, but I wanted to mention this because I had to use a transformer the other day for my hair clippers. Ironically the only clippers I could find at the store were American style, 110 volt clippers. But the real issue, which the transformer apparently can’t fix, is that Americans use 50hz, and Europe uses 60hz. I plugged in my clippers and for a brief moment I thought that I was going to die from 220volts and 60hz coursing through my body. As it turned out, I survived. However, I think that my clippers will only get two or three uses because the additional power to the motor made the clippers run at an incredible speed, and the sound of them was deafening. They were vibrating so violently I confused the sensation for electricity. I proceeded to cut my hair, but my ears were ringing for the next 30 minutes…

I don’t know what to do with our trash, but it is starting to get a bit smelly and I have no idea how to deal with it. For this particular subject, we are given four trash bags, all of varying colors and different uses. There is a blue bag, a yellow bag, a brown bag, and a green bag. Recycling is an absolute must and if you don’t separate it the trash man won’t take your trash. Unfortunately, when we moved into our temporary housing, there were only blue bags, and I don’t know what to put in them. Furthermore, I’ve heard that there are bio-base bins/bags, and if you put your uneaten meat in it, you WILL get rats… It is all very confusing, but we kinda need a solution soon.

Well, thanks for taking the time to read about our quirky adventure here in Deutschland. Stay tuned for more .

Kim here posting this for Ben... thought it would be hilarious to add that Ben is outside with the landlord right now learning about trash. ;-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Settling in can be unsettling

We've arrived, barely - long story short we were denied boarding the military plane from Baltimore to Ramstein. I had no clue Ben needed a military ID in order to fly this way. A birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security card, regular stateside drivers license, a leisure passport and an official DoD passport are clearly not enough documentation to prove his identity! Needless to say we got to spend a sucky night in Baltimore... Next day we were off to Fort Meade to get Ben and ID - another no go. I think Baltimore might be the land of 'no's' - so much for getting to "yes!" After hours of holding up an innocent cabby on the post I eventually got the lovely (not sarcastic at all - they were actually the best) Air Force Academy Ticket office to issue our family commercial tickets to Frankfurt. So we rode in style, on a 777 with individual TVs! Maybe the Gods (I use that figuratively because I believe in one God) knew I couldn't handle an 8 hour plane ride without the usual comforts.

I guess that turned into a long story.

Our temporary apartment in Mackenbach, Germany is alright.  Very basic, just the right amount of motivation to find our own place! What I don't get are the white walls, white floors, white couches, white everything! Oh, and european beds/pillows/sheets are bizarre and not a bit enjoyable. I cannot wait for my oversized king pillowtop mattress with 600 threadcount sheets to arrive. Maybe then I will sleep again, you see it is midnight here nearly - I am officially turning into a night owl.

Ben and Ave ventured out into the village today and had an authentic german lunch and used some euros, so cool. I visited my office, and must say the people are great, it is a small office so good thing.

Champ is such a champ, Avery is incredibly resilient and Ben is taking it all in stride. Other than being cooped up without a car we are great. Once we have transportation I bet our adventure will really begin.

Tomorrow we are off to see Peter Pan, the play with my good friend Tara, should be so fun. I really am glad to have friends here already. Here's to an incredible 3 years, prost!

Pics from the trip here and around our village Mackenbach...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Moving Day

Moving day has come so quickly... all of our stuff is packed, our belongings reduced to seven crates of brown rap and boxes, in mere moments the truck will pull away and another leg of this journey in the books.

For the record, the movers, and I quote, just said "We are the calmest shippers they've ever had." Nice, not high-strung at all. We rock.

Also, I'd like to thank Colorado for 70 degree weather in a October, I doubt we'll see much more of this.

Looking forward to spending the next few days with our very best friends and family, Happy Halloween.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mad Preparations

It is mad times I tell you mad freak'n times!!! I thought I'd post about our planning every so often as the months ticked by, I'd casually update all of my best friends on our progress in this wild ride to Germany... What was I thinking!?

Well, I was right about the wild part... Between passports, driver's licenses, rental insurance, car insurance, permission to ship the car, fixing random stuff at the house, getting Champ vaccinated to travel to mars, oh wait, just to travel across the pond, dental appointments, throwing a tea party, arranging three separate shipments, figuring out what to do with old stuff, etc, oh and finishing my MBA this semester... I have had exactly zero time to update this blog.

The update is this - we will be in Germany in a little over 3 weeks, we take the car to be shipped this weekend, then Ben goes hunting (while I go mad here alone!) and we'll be out of our house by the end of October...yikes.

No single bon voyage party is planned - so let me know if you want to see us and don't already have plans to! Our time is fleeting! And I don't want to miss any of you! 

On a sad note, our family had to say goodbye to Athena last week, she dealt with a neurological disease/degeneration for four months and then could no longer stand up. It was her time and somehow God has timed this move up miraculously. We love you Athena, and will miss you forever.

Thanks for checking in! Kim

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ah... November 7th

How sweet it is to know, to know in 86 days we'll be headed to Deutschland. We are psyched and wanted to create this blog to share our adventure. 

So if anyone wants to rent a 3 bed/3bath or is in need of an F150 or perhaps a pooltable or parakeet let me know!