This is why we didn't want to live on base:
I'm sitting in a coffee shop on post (read: using their internet) surrounded by English speaking people and this is what I hear: "So, we playing beer pong tonight?"
It's like college all over again. If we're living in Germany (and we are), I just want to be in a little coffee cafe and have to work to decifer the menu and the conversations happening around me. I want to see old men drinking beer at 9:30am (typical here). I want to be the foreigner! But I also want really good internet, so we make sacrifices and get Starbucks coffee in our familiar American bubble on base. It's a hard life.
The internet at our hotel has basically rejected us, so Z dropped me here while he does more in-processing and I'm basically on an internet binge. SO MANY THINGS TO GOOGLE! Also, in preparation for being left alone during the day for the rest of the week, I'm downloading a lot of movies on the iPad. I can only keep tabs on the swans for so long before I head back to the hotel room, and I'm rapidly running out of books to read.
Anyways...Good news! We signed on the house and it's ours!! (Cheering) Our official move-in date is this Wednesday, which is another miracle because the housing office was completely booked this week for move-in inspections, meaning we would have to stay in the hotel until NEXT week, but there was one cancellation on Wednesday and we were able to get that spot. This is a personal gift to me, as I started to have a minor breakdown last night about how long we've spent in hotels, without our things, living out of suitcases. It's been seven and half weeks since we've slept in our own bed or had a place to call our own. It's been seven and half weeks of living out of luggage. I never thought I'd ever say this, and I'll probably never say it again, but I JUST WANT TO DO LAUNDRY IN MY OWN HOME. Is that too much to ask? Oh my gosh I can't wait to do laundry and to fold that laundry and put that laundry in drawers and closets that belong to us. Poor Zach is probably so confused by my new "I can't wait to do laundry" mantra and I can see a conversation in our near future that goes like this:
Zach, rifling through drawers: Hey, where are my shorts?
Katie: I don't know. Where did you put them?
Zach: In the laundry.
Katie: So they're in the laundry
Zach: Oh. They're not clean? I thought you couldn't wait to do laundry...
Katie: That was like three days ago. We're in our house now. I'm back to hating laundry.
God bless Zach. Seriously.
The next "hurdle" is getting our stuff to our house...and this is the tricky part that could mean more time in the hotel. (Deep breaths, Katie. You can do this.) Zach's orders changed the day before we left for Germany. Meaning all of our stuff that was shipped here ahead of us was sent to his original duty station, which is about four hours away from where we are now. You cannot even begin to imagine the ridiculous logistics and paperwork and phone calls and meetings with housing and transportation required to get everyone on the same page that our stuff that was THERE now needs to be sent HERE. So that is what Z is trying to straighten out right now. I'm praying for another miracle here...for huge blessings on some efficient individual who can talk to Z, understand the issue, and come to a solution that sends our stuff to our house sometime this week. That's all we need. One person to say "Oh, no problem. We'll locate your crates, reroute them, and have them to you by Thursday." COME ON, ARMY! You can do it! I know you've got it in you!
But if not, I'm mentally preparing for another week or more (but seriously, please not more) in the hotel. And if that's the case, we will be ok. We have a bed, a hot shower, food, shelter...we're more than ok. Well, we don't have internet so I think we're just ok...If we had Cheerios I'd move it back up to "more than ok". It's a delicate scale.
In other news, the locals are really amped up about Germany's win over Denmark in soccer last night. Zach has always been a soccer fan and is LOVING the team spirit over here. I (sort of, mostly) watched the game last night and was (kind of, mildly) interested and entertained. It is hard to not get caught up in excitement, I will admit. We went into Weiden yesterday, which is one of the bigger cities in the area, and in preparation for the game all of the restaurants and cafes in the town center had set up huge projection screens in their outdoor seating areas where they would broadcast the game. Everyone was walking around with German flags, facepaint, jerseys, etc. And this was 3 to 4 hours before the game started!
We also came across a Rose Festival in Weiden that was really fun. It was very much like the Dogwood Festival or any other local, outdoor festival with booths set up displaying hand-crafted whatever. And of course tons of plants and flowers and rose bushes for sale. We really had fun walking around looking at all of the German crafts and whatnot, plus it was a GORGEOUS day. We bought some local honey that I'm very excited to have in my tea. I'm also going to need to start educating myself about gardening because everyone plants some form of garden here, whether simple pots and window boxes or elaborate vegetable gardens. I think I'll stick with simple pots. Or maybe even silk flowers. Baby steps.
In the meantime, thanks for all the prayers, support, comments, emails, etc. We miss our friends and family a lot, even as we're enjoying our adventure here. Thanks for keeping in touch with us!