Warning: I’m going to be posting a lot about our transition and travels here. Mainly they are for myself, my family and close friends so they can be updated on the process, but all are welcome to read!
So now that we are somewhat settled I am able to write a post on our experience getting over here. We are in the transition phase right now, staying in TLF (temporary living facility) while the hubs in-processes into his new unit and we go house hunting. It’s kind of a weird limbo state where we don’t feel completely settled but don’t feel as though we are living out of bags either. But I’ll tell you more about TLF in a bit.
The day before we flew out we were able to meet up with my aunt and uncle who live in Reston, VA. It was great to catch up with them. I hadn’t seen my aunt in years, so we had a great time catching up and talking school stuff (she’s a teacher as well). They met Thing 2 for the first time and helped entertain him since he decided he’d only sit still every 3.459382 seconds.
Thankfully our flight the next day was not until 5:50 pm, so we didn’t have to scurry around like chickens with our heads cut off that morning. We made coffee and had a real breakfast before beginning to pack everything up for good.
Thank goodness my husband had rented a van. We were packed to-the-brim with absolutely no room to spare. Once we had the dog crate inside, everything became a tight fit. This picture is horrible, but it gives you an idea. I should’ve taken a pic from the back.
Arriving at BWI was interesting. We pulled into the car rental and the agent was nice enough to drive the van up to the front offices so we didn’t have to lug 7 bags, our dog, the stroller, and our two kids through the lines of rental cars. Ian went in and grabbed three carts ($5.00 each…REALLY?! – Which we had to do twice!) and we loaded them up. My 6 year old pushed the stroller, I pulled two carts, and hubs pushed a cart while carrying his backpack and one of the biggest duffels on his back. It was a sight to see, but we were in good company once we got to the AMC terminal. Lots of families…lots of animals…lots of bags. As we were waiting to get checked in we heard the familiar bells and applause of the Operation Welcome Home veterans welcoming home soldiers from the field. I went over and watched as families were waiting anxiously for their soldiers to walk down that hallway. It made me tear up. That moment is one of the best you can ever feel, and I was just so incredibly happy for them. On the other side were the spouses of some of the soldiers waiting in line with us who were leaving for Afghanistan. Lots of emotions all around.
After checking in we had about an hour with Rosie until we had to drop her off. We went and ate at Subway (I am not eating Subway again for YEARS) and relaxed a little, then dropped her off with the other animals. My heart hurt as we said goodbye, but I was glad she had other ‘friends’ to talk to. 🙂
Once we got through security and made it on the plane we were told that the airplane’s GPS system was malfunctioning and we would have to wait for the mechanic to take a look. I had already given little one the Benadryl and he had passed out. At that point I was getting the anxious mom syndrome. I mean, he was asleep! Precious time was being wasted! Get that plane in the air, people! At the same time I realized the flight was going to be just as pleasant as could be because a family of five was right behind us and their almost two year old was just having a blast screaming his head off and kicking our seats in double time, while the dad was yelling at his daughter as he tried to help her with her homework. Don’t get me wrong, I do have the upmost sympathy for parents when flying. It is one thing when you cannot control your child and you’ve tried everything to help. But it’s another when you get impatient with them and don’t try to stop anything. They had no consideration for other people around them and even let their kids watch movies on their DVD players without headphones and turned up ridiculously loud on an overnight flight. There was more, but I’m tired of writing about them. Just be as patient and prepared as possible if you are flying with children. That is all.
Thing 1 slept around 4 hours straight and Thing 2 about 3, but that was including our hour sitting on the tarmac. Even when he was awake he was just fine, which I am beyond thankful for. Hubs and I didn’t get any sleep, but I had fully expected that. I did get to watch Life of Pi, though! I don’t see many movies these days, so I was quite excited! It was pretty good!
We flew directly into Ramstein and then had to go through customs. There were only 2 customs agents for everyone on the flight, so you can imagine how long the line for that was. We went to baggage claim and then met up with our sponsor. It’s funny…those of you who know my husband will appreciate this…even out of all of those people his sponsor said he figured out who he was immediately because he had the look of the person who did his kind of job. Efficiency. That’s my husband’s middle name. Anyway, he took the hubs to check in at the hotel with Rosie and some of our bags, then came back and got the kids and me and gave us a little tour of the base before dropping us off at TLF.
My expectations of TLF are not high….at all. If you are military and end up moving overseas, set the bar very low and then you will be pleasantly surprised! In Japan our quarters were TINY and old and uncomfortable…but totally free. FREE has a totally new meaning when stationed overseas! So let me show you the pictures of where we are staying right now before I say anything about it (Please excuse all of the mess. I should’ve taken pics before we unpacked!).
To you all of this may seem butt ugly, but we are very happy! Did you see how much space we have?! This is luxury, people. We are definitely thankful for it, especially now that we have a bigger family and more bags. Of course, there are annoyances. We are right by the stairs and everything EVERYTHING echoes here. This is not cool when my 8 month old decided he is going to begin screaming. Screaming when he’s happy, screaming when he’s mad, screaming when I try to put him down…our neighbors across the hall must be thrilled. The couch is rough and hard and has no pillows. Because we are in the ‘animal friendly’ area, we have no carpeting, so I can’t put the baby on the ground since he is at that I’m-so-ready-to-crawl-but-I-can’t-coordinate-my-legs stage, so we have to put him in the playpen which he hates. So yes, there are annoyances, but we went into this knowing there would be some and actually expecting a lot more of them. So see? Bar set low = happy!
I fully believe every experience is what you make of it. Sometimes it is a little harder to make it great, but it’s possible. Attitude is everything, and we are trying to keep positive and to remember we are in Germany.
We are going house hunting today and tomorrow, so I’ll be posting more about that next time. Sunday we hope to actually get out and do some sightseeing!