Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Stranger in a Deutschland: Continuing our Adjustration

Oh man, have you ever read such a boo-hoo post as my last one about Surviving Our First Week in Germany? The adjustration (thanks to my writing buddy Tracey Livesay for the word!) continues to be tough.

Seriously, when Kiddo #1 crawls into bed with you one night crying because she misses her friends and everything is so hard, you can't help but wonder if MAYBE YOU'VE MADE THE WORST MISTAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

When Kiddo #3 comes home from school in tears multiple days in a row because he can't seem to make any friends, you wonder it again.

When Kiddo #4 won't get off Oovoo because she talks to her USA friends 24/7... same.

When Kiddo #2 plays X-box Live with his bestie from Virginia all night... well, actually that's just normal and has been happening for years

Yeah... still a lot of adjustration going on in the Crouch family.

But three things have happened in the last week that has made life in our household a little better.

Despite Capt Awesome's nearly 20 years with the DoD, we've never been part of a military base before with our everyday lives. So although I had heard of the Exchange in Norfolk, I didn't really know what it was.
The Panzer Base Exchange

Well, it's a big ol' store that sells just about everything. Kind of a cross between a Walmart and a TJ Maxx (because it is always changing what's in stock). You have to have a military ID to shop there (which I have) and prices are about the same as in the USA, but with no tax.

We'd been here 10 days before we made it into the Exchange, and I can't tell you our relief our entire family felt to go somewhere where everyone spoke English, all the packaging was in English, and they took credit cards with no problems.

Between the Exchange and the Commissary (military grocery store) we were able to find stuff that made life a little easier....
 Do I want to shop there all the time? No. Will I be going there at least a couple times a month? Bet on it.

We had three ways of getting all of our stuff over to Germany, so had to prioritize everything into 3 groups.

Our luggage in Norfolk
Batch #1 - Checked Luggage: Everything we couldn't live without, but was small enough to fit in suitcases and fly with us from VA to Germany. This included clothes, toiletries, the X-box, some school supplies, laptops, and various converters/adapters we'd need right away. Fortunately we were able to take as many suitcases as we wanted for free, which ended up being something like 14 checked pieces and 12 carry-ons...

Batch #2 - Unaccompanied Baggage: About 3 weeks before we moved, we were able to ship over up to 1000 pounds of non-furniture items. Anything that we would would want before the majority of our house-hold goods arrived. We shipped some coats, a few games, more school stuff, my computer printer, all my cooking spices and Kiddo #1's guitar. That arrived this week! It's amazing what some stuffed animals, familiar blankets and coffee mugs will do for morale.
UAB stuff may not have been a lot, but my favorite coffee mug made me feel better!

(The rest of our stuff will arrive with Batch #3- Household Goods after we've found our permanent home, sometime hopefully in February/March)

But the best thing that happened this week is..

Junie was accompanied by our friend Carol Ann, who has been watching Junie since we left. Junie couldn't travel with us because dogs can't be flown into Stuttgart, they have to be flown into Frankfurt to be checked out by the German vet. But fortunately there's no quarantine time required in Germany, so OUR FAMILY IS TOGETHER AGAIN.

So, all in all, a better week as the adjustration continues. Next week's goal: ACTUALLY GETTING SOME WRITING ON MY NEW BOOK DONE. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a Navy brat and it was a tough experience sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Only as an adult, with kids of my own, am I starting to get an idea of how hard it could be for my parents to juggle all those balls and keep things moving.

    The ups and downs will happen for quite some time and then one day, you'll realive Stuttgart is home and things about Virginia are strange :-)

    And you're at a great location to see so much of Europe! Hang in there, guys! It will get better.