It is Sunday July 21st, and I sit here in our German hotel watching the British open on BBC. It has been a very busy week as I reflect back on some of the more interesting moments. Speaking of BBC, the television service at our hotel is really nice, complete with over 100 channels. There are 5 American channels showing movies and TV show reruns, plus “ESPN America” which shows some limited live events but mostly day old events and sports center. There are also several British and French channels, and of course tons in German. Watching the British open golf (one of my favorite sports) tournament on BBC is pretty cool – there are no commercials and it is all golf, no stories once the golf coverage starts. However, the announcers have their rather dull commentary, but hey…at least it is on!
The whirlwind = in-processing into US Army Europe, getting around without a car, completing housing/vehicle/badging all while completely jet lagged and with a wife and 6 month old! The flight over was great, it was a direct military charter flight. Indi slept most of the way, Sarah did for a bit, and I did not much at all (maybe 30 minutes). There is something about sleeping on planes that has never been easy. Maybe it is my 6’5″ frame, or maybe how excited I get to travel. Fortunately, all was good in that we were on time with no bags lost or damage along the way. My sponsor picked us up and we spent that Tuesday (less sleep) to get our ID cards, see my office area, and check into the hotel. The hotel is the Barbarossahof and feels just what a German hotel should feel like – very friendly staff, nice/clean rooms, and a great restaurant that serves a wide variety of items. The weather has been so great (highs in 80s and lows in 50s) that we have been able to sit outside for dinner, and of course the German breakfasts are excellent! You can pick from meats, cheeses, hot items (eggs/bacon), fresh coffee or espresso, and best of all those hard on the outside and soft on the inside Germany rolls. The people are so friendly here and they will come right up to you, especially to kids and just stare or say hello. We have started to realize that this is harmless and non-threatening and are getting quite a kick out of it.
Wednesday was my orientation in the morning, and a trip to visit a house we were interested in renting during the afternoon. The house is 6 bedrooms with 3 baths located in Sulzbachtal, about 20 minutes northwest from Kaiserslautern. It is in a beautiful quiet location with awesome views in each direction! The family (landlords) showed us around and we absolutely loved the place. My favorite qualities are the “German feel” of the location, the two balconies, and beautiful scenery of the area. There will be limitless options to walk, run, or ride a bike in the area including on the Lauter Radweg which runs along the RB train line and B270 into Kaiserslautern. We are planning to move into the house around the 10th of August. The most interesting part of the visit was the final portion where we ended up in the dining room of the landlord’s mother in law talking about the terms of the contract. It was a great chance for me to practice my German (because some people only spoke limited English) and for all of us to get to know each other. 2 hours later we were headed back to the hotel with a big relief that we would have a place to call home again in a few weeks.
We also this week got German cell phones, banking setup, toured downtown Kaiserslautern, and also the enormous Ramstein Px area. It will be very nice having the option to use the on-base facilities unlike in the states!
This next week is all about the car – getting drivers license, drivers orientation, vehicle arrival, and registration. Tschuss!