Another Day in Germany

It’s been a rough time for us here in Germany these last couple weeks.  We are trying to handle life as best we can, but as we all know, “When in rains it pours.”  I never imagined it would be so hard to live as an American in a different country.  I know there is animosity all over the world towards Americans and I expected to notice some of that.  What I had not prepared myself for was the displays of anger or hatred that we have received since living here.

We chose not to live on a military installation when we got here.  We moved into a local community, moved some of our children into the local schools, and have tried to embrace the culture as much as possible.  This hasn’t been easy and with today marking the fourth act of vandalism on our new car we are beginning to reconsider whether our current living conditions are the best for our family.

*Sigh*  I guess we’ll have to see how things continue…


Barack Obama’s National Service Plan: Thoughts from a Military Wife

I am not writing this to offend or hurt anyone. I’m not trying to start fights or arguments. I am merely sharing with you my experience and thoughts on an important issue facing our people today.

Message circulating about Obama’s “Universal Voluntary Public Service Plan” you can find the full plan on his website:

“Barack’s national service plan. Everyone from 6th grade thru retired senior citizens will be required to do a certain number of hours per year. You can not graduate from high school without performing the required 100 hours of service per year for high school. The service has to be in the government-sponsored programs listed.”

My thoughts:

This is inaccurate. The plan requires only 50 hours from high school and middle school students, and 100 hours from college students that would like to qualify for added tuition money. Much of society would not be required, but encouraged and rewarded for participating in programs meant to restore a spirit of service, teamwork, and cohesion among citizens of a torn nation.

Finally, a President is requiring sacrifice, patriotism, and service from the citizens of this country. In the times we live in, with constant war at home and abroad, natural disasters all over the world, and world leaders that threaten the very core of what we beleive in, it amazes me that we have been coddled by administrations requiring nothing from its citizens. Now, each of us has a chance to stand up and announce that we will ban together to make America what we have always dreamed it could be.

For the last five years, Charles has been in the military, a decision he made to find some purpose in his life and his career. He has spent almost two full years of that time away from our family. He has missed 3 of our 4 children learning to walk. He has missed almost every one of our anniversaries and many of the family birthdays. We now live in Germany, separated from our family, our friends, and all our familiar ways of life. Top it off, we are looking at him leaving again very soon, this time to fight for the freedoms that most Americans take for granted. And yet, through it all, Charles has found the purpose that he sought, the sense of accomplishment he needed, and a career that makes him proud of the work he does.

I have been disillusioned and disappointed by a country that is unwilling to help it’s own, a country with citizens more concerned about their own personal wants than the good of a community, and a government so detached from the people that it doesn’t know where to begin to deal with the many problems facing the common citizen. Finally, someone has brought hope to my heart. Hope that the sacrifices my family has made, along with so many other families, military and civilian alike, have not been made in vain. Hope that our country has a chance at being an ideal among other nations. And, hope that we can once again begin to ban together as a people to protect the freedoms, the way of life, and the ideals that we all hold so dear.

As Obama stated in his speech on Nov. 4, “This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.”

We are spared another lonely night.

The man of the house has finally returned. After more than a month of playing the lonely military wife, I have a break and I’m so glad. Benji has been more than willing to relinquish his spot as Acting-Man-of-the-House and I have been more than willing to relinquish the other side of the bed.

We spend a fair amount of time apart as a military family, but for some reason you don’t ever really get used to it. Yes, you learn to deal with it, comparatively. But accept it and form a normal life around it? I don’t think that ever happens. Granted, I haven’t been separated longer than four months at a time, it’s possible that a longer separation would create some kind of normalcy within the situation.

I’ve tried pin-pointing what makes the separation so hard, so that I can better prepare for the next one; and yet, each separation is so different in its own right that the challenges change each time. For now, we are just happy to have Daddy back and we will enjoy him while he’s here, however long that may be.

“I’m so glad when Daddy comes home! Glad as I can be!”

Here’s to the Dark

*Sigh* Another day of rain. The rainy days here seem never-ending sometimes. I’ve decided this is the place the Cullen’s need to move to (if you haven’t read Twilight you need to remove yourself from the rock you’ve been hiding under and head to the bookstore). Our sunny days are few and far between, it’s stays nice (well, nice if you’re a vampire) and overcast.

One of the things I loved about Germany when I got here was the window shades. Silly, I know, but I was desperately clinging to the little things to make the transition bearable. We have these huge roll-down shades that block out all light. So, for a napper like myself, every afternoon I could make my room dark as night and enjoy a peaceful rest. I now look at my shades and long for sunny days just so I can use them!

I’ve been told as winter progresses that it will only get darker and more overcast. I am right now looking at a calendar thinking it can’t possibly be the beginning of Oct. I’m in for a long, dark winter. Anyone have the Cullen’s phone number? Maybe I could invite them to join me.

To those I love and want to share our life with….

I have such a desire recently to show our friends and family what life is like for use living here in Germany. Of course, my thoughts immediately turn to blogging. It is where I can open myself up and make my voice heard. I have encounters or thoughts each day that I would just love to share and so it’s brought me to this. I have another blog site; one that I have very inconsistently added to over the last couple of years, but this blog is different. My other blog is humorous; people expect that and enjoy that from my posts. This one, while it may involve humor, it also may not always be for a few chuckles to start your day. It will be a way for me to communicate to those I love the kinds of things that are going on for our family here in Germany.

These days we live in a whole different world. We’ve made some huge changes and life for our family is moving into a new era. One of the biggest changes for us has been Charly and Chelsy entering full-day school. They started Kindergarten here at Landstuhl Elementary School. We have put them in the American school for many reasons, but mainly because the German kindergartens are very different, done in a kind of Montessori style. Charly and Chelsy (being just about to turn six) are ready for something much more structured. It’s been so strange not having them by my side most of the time. I go to the store with just one or two kids in tow and feel like I’m missing a limb. I’m constantly looking around for the phantom children that my mind assumes should be with me.

With the older girls in school, poor little Benji was bored out of his mind and desperately lonely so I enrolled him in the local German Kindergarten. Here kindergarten is for ages 3-6, so he is one of the very young in his class, but it has been very good for him. He at first assumed the kids didn’t like him, I’m sure because of the language barrier, but he has a few American kids in his class that he attached to and he has begun to enjoy his few hours a day at the school house. He has also begun to use common words in German now. He rarely says, good-bye, please or thank you in English anymore. The ladies at the local market think he is most darling thing when he calls “tchusse” to them as we leave. They reward him with candies each time we stop in.

As for Alysa, she is learning to entertain herself a bit here and there. She’s at that in-between stage: she isn’t a baby anymore, yet she’s not really a kid either. We all enjoy watching her transform into a little lady.

Alright, I should sign off for now. Until next time….