Well I guess I should change the title of the blog again since we've officially up and moved to Germany!! And there's so much to say! Particularly these first weeks and months that we're fresh to the country, I want to make sure that I document things because they're different. When things become routine and familiar, they're not as likely to get documented because I won't think about them!!!
So for starters I think I should say that moving with professional movers is SOOOOO nice! It was stressful to think about what needed to be packed by whom to go when and where though. We ended up with FOUR different shipments so to speak:
1. Items that needed to go in suitcases -- this was harder than it sounds. Because we flew commercial airlines, we had one suitcase of checked baggage per person for free. This means 5 suitcases, no more than 50 lbs. each to fit everything that I thought we would need before our unaccompanied baggage arrived (more on that later). Because Bavaria has a cooler climate than Texas (doesn't everyone???), that meant not only summer clothes, but fall clothes, decent jackets, and rain gear. All of that was just in case our stuff doesn't arrive in a timely manner. I also packed an inflatable mattress, pump, and sheets for William because I didn't find out until the last minute that the place we were staying was providing a toddler bed. Then of course toiletries and activities to help occupy the kids -- a lot of that went in their backpacks for the plane though.
2. Items for Unaccompanied Baggage -- this is stuff that goes express - by air. It's a small shipment (weights vary and our limit was 1200 lbs. but our actual shipment came in at 704!) but includes things like linens, kitchen items, school supplies, etc. The lending closets on base will often provide basic furniture pieces but not the small stuff. So the UB is anything that will make life livable in a house without most of your stuff.
3. Non-temporary storage -- for us it came down to anything that plugs in (won't work in Germany) and some memorabilia stuff that we don't anticipate needing, a good portion of our Christmas decor including the tree (pre-lit and the lights won't work), and a large number of books (which made me sad because I love ALL my books -- but Chopper says we won't have space to put them anywhere and quite frankly, I'll just buy more!).
4. Household goods --everything else. It will arrive by boat hopefully in the next 2-3 months!
The kids have had varying reactions to the move -- Megan has mostly been in a bad mood about leaving her friends. Abby is excited for German chocolate but gets upset when we leave something specific for the last time (the school, a friends house, etc.). William hasn't really registered it, until his cars got packed onto the truck and driven away. He has now asked several times if we can go home and get his cars back from the truck.
I was surprised but it makes sense - every single thing we owned either was packed in a box or wrapped in brown paper. Then it was very snugly packed in wooden crates that were nailed shut.
This one was funny -- mostly because it really is a box of rocks. Megan's father's day gift that she made in Activity Day Girls is a box of inspirational rocks.
The last day I had wonderful friends who came and helped me clean the house in a few hours. Then we went to visit Mrs. Sutherland one last time and drove off to the hotel by the airport!
This picture of the girl's in front of the house just warms my heart and breaks it at the same time. I don't think they were super sad at the moment but it certainly looks like it. This is the only house that any of my kids have known in their memories -- Megan was 2 1/2 when we arrived and Abby just 6 months! We've had so much happen here with the kids -- lots of firsts, lots of joy and laughter, lots of tears and in all honesty, lots of yelling and frustration!!! Because they're kids. And I'm mom.
William took my phone at Mrs. Sutherland's house and took a bunch of pictures. These are actually some of the good ones!!
This teacher has been amazing to Megan and has really become a friend of mine as well (although I have a hard time not calling her Mrs. Sutherland because I've known her as a teacher first I guess!). We have loved her and I'm going to miss her personally as well as "professionally". We've worked together on a lot of projects!
We went to eat dinner and as we were finishing, a Texas thunderstorm came rolling in fast. We managed to get to the hotel before it got too bad but just barely - we get in the elevator to go to the 9th floor and apparently there was a lightening strike really close that fried some circuits - including the ones to the elevator we were on! So we were stuck between the 8th and 9th floors. It was a glass fronted elevator and this was the view:
The kids did NOT freak out which was awesome and we attracted a pretty big crowd who all took pictures and perhaps video! There were a lot of phones pointed our way! The hotel people couldn't get it open so they had to call the fire department and William was very excited about them coming although he really wanted them to bring their "fire puppy" (dalmatians are in every book about firemen and it's NOT TRUE!). We were only in there for about 15 minutes but got lots of cheering when they finally broke us out and the hotel sent ice cream up to the kids and gave us the room for free so I guess it wasn't a bad start to our traveling adventure but I did have to wonder if it was an omen . . . more on that later.