I’ve been sitting here for much of the week trying to figure out how to start in on the last 6 or so months… I moved to Germany; I ran around it a little; I spent a long weekend in the Czech Republic; I’m planning more trips to come and scheduling them around a wedding and Ryan heading to school Stateside while friends and family have plans to visit us (or me) here.
Yes, this is a different kind of life…
But I figure I should start at the beginning.
Moving to Germany had never been the plan – I was meant to live apart from my new husband, visiting as often as humanly possible, for about two and a half years so I could go to school, finish my teacher’s credential, and we could save while paying off student loans.
That fantasy lasted a grand total of (I think) 2 and a half months – enough time for me to sign up for the CSETs*, start school applications, and make it through (barely) my first year of solo teaching. Once summer started with minimal work and distractions, we both quickly realized that nothing was really worth everything that the distance was putting us through.
This is where the new world of my life and travel starts:
I have moved multiple times in and out of the United States, but never without giving up claim to the storage and room in my parent’s house. I had moved for school, which did include working with government agencies in order to get my visa and all my paperwork in order, however, now I had a 3 or 4 month deadline** to get everything in order and move.
To say this process was quick or without hiccups, would be an absolute lie.
There is a whole list of things you need to do in order to move abroad to join a spouse in the military, but if you are interested in that, you should check out the real lists out there – henceforth are just bits of my experience:
First things first, I needed to get checked out by a military doctor so that everyone could be sure that I wouldn’t have needs that couldn’t be met here in Germany. Unfortunately, I was given a doctor who was unreachable – and just to be clear, I do mean unreachable: I spent weeks calling nearly a dozen different numbers (4 of which the military gave me) – none of which reached the doctor (let me be clear, I did not do this without a few mental breakdowns – yes, I can admit that). Finally, with a lot of work, I was able to make an appointment with an actual (and awesome) human being. A month or so after our initial start, I was able to send my half of the paperwork to Germany.
To cut down on time, let’s just say it took about two more months or so for us to get the okay to move. Paperwork bounced and stalled from place to place, desk to desk, sat on desks, everything you can imagine as security was checked and signatures were collected from people who were always in and out of the office and country.
In that time, we were told to just move forward and do our best. This was the point where we were told that the November deadline wasn’t cut and dry (since Ry had started the paperwork with enough time to move, but the system was slow, we would probably be okay), but knowing it would be a total of 6 and a half months since seeing each other, we had a personal November deadline.
In the end, I had three weeks notice to pack up my stuff, have the shipping company pick up my crate of belongings, and get on a plane to my new life.
No big deal.
Luckily, I knew I’d have to do the one thing I had never had to do before: Give up my storage and room at my parents’ and actually pack up my life for real.
So that’s how for two months I went through my possessions, sorting into donations, trash, suitcase, storage, and ship. It’s too bad Tidying Up with Marie Kondo wasn’t a thing yet – I would have been binging that while deciding what gave me joy and what counted as an actual necessity!
I spent so much time and money getting boxes and tape and more bubble wrap than I could ever imagine – I had a serious amount of mugs and glassware; more than I ever expected and, of course, I wanted them all with me – buying everything in bulk to save a few bucks where I could. And then I used every single bit of it.
Technically, moving as part of the military, I was supposed to let the movers do all the packing, but between having a bit of a Type A personality and packing random parts of a family home (plus sorting), Ryan’s house, and his storage unit, I just did it all myself – yes, with a constant google sheet log tracking it all; every box labeled and categorized.
Apparently, I did very well. The movers had to inspect my boxes and added packing paper to any boxes that had shifting objects, but overall I was congratulated on a job well done. And when I got my stuff back two and a half months after I arrived in Germany with nothing broken and my checklists checked and double-checked, I had to congratulate myself as well.
A short week of trying to fit in all my goodbyes later, I was on a plane (we went with the non-military flight option but that’s a lot longer story). And with one 7-hour layover (which got extended) and another that was shortened thanks to delays, I landed in Germany.
And now I am here, 4 and a half months later; a few more adventures under my belt and so many more stories to share. Hopefully, they’ll be shorter. So if you made it this far, thank you and until next time:
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.
*I did end up taking the CSETs – I don’t know if it added to my stress or distracted me from the lack of information I was getting about the move. I passed all 4 English tests on the first try and sitting them all in a row – 6 or 7 hours of English exams staring at a computer screen. It was a good day.
**November deadline: we had been told that we needed to make a decision on me moving before Ryan’s first year abroad was over. More specifically, it was explained to him that I would need to be in Germany before a November deadline or I wouldn’t be allowed to move, at least not with government support which meant 4 months at a time (Germany’s maximum visitor time), not living in housing and therefore, without Ryan who would have had to stay in the barracks, and paying my way every time. As shown above, this was a little exaggerated…