Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Post for 2010

As of today, I have spent a month in my new home.  I am having trouble finding a way to describe what it has been like.  The first week or so was peaceful.  None of our belongings had arrived yet, either via the movers or mail.  There was nothing to organize or put away.  But there was a place to put all the things that were coming, and that was an incredible feeling.

A little later things arrived and we began to fill in the empty edges of our apartment.  Pictures were hung, furniture was bought, dishes were stuffed into cabinets.  The place took shape and we found our places in it.  (I only like the left side of the couch when we share it, and the right while Kyle's at work.  I always take the side of the table that's closest to the kitchen, and much to Kyle's dismay, I always end up in the middle of the bed.)

Christmas... I blinked and it was here, and blinked again and it was gone.  It was a perfect first Christmas.

Mostly it's the little things that are memorable.  Like the way I propped my feet up on the dash on the car ride home from the airport the first day.  Or how Kyle hated my sofa, so I let him pick out a leather chair to go with it.  It's the fact that we made our Christmas tree out of cardboard because we couldn't find a decent artificial one.  The way Kyle calls a "slice" of cake a quarter of it.  And how our biggest argument has been about where to put my bookcases. There are four.  (Kyle:  "You can't put them all right there, it's going to look like a library in here."  Me:  "EXACTLY!"  He would have preferred a shrine to our 52 inch television that he managed to procure for free. But that's another blog.)

But today is the last day of 2010.  Tomorrow is yet another "new beginning," and that calls for some New Year's Un-Resolutions.  By definition, "things I can't call resolutions, because resolutions are NEVER met."  So without further ado, the list of things that are NOT reslolutions:

1) Go to Paris.  Sure, this may seem like a Bucket List item rather than an un-resolution at first glance, but that's before you take into consideration our current proximity to Paris, and the amount of persuasion it requires to get my over-worked (and therefore usually exhausted) husband to do anything that requires leaving our teensy little post.  (Let me tell you, it's not easy.)  So, going to Paris is about way more than seeing the Eiffel Tower (and the Louvre and Napoleon's Tomb and Notre Dame and the Orsay Museum and the Arc de Triumphe...), it's about breaking out of the shell, trying new things.  It's about actually taking on that adventure I've been ranting about since my blog began.  Anyhow.  I really want to go.

2)  Come up with a reasonable financial plan.  This encompasses budgeting a monthly savings; figuring out why the German phone company refuses to send us a regular bill in the mail/let us view our statements online (yet another blog...); finding a source for things like vacation money, my future tuition bills, the car payment I'm sure we'll end up with since Kyle's fallen in love with a Prius, etc..  In all likelihood "The Plan" will be a catalyst for me getting a job.

3)  Apply (and be accepted) to UMUC to finish my degree.  I won't forgive myself if I become a complacent housewife.  No matter how perfectly complacent I may be at the moment...

4)  Find a friend.  Not that I don't have any...  It's just that I don't have any official friends, you know, in this country.  And it's kind of important for women to have friends.  We have this inherent need for girl talk and shopping trips and chick flicks and a certain portion of gossip with our conversation.  And by "we," I mean "me."  So, I need a friend.  (Any takers?)

5)  Get a cat.  I don't think I've fully unveiled the tragedy of Max the Cat to you yet.  Max the cat was supposed to stay with my roommate when I left for two and a half weeks in Germany this past summer.  As you all know, that two and a half weeks somehow turned into four months due to unexpected obstacles.  So Max had to find a cat sitter, who after a month or so with him became fed up.  The only other person willing to take him couldn't keep him indoors.  And we all know a cat who has seen the outside (for an extended amount of time) cannot be made into a house cat again.  So Max the Cat now lives on a sunny farm in Kentucky, where he spends his time chasing lizards and munching happily on Meow Mix with other kitty playmated.    (Yes, AFTER I'd spent something in the area of $200 in preparations for him to move to Europe.)  I really miss the little guy.  But it couldn't be helped, and Max is well cared for by a close friend.  So I'm once again in need of a feline companion.

6) Read all the books I put on my 2011 reading list.  I HATE not finishing a goal.  Just look how sad the 2010 list is...

And, that's about it.

Guten rutsch ins neue jahr! 
(Yes, I got it from Google, because nothing from my German class stuck.)

PS -- In case you're wondering, the answer is "yes."  Yes, I am actually back.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

One week to go, guys!  My Thanksgiving rush starts in just three days.  I have a different place to celebrate every day until Sunday after Turkey Day itself, and then it's time to go home.  Simple as that.

Since it's going to be such a rush this week I wanted to take a moment to send you lots of holiday love and well wishes.  :)  Hope it's a great one, and I'll see you on the other side...  You know.  Of the world. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Aloha, readers.  It's been a while.  Let me being by saying that I am exhausted.  Every single one of the days I've been away from cyber-land have been filled to the brim with 2 parts work and 1 part play.  I've accomplished a lot and am happy to announce that I have done everything on my "work" to do list except one:  buy my plane ticket back to Germany.

My social security card, drivers license and two bank accounts now bear the correct name.  The old apartment has been cleaned out.  I turned in my keys today.  About an hour ago, actually.  The movers came last month to whisk all our things away to a far off land filled with castles.  Everything they didn't take has been mailed via USPS (or at least it's in boxes waiting to be shipped).  I've made more phone calls and ran more errands in the past five weeks than in my entire life, but it's been worth it.  Now I can do nothing but relax with my family and friends until Thanksgiving. And after that I'm flying away home.

On top of that, my incredible-amazing-super awesome friends have been keeping me entertained with fun things.  They bought me tickets to two concerts, one comedy show and a movie premier while I was away.  It's been wonderful to be back with the people who know me best. Every minute that hasn't been spent moving/sorting/organizing/cleaning/slaving away is kind of blurring together into one big memory bubble of laughter.  My planner is full of events they've coordinated right up until Thanksgiving week.

Kyle has been busy too.  While I've been clearing out my old place he's been setting up our new one.  He picked up the keys to our apartment yesterday.  I really couldn't be any more relieved.  I was afraid it would take forever to get our on post housing.

So what does all this mean?  I don't know.  I guess what it means is that things are finally BEGINNING.  I finally have a home of my own to go to when I leave Kentucky.  I'm about to step into that future I've been planning and blogging about for so long.  And most importantly, I feel ready for it.  All of this work and waiting has changed something about my life outlook, dorky as that sounds, and it's most definitely for the best.  I'm not intimidated by the thought of going away anymore.  I'm just excited.  For all of it.  I'm anxious to be there, making new friends and trying new things  I'm ready to decide what I want for myself and leap back into school next fall.  I'm thrilled with the prospect of Kyle and I coming home for a month next summer.

More than ever, I'm sure this was the right decision, and the confidence that comes with that feeling is incredible.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Whole New World

Being home feels strange.  Driving down streets I used to know like the back of my hand, I'm struck by more changes than I expected.  In the four months I was away, my best friend from high school has had her second child, my little brother learned to play the trombone, my favorite childhood park has ceased to exist, my tiny hometown got its first health club gym, and my dad found a new girlfriend.  I'm on the outside of most inside jokes, and having to take cliff notes versions of the summer's funniest events.  The world's best Mexican restaruant has new menus, and The Twin (a landmark drive in restaurant in my hometown) changed its "secret sauce."  That's epic, considering that everything in that place hasn't changed since The Twin first opened decades ago.  I mean, they don't even have cash registers yet. 

I couldn't be any more disoriented if I'd been dropped on Mars.  As I type this (from my old roommate's new apartment) I can't help but wonder what ELSE is going to be different when I come back next time.  If four months has done this much, what will another seven do?

Amid the chaos of getting to know everything all over again, it has been a blessing being back with my family and friends.  With no job and no classes to worry about, it's a 24/7 visiting spree.  I've been bouncing from house to house swapping stories and making up for lost time.  It's greart.

The only problem is, as I'm making up the time here, I'm losing it back in Germany with Kyle.  I wish there were a way around feeling like I'm missing something no matter where I am.  I guess the only thing to do is live it up as much as possible in whichever country I find myself in...try and enjoy what I have while I have it.  Still.  It's not easy having your family spread onto opposite sides of the world. 

Anyhoo, I'm back in Kentucky until after Thanksgiving as of now.  Plenty to do, and tons of people to see.  I hope that those of you who've been waiting out my crazy hiatus are happy and well and enjoying the beginnings of what is shaping up to be a beautiful autumn.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I've been home for all of about five hours.
I've really missed my girls.
And I already miss my husband.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monumental event of the weekend:

Kyle cooked me dinner.  :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sisters Red: A Review

Jackson Pearce returns with her second modern fairy tale: Sisters Red.  Scarlett and Rosie March are the unfortunate Little Red Riding Hoods of this tale, but they pack a punch.  Literally.  In this new take on the classic tale, Pearce delivers two heroines who aren't afraid to bite back.

When their grandmother is attacked and killed by a Fenris (the big, bad werewolf), only eleven year old Scarlett is left to defend her sister.  She loses her eye and innocence in the battle, and a life-long vendetta begins.  As the girls grow in the care of their woodsman neighbor, they learn the tricks of the trade of Fenris hunting and make friends with Silas, the woodsman's youngest son.

Time passes and hunting is the only life the girls know.  At eighteen Scarlett is ruthless, unforgiving and persistent:  determined to fight until every last Fenris is dead...or she is.  Rosie is her partner, fighting alongside the sister to whom she owes her life.  But things change when Silas returns from a year long sojourn in San Francisco:  little Rosie March doesn't seem so little anymore.  The two embark upon a romance that threatens to rip the seams of the sisters' bond.

Sisters Red is a novel that hinges itself on the idea that a magical world can coexist within our own while we continue on unaware.  The sisters and Silas live deep in the forests of the south.  They are cut off from most of the world and set apart by their knowledge of an evil that lurks just under the skin of harmless looking men.  Pearce enshrouds the trio in secrecy, keeping them separate from normality, and then moves them into city as the hunt rages on.  The effect is brilliantly defined lines of the magical reality and facade of average life.

The book moves fluidly, careening into action and gliding into romance as Scarlett and Rosie alternate narratorship.  The sisters provide two archetypal heroines for readers:  one a warrior maiden and the other fiercely loving.  The tale's only flaw lies within the magical way in which the girls are able to sustain wounds.  I found doubt mingling amid the elegance and beauty of Pearce's storytelling when Scarlett and Rosie were completely undaunted by deep slashes and raging fires.  These girls see a lot of blood, much of it their own, and in some cases the fighting theatrics were a bit overdone.

Still, this is not a book to be missed.  It is captivating, gripping, and fully satisfying at its conclusion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facebook, Self-Arguments, and Homesick-itis

"Carrie is currently missing: first-week-back-at-college style organization, new pencils, Casa Fiesta with Jenkins, super fast (dangerous) driving with Brianne, Courtney's late night cookies, her phone, a large collection of Disney movies, Max, dinner at her grandma's house (both), Machaela's extremely random visits, the other 3/4 of her wardrobe and the predominantly English-speaking population of Kentucky. Oh yeah, and her husband. Who is working, as per always."

-Facebook; August 24, 2010

The resulting in-head argument:
Self:  You shouldn't be so whiney.  It's pathetic.
Me:  You hush.  I will be whiney if I feel whiney.  I DO miss all those things.
Self:  Do you miss exams?  Or large electric bills?  Or wrong number calls?  
Me:  Well no...
Self:  Then can it.  You don't have it so bad.
Me:  But.  It's not fair.  I get four hours a day with Kyle.  And he's the only reason I'm here.
Self:  What, you didn't WANT to see Europe?
Me:  Well sure, for a VACATION.
Self:  How many people can say they've lived in Germany?
Me:  No one I know.  Which is precisely why I'm not content.  There is no one I know here.
Self:  So make new friends.
Me:  But I like my old one's just fine.
Self:  You don't have to give them up.  Just get MORE.
Me:  Well what about the food.  It's weird.  I just want a freaking chimichanga.  You know.  AMERICAN Mexican.
Self:  Why don't you try out that Italian place downtown?  It looks awesome.  
Me:  What if the menu is in German?  I can't read German!
Self:  Get a pocket dictionary.
Me:  It's heavy.  I don't wanna carry it around.
Self:  It's a POCKET dictionary.  How bad can it be?
Me:  ...
Self:  Just try.
Me:  I've been trying for months.  I just want us to go home.
Self:  Suck it up.  You BOTH can't go home.
Me:  I never asked for this you know.
Self:  Neither did I.  Am I complaining?
Me:  But.  You're the sensible half of my brain.  That doesn't count.
Self:  Sure it does.

Tell me bloggers, what have you to say to that??  Before you answer you should know:  That's not even tapping the surface.  They're still going at it in there.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Series of Interesting Events, or, A Weekend in Three Parts

Part I -- A Rather Remarkable Breakfast

Kyle is currently working the night shift.  So when he came home on Saturday, it was seven o'clock in the morning and time for breakfast.  We proceeded to the kitchen for a delicious (and not so nutritious) bowl of Lucky Charms.  Half way through my bowl I glanced out the window and spotted a little yellow dot in the sky.  Upon closer examination, said dot transformed into a hot air balloon.  

"Hey, look,"  I said, interrupting what I'm sure was a very deserving story. 

"What?" he said.  Then he spotted the aforementioned balloon.  "Oh, huh.  That's cool."  And then he proceeded with his story as if nothing had happened.

A few minutes later a little red dot floated along next to the yellow one.  "Hey! Look!"  I interrupted the story again.  Before long, tons of balloons were gracefully gliding across the sky in a more-or-less straight path.  I have no idea what Kyle was telling me, or if he ever got the story out, but I do have some photos of the hot air balloon parade.  It was hard to capture just how incredible it really was.  (The balloons were too high up for really spectacular photos.)  We watched the whole thing from the kitchen window over the span of about an hour as these little (but actually big) decorated balloons popped up one by one (and sometimes two by two) over the roof of our building.  Have a look:


Part II -- A Series of Unfortunate Pet Related Events

By a string of strange coincidences, our current host has recently come into the possession of Mr. Fatty Lumpkins (an incredibly large cat) and a dog without a proper name (who Kyle and I call Lucy.)  Mr. Fatty Lumpkins was here first.  Lucy arrived last Friday.  Both are friendly and long as they're kept apart.  So, to smooth things over, Mr. Fatty Lumpkins has been staying in mine and Kyle's room, safely out of reach of the dog.  

However, on Saturday, shortly after the hot air balloon phenomenon, Lucy wormed her way around me and into the cat's territory.  At first we thought they might actually be getting used to one another.  The cat laid under the bed and the dog laid at the foot of it, tail wagging.  But then Mr. Fatty Lumpkins decided to make a run for it.  Lucy took up the chase.

Mr. Fatty did the first thing he could think of, leaping onto the dryer (which is in the bathroom) and inflating to three times his normal rotundity.  Lucy, of course, did the only thing she could think of and started barking like mad, dodging the poor kitty's claws.  

Now, please recall that it's about 8:30AM and Kyle has yet to get any sleep.  Obviously, letting them bark/claw it out was not an option.  So Kyle, sweet as he is, decided to rescue Mr. Fatty.  He picked him up with little resistance, but when he attempted to leave the bathroom the cat caught one glimpse of the dog beneath him and proceeded to take all appropriate escape action.  Which consisted of clawing his way onto Kyle's head.  

When the screaming and louder barking and little kitty yowling started I figured I'd better investigate.  I found the dog in the hall and Kyle and the cat locked in the bathroom.  "Sweetie?"  There was complete silence in the bathroom.  "Kyle?  Are you okay."  Muttering, and then:  "I'm fine.  Just stay in there."  

So I took Lucy to the living room and tried to calm her down.  And just as I thought I was succeeding, the bathroom door clicked open and several things happened at once:  Lucy's eyes widened at the prospect of reaching the cat; I jumped up abruptly and grabbed at her collar; the bathroom door clicked shut again; and Kyle appeared around the corner of the hall.  Lucy was so overwhelmed by the excitement (and scent of cat) that she tripped over her own front paw, flopped onto the floor, and proceeded to pee on my foot.  ON.  MY.  FOOT.  (I was not a happy camper.)

As I'm yelling at the top of my lungs in disgust Kyle is yelling in outrage about the cat, and I don't think at that point either of us knew what happened to the other.  But there was a lot of yelling.  Poor Lucy just laid there between us looking deflated.  I stomped off to the shower, Kyle stomped off to assess his wounds, and Lucy just drooped her poor little head and looked at the puddle.  

After my foot was clean (eeeeew) I locked Mr. Fatty safely in the bathroom away from the dog and went to see what happened to Kyle.  He was still fuming.  "I HATE cats."  That's the first distinct thing I remember hearing.  After that I caught sight of blood dripping off his elbow and forming little pearls on the side of his face.  I think I might have missed a few lines of the rant then.  I tuned back in for, "We are not having pets.  Not until we are home with a house and a yard.  I am not getting a dog, and you are not getting a cat, and we are both going to have to deal with it."  I think my eyes were probably the size of saucers.  I just nodded.  

Two days later, Mr. Fatty Lumpkins still hasn't gotten up the courage to leave the dryer, and we still haven't mustered the nerve to try and move him.  Below are photos of the culprits.

Luckily for them, they're cute enough to earn forgiveness.

Part III -- Fun in the...Cloudiness

The photos are kind of self-explanatory here.  But in case you need a hint:  We went to a lake with friends yesterday.

Note that we girls were sensible and stayed out of the shenanigans.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been here for so long, but honestly it doesn't feel like it's been more than a week or two.  The days fall into a pattern and blur together.  Most of my memories are just a jumble of watching countless movies while Kyle's away for some ten hours every day, filling out reams of paperwork and waiting around for one thing or another.  And reading.  I've done a lot of reading.  I think I'm up to...thirteen books, now?  Only a few things really shine.  It's not an entirely bad thing though.  What little time we get to spend together is comfortable and happy, if brief and mostly unremarkable.  It beats the socks off being four thousand miles apart at any rate.

We're still on hold for housing, and still too broke to send me home.  As things stand, whenever I make it back I'm staying until November 30th, and then making what I've come to think of as "the big move."  I have hit a point at which I don't really care what happens next so long as something happens.  I want to either be back home in the states or in a home that's mine.  I am beyond tired of camping out in other people's homes here.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful.  It's just...I want to be surrounded by OUR things.  I want to make us dinner without feeling like I'm intruding in someone else's kitchen.  It's exhausting, being a guest for this long.  

However, there are some upsides to the situation.  It's giving Kyle and I much-needed time to readjust to each other.  We're rediscovering how we fit:  learning how to live together without stepping on each other's toes, and figuring out what we enjoy doing together.  In all honesty, most of our time together back home was spent with friends and family, and while we've been apart, we've learned to live alone.  We have a very limited number of hobbies and activities that we can both agree on, but the count is growing steadily, if slowly.  

Still, sometimes I feel like we have accomplished so little in these past months.  We were supposed to have been married and in our own home with a plan to get me back stateside in under a month.  His unforgiving and annoying schedule proved that to be impossible, and now almost an entire summer has passed by and things STILL aren't underway.  I have to constantly remind myself that a few months isn't as long as it sounds like.  Shortly we'll be un-stuck from this in-between place, and the frustration will not be anything more than a dim memory.  Until then, I feel like banging my head against a wall (that isn't mine).  

I mean seriously?  Is it so hard for the Army to approve our paperwork and get us in a home?  It isn't like housing is limited.  Half the buildings here are nearly vacant!

I don't think this post (or my mindset) has one set emotion/point.  It's all a mess of newly-wed happiness, homeless frustration, and impatience.  Here's to hoping your summer has been more productive than mine, at that autumn brings more welcomed changes. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little Letters

Dear Planters Nuts --

Thank you ever so much for the "NUT-rition; South Beach Diet" blend.  Sure, I'm not a South Beach Dieter, but when you just so happen to put all of my favorite nuts into one blend and put a stamp on the container that says a diet group recommends it, you make Carrie one happy girl.  I am munching on a cashew as we speak.

Your Loyal Customer.

Dear Skype --

You rock.  My friends and I love you.

Continue in awesomeness,
A fan.

Dear Kyle --

Thanks for being silly with me in public today, even though you don't usually like such shenanigans.  I looooooove you.  :)

Forever and for always,

Dear Nightmares --

If you insist upon returning tonight, I will be forced to unleash a team of dream ninjas.  Said ninjas will not be merciful.  I would suggest you stay away.

You have been warned,
Leader of the Ninjas.

Dear Summertime --

Could you please stay forever?

Love, love, love,
The Girl Who Didn't Bring a Jacket to Germany

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Name is Memory: A Review

My Name is Memory is a love story unlike any I have ever known.  Ann Brashares unravels her tale a bit at a time and toys with her audience much like a cat bats a ball of yarn.  We are tossed to and fro throughout the ages clinging to the memories of Daniel -- a soul who is both blessed and cursed with the incredbile ability to remember all of his many lives as he is reincarnated over centuries.

Daniel's stories pull us into the ancient worlds of Northern Africa and Crete, to the not-so-distant past of war-torn England during the first world war, and finally into the modern east coast of the US.  His accounts are tethered by the same forces that have always driven the human race:  love and vengeance.

In each of his lives Daniel strives to find Sophia, his first love and original sin.  By turn of fate, he succeeds in finding her many times over the long years only to lose her to some uncompromising circumstance.  Once she is his brother's wife, another time she is old enough to be his grandmother, but always she is oblivious to their deep history.  Apart from these obstacles, Daniel is also pursued by Joaquim, a corrupt soul seeking twisted retribution for old offenses.

Brashares entangles her audience so well that by the end of her novel the world appears changed.  Her splendidly planned tale leaves us with the vivid and heavy impression that what goes around comes around, and not always in our favor.  I am thrilled to have found this novel that is truly new:  completely unlike anything I have ever read.  Her words are placed beautifully and with care.  Her characters are made not only of paper and ink, but of flesh and blood.  Brashares' second break from young adult fiction is blessedly actually written for adults.  With the language and finesse of a master storyteller, and an imaginitive, intellectually stimulating plot, this novel is one to place among your most treasured.


[both images via Ann Brashares' website]

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wandrings of a Not-So-Lazy Sunday, or, Getting Lost in Veirnheim

Today we decided to go for a walk.  Originally, we were going to walk to a very pretty lake, but we got a little lost.  (Kyle disputes the word "lost," but as we never made it to our destination and didn't really know where we were at a few points, I think it fits.)  Anyhow.  This is what became of our day. 

First, meet Mr. Slug Bug:

[NOTE:  Mr. Slug Bug is approximately three inches in length.  Which I would deem GIGANTIC for a little slug.]

Mr. Slug Bug and quite a few of his friends were crawling around in the middle of the bike trail we were walking on.  After discovering a squished member of the Slug Bug clan, I decided something must be done, and Kyle and I proceeded to Save the Slugs.  One by one they were scooped up into an empty McDonald's cup (or prodded onto a stick) and kindly relocated to a shady spot on the side of the road.  When all was said and done, seven Slug Bugs escaped an untimely and unfortunate demise. 

After all the slugs were safe and sound, I discovered my dream home.  Isn't it just perfect? 

[NOTE:  I am 99% sure that we had already taken a wrong turn by the time I found above dream home.]

After a half hour or so we lost all hope of finding the lake and proceeded to wander around the city aimlessly, which is how we found what is quite possibly the most amazing playground in the entire world.  Kyle made good use of the...whatever you call this thing:

[NOTE:  Though this was a lot of fun for us, I think it's a safety hazard for kids.  That's a gravel pit you're looking at, folks.]

Anyhow, it was dark by the time we made it home.  (Which didn't occur until after a German-McDonald's trip, thank you very much.)  So as no one could see anyhow, I did a very dorky and cliche thing and found a flower for my hair just outside of post.

All in all, a very successful trip.  :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fill in the Blanks Friday

[more participants here]

1.  Today for breakfast I ate Breakfast hasn't happened here yet, even though it's past noon in Germany.  Kyle's ultra-crazy schedule has us sleeping in until 3 or 4pm and staying up literally all night.  (A lawn mower was determined to get me out of bed today.)  However, when breakfast happens, it's probably going to involve pancakes.

2.  My go to/never fail recipe is roasted potatoes.  The recipe can be found here.
3.  Something I Kyle eats that other people I think is weird is pepper-jack cheese.  On a sandwich.  Every.  Single.  Day.  YuckYuckyuckyuck.

4.  My worst cooking disaster ever was  when I burned a batch of cookies until the were literally blue.  Yes.  Blue.  It's possible.

5.  If I could only eat one flavor of ice cream the rest of my life it would be  orange sherbet.

6.  One food I hate and avoid at all costs is beans.  Any kind of beans.  It doesn't matter how they're cooked, or what they're served with, I just do. not. like. beans.  (And like every mom, mine said I'd have outgrown this by now. Psh.  Fat chance of that.)

7.  What is your favorite meal?  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner?   Dinner.   Right now, dinner is the only appropriately timed meal Kyle and I get to have together.  It's been fun cooking for the two of us.  I'm sure that when the new-ness wears off I'll change my mind, but right now I love it.  :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Word to the Wise, or, A Cautionary Tale of European Elopement

A note of caution to all young American couples with the seemingly brilliant and romantic idea of running away to Europe to be married:  Don't do it. Not the getting married part, of course, because that part may very well be brilliant; but the running away to Europe part is not such a great plan.  It's not as simple as it sounds, thereby dashing out a good chunk of the romance.

Eloping in Germany is something that is simply not done.  The legal process (which is just as difficult for German nationals, I am told) is quite lengthy and by no means practically priced.  Aside from the ridiculous air fare for a trip from Louisville to Frankfurt (which is a four digit number, f.y.i.) one must also take into consideration the fees for certified translators (ranging from 40-100 euro per hour), fees for the marriage itself (approximately 200 euro), and the fee for the marriage documents (a whopping 60 euro).

The process goes something like this:  You show up at the registry office in the city where you would like to be married with all appropriate documentation of your birth, identity, marriage status, and monthly salary.  (This took us almost an entire month of my stay to procure because all documents must be notarized originals.)  You must bring a certified translator along to translate all documents.  With the help of the translator and registrar, you fill out a marriage application stating that you are single, over eighteen years of age, and are in no way related to your partner, and you decide what the family name will be.  (That was a particularly nice detail.  We had the option of choosing either of our last names for the new family name.  Not that there was ever a thought of us taking mine.  It was just nice to feel as though my old name had some credit.)  Then you pay a large sum that is determined by your combined monthly salaries, and are informed that you will not be married for another two to three weeks when your marriage certificates arrive in the mail.

You go home to wait anxiously by the phone for a nerve-wrackingly long time.  When the registrar finally calls to inform you that your certificates have arrived, you go back to the office to set a date for the wedding.  (For some reason, in Germany, no one understands why a young American couple would want to be married immediately and without a proper ceremony.  Apparently having a delayed ceremony back home with friends and family is unheard of.)  In most cases the date must be set at least eight to ten days away, and sometimes even further out if you're expecting many guests. (Fortunately, we were not.)  And then, that's that.  On the day of the ceremony you and a translator show up at the office to be legally married.

Now if I were you, my wonderful reader, I'd be wondering why on Earth anyone would choose such a difficult and time-consuming marriage.  Mostly it was just impatience.  And stubbornness.  I always wanted to have a summer wedding, and I had my heart set on being married on our dating anniversary.  When Kyle found out about the issues with his leave (and that he'd only be able to be home for five days in September, which is not enough time to have a wedding and still spend some quality time with family) we knew that our plans had to change.  It worked out for us.  We got to be married on our anniversary (out of sheer dumb luck), we'll be home for three weeks (hopefully) next summer, and I'll get to have the ceremony I really want (surrounded by summer flowers and greenery).

Still.  I wouldn't recommend a German elopement unless the couple in question has unique circumstances, as we did.  However, I hear that getting married in Denmark is much less complicated, and takes only two or three days, as opposed to the weeks of waiting elsewhere in Europe.

Anyhow, here's the fun stuff:  more photos!

The first ones were taken at the water tower (Wasserturm) in downtown Mannheim.  The last few were random shots from a drive through the countryside.  There is absolutely no way to describe how beautiful Germany is.  Sometimes I feel as though I've jumped into a storybook full of magical things.  I am beyond excited to be living in a place like this, but there's still quite a bit of work to be done before the "big move."

At some point this month (when we're no longer flat broke from those ridiculous fees, and hopefully in housing of our own) I'm going back home to do all kinds of crazy post-marriage stuff.  Like have my name changed on my social security card, drivers license, bank account, etc.  And to pack.  And to say some goodbyes that are actually meant for a trip of more than two and a half weeks.  And then, after Thanksgiving, I'll be back.

It's going to fly by, isn't it?

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Grand Announcement

Attention Bloggers and Blogettes:  

The following announcement was spotted on facebook earlier this afternoon.

And now I hope you'll all forgive the secrecy (like you hadn't guessed anyway...) as we had to be sure that some of our family members and friends were notified of our plans at an opportune moment.  (By which I mean, when it was too late to complain about not getting an invitation to the elopement, and too early to complain about not finding out when everyone else did.)

And, because I know you want it, here's a photo of the happy married couple.  :)

We're planning a ceremony back home with all the annoyed-but-still-happy friends and family next summer on this anniversary.  (Which, coincidentally, is the same date as our dating anniversary.  Today marks two wonderful years together.)

I hope you're all having an excellent summer.  Heaven knows I'm pleased with mine right about now.  :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010

As many of you will know, I was supposed to be participating in the Mad Tea Party 2010 this year.  However, my prolonged stay in Germany and other mysterious things are making it difficult.  I will participate whenever I have returned home.  Until then I am going on a hiatus.  Please do not be alarmed.  All will return to normal as soon as possible.  Explanations will be given.  I hope you're all doing well, and that you have the patience and kindness to wait around in my followers box until I can return. 

Love and best wishes,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reunions and Reality Checks

It's been twenty days.  Twenty good days, but also twenty bittersweet days.  We're together, and I'm thrilled about that, but being here brings certain previously avoided realities to light that put a damper on my mood.  Amid the castles and train rides and cookie baking and other magical things... There is a lot of tension and quite a bit of fear.

I LOVE visiting here.  Germany is by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  I don't think I'll ever be bored of exploring here, and there isn't a word that can describe how wonderful it is to be able to see Kyle at the end of each day.  His hours are long and his days off are far between, but the few hours we have are heavenly...and strained.

It's hard, having been apart so long.  Both of us have been changing at our own paces, adapting to the situation the best way we know how.  For his part, he's been morphing into the "perfect soldier."  Unfortunately that includes shutting out a lot of emotions and not thinking about things going on back home or things that will happen "after the Army."  And me?  I'm the exact opposite.  I do my best NOT to think about Army things and focus on making our home and looking ahead to the freedom of being out of the Army.  It makes for rather tense conversation.  (I mean, how exactly do you reconcile a soldier's need to deploy with a wife's need to protect her family?  Both are deep-rooted and valid instincts.  How do you discuss that without wanting to rip each other's hair out?)

We are so different.  We always have been though, so I'm not really surprised.

Don't get me wrong:  There are no second thoughts or regrets, and not even the inkling of doubt.  But that doesn't mean that our being together comes without effort.  It is a gargantuan effort.  On both our parts.  I mean, to be perfectly honest, our being together is holding both of us back.  I'm putting my college and career on the back burner, and he's turning down opportunities that would take him away from me.  Not being together is not an option, so we have to find a way to accept the sacrifices without being resentful.

I love Kyle with everything in me, but I also love a lot of people back home I'm going to be leaving behind.  I love security I had there. I love my crappy car and my desk job with a forgiving boss (who isn't firing me, by the way).  I don't want to leave those things, but I also don't want to be without Kyle.  Kyle will always win out in a self-imposed ultimatum.  And that's exactly what becoming an Army wife is.  It's a self-imposed ultimatum between your life and a life with the man you love.  It's not like being any other kind of wife, because in those marriages the two lifestyles blend.  In the Army world, their lifestyle takes over and you have to hang on for the ride.  It takes a lot of strength, truck loads of patience, a lot of work and enormous amounts of love to forgive that loss.  And for me?  It's forgiven, but the hurt and frustration is still fresh and prominent.

Am I even making sense?

But here's the real kicker. Even with all that frustration, even with the constant inner-struggle, I am happier here with him than I have been in the last months of comfort at home without him.  I don't regret my decision at all.  I honestly think it was the right one.  How on earth can so many contradictions exist in one person?  I think you have to be a certain kind of crazy to choose this life.  (Both soldier and spouse.)

Four more hours until Kyle's done working for the day.  I'm off to bake some more cookies.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Surprising News, and a trip to Heidelberg Castle

I'm supposed to be on my way home right now.  Instead I'm here giving you guys what I think is excellent news: We've extended my stay.  Until the end of the month.  :)  It turns out eighteen days isn't quite enough.  Please enjoy the following photos from our trip to the Heidelberg castle, and cross your fingers I don't lose my job for being away so long.