One of the hardest things about being a military family is all the moving. Every few years, we pack up everything we own less what we stuff into four suitcases and ship it to another state, another country, or into storage. We never really get to plant roots anywhere and we never have to worry about what color to paint the walls or the typical issues homeowners deal with on a regular basis because we’re either living in government housing or in a rental house.
Since moving away from home we’ve lived in Colorado, Mississippi, Texas, and Germany. Aside for four years in college (in CO), the longest we ever lived in one place was Germany. And aside from a few months in Mississippi, Germany was the first place Alex and I really ever lived together and put our “home” together. We spent hours and hours house hunting together for the first time and fell in love with Im Hofgarten 11.
The walls of this house held me together through more TDYs than I can count, a deployment, homesickness, pregnancies, motherhood, and the frustrations of living thousands of miles away from loved ones.
On this bottom step I sat in shock and disbelief when I learned Owen was on his way. I told Alex as he was bringing in firewood and we rejoiced the good news only two weeks before he deployed.
We brought home our beautiful baby boy to this house.
We survived Owen’s first year here. His first night at home, first smile, first laugh, first crawl, first steps, first bite of solids. And there’s the time Alex was home early enough to put Owen to bed and I’ll never forget when he called downstairs to me asking the protocol for when he poops in the tub. 🙂
We spent HOURS doing this:
The precious memories in this house are endless. We will cherish the joy and laughter, the happy memories and even the trying times we shared in these walls with all our hearts.
Then came the big moving trucks. And the same guy who unloaded our stuff just three years ago, was there to pack it up and haul it away.
They wrapped and packed and crated up our stuff to be shipped 3/4 of the way around the world. I strongly considered handcuffing myself to the stair rail and throwing away the key.
Before the movers came, we spent an entire day and night – staying up until 4:30 am – sorting through our things and getting rid of the stuff we didn’t touch in all three years living there (one of the benefits of moving so frequently is that you get to “cleanse” frequently). We had three shipments: household goods, unaccompanied baggage, and storage. The household goods is all the big stuff and will hopefully get to us by the end of December. Unaccompanied baggage is a smaller shipment that we just learned last week is waiting for us in Korea already (and that’s waaaay better than the bottom of the ocean – yay!!), and the storage shipment is stuff we won’t see for another two years and won’t go to Korea at all. Our apartment in Korea will be plenty big enough for the almost 4 of us but since we won’t have a lot of storage space, we didn’t want to hassle with anything we didn’t have to have there. So we put a lot of the fluffy stuff in storage and took what means the most to us. That’s not as easy of a decision as you might think.
I still think it would probably have been easier if I could have had a glass or two of wine…
As soon as the trucks pulled away we were essentially homeless. And it’s funny, because I know things are just things and home is where we are all together, but I really felt homeless. The house wasn’t ours anymore. I sobbed big fat ugly tears as we handed the keys over to our landlords who were way too giddy with excitement for my liking to move back into their house. But it was our house. Stupid house. Why couldn’t it have been a pile of crud like the last few rental houses we’ve lived in?! They were so easy to leave!! I remember pulling out of the driveway in Columbus, MS and saying good riddance to the cockroach infested house. But this house was good to us, and it was perfect. I took one last look at the place that was our home for three wonderful years and we drove away.
We moved to a TLF on base (temporary living facility, it’s a furnished apartment hotel) for almost three weeks. It was comfortable…enough. There was housekeeping service, closets, four bedrooms, and a full kitchen. And a great park across the street for the nice weather days.
But we felt a little bored and cooped up when the weather was cold and rainy.
During those three weeks, we packaged up the things that we wanted to mail to ourselves in Korea. Mostly liquids and candles and a few other things that the movers wouldn’t pack because of some rule. [Fact: Germans like rules.] We are able to mail things from our German APO address to our Korean APO address for fweeee! So we took full advantage of that.
Finally it felt like we could slow down for a bit so we made a list of all the things we wanted to do one last time. Which included a LOT of restaurants.
Kartoffel Restaurant Kiste (it’s a potato restaurant):
My last OB appointment at the hospital where Owen was born – it was the glucose test which most people hate but I had three hours of kid free time to read my Kindle…and listen to my poor stomach rumble. After all the bloodwork was done, the doctor spent a good 20 minutes trying to get good 3D pictures of the baby since it was probably my last ultrasound.
I rewarded myself for surviving the appointment with a most delicious pflaumenplunder (plum pastry) from my favorite Bäckerei.
There was also one last trip to Italy (!!!) and Alex’s last flight with the squadron but those deserve a post of their own so stay tuned for that. But here’s a sneak peek:
One last lunch with my person Kassie and her sweet baby boy…this is me trying to smile through tears. I miss them so much already.
And one last red light for the construction on the bridge over the Mosel on our way to the airport. Which has never really upset me because this is the view:
We stayed the night in Frankfurt since our flights were early the next day. Alex and I were on two different flights across the pond to different stateside locations (these inconvenient travel arrangements are thanks to the USAF, don’t even get me started…) so Owen and I ventured to the good old land of the free on our own. It was a really tough goodbye with Alex…Owen knew change was in the air again.
The flight went better than I could have ever imagined. I had a loaded backpack, diaper bag, Owen’s shark suitcase (full of toys), two >50 lb suitcases, and a stroller with me. Plus Owen and his beloved dog. I got the royal red carpet treatment all the way up until I had to go through security again in Chicago. I got bumped to the front of every line, we were very first people on the airplane, got upgraded to seats with extra legroom, a customs agent came out JUST to let me into the states, a kind United worker basically rechecked my bags for me, and he even told me my connecting gate number and where I needed to go. I guess it was because we were on orders, I’m pregnant, and travelling solo with a tot. People probably felt sorry for me.
But the VIP treatment ended with the security in Chicago. I got my bags rechecked and was just another sorry traveler. People stared and kept their space (we stunk after a 9 hour flight) as I juggled poor overtired Owen and all our carry-ons. The line moved fast and before we knew it we were on our way to Des Moines. The landing into Des Moines was rough on me (I’m still struggling with all-day sickness) since I was late taking my anti-nausea meds but two nice ladies seated in front and next to us (on their way to see their own grandchildren) were so very kind and helped entertain Owen while I clutched my sick bag. Before I knew it we were hugging my parents at the airport and Owen was shockingly energetic (oh, what I would give for 1/4 of that energy). We made it by the grace of God though I still am not really sure how.
Elle was definitely excited to see us when we got back to my parent’s house. She even missed Owen until he pulled her tail and the friendship ended there.
Hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous fall day! I promise I’ll be back soon!