Monday, September 12, 2011

Hello From Germany!!

{These is a picture of our village - Weil der Stadt and our village center}

We FINALLY have internet! I have so much to catch up on, in more ways than one {blogging, house organizing, laundry, painting, etc, etc, etc!} Well, life is good. We are very happy here. It has been quite the roller coaster the last 6 weeks though. Here is an email we sent to our family after the first 5 days:

Since I can't call any of you just yet, I thought I would write a little email about our first 5 days here in Germany. First of all, we couldn't be happier to be where we are. We love it already. Also, having my mom here has been SO VERY helpful. Matt and I have been slammed with so much stuff to do and she has been so helpful with the children. I would be lost without her. So, here is a million thanks to my mom (Thanks, Dad, for letting her come!). We packed 19 bags, 3 car seats, and 5 people on the airplane. (The airlines allow transferring active duty military to check 4 bags per person, so we were one under!) We took our long 13 hour flight here and Matt and I didn't get any sleep. One of the kids was always awake. We were awake for 32 straight hours - yikes. When we first got here we had a ton of in-processing to do, so we didn't take a nap at all. I think this helped get us onto the right schedule though. Everyone, but Sam, has seemed to adjust to the time. Super boy wakes up every night from 10pm til 2am (or 2200 to 200) - I'm still getting used to military time. That is how everything is around here, not only on base, but also in Germany. I couldn't be happier with how kind military folk are. We were carrying our groceries back to our hotel and loading them and 3 kids onto the bus, and 2 gentleman rushed to our aid (and they weren't even riding the bus). Everyone calls each other Sir and Mam, so I've been teaching my children to do the same. It really feels like a family here. I really love that. I'm excited to go to church on Sunday and meet some more "family". We still don't have a house and met some people the other day who have been living at the hotel for 2 months...let's hope we get out of here sooner than that. We toured a home tonight that is perfect, so maybe if you all pray for us, we can get it!! I think if we have to live in the hotel for too much longer, my kids might kill each other. Sharing a bed isn't too fun! On a side note, German bees just really don't like us. Sam and Jack got stung at separate times on the same day. Good thing I read one of those forwarded emails that said to tape a penny to bee stings because copper draws out the really worked. Jack noticed an immediate difference when I taped one on. (See, not all forwarded emails are junk!) We've tried German ice cream and my new favorite treat is a chocolate-filled croisannt (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). We have already taken the German drivers' test and passed (yay) and are now driving the minivan all around town! I kid you not, I got that baby up to 110 mph on the autobahn today and I couldn't stop giggling because it was legal! I felt like I was breaking the law the whole time! (I was by kids, in case you are wondering).

We did get that's wonderful. We ended up staying in the hotel for 3.5 weeks and then "camped" in our house for 1 week without our goods {that was fun - insert sarcasm}. We got several rooms painted before our furniture arrived - that was a bonus. Matt started work the day we got into our new house, so that left the painting and moving in to me. Let's just say that I would hit the pillow every night. The day are goods were delivered was also the first day of school, of course. My kids were chosen to be in a German immersion program {their lessons are in English half the day and German the other half.} They go to an American school on the same base where Matt works in the dental clinic. We feel SO blessed to have been chosen for this program. This is one of 4 German immersion programs in the world! Not even all the German bases have it. My kids are already speaking more German that Matt or I. So far, the kids are loving school. I ask them to tell me their favorite part, and they say that they can't choose one part because they love all of it. The one negative is that they get on the bus at 6:50am in the village center at the bus stop...ugh, it's early. I've never been an early bird, but we are learning to become one!

We live in a small farming village outside of Stuttgart called Weil der Stadt. Right across the street from us is a strawberry farm - perfect. We've already made freezer jam and walk across the street to get fresh strawberries and raspberries on a regular basis. Also growing in our area are corn, potatoes, pumpkins, apples, and many other produce that we haven't figured out what it is yet.

I shop a lot on base, where I can pretty much buy every American commodity that I would want. For the German treats, I venture into different German grocery stores, bakeries, and butchers. I am stumbling with the German, but I am determined to learn the language. Now that I'm not working on school, I'm going to devote that same time to learning the language. The Germans are very friendly and most of the time will stumble through English as I stumble through German {although many of them speak English very well}. Our next door neighbors speak English very well. They have a little boy 1 year younger than Sam. Our neighborhood is filled with children. My kids can't wait to converse with them, and with the rate they are learning German, it will be no time, I'm sure. There is a German Kindergarten {preschool} right across the street from my neighborhood that we will enroll Sam in next year. Kindergarten started in Germany, along with many other things.

We attend an International LDS ward. There is a congregation of over 300. This is huge for us! Both J and G have 10 + kids in their primary classes and J is in cub scouts with 15 other boys. He got to go to a cub scout camp as soon as we got here. Everyone at church is very friendly, and we have felt very welcome. We feel blessed to not only have the army as a support, but also our church congregation.

We are a little obsessed with the German chocolate {and when I say "a little", I mean A LOT!} The other day G tried a new candy bar and sighed, "I think I might pass out this chocolate is so good!" We just can't help ourselves. It is so creamy and delicious. Any time we see a new chocolate, we have to get it and try it. My taste buds are screaming, YES, but my waistline is screaming, STAY AWAY!!!


Auburn said...

YAY! Hello. Sad sad I missed you yesterday. When were in church when you called :o( I'm DYING to talk to you!! Love you guys!

Kristin said...

wow wow wow! It sounds like a dream over there. I want to learn a new language by just diving in so bad. Unfortunately my plan to "just figure it out" isn't good enough to convince Cam to move to Europe for a couple years. I can't wait to see pictures of all these beautiful places you're talking about.

Anne said...

Wow its so great to hear how you guys are doing! I love G's comment about the chocolate, too funny. I know how she feels but I'd imagine it's a lot more dangerous when you live there instead of just visiting! How amazing your kids are learning German and have such a big primary. So happy for you guys and can't wait for more pics!

Marcus and Jamie Yetter said...

Yay! I was smiling when i was reading the whole post! I have been thinking so much of you lately!! I miss you dearly! Email me your address when you have time! Germany seems so dreamy. All of the pictures are so gorgeous! I am soooo happy for you all! Please keep in touch and eat some of that chocolate for me! Love you!

Diana Waite said...

what a DREAM! this is SO awesome!! So glad you got the house and are settling in so nicely--sounds like an AMAZING opportunity. keep those GORGEOUS pictures coming!! :)

Tracy said...

Lara! My schedule is a bit hectic and I've been away from blogland, so I am finally catching up with your blog and love your updates and gorgeous pics. I'll show Kaylyn and see if she went to any of these places last spring. Cami plans to travel to Germany in 2013. Lucky girls! God bless.

The monkey bunch said...

We are headed to Stuttgart next summer and so I was just starting to look up things. I stumbled onto your blog and I just have to ask- was the landlord furious that you painted? If he is Germany, he probably was. I grew up in Germany and everywhere we lived they didn't want us to do anything with their walls, including hanging too many things on them. Anyway, hope you don't mind me poking around your site. I can't believe the ward is that big! All the military wards I have been in overseas were tiny!