Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 1 Yesses and NOS

Day 1:
Yes- arrive at Frankfurt Airport 5:11 am after an uneventful flight, retrieve luggage and cats without any problems.
Yes- Meet pre-arranged van for 1.5 hour ride to Ramstein Air Force Base (we recommend Airport Runner).
No- room not available because after our flight was cancelled due to snowstorm last week, they “forgot” to re-book a pet room. Sorted out after 20 minutes.
Yes- Set up cat litter box in our room, cat food in dishes, sleep for 4 hours.
Yes- Walk to grocery store on base and enjoy the fresh air.
Yes Yes- Weather near 40 degrees!!!

Day 2:
Yes- cats are fine, unpack belongings in our efficiency quarters, one bedroom and one living room/kitchenette.
No car…therefor walk 10,000 steps all around base. Food court at military base includes a Johnny Rockets  but I had Chinese food instead for the veggies
Yes- get Air Force library card (NOT valid on Army bases in the area, must get separate Army library card!!!)

Day 3:
Yes- nice contemporary church service at base chapel
No car- walk another 10,000 steps to Macaroni Grill and all over base to learn our way around for tomorrow.
Not possible to register our ID cards for 24 hour gym access on a weekend, must register for 24 hour access only during regular business hours (weekdays)
No laundry on our floor of building due to lobby renovation, so haul laundry bag to 2nd floor for free washer (30 minutes) and dryer (1.5 hours)
No shuttle bus to off-base restaurants, but Jeff’s colleague drove us to an Italian Restaurant in Kaiserslautern, 30 minutes away

Day 4:
No shuttle bus from temporary housing building to newcomer orientation building; walk 40 minutes in the falling snow to helpful meeting with nice people (6 hours)
No shuttle to veterinarian office on Army base…Yes nice person there said we can register the cats once we have a rental car
No permission given to take drivers test here at the Air Force Base where we are staying, must pay 50 Euro for a taxi to take us to the Army installation where the test is administered for Army people (that’s us!)

Day 5:
Not possible to receive special European/US military driving license with my current spouse ID card due to Jeff’s military status…must obtain new ID card with my spouse status due to Jeff’s new civilian job. Um, hello?
No friendly people in the mandatory 2 hour pre-driving test at the Army installation, including a 40 minute video. No, no, no, you cannot take the test right after the class. The office closes after the class. Come back another day.
Yes- helpful and friendly person in the Army ID office; new civilian ID in less than 30 minutes. This feels entirely miraculous.
Yes- new German SIM cards for our cell phones, signed up for 1 month plan

Day 6:
No luck after 7am taxi to Army driving test- on paper with a pencil! Got a few road signs mixed up and 3 questions more than allowed wrong. Oh, the shame. Cried when calling taxi to pick me up, staff finally felt sorry for me at the idea of paying another 50 Euro tomorrow to re-take the test, so they authorized the Air Force to let us take it via the Air Force later in the week. Um, hello?
Yes- registered ID card at gym for 24 hour access, found craft center and post office and community building with BBQ restaurant
Yes- nice people at the mid-week Lent church service at chapel!

Day 7:
No shuttle to different Army installation with housing office, 50 Euro for the cab (round trip) to learn about renting rules we already read about on-line. Got a paper listing of 70 houses for rent, some of which we had seen on-line using a website that is no longer contracted with the military.
Yes- nice dinner at BBQ restaurant on AFB.

Day 8:
No shuttle from temporary housing to driving test building…alarm set for 5:30 am in order to walk 40 minutes. The “test” started with the same 40 minute video we had already watched with the Army. OMG. The test is on a computer! Wow! Ahhh, the sound of a room full of mouse clicks. We passed!
Yes- nice people in the Hertz rental car office…we are now in possession of a small Ford Fiesta! Yay!
No(body) remember to put me – the wife- on the gas ration card. Get to gas station, drive back to customs office so the men (!) can put the wife on the gas ration card. What year is this again? Go back to gas station to validate gas ration card. Also have separate ration card for coffee, tobacco, and alcohol. Not ATF, c/t/a!
Yes- good sandwich at food truck in gas station lot- cooks remembered 3 orders from regular customers as they approached the truck.
Yes- nice house in a teeny tiny village for rent with a narrow lane of a street

Yes- nice dinner in a regular town nearby- whee, free at last!

Stay tuned for week 2 in a week!


  1. Oh my. How utterly overwhelming. Did men concot this whole 'welcome home' process ;)?!

  2. of course, my dear! great pick up :)