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Aug 30, 2011

Hello World!

Just wanted to pop in and let everyone know I am still alive...again. I have been a super sub-par blogger lately, but my life has been stuck in overdrive for a good while now with little sign of slowing down in the near future. So, forgive me. I promise I will have LOTS of awesome things to share with you once I've had time to catch my breath! For now, I will tell you that I am currently blogging to you from the good 'ole USA! In my childhood bedroom to be exact. Bananas, huh?! I wasn't even in Germany for 2 whole months and now I'm already back in the states. I've been stateside for almost 2 weeks now and will be here until mid October! Why, you ask? Well, there are a myriad of reasons I'm back home...but you'll just have to stay tuned to find out why! D is also stateside right now, but in a totally different state than I am. Ridiculous, right? Tell me about it. Don't fret though, I'll be where he is come Wednesday afternoon. Jet setting is a complete understatement! I've become all too familiar with airports as of late. And my wallet is currently in the corner crying, all empty inside. Eh, c'est la vie! 

Anywho, I'm off to bed. I will be a better blogger soon. I swear. Just keep checking back! It'll be worth it!

Aug 17, 2011

Heidelberg, Germany

Two weekends prior to the move into our flat, we took a day trip to explore the city of Heidelberg! It was one of the cities on our list to see and I couldn't wait to check it off. D and I had been told by some of his co-workers that Heidelberg castle was one of must-see castles in Germany. I'd have to say they were right! It was a beautiful castle (although mostly destroyed from various lightning storms and the 30 years war) and the city was lovely as well.  Heidelberg is a university town, much like Mainz-Kastel is where D's squadron is located, although it's much prettier in my opinion. It is home to the University of Heidelberg, the oldest university in Germany. Heidelberg is also a very popular tourist destination, mostly because of the castle, but also for the beautiful baroque style Old Town. And for all you non-milspouse readers out there, did you know that Heidelberg is also home to a US Army installation since 1951? Yep, it's true! Now on to the photos!

View of Heidelberg from the castle

Inside the castle courtyard

These photos were taken on our tour of the castle. So worth the 4 euro each.

Another view of the courtyard from inside the castle

Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart's children...or at least a few portraits of them.

Castle chapel.

D and I standing in front of one of the largest wine barrels I'd ever seen! There was an even bigger one in a cellar around the corner.

Eating my first official German pretzel! It was lackluster to say the least.

Another view of Heidelberg taken from the castle garden wall.

Finally out of the castle, we made our way into the city. Here is the Marktplatz.

Schneeballen or "snowballs." They are a dessert first created in Rothenburg ob der Tauber by bakers who wanted nothing to go waste. They used all their baking scraps to form these dough balls, fried them, and covered them with chocolate and all kinds of sweet toppings.

University shop

Making our way across the bridge to have a little picnic with our Schneeballen.

View of the castle from the bridge. So cool!

The view from our picnic spot. What a lovely way to end our visit to Heidelberg.

Seriously? D was a monster with that snowball! Have to say though, they really aren't that tasty. But, when in Germany?!

Aug 16, 2011

I'm Not Dead

Although some of you might have thought I was with my lack of blogging lately. Sorry!! I had good reason for my mini hiatus from blogville, promise! After our AMAZING anniversary weekend in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (which I will post about soon), D and I finally made the move out of our tiny hotel room into this:

Our new flat!

{Even though I'd like to say that this behemoth of a house is all ours, I'd be lying. We inhabit the entire 1400 sq ft second floor! You can see one of our two cute balconies in the photo. The one (and a half) levels below us belong to our landlord and his adorable family. The floor above us belongs to a really nice Army Captain who unfortunately might be moving out in December when he separates.} 
{The gate into our building. So ornate.} 
We love, love, love it...and, not to mention, are SO happy to be out of that hotel and no longer living out of suitcases! The final count on days we spent "homeless" was 63. 41 of those days were spent here in Germany at the Army Lodge. To be honest, it wasn't horrible. We managed, like we always do, but there's just something about having your own things and a place to put them that brings comfort and the feeling of being settled. I can officially say D and I are finally settled here in Germany. It only took 63 days, 2 parking tickets (long story), and countless hours of moving boxes to be able to say that. And it feels oh so good!

The keys were in our hands bright and early on August 2nd and we eagerly moved all of our suitcases from the Lodge into our new flat. As we were checking out of the hotel, I told Michael (the receptionist who we had the joy of seeing every morning) that if I never saw his face again, that would be alright with me. Normally, that comment would have earned me harsh look and a few cuss words, but he just laughed and said he understood and was glad he won't have to re-activate room keys for me anymore (I swear, they deactivated themselves every time I went to the gym! Not my fault)! We spent that day meeting with the housing inspector, filling out paperwork, and deciding where all of our furniture would fit since the movers were coming bright and early the next morning. The first night in our flat, we slept like this:

Egg carton mattress pad on the hardwood floors. Just like the Ritz Carlton! Eh, not so much. But for one night, we dealt with it. It's kind of ironic though. When I packed our unaccompanied baggage (you know, the stuff that's supposed to get to you BEFORE your household goods does), I put our air mattress in there just in case nights like this were to happen. Well, just like with any other military move, our unaccompanied baggage arrived 3 days before we even stepped foot in Germany, but it was the absolute last thing they delivered to our apartment! Seriously. Story of my life. 

As promised, the movers arrived bright and early Wednesday morning and began unloading our home goods. At first, they only sent 2 guys to move 7000 lbs of stuff up two flights of stairs. No idea what their justification for that was. Sure enough, about an hour into the moving process, 3 more Germans showed up toting boxes. Thank goodness they came. Otherwise, it would have taken those two poor souls who began the move much longer than 5 hours to finish. Even after it rained off and on throughout the day, delaying the move of our mattresses and couch, they were done and gone by 1:30 that afternoon. That left the rest of the day for D and I to stand around our apartment full of boxes with blank stares. I was overwhelmed to say the least, but more on that later. 

{The view from our front balcony. You can see mountains in the distance on a clear day. Love it!}
{Beautiful columns on our balcony. These little things add so much character to a home...and they're one of the many features that made me fall in love with this place.}
The next day, D had to go into work for some mandatory meetings, so that left me on my own for the unaccompanied baggage delivery and for the delivery of our borrowed washing machine, refrigerator (we have two now, crazy huh?), and the HIDEOUS wardrobes. Normally, I don't mind dealing with the moving stuff alone. I did an entire move completely by myself while D was deployed last September (yes, it hasn't even been a year and we've already moved again!). What made the whole thing so complicated was that our landlord had yet to change the name label on our gate buzzer and mailbox out front. It was still in the previous tenants name. Because of my fear that the movers would take one look at the wrong name on our buzzer and leave without delivering the goods, I stood out on our balcony all morning watching the street like a hawk until they came. Needless to say, when they finally showed up nearly 3 hours after their expected delivery window had passed, I was a little less than friendly and completely fed up. AND...I took one look at the 3 giant wardrobes that we were allotted and almost died as they came barreling through my front door. I had no idea where the heck we were going to put 2 out of the 3 wardrobes and they are quite possibly the most hideous pieces of furniture I've ever seen. Think dorm room meets boot camp. THAT'S how hideous! None of our furniture even remotely matches them and they take up ridiculous amounts of space. Space that we don't really have to spare, mind you...but I've also got a post about that saved for later (see what you have to look forward to!).

After 2 days of moving and a few rolls of tums, all of our stuff was here and accounted for. It was solely by the grace of God that we only incurred one furniture causality.

I like to call this the leaning tower of drawers! Eh, it wasn't a big deal to me though. I completely expected this piece to fall apart long before Germany ever happened. We almost lost it in the move last September, but it somehow held on. And it's still holding on! D put his handyman skills to the test and fixed the darn thing! It is no longer leaning and all the drawers pull out effortlessly! D, for the win! :) We spent the entire weekend unpacking boxes and not a single kick-knack, plate, or glass bowl was broken! Not even my precious wine glasses were scathed (believe me, I almost had a cow thinking that they weren't going to make it...what's a wine snob to do without her wine glasses?!). We were flabbergasted. That kind of luck just doesn't happen to us. Like I said, it was only by the grace of God.

{Boxes swallowing our living room. Overwhelming doesn't even begin to describe it.}
{Sorry for the crappy iPhone quality photos (did I mention the hubby got me and iPhone? I've got a love/hate relationship with that thing). Nothing like relaxing after a night of unpacking boxes with two buck chuck in fancy Army Lodging cups! That's how Team Cote stays classy when we can't find our wine glasses.}
Most of the weekend was spent swimming in a sea of boxes, arguing with one another about furniture placement in the living room, and making numerous trips to the PX for hooks and plug adapters...but our flat is finally starting to look like a home! Only thing standing in the way of that glorious idea are these:

Boxes are the bane of my existence at the moment. Thankfully, the movers are scheduled to come tomorrow to pick all of them up. I'll be so happy when I can open the door to our flat and not have the putrid smell of cardboard whack me in the face! No amount of Yankee candle spray can mask that. Seriously, we've tried. I promise as soon as this place looks presentable I will post pictures! Until then, I'm spending my days cleaning, organizing, and enjoying our new home! Thanks for sticking with us...there's lots more to come!

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