Happy Monday, everyone. I wanted to give you just a quick update on how things are unfolding over here in Germany.
First of all, the best news is that after almost 6 weeks apart, Harley has arrived!
He was originally scheduled to fly over two days before us, and then board at the airport until we arrived. Our amazing sponsor picked us up in a huge duty van and since Harley’s crate is large enough to hold a pony, it would have made things so easy to load up together and head to the hotel for quarantine.
But as we all know, NOTHING is easy in 2020.
We had several scheduling hiccups, and then the Frankfurt pet lounge closed for two weeks because of some Covid cases among their workers. I was starting to lose hope that we would get him over here at all. Since he’s a rescue, he’s a bit clingy and I hated to think of him wondering if he’d been given away again.
The silver lining was that our dear friends in North Carolina kept him for us, so I never had to worry that he was stuck in a kennel for weeks on end. They have two Yorkies that he considers part of his pack, and he made himself at home (I owe them at least one cake and one loaf of bread; the Yorkies are too tiny to countersurf so we know for sure who the culprit was!).
Finally, everything came together this weekend. He got picked up in Cary around 11am on Saturday, had a car ride to Atlanta, and we met him at the Frankfurt airport around 7pm on Sunday. We had to rent a great big van to transport his crate, and drove 3 hours each way in pouring rain to get him, but of course every dollar and every mile was worth it.
Here’s a blurry picture of the reunion:
We didn’t get home until about 11:30pm, so while I meant to share a big long post about how everything has gone this first month, I ran out of time.
Here are the highlights, though. First, we’re still living in a hotel. We think we’ve found an apartment in Stuttgart, but the housing office on base has to review our contract and they’re very busy so we have to wait a few weeks for that appointment. Our things haven’t arrived yet so if they’re not here before we move out of the hotel, the military can give us some basic loaner furniture to use while we wait.
Our daughter started school last week. They are in-person five days a week but with some precautions in place, like wearing masks and having one-way traffic flow through the halls. Her first day of school was a little dramatic when the bus driver drove right past her at her stop instead of picking her up, but the front desk was lovely and called a taxi for us and she arrived only a few minutes late. She’s already made a few friends and is hoping to start visiting dance studios next week.
My Beetle arrived from the States completely dead and I wasn’t thrilled that the company we paid $2K+ to ship it over just rolled it off the transport truck and left us with it in a parking lot (someone also broke open the fuel door and siphoned every drop of gas out of the tank while it was in transit). So far we’ve had it towed twice, replaced the battery and the alternator, and now the VW dealer is trying to figure out if the main problem is the engine control unit or–fingers crossed–something less expensive. We’re working through our insurance company on this one, since my German is limited to about three sentences and doesn’t including car terminology!
Speaking of which, I am trying to work on my German every day but it seems like most people I run into speak English much better than I speak German, so it’s making me a little lazy. I also realized it’s hard to pick up a new language when everyone is wearing masks and you can’t see their mouths!
Lest it seem like all I do is complain about some of the wrinkles that inevitably come with an international move, let me say that there is so, so much to love here. First of all, the view out of our hotel window is amazing. The German sky and clouds are gorgeous and people have beautiful gardens and balconies. Second, the bread, wine, and fresh vegetables are excellent. I am thankful that we walk a lot or I would gain weight for sure! And last but not least, our military family has been so helpful and welcoming as we transition to the expat lifestyle.
Thanks for all the good wishes on Facebook about Harley–I appreciate them so very much!
Connie Oatis says
So glad Harley arrived in good shape!
Oh my goodness–me, too! I was starting to think we’d never see him again!
Patty Morris says
So glad Harley has made it to your hotel. Is he now in quarantine with you there?
Hey, Patty–He is at the hotel with us (and the cat!) but animals do not have to quarantine for the first two weeks like people do, so we are out and walking 3-4 times a day. He seems to be enjoying his new country–I don’t know if Germany smells different than the US, but he’s fascinated by every single blade of grass!
Have a great weekend and thanks for writing!
Oh, Christy, I’m so excited that Harley has joined you! I hope he’s settling in and knows he’s with his family for good now. So sorry about your car! Seems there’s very little respect for other’s property these days. It’s great that Annabelle is making friends quickly. I hope she finds a dance class that she’s happy with! I’ve always heard that there’s so much beauty in Germany ~ great that you’re already discovering it. Hopefully, you will have a place to live and to make your own very soon!
Thank you so much, Pat. I hope so, too. We are more than ready to see our things again and to have a kitchen (I miss tacos!!). The car is still being worked on…the radio is still not working and there’s a light knocked out. I’m hoping we’ll have it back by next week. I’m just thankful for a good, responsive insurance company!
I hope you are doing well, my friend, and staying healthy.
Christy~ I can only imagine what poor Harley’s thoughts were these past six weeks…..poor baby! Yet to be back in the arms of his family has got to make him one happy pup too!! For all the planning/organizing one can do, your ability to handle the hic ups is an inspiration to us all! I’ve already thought of you when things don’t go right in my world! =)
Nevertheless, you’re in our thoughts/prayers and glad to hear you all are adjusting. Thank you for sharing pictures and this new chapter in your lives! I will be curious how they celebrate Christmas and if they carry on the way we do back home ……I’ve read not, though you can let us know for sure! xox
Thank you for the good wishes, Julie! I’m not going to lie, there have been quite a few times over these past weeks when I have let my composure slip and I have shed more than one tear over that dog. I was beginning to think we would never see him again! I’m just thankful for our friends who took such good care of him and made sure that we didn’t have to board him at a kennel for a month-plus. He would not have done well with that as a rescue!
From what I’ve heard, some of the smaller Christmas markets in Germany will still be going on and I am so excited because I hear they are amazing. I don’t think they decorate their houses as much as we do but you know that I will take pictures and let you know!
I can only imagine Harley was all over you all like white on rice!! LOL He was so happy!!
I loved Germany when we visited years ago and wouldn’t mind returning for a visit. It was so clean, people swept their yards!!!! Looking forward to hearing all about the many places you get to visit and your daughter’s dance class. You truly are an inspiration to the rest of us with this move! 🙂
Hey, Nita–Thank you for writing–it’s so good to hear from you! Yes, Harley was so, so happy to be back with us. I don’t think he’s a huge fan of our hotel room (it’s pretty small for a big dog) but he loves walking to the park and sniffing all the new smells.
I do not have a hard time believing that people sweep their yards. It looks like a picture postcard over here! We are heading to Florence and Tuscany for the long weekend–doesn’t that sound wonderful? Annabelle was dying to go to Paris but since they went “red” a few weeks ago we shifted direction and are going South instead.
So glad your pup is home with his family. As a retired Air Force wife I still see moving vans and dream about the adventure the families are about to experience. I was an Army brat born in France and always hoped to go to Germany. We went to Okinawa instead. So I will hopefully experience it through you! I hope the rest of your settling in will go smoothly. I have a yellow hatchback VW bug so I’m praying for a simple fix for yours. Can’t wait to read your stories!
Thank you for writing! My sister in law is in Okinawa right now (they just had a typhoon) and I’m sure that was an adventure for you even though you didn’t get your wish of living in Germany. My daughter and I were commenting a few months ago that it felt like we had been in North Carolina forever (it was five years!) and it was definitely time to move again. We get the itch every 2-3 years and I’m sure you know that feeling!
The Beetle is still getting fixed but we are almost there. I’m hoping to have her back before convertible season is over!
Thanks for writing and take care,
So glad to read that Harley is with you again!
Thank you! I might have cried a little when we had our reunion. 🙂
Wow!!! Funny how one can “think” so often about a family that you only “know” through a blog. It will be interesting to follow you through this new adventure – the wonderful and the hard, like this last separation. So glad you have your doggie back and sorry about your car. I know having that over there was very important to you. Looking forward to hearing more about everything., especially expectations vs reality 🙂 It’s always interesting to me to hear how one thinks it’s going to be, then the good-and-the-“oh!” that is real life.
Would love to hear from your dauter’s perspective too, if she ever feels comfortable guest-blogging.
Thanks for that lovely comment, Jenni! We have such a great community of readers here and that’s one of the reasons that I feel so comfortable sharing all the nitty-gritty details with you guys. There really have been a bunch of challenges during this move, but I keep reminding myself that moving overseas is never easy and it’s bound to be at least twice as difficult during Covid. Every morning I have asked God for a daily dose of grace to get through any and all challenges and He has been faithfully delivering.