The First Few Weeks

3 Jul

Jet lag is an ugly ugly thing.  Trying to explain to a preschooler and a toddler that even though it feels like 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s actually midnight, is not working out for you.  The first few days back together feel like a wacky dream filled with 2 a.m. breakfasts and 4 a.m. naps and lots & lots of sudden rain.  After several early mornings, the natural order of sleep & wake finds a balance and you all are adjusted enough to the new time (although the weather stays surprisingly crummy).

The hotel stay is only a few days long and then you’re introduced to your new house – one of the middle homes in a side-by-side quadplex within an off-base Army community.  It is located just about a mile from the base, and there is a pleasant walking route and a convenient shuttle bus to base every hour.  The house has three bedrooms plus a maid’s room/office & a bathroom upstairs, and kitchen & dining & living rooms & laundry closet downstairs.  The backyards all meet to a shared green space (where an alley normally is), and there are parks scattered throughout these grass strips where lots of kids meet every night when it cools down.  There’s a pool and a tiny store at the end of the development, and just about a block down the street is the school where Kirby will go in fall.  Even though you have only what you brought in your suitcases, you have borrowed the basic furniture and living necessities from a lending closet, and have been gifted some outdoor furniture and a barbecue and microwave from some kind neighbors.  Basically it feels like small-town America…if it were military occupied.

Now you have been in the Army for nearly a year, but this is your family’s first experience with military life, so they have to not only learn to live in a foreign country, but also figure out how to adjust to this incredibly different Army culture.  So here’s what else you all do in these very busy first few weeks: go to Germany for a week-long training, sign up for WIC (free coupons for food essentials), have the family apply for their Soggiornos (green cards that allow them to stay more than a year), register Kirby for summer preschool and Sure Start (like Head Start, beginning in fall), have him go to VBS at the church, get him started in the summer reading program at the library, bring Frankie to a weekly baby/toddler play group, sign up Nicole for Benvenuti – a Welcoming class for new spouses, go to the non-denominational church services every week, walk around downtown, eat lots of cheese and drink wine, and lots more.

It’s been busy to say the least.  But you are presented with your first travel option – either a trip to Milan on July 9th with the Outdoor Recreation club, or a trip to Milan on July 9th with the church.  You have to pay for the Outdoor Rec one, but the church trip is free.  Continue reading if you decide to go with the costly one, or go to First Adventure: Milan if you go with the church.

Now you’re just being silly.  Of course you don’t want to pay a dime.  Go to First Adventure: Milan to travel with the church.

2 Responses to “The First Few Weeks”

  1. Robin D. Carter July 4, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Delightfully written! You’ll all do fine if you can keep that sense of humor. It brought back a lot of memories, too. Army life is like anything else; it has it’s up and downs, good moments and moments of “What?!?” Big hugs and love to you all! Aunt Dianne

  2. Alexis Macdonald July 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    wow, you are incredibly talented with writing, perhaps the Army will want you to teach at their college? so glad to hear all about your frist few days and month there, and i”m sure that you are glad to have your family together again, Lexy

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