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Flashback Friday: Living Abroad

Friday, August 16, 2013

I've been living in Germany just over 2 years now so sometimes this trip down memory lane really makes me laugh at myself. The funny / sad / reassuring part is that most of my misadventures aren't just mine. Many of the American wives here have had very similar experiences - and we often get together to laugh about this stuff. Having a sense of humor really does help.

I really hope some random wife finds my blog one day when she really needs it and realizes that she isn't alone in this. So this one's for you, fellow Military Wives: Major props to you for having the guts and the heart to live this life. It ain't easy, folks!

Dear Military Wife New to Germany & Potential Future Friend,

You're not alone. I know it may feel that way some days. Right now you may be clinging to the only American woman on your street - even though you may or may not like her much - because she speaks your language. Oh, sure, English is important, but I mean something bigger than that- she "gets" you. She gets your problems. Do you know why she understands so well? Because she's been there. 

We've all been there. We've done the stupid stuff. We've felt like idiots. We've been fed up. 
We've felt trapped. We've been homesick. We've all wished to walk into a store and find a pair of jeans that just fit already. We've all cried in dressing rooms when we've had to buy a dress for a special occasion and the 7 we ordered online either didn't arrive in time or didn't look as cute as they did on the web. 

We've used our traffic signals going into roundabouts. We've nearly been creamed on the autobahn. We've gotten trapped in parking garages. We've been locked OUT of the parking garage and unable to get to our car because in America parking garages don't close after a certain time. But some of them do here. We've been confused about "frei" parking (and, yes, you have to pay- it just means there's a space open). We've gotten on the wrong train. We've been fined for having the wrong bahn ticket at the wrong time of day. We've been yelled at for taking our dog in the supermarket (no, they aren't welcome everywhere.)

Every single one of those things (and many more) have happened to me personally. 

Yeah, we know. Now. Wipe your face, put on some lip gloss and go to that coffee social or spouses lunch or playgroup. Go for a walk. Or go to the gym. Be brave and wave "hallo!" to your German neighbor. 
Meet people. Make friends. Make mistakes. 

Then learn to laugh about them. Because this may be your only chance to live in another country and it would be really sad if you only ever saw the inside of your house, don'tchathink?

Your Future BFF

p.s. Yeah, it's absolutely normal to sit in the food court on base JUST to hear people talking in English. 
You're not the only one who does that. 

p.p.s. Now that you're finished reading my note to you, check out  this silly story and then let me know about the silliest thing you've done so far!