Well, we’ve officially been in Germany for an entire month. It doesn’t feel like that since we spent the first two weeks in prison – I mean, quarantine – and have been able to actually experience Germany for only 2 weeks.
So far, our experiences within Germany have been limited to daycare drop-offs, a necessities run to Weiden and Amberg, and an unlimited number of trips on post for American food from the PX. We did spend one-day sightseeing in Bamberg, which I will blog about soon, but other than that day trip, we’re essentially stuck at home for the next month. Hopefully, we will be off restriction soon.
In case you’re curious what the partial lockdown consists of in our region of Bavaria: we can only gather with our household and one other household up to a maximum of 5 people (so for our family of 3, up to 2 individuals from another family); sports events are prohibited; recreational, cultural, and leisure facilities are closed (aka no massage therapy for my back!); CHRISTMAS MARKETS ARE CANCELED; restaurants can offer only pickup and delivery; alcohol sales are prohibited between 10 pm and 6 am; hotel lodging is only allowed for essential reasons, and specific to the military unit we’re in, we can travel but day-trips only to non-red-zones. The catch is every city within a few hours of here is “red,” so we can’t go anywhere. Thankfully, schools, daycares, and religious services are still open for now.
On the outside, it looks like we have settled into life here. We are out of quarantine and can drive ourselves around town. Andy has finished in-processing and officially joined his new unit. I returned to my job (working remotely.) Drew even started his new daycare. And to me, it feels like we’ve been in limbo for SO LONG that things should be back to normal by now.
But in reality, we are still in the process of a PCS.
We don’t have our cars and have no idea when to expect them. There is a backlog at the shipping port in Bremerhaven, so the shipping company doesn’t have an estimated date of when it will be disembarked. I can’t get temporary license plates until it’s officially on German soil. The shipping company won’t schedule a delivery to Weiden until I have the temporary plates. But I can’t get temporary plates too soon, because they’re only valid for a certain number of days. But I need to make the temporary tag appointment ASAP because the office here is so backlogged it can take 2+ weeks to get in… At least we know where my car is. We haven’t heard a peep about Andy’s truck since we dropped it off at the military’s vehicle processing center in Baltimore last month.
We don’t have our furniture, and we are sleeping on very uncomfortable loaner beds. Despite buying mattress toppers, my back aches, and I alternate between sleeping on the hard-as-a-brick mattress and the loaner sofa most nights. We have no date of when our household goods will arrive, or even where they are. According to the DPS system, they’ve been put in storage in Europe, but the company that should be receiving them doesn’t have them in their system. Our “no later than” date is December 15th, but with the new partial lockdown here in Deutschland, who knows if the “normal” NLT is even a valid estimate anymore.
We haven’t been able to find a church that we like. There are exactly 3 churches in a 45-minute radius that sort-of meet our denominational requirements but didn’t really feel like any of them would be our church home. I’m worried that we may never find a church we like here – one where we can make genuine friendships.