A few people have asked me for an update on our move to Germany, and, well, there’s not much of an update to give! For the past 4.5 months, we’ve been unable to do anything for our move because we didn’t have official “hard” orders in hand. So we’ve started the purging/decluttering process, had a few medical appointments, and gotten the chipped windshield in our truck repaired, but that’s about it. (Turns out our “hard” orders were lost on someone’s desk for 2.5 months… sigh…)
Well, a few days ago (on my birthday, in fact!) we received Andy’s “hard” orders for Germany. These are not the final set of orders, as we are waiting for Drew and me to receive command sponsorship to join Andy in Germany, but these are enough to get the ball rolling on some tasks! Because I had been so proactive about the EFMP screening process (medical clearance for Drew and me) back in February when we first learned Germany was our projected orders, Andy already had certain pieces of paperwork ready when his S1 shop asked for it. So, hopefully, that means our final orders for Germany will be in soon. [Side note: I asked for probably the *most impossible* thing for my birthday– a set of orders for Germany–and they arrived. Next year I’m asking for a million bucks 😉 ]
Also, we applied for Drew’s tourist passport in February, which proved to be a great decision as we received his passport before the State Department shut down due to coronavirus. We will still need our “no-fee” passports that will allow us to live in Germany on military orders, but Drew and I can at least get to Germany with our tourist passports, a copy of the military orders, and paperwork showing that we’ve applied for our no-fee passports. (Due to the backlog within the State Department, our “no-fee” passports will be sent straight to Germany instead of Drew and me being required to stay in the States until they arrive.)
As our PCS becomes more real, people have responded with a variety of opinions, frequently unsolicited. Some people think it’s a 3-year paid vacation. (Not at all! Andy will have a regular military work schedule to include field exercises and deployments, and we will have the usual “life” stressors of bills and doctors’ appointments and all the ordinary things you never think about on vacation.) Some people think it’s a “bad” assignment, going so far as to say, “Well, at least you’re not PCSing to X duty station!” (To which I respond, “We *asked* for Germany and are very excited for it, soooo….. -shrug- ) Some people have been upset that we haven’t enjoyed our time in Iowa. (Due to both Andy’s temporary recruiting assignment and the location in which we were assigned. #sorrynotsorry) Anyway, we are VERY excited for Andy to not only be back in his “real” job as an Army Engineer but to be moving to our dream duty station in Europe.
One question we’ve been asked is if we’ll visit our families in Kentucky and Louisiana before we move. Probably not. In Andy’s current command, they are only able to take 1 week of leave every 3 months. His week to take leave is this week, and this is his last time to take leave before we head to Germany. Although we’re able to travel right now, due to coronavirus, our mileage restriction is 200 miles (minus hotspots like Minneapolis.) That automatically rules out visiting our families back home; we automatically ruled out traveling anywhere in Iowa because we’d rather save our money for going to places that we actually want to visit 😉 Honestly, I’m almost a little relieved that command said no travel because it meant we didn’t have to pick which extended family we were going to visit.
Instead, we’ve told our families that if they want to see/meet Drew (yes, a large chunk of family still hasn’t met our now-8-month-old!) that they will need to come to us this time. So far, the only people planning to visit are my two sisters, which doesn’t surprise me as they’re the only ones who have visited us in the middle-of-nowhere in the past 3 years. I’m a little sad for Drew not to meet/see some of his family before we move, but I refuse to hold onto that guilt because if it were a priority for them, they would make it happen both in their actions and their finances. I get that saying all of the above makes me sound a little salty, but… ehh, it’s the truth. Don’t get me wrong, we’re incredibly excited about Germany, just bummed that some extended family members are trying to guilt us over this amazing opportunity.
And that’s about all I have to say in this update. Fingers crossed that our next update is much more exciting!!