This fall, the Cummins clan is trading the cornfields of Iowa for the castles of Germany (!!!!!!!!!)
Although the below questions are the most popular ones we’ve gotten since breaking the news, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Stay tuned to part 2 about our upcoming German adventure.
Where will you be in Germany?
Based on Andy’s job, we think we will be stationed at Grafenwoehr or Vilseck, but our exact location within Germany won’t be official until we touch down in Deutschland.
How long will you be there?
Approximately 3 years.
When will you move?
Sometime in late September or early October… Just in time to celebrate Andy’s 29th birthday and Drew’s 1st birthday in Germany!
Did you ask for Germany?
Yes and no. Last month, Andy contacted Retention about his re-enlistment options as his time in Recruiting is (FINALLY) winding down. They told us there were only 4 duty stations available to us (which I won’t name because people would be disappointed that we didn’t pick them/annoyed that we didn’t want them.) After many discussions on if we should accept the “deal,” we ultimately decided to “hold” and see if something better would appear. However, by doing so, it meant those first 4 options would no longer be available, and we could potentially get assigned somewhere worse. (I hope you’re catching my gambling imagery because that’s what this certainly felt like!) Germany and Hawaii were at the very top of our “dream sheet,” but when Retention asked Andy for his top duty station choice, we didn’t even list them because we were so sure they would be impossible to get. After all, why waste your only option on the impossible?! Instead, we told them Fort Bragg was our top choice (and it was- for CONUS [within the US] assignments.) Andy’s branch manager called and stated that Bragg wasn’t available, but gave us 4 other options– one of which was Germany. Needless to say, we immediately said to forget about Bragg, we’ll take Germany 😉 Looks like we won this round of Russian roulette after all! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a lottery ticket since the odds of landing our top overseas assignment and winning the Powerball are about the same 😉
Will Andy still be in Recruiting?
Praise the Lord Jesus, NO!!! Recruiting was a career-broadening assignment for him; now that it’s over, he will never have to be a Recruiter again. Never, ever, EVER again 😉 He will return to his real job as a “dirt mover” (aka Army Horizontal Construction Engineer.)
Do you speak German?
My German is limited to “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” while Andy’s knowledge of German is saying “Gesundheit” when someone sneezes 😉 We’re hoping to enroll in German language courses once we arrive in Germany and, of course, we’re studying at home in the meantime. We’re really excited that Drew could potentially learn a second language while he is so young!
What do your families think?
They are understandably a bit disappointed that Drew will be so far away from them, but they are excited about our new adventure! My sisters and I are already planning an epic German/Swiss/Italian road trip with our husbands, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of visitors. (Fun fact: In Andy’s 8 years in the Army and 3 different duty stations, this will be the first time we’re not within a 2-hour radius of either of our families!)
Will you be taking your pets? (We have 2 dogs, Ellie and Lily, and a cat, Gracie.)
We hired a professional dog trainer to evaluate how our dogs will handle the upcoming PCS to Germany. (I highly recommend this to any military family PCSing OCONUS with pets! After all, you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to transport them only to end up in a bad situation on the other side.) Initially, we thought Ellie would not be able to move with us because of her hatred of kennels, as kenneling is obviously necessary for the flight. We were surprised to learn we may be able to get Ellie over her fear of kennels and take her along after all; we will be working over the next few months to desensitize her before we need to make a final decision.
Our friends and family know our other dog, Lily, is… intense. With Lily’s various stranger aggression/anxiety issues, we were incredibly concerned that moving her to Germany was not a good idea. Germany has strict laws on dog behavior (no barking for more than 30 minutes per day or 10 consecutive minutes, barking between 12-2 pm or 10 pm-6 am is illegal, etc.) Unfortunately, the trainer confirmed our suspicions with Lily and recommended re-homing her. Her already high anxiety levels would be even higher due to the stress of international travel, but we can’t medicate her as it causes unpredictability. With a baby at home, it just would not be safe to have an unpredictable dog. Honestly, we both had a feeling she wouldn’t be up for the trip (and everyone that has met her would probably agree– I think Andy and I are the only ones who actually like Lily). Still, I needed to hear it from an expert before we made that decision. I’m incredibly attached to Lily. She’s been my best friend for the past 3 years, especially when Andy is gone. I’m heartbroken at losing my “first baby,” but I know it’s the best for both her and my son.
Anyway, our cat, Gracie, is for sure going to Europe with us. At least we can count on Gracie to behave 😉
What about Bailey’s job?
I work remotely as a Human Resources Specialist and plan to continue my job while overseas. It will be an adjustment being 9 hours ahead of my company, and my work schedule will most likely change to accommodate the time difference, but my fantastic supervisor and I can make it work. Plus, I’d like to keep earning a paycheck so that I can fund my family travels 😉
Will you live on-base or off?
Military housing overseas is different than military housing stateside. Once we arrive in Germany, we will be told whether or not there is availability for us on-post. If there is, we will be required to live on-post. Most soldiers in Andy’s rank live in on-post apartments called “stairwells.” If there is not availability on-post, then we would be allowed to look at off-post housing options. So, we’re going to Germany with incredibly low expectations of the housing situation. As long as we have a roof over our heads, we’ll be good. 😉
Are you excited?
HECK YES!!!!!!! This is a dream for us. When I was a student at Murray State, I applied and was accepted to a study abroad program in Germany. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go due to financial reasons. (Taking out 10-15k in student loans for ONE SEMESTER seemed outrageous!) A decade later, I’ll finally get to live in Germany, but this time we’ll be paid to live in Germany, and I won’t have to worry about any college classes while traveling Europe 😉 The icing on the cake about this redeeming Germany experience: we’ll be living approximately an hour from the town where I had hoped to study abroad! I’ll get to experience Germany with my husband and son, which, in my opinion, is far better than studying abroad by myself.
The Cummins family European adventure begins in October 2020!