Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miss and Don't Miss

Thanks to Facebook I have had the luxury of being in touch with dozens of people I haven't seen in years and may likely never see again.  Yet it is nice to be a small part of their lives and they, a small part of my life.  I list this blog for facebook friends to check out if they so choose.  I decided soon after arriving in Germany that starting a blog would be a fun way of communicating to a mass of people at one time (mainly family).  I tend to be an efficient person.  Not to mention, I throughly enjoyed the thought of communicating at least with our families through this blog. 
It was nice to hear from a semi-distant relative....someone in the category of: "I know our relation, I have met a few times before, remember meeting her Dad a few times, but don't really know her".  Steph is my second cousin and is one of the people I enjoy being in contact with on facebook cuz who knows if when we will "see" each other.  Steph wrote a nice note on my 'wall' wondering if our adventures in Germany were over.  Very a good way :) 
We have been in Germany almost 9 months.  I really can't believe it.  Living here still feels so foreign....well, yeah.....But I was really hoping to feel more 'at home' by now.  There are lots of things I miss tremendously about living in the states, but there are many things I do not miss.  I started compiling a list of these things a few months ago...

Things I miss:

1.  Having the Cardinal directions on highway signs.  You know, North, South, East, West....they are not on Autobahn signs.  You mush know the next town or city you will want to go toward.  Creates challenges trying to figure out which exit(s) to take on the Autobahn.  Not to mention precipitating episodes of profanities strung together and yelled out in unintelligible phrases.
2.  My Bikram yoga class.  I have just learned about a yoga class held 3x week on one of the military posts.  But the class is not Bikram....which is my first yoga love.  

3.  Eavesdropping on random people sitting in a restaurant or other public arena. 

4.  Baxter.  He would have loved it here.  But I think he is loving Montana just as much if not more...he didn't have to endure a 14 hour flight in a crate to get there.  

5.  Not having to carry cash....Many German businesses do not take US debit/credit cards.  

6.  Whole Foods or equivalent.  The organic selection at the commissaries are lacking variety and availability.

7.  Texting or calling close friends and family on a whim.  Not only does the time difference play a role here, but so do the all or nothing cell phone plans.  

8.  TV commercials.  Yes, for real.  AFN (Armed Forces Network) is a free satellite television service offered to us.   It airs a few shows that I enjoy watching.   The network is unable to air even the Super Bowl commercials (um, so that is the whole reason to watch it, right?) so instead they run PSA-type commercials on suicide prevention, sexual harassment, drunk driving,  getting a power of attorney, alcohol and domestic abuse, motorcycle safety, being a considerate roommate, how inhalants kill you, how not to be a target for terrorists, get the picture.  

9.  The sun.  We moved from one of the sunniest states in the country to Germany....where last year i rained all but 4 days in July.  I have been told that was not normal summer weather.  We all have our flukes but the winter hasn't been any sunnier.  I've purchased vit. D supplements. 

Things I do not miss:

1.   Going to 7/11, use the ATM and have to buy a pack of gum because you need a $10....Yes, German ATMs will give you change.  You want €100?  The Geldautomat will give you two 10's and 4 20's....what a concept.  The convenient store lobby fought for the $20's only rule, I'm sure :) 

2.   My cell phone.  My cell phone, like many Americans was my life line.  I had my work and social schedule in there, all my phone numbers, direct and fast communication with anyone I could need or want to text on a whim.  I loved that I got sent and received 20+ texts a day.  It only took a week without it and I felt liberated in ways I can not describe.

3.  Throwing glass bottles away...knowing they would not be recycled.  Germany charges deposits on glass and most plastic bottles.  The deposit is returned to you when you return the bottle.  I think some areas of the US still takes returned bottles, but why not all? 

4.   Flush and this is a backwards one.  I miss not having to do this.  This is something necessary in Germany, but rarely needed in the states, at least for me :)  German toilets use less water (there is way less water in the bowl) and many are tankless.  So if you use your imagination...when one has to go #2 and there is less water in the ya understand?  Sometimes ya have to brush remnants of your by products away.  OK, said it...yeah its pretty gross.  Especially gross when using a public toilet and a person before you didn't do it.  

5.  Convenience...of just about everything.    

6.  3.2% beer, because we lived in Utah, but American beer in general.  German beer is damn good. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My job...a calling

A few long lost and not so long lost friends want to know more about my new job. I want to thank all the awesome well wishers...thank you for being involved in my lonely little life over here :) Its getting better, but in the midst of the holidays and other people's families visiting some traveling to the states, I am constantly reminded of the lack of a "family" present. It seemed in SL, UT there was always a feeling of family around us....blood relation was optional.  I have made some friends here. They are wonderful, social, funny, inviting and enjoyable people. I can't wait to become better and better friends! But it doesn't negate the empty feeling of those who aren't here. I miss you all! Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts.T


I have accepted a job as a staff nurse in an adult ICU at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. It is an American Military hospital. It sounds similar to the ICU at St. Alexius in Bismarck. Med/Surg, neuro, burns, infectious disease, cardiac, pulmonary, etc. etc. There are a few things very different. The main thing is patient population. I will be taking care of injured and sick soldiers the majority of the time. This was something I thought about even before leaving the states. I didn't know if I could be up for something like that. I voiced these concerns to a few friends. They agreed and understood.  A special friend (also a nurse) talked about how great it would be to have that actually feel like one is really doing something for a greater good. This conversation came to my consciousness during my interview.  

I have talked with myself. Yes, we do that from time to helps :) I decided this could take a form of humanitarian work. Yes, I know I am getting a paycheck. I also have an idea of what I will see while earning said paycheck. I do not agree with why the military is in Afghanistan or Iraq. I have never hidden my opinions about why we went to war.  These opinions do not affect the way I feel about US soldiers.  I find them to be truly heroic and selfless beyond words.  My husband served in Iraq, as most of you probably know. I know and have lived just a taste of the sacrifice these men and women have endured.

During my interview an Army Major pulled on his BDU top and said, "You don't wear one of these. But we will be asking you to be available if and when the time comes we need all hands on deck." I know what this means, it didn't need clarification. I am prepared. The Major was upfront and semi-blunt. It was refreshing. I don't like sugar coating either. So I don't wear a uniform. I have said hundreds of times I couldn't ever wear a military uniform. But, I have been given an opportunity to support and do good using my knowledge, experience and education without having to "sign my life away" to the military. I see this as a very unique learning opportunity. I see this job as an experience I will never be presented with again. I want it to be positive. I want to do as much good as possible. I want to help. I feel like this opportunity passed my way for a reason.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I called the local German hospital today.  I have a plantar's wart.  I have had it for almost a year and a half.  It started as a small irregularity on the ball of my left foot.  I identified it pretty early.  I had been taking the kids to the water park a lot and I had taken a shower at yoga here and there....I knew what it was and where it likely came from.   I have read this virus can be self- limiting...meaning it will go away on its own, usually it takes about two years or so.  YES, TWO years.  I thought I could deal with that diagnosis.  It could be worse.  I could have HPV in other areas of the body.  I have some perspective, I don't have one of these on my cervix, so I decided to hang with it.  Let it limit itself, right?   After using two different OTC remedies (the little patches and the frozen can thing) I saw an MD.  He froze the damn thing three times.  These things are hearty, I guess.  I tried apple cider vinegar and duct tape.  The freaking thing turned black so many times I can't count!!!  I even dug at it like crazy, it bled....Alot.  I really wanted it gone.  Alas, it is not gone.
Last night I woke up with hot sharp pain in the ball of  my left foot.  The site of said wart.  Prior to waking up I had a terrible dream about this stupid wart.  I won't go into details, but I had the UGLIEST wart one can imagine on my foot....then I woke up.  And it hurt, this stupid virus that I have lived with for over a year is starting to affect my sleep.  Seriously?  I can't really imagine something more silly. 
I have been avoiding using our health insurance because it requires us to see local physicians...if you want to see a doctor before the next decade starts.  I could go to a clinic on base, I just have to wait for a "space-available" slot.  Then we have to pay first and submit it to the insurance company....shitty.  So today I called the German St. Johannis Krankenhause.  I really assumed there would be acceptable customer support in calling since their website is in German and English.  WRONG.  I called, a woman answered.  I politely greeted her and immediately asked if she spoke English.  She said, "A little".  I know what that means as  have said it in Spanish multiple times.  I'm taking a German class, I could ask to make an appointment, if I had done some study but wouldn't get very far in anything after that.  So, I cut to the chase.  "I need an appointment with a doctor and I am a new patient."  I was politely put on hold (expected and totally fine).  The phone rang back to the same woman three times, she kept putting me on hold when I asked to speak English.  Finally she took me off hold and just laid the phone on the desk.  I could hear background chatter....really chatter when you don't understand the language.  After a few more minutes (total of >5) a woman (I assume it was a different one, but could have been the same) picked up the phone and said a long German sentence.  I just said, "Nein Danke" and stammered to say something else....during my stammering (which only lasted .25 seconds) she said, "Ok, Tschüss!"  And hung up the phone.  There may have been some other words I don't recall because I've blocked it out. :)  So after holding the phone to my ear for almost seven minutes I got nothing.  Except for the knowledge that the German hospital switchboard operators don't necessarily speak English nor do they care to really be of any help.

Honestly, I don't really hold any hostility against my last statement.  I can only imagine my attitude for people who don't speak my language expecting me to help them with their problems.....OH WAIT!!  I freaking did that at work all the time.  huh.
That is all.   Miss everyone, thanks for reading..  xoxoxoxo