Recycle All the Things!

German culture is extremely practical, and the emphasis on conserving, recycling, and re-using is, to this American, borderline insane. There are four or five different recycling bins (depending on where to live) and you have to sort your trash into paper, glass, plastic, food scraps, everything else, etc. Large junk can only be recycled twice a year in some places, while in others you have to take junk to a specific location and fill out forms.

It seemed a little ridiculous to me at first, but having been warned ahead of time, I was determined to do my best to follow the rules as soon as I arrived. Last week I laid out different trash bags in the kitchen for each type of waste, and told Aaron what to put in each one. We’ve done our best to keep to it, and I have noticed that I’m already more careful about what I use when I’m cooking.

This morning while we waited for our ride to pick us up, he hunted down and slew a massive fly that had been buzzing around and bothering us since last night (also, the first insect I’ve seen here!). I had to laugh when, after smacking the fly straight out of the air, he turned to me suavely and said “I guess I’ll toss this in ‘everything else’?”

For now that will work, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if fly-recycling were to become the next big thing.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned in to hear about the beauties of Air Force hospitality later in the week.



Arrival in Deutschland

This last week has been the craziest time in my life so far – and that includes the week of my wedding. Even though life has been crazy, God has been good. And though I miss my friends and family more than I can say, I know that He is guiding us into a life here where Aaron and I can lean on each other and grow stronger in Christ.

After a long wait in Baltimore Sunday night, and an even longer flight, we arrived in Ramstein, Germany. We had to wait several hours for a shuttle, but arrived in Spangdahlem for the night in time to get some Popeye’s Chicken on base before a very early bedtime. Aaron toasted me with his tea as we sat eating, and laughed “Well, our first meal in Germany is Popeye’s. That is weird!” True enough.

Tuesday morning begun suddenly – Aaron woke me up to tell me that his sponsor had changed pick-up times and would be there in 45 minutes. As my family could tell you, I’m a slow-morning person – and I usually don’t communicate before a cup of coffee (or five). However, either the compression of the time or the 14 hours of sleep that I had the night before (I’m blaming jet-lag) gave me enough energy to get myself ready and packed in time to have a nice espresso down in the hotel lobby while we waited for Aaron’s sponsor to arrive.

Tamekia Payne turned out to be a great guide to Germany – she told us all about her own move here, her village, the workplace, and answered many of our own questions. She took us to Lutzerath, to the hotel Maas, where we were to stay until we found a house. The transition from American base to German village could not have been more marked. Spangdahlem, where we spent our first night in Germany, reminded us strongly of Sheppard, and only the difference was the odd electric outlets, the lack of tumbleweeds, and nice scenery. Here in Lutzerath, however, things couldn’t have been more different.

Lutzerath is about half the size of my alma mater, which only had about 3,000 students and staff when I was there. The houses are close together, but there are several horses in the back yards of some of the residences! The houses are generally plastered and painted bright colors – some of them are still half-timbered and most of them seemed to have been originally. The country around here is beautiful – a mixture of NC mountains and Oxford countryside.

I feel as though I’ve been dropped off in a strange place and suddenly become unable to read or speak. Everything here is in German, and only a few of the people of Lutzerath speak English. I did however, have a funny encounter yesterday (Wednesday) with the lady who owns the bread shop. In broken German I tried to order some pastries for Aaron’s breakfast, and accidentally said “sí!” instead of “ja.” She looked startled and said “habla español?” I joyfully replied that I did, and we talked in Spanish for some time. She’s a native of Ecuador, but has been here 28 years and loves it. It was awesome to be able to use my Spanish, but I never would have thought I would use it in the tiny village of Lutzerath, Germany!

Aaron is gone from 7:15 until dinnertime at work, so I am filling my time by getting to know the place, walking down to the Maas restaurant to use wifi, and trying to learn how to make the bed with the wacko German sheets (look them up, they are so odd!).

After five months of marriage and living most of that time either apart or in a hotel, Aaron and I are so looking forward to finding our own place! We are going house-hunting with Frau Warner, the base housing agent, tomorrow, so praying that we find something lovely!