28 July 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 5

This week started out a little rough. RC and I have had pretty constant communication since he left, but that stopped all of a sudden. Completely out of the blue. For 2 days I didn't hear from him and I was a little freaked out. I knew something was wrong. I soon found out that all soldiers in his region were put on a media blackout because two men, a specialist and a private, were killed. A number of other individuals were injured. With the way technology and Facebook is they are mandating blackouts so that families can be properly notified before someone senselessly posts something on Facebook.  

My heart aches for their families and instantly I was reminded how real this war is. 

The rest of my week was spent at work and continuing the CrossFit/functional fitness classes in the evening. I've developed some nice calluses, determined my baseline for weightlifting, and hopefully gained/toned some muscles! I also conquered round two against these gawd-awful walls and hung some curtains in our living room. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, a retelling of Cinderalla from one of the "ugly stepsisters", is my current read.

Also, here's a picture of one of the Daddy or Hero Dolls. You can place a picture under the plastic piece in front of his face. I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of creepy looking and the dudes got crazy hair. But these are a great tool to help kids deal with separation from their solider.. or errrr wives when there are extra Daddy Dolls left over. :)

25 July 2012

How to Get Your Fix of 'Murica in Germany

You probably don't think about this until you move to a foreign country, but what works when you're overseas?
Music videos on YouTube? Pandora? Netflix? Watching How I Met Your Mother on CBS.com?
No. No. No and No. Or should I say NEIN!!

American channels and shows on German television? Of course not.

So how do I get my fix of American media?

As I mentioned earlier there are many websites that you cannot access if you are not within the continental US. By using a VPN my IP address (how they know I am in Germany) is hidden and my data is protected as well. I've been using HotSpot Shield and now I can watch all the shows I want on CBS and FOX's websites and listen to all the music I want on Pandora and YouTube.

Most importantly I was able to watch THIS video. Pssssh, Biebers got nothin' on NSYNC!

2. USTVnow.com
For those shows that aren't on the TV channel's website I've been using USTVnow.com. It's a service based out of Philadelphia that allows American citizens living abroad access to their huge DVR database system. For a monthly fee you are able to record as many shows as you want to a  remote DVR and watch whenever you'd like via their website! Hello, Real Housewives and all my Bravo shows!

For when I want to go back and watch episodes from previous seasons I use Project Free TV. 

4. SONGZA & iHeart RADIO iPhone APP
iHeart radio is my favorite. I'm able to listen to my Charleston stations like WEZL. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes when I'm driving down the road listening to country music and hearing commercials about Red's Icehouse I forget that I'm in Germany. Songza is a great alternative to Pandora. They create unique playlists for a number of different scenarios; singing in the shower, waking up, friday night dance party, unwinding after a long day.

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Now more important than getting my fix of American TV and music is getting my daily dose of my favorite American PEOPLE! Even though we're separated by an ocean these gadgets help me feel much closer!

Duh. But really, Skype is amazing. It allows me to talk to my parents, grandparents, brothers, and husband! We are spread out in three different countries and most of the time it's a very clear connection. Having a phone conversation is nice, but seeing a loved one's face is even sweeter!

Who loves free texting? This girl! Especially since if I tried to text and call from my German cellphone handy number the rates would be ridiculous!  With Pinger, they assign you an American number that you can give to your family & friends. Simple and easy.

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Now if I could just figure out a way to get some Chickfila over here I'd be a happy girl! :)

20 July 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR GERMANY, this rainy weather needs to stop. I would like to get at least a tiny bit of a tan. I am already pale and don't need to be translucent by the time winter rolls around. DEAR HUSBAND, I got a "hero doll" so now your cute face is going to go everywhere with me. Travels to European countries, Thanksgiving dinner, and most definitely Christmas morning. DEAR NINJA MOSQUITO, must you be so allusive and always attack at night? I've never even seen you yet I wake up with bites on my arm every morning. Also, there are about 5 million of your brothers and sisters in South Carolina. You are one of like 5 in Germany. Why did you have to pick my home to live in? DEAR CONCRETE WALLS,  I may have bent the first nail I used, but eventually I  succeeded in hanging pictures! Emma for the win! DEAR CROSSFIT CLASS ON POST, I'm looking forward to you kicking my butt tonight. DEAR HUSBAND, We made it one month! And I miss your face. A lot.

19 July 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 4

Wahoo! We made it a month! I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes my heart. I know it's a small milestone, but know it feels like we're actually making progress! One month down. :)

Since I've been busier with work I didn't exactly take a picture for everyday. But this week we had two girls nights. One was comprised of pina coladas, homemade pizza, and an app-sharing session. The other was spent eating Mexican food and planning our trip to Poland next month. Sunday I had to pull over to the side of the road and take pictures of the sunflower fields by the gate to get on post. It's so beautiful when there are bright blue skies behind the sunflowers! Downloaded iHeartRadio and have been listening to that and Songza nonstop. Luckily our car has an adaptor so I can plug in my iPhone and listen to country music in the car and not hear German commercials! Hallelujah! Got special nails from Self Help so I could hang pictures on our concrete walls. Our diplomas were the first thing I hung.  Last night I got to catch up with my bestie from Clemson. We gushed about our shows, caught up on each others lives, and she shared a yummy recipe with me. :) All in all a pretty good week. Of course it would have been better if my love was here!

13 July 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR FRIDAY, today you bring a girls night. And for that, I am thankful! DEAR BAVARIA, You are beautiful. Sunflower fields right by the back gate on post? Yes, please. I don't think I've ever enjoyed drives home as much as I do in your lovely state. DEAR HUSBAND, when all of your packages finally start arriving you are going to have a TON of goodies! I hope you enjoy them all! :) DEAR NEW GIRL, as in the TV show. I love you. Zoey Deschannel, you are perfect. Also, Jess and Nick please starting dating. Pronto! DEAR SLEEP SCHEDULE, we need to get back on a good routine.  Without the husband around, I'm naturally a night owl. No bueno. DEAR WORK, you seem to be filled with good people. You take up most of my day and that paycheck at the end of the month is going to be oh so sweet. DEAR HUSBAND, I love you tremendously.


12 July 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 3

This week actually went by very quickly! Here's to many more weeks like it. RC started a new work schedule this week. Luckily he has the ability to sleep anytime & anywhere when given the opportunity; whether it's AM or PM. I'm hoping that he adjusts well and that our schedules continue to allow us to talk regularly. Our daily conversations have made this so much easier!

// Day 15 // H&M and German restaurant day was a success!! I actually really liked the schnitzel.
// Day 16 // Celebrated two sweet girls' birthdays over the weekend.
// Day 17 // Laid out on my balcony and tried to get a little sun.
// Day 18 // I've been using the Nike Training Club app and absolutely love it!
// Day 19 // Went and saw RIO for FREE on post with Sarah. Yes, we were the only ones w/out kids.
// Day 20&21 // Been busy being a working woman. Thankful for this job! The days go by much quicker.

10 July 2012

I Carry Your Heart With Me...

I've always liked this poem by E.E. Cummings and now it has an even sweeter meaning...

08 July 2012

Neuschwanstein Castle

I was recently looking through my pictures and realized I never did a post on the Neuschwanstein Castle. 
So here it is! During RC's last weekend here we decided to make the drive down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a nice & relaxing weekend. The Neuschwanstein Castle was only an hour away from where we were staying. So after seeing the Zugspitze we decided to drive over to the town of Schwangua where the castle was located.

Neuschwanstein Castle was built by Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria as a place where he could retreat. Construction began in 1869 and the architecture was based off of medieval castles and the operas of Richard Wagner. However Ludwig II died in 1886 before the castle could be completed. Only 15 of the 200 rooms were completed prior to his death. Since the castle was so far from being finished it was opened up to paying customers for viewing. Those revenues were used to balance construction debts, and later became a large source of income for the Bavarian family. Ludwig II was a popular king after his death because of the amount of money he brought into the state of Bavaria.

I think the most interesting part revolves around King Ludwig II's death. The construction fees of the Neuschwanstein castle ended up almost doubling the estimate and Ludwig began to run into serious financial problems as he was also building two other castles. Along with his financial problems there were also claims of mental insanity. In June of 1886 Ludwig was deposed of his power by reason of mental illness and removed from the castle. Just a few days later he was mysteriously found dead in the shallow waters of Lake Starnberg. 

Okay. So here's the thing about the Neuschanstein Castle. Before we actually visited I kept hearing about hearing how it inspired Walt Disney. TRUE! And about how the Cinderella castle was modeled after it. WRONG! Apparently it inspired Sleeping Beauty's castle. Being an east coast girl I've been to Disney World numerous times. I'm not going to lie. I didn't even know Sleeping Beauty had her own castle in Disneyland. 

Now, the tour. You cannot go inside the castle without taking a tour. That was kind of strike one for me. I'm more of a fan of going at our pace on our own time. But it was not too expensive and while we're in Germany why not!? Y'all, I'm not going to lie the tour was gawd-awful. The tour guide spoke "English" which was more like Germish... maybe. So I had no clue what he was saying the entire time. His accent was very thick, echoed in the large rooms, and our group was so large I couldn't try and read his lips. So that was kind of strike 2. It was also unclear on whether or not you could take pictures which was strike 3. So I have no pictures of the inside, but I think I'd rather be safe than sorry. So while the tour wasn't very good I would still recommend going! I found King Ludwig II's story interesting and I loved the ties back to Walt Disney.

06 July 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR FRIDAY, since I decided to dub you 'H&M and new amazing German restaurant day' I have been looking forward to you all week. Please do not disappoint! DEAR GERMANY, I love that it's staying light out until 10 pm. Please keep this up for as long as possible! In fact, if you'd like, it doesn't even have to snow this winter!
DEAR DEPLOYMENT, You can suck it! I'm 2 weeks closer to having my husband back in my arms. We got this!
DEAR HUSBAND, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to see your face on Skype. Pixelated or not, it absolutely makes my day! Despite all the crap you're dealing with you still act like the goofy and caring man I know.
DEAR JIMMY FALLON, saying you are hilarious is an understatement. I love your constant giggling and spot on impressions. You jam to "Call Me Maybe' with Carly Rae Jepson & The Roots. Have Channing Tatum dress up like a girl. And get the PRESIDENT to slow jam the news. In my opinion you absolutely OWN Late Night TV.
DEAR HUSBAND, despite the love fest above-- don't worry I love you wayyy more than Jimmy Fallon.

05 July 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 2

This week was full of ups and downs. I got really frustrated on Sunday evening. I had been trying so hard to stay busy and have a good attitude... and then it hit me, it had only been a week. All of this work and effort for only a week. I felt defeated. I was tired of trying so hard to be happy. I'm starting to realize that this is going to take time. It is going to take awhile to start feeling comfortable in this new routine. 

// Day 8 // Worked on better understanding our finances. Didn't hate it.
// Day 9 // Fun in the sun @ the lake. Homemade pina coladas courtesy of Sarah.
// Day 10 // Put together the wall ladder for our towels. I hate having no closets.
// Day 11 // Bought some beautiful flowers for the window sill.
// Day 12 // Had a crappy day and moped around in RC's basketball shorts.
// Day 13 // Celebrated the 4th the only way I know how... in the sun.
// Day 14 // Met up with other ladies from the 173rd.

I should also note that RC is doing well. I've gotten to talk to him every day since he's been in Afghanistan. That is such a blessing! He's been working long days and there aren't really "weekends" in combat zones so I know he's exhausted. They have yet to receive any mail, so hopefully his packages while arrive soon. I am so proud of him and honored to call him my husband!