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Adventures in Germany

My packages to Christian have been taking forever to reach him.  Poor kid is going to think I don’t love him.  That is the last thing he needs.  Afghanistan is no picnic, and it’s been hard for him.

Yesterday I drove all the way to Kelly, the furthest local base from me, to mail him some much needed moleskin for his torn-apart feet.  And toothbrushes.  Apparently toothbrushes are in high demand to clean the sand out of radios & weapons.  Who knew?

I went to Kelly because our mail services have been drastically cut, and it was the only post office open. I really wanted to get Christian his much-needed supplies as soon as possible.  I must’ve said something to the mailguy, I don’t remember what, because he took a look at me, leafed through some forms, and then said;

“I got an idea.” His idea turned out to be to bypass the guys in Moron, Spain (real place!) and send Christian’s packages directly to Kandahar.  Because. Standing right next to him was a big, old, white bag tagged “Kandahar”.  Now, he made no promises as to what will happen after the mailbag got into Kandahar. It might not get on the next plane, or truck, or camel out to Christian but Kandahar is a lot closer than Spain.  I’ll take it!  That guy is my new favorite guy.

On the way back home we got caught up in a stau (traffic jam), umleitung (detour) and a massive downpour.  It made a long drive already longer.  Dane started getting a little restless, so Cole tried to amuse him. I only listened with half-an-ear, my thoughts were filled with Christian and my concentration was on the road, but it seems that Cole was having Dane polish his gold hairs.  Kids.

Later, I found Dane in the bathroom brushing his hair, a big grin on his face:

“I have the most gold hair of anyone! I bet it’s worth $100!”16AUG14

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I’m not sure I’ve mentioned, but Cole is in American High School on base.  We pulled him out of German school when he started his freshman year.  Life is filled with enough challenges being a military brat. We wanted to give him as an easy-as-possible opportunity to complete all the right credits for college.

Having kids in both the German & American school systems, living under one roof, means very little overlapping vacation time.  So when it is vacation time, we let our hair down & let schedules go.  I love vacation time!

We are all night owls.  Leave us to our own devices and we are easily up past midnight, preferably till 2 or 3 am, sleeping till noon or later.  I’d hoped we’d be magically cured moving to Europe.  That maybe our night owl-ness was really my European genes passed down to the kiddo’s and we were innately on an European schedule.

But no. As soon as jet lag was over (6+ weeks!), we lapsed right into our night owl schedule.  When needed we have grumpy mornings at least 5 days a week.  Those first hours are a bear, even with pots of coffee.  Getting the kids out of the house, especially Dane & Cole, is a fight each & every morning.

I now have almost 4 weeks of NO SCHOOL! No early mornings.  No fighting. No bears.  I’m in hog heaven!

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A couple of weeks (months?) ago I read, on the front page of our local paper, that the Schäferbier was brewed, bottled & ready for the Schäferlauf.  Now, Schäfer = sheep.  Bier is obvious & lauf = walk.  I quickly deduced that the sheep beer was ready for the sheep walk, but what was a sheep walk?  And why was this beer special?

I spent the next hour reading the full article, coming away none the wiser.  My German comprehension is not quite at newspaper-level.  Not even local paper-level.  So I asked around, and my best understanding was that this village has sheep, once a year they march them down the street, and then they celebrate said-marching with a special once-a-year beer.  I was hooked, and I marked it on my calendar.

When my cousin called and wanted to visit, right on Schäferlauf weekend, I panicked briefly.  My cousin is 7 months pregnant, Schäferbier cannot be too high on her list of things to try.  Thankfully she also has a 1-year-old daughter.  Sheep rank very high on her list of things to try.  It took five minutes to decide on her trip, and then three weeks of waiting for them to get here.

Waiting for something fun to happen always takes soooooooooooo long, but now last weekend is already over and my cousin, aunt and the baby are back in Holland.  I miss them.  We had a fabulous weekend filled with hysterical laughing, sharing memories, a little beer and zero sheep.

That’s right.  Schäferlauf weekend was without sheep.  It was not a lack of trying on our part, we drove out to Wildberg not once, but twice!  Wildberg is gorgeous.  Nestle in a lush, green valley on the Nagold river in the middle of the Schwarzwald, Wildberg is filled with charm, fachwerk houses, a stunning kloster, friendly people… but no sheep.

We saw cows, horses, donkeys, all kinds of birds, ducks, deer, camels, zebra’s (baby zebra!) but no sheep. In the end, the invisible sheep really didn’t matter. Now all my aunt or cousin has to say is “Schaap!” (Dutch for sheep) and we are all doubled over in laughter.

Only I cannot find sheep at a sheep festival.

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