April 1, 2014

PCSing to Germany: Part One

Today is April 1st! Which means in THREE VERY SHORT MONTHS we will be on a flight for Germany. SO CRAZY.

Ok. So where are we in the whole international move process? Let's talk about this. Last August, when we decided on Germany & put in for these orders, July of 2014 seemed insanely far away. But here we are, three months away from hopping on a plane and all of a sudden, shit is getting very real, very quick. It is officially crunch time, and while three months might seem like a lot of time, when you are planning for an international move, I can promise you -- it is not.

So here is where we are at so far. Passports? Check. Sort of. We took the three boys in for their civilian passport applications a few weeks ago, and those were received in the mail to us this past week. I renewed mine a few years ago, so am good to go for a little while, however will probably have to renew while we are over there, if we stay longer than three years. No big deal. We received the birth certificates back in the mail just yesterday so next week, we will ALL go in and take care of our military passports. Why two sets of passports you ask? The military ones allow us to travel internationally on military orders. We will need these ones specifically to get to Germany/come home. This is really the only things they are good for. Marshall will most likely use his government passport much more than we ever will, but they are good to have regardless. The civilian ones are the ones that will let us have fun & travel travel travel!

The next HUGE thing we have to worry about (well, I have to worry about) is the purging of all of our crap. The first thing we tackled were clothes. Our space will be limited wherever we end up staying, and honestly, I don't want to transport a bunch of shit we don't need. My goal in the next month is to go through our house from top to bottom and essentially get rid of everything that we don't need. Or don't want. Or have never used. We have been in this house for almost eight years, which means there is a lot of accumulation. Needless to say, Goodwill is going to love us by the end of it all.

Next up - figuring out what we will take with us, and what gets left behind. The Army pays for us to have a storage facility, somewhere (I have no clue where just yet) to keep things here that we don't want to take with us, or aren't allowed to take with us. For instance, most of Marshall's tools will stay here. A) We really won't need them and B) most likely the Army won't transport them. We also own a lot of books, most of which have been read and are kept for sentimental value. Some will be brought with us, but most will be left behind. Everything else gets put into two categories -- household goods & unaccompanied baggage. 

What's the difference? Household goods is the shipment that we won't receive for about six weeks after we get to Germany (two months after it's picked up). This is things like all of our furniture. Photos. Whatever clothing we don't take in our suitcases. Large toys. Books. Things that, essentially, we won't need right away. Our unaccompanied baggage should arrive about two weeks after we do, if all goes well. This will be the stuff that we will need right away. Sheets. Pillows. Bath towels. Pots & pans. Games. A small television. Toys for the kids and other things to keep them busy. Essentially, things we can't live without once we are in our home.

It's a daunting task, one that I am mentally thinking about every day. I need to sit down and start making a list, and eventually, start the sorting process. Marshall is in charge of tackling the garage, deciding which of his stuff stays in storage and what goes, and with him being gone most of May because of a necessary class, our time is limited. Three months seems like a long time away, but our packers have already been scheduled and they come the first week of June. May is a wash because of Marshall being gone, leaving us just four short weeks to do a majority of the work necessary. In this time frame we also need to take care of any major checklist items for our house, ensuring that it is rental ready when we leave here. Our plan, once the movers come and ship out our stuff, is to head to Seattle for a while to say goodbye to friends & family before making the flight to Germany. So time is of the essence, and it feels a little overwhelming to manage, especially with two small kids constantly under foot.

So that's that. That is where we are at right now. My head is spinning just thinking of all we have to do but I know it will happen, because what choice do we have? None! Right now, this far out is all about organization. I am failing miserably at it right now, but in the coming weeks should have a good grasp on what is going, when it's going, and what's staying behind. And hopefully, a lot less crap in the process!


J o s e y said...

This is so interesting to read about. I can't wait to follow along on your journey to ex-pat life!

Also, what does PCS mean??

Jen said...

Oconus pcs-ING is so hard! Don't stress too much, once you get there it will all be worth it!

chenguna said...

Hey I am on the same boat as you. We leave the first week of July. Gosh! It seems like everything is moving so fast now. Where in Germany are you guys going? I have 2 kids but they are 13 and 9. Boy and a girl. Good luck with your move. Happy I ran across your blog. I am trying to keep up with mine so I can update it with Germany stuff once we are there. I am once again scouring the net to find info, advice and any tid bits I could find to get ready for the move. Gotta get rolling on my stuff. Cant believe you got your flight already, hubby needs to get moving on that. ;)

Ashley @ ThisUnscriptedLife said...

We lived in Wiesbaden Germany for almost 4 years. I LOVED it! It's a beautiful place. It's so easy to travel. Just hop on a train! The move is stressful and at first settling in and getting over the culture shock can be hard. Once you get over all of that it is really wonderful. Take advantage of every experience that you can. They have amazing festivals and markets. I miss it =(

Acsa Harper said...

So glad I found you through Pinterest. My husband applied for a GS job in Germany and I'm super nervous on moving with a toddler and 2 dogs. I'm looking forward to following your blog and seeing how your transition. Germany looks beautiful. Good luck.