This morning I woke up, looked at the date and realized that our family had been here for three months already. How did that happen? It's hard to believe that we have hit that mark already, and it feels like we have been here for a much shorter time, but also forever.
It's been a whirlwind couple of months as we have spent most of our time trying to get settled. We left a lot of furniture behind when we moved, pieces that were old or hand me downs from military friends of past who have left, so we are slowly but surely building back up our belongings. It makes things left to do -- a few lingering boxes, photos that still need to be hung, books waiting to be put on non-existent shelves, piles of paperwork clutter because there isn't yet a desk to do the sorting -- feel like this isn't quite "home" yet. Slowly but surely we are getting there, and I look forward to the day when I feel like things are "complete" around here. IKEA has become our friend, and most of our new furniture has come from there, and I have a feeling more will be on the way! Seriously -- Ikea is great, although it was a TAD overwhelming the first time we went through. But now? I feel like an old pro. Ha!
Then there has been the whole adjustment to being in a new country. Obviously. I think we are doing well, for the most part. My husband is fearless, which often means that he has no worries when trying new things, visiting new places or trying to talk to somebody. I get very anxious about being somewhere new on my own, for the first time. It's almost crippling, but I'm working on that. I swear.
We definitely have not had a shortage of activities, and while I have not been as prompt in putting them on the blog, we are constantly doing things. It's a nice change from living in North Carolina, where while there were some amazing places to visit in the area, everything was HOURS away. Stuttgart is so full of life, and there is never a shortage of things to do or places to see. And while we have made visits to Luxembourg, France and the Czech Republic so far in the past three months, we have some great trips to Austria, France (again. Paris, people!), Belgium and Amsterdam planned all before the end of the year. It's such a surreal feeling, knowing that this is our life. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that we are beyond grateful for, and we continue to plan to make the most of it while we are here. I have a feeling our travels will slow down a bit in the new year, and we will focus on some bigger, longer trips but it's SO hard to not take advantage of all of this as much as we possibly can. M's job takes him TDY a lot (read: never here) so I am working on some easy day trips with the kids.There is never a shortage of castles, villages, and with the holidays coming up, Christmas Markets, within a very short drive. Christmas markets galore!
I think one of the hardest adjustments for us, though, has been our living situation. Having owned our own home for almost eight years back in North Carolina, stairwell living has been an adjustment. It has provided us some interesting interactions with our very close-to-us neighbors that are less than ideal, but it has also provided some great budding relationships with that we have met as a couple or I have met on my own (hi friends!) so we focus on the positive and power through. But not without a bit of eye rolling in the process.
However, if that's the biggest struggle we have, then it's all worth it. This place continues to surprise us and amaze us with all that it has to offer. I wake up daily thinking, I'm in Germany. How did this happen? It's hard, and has so many challenges, but the more we get settled, the more we overcome those. Of course, the biggest thing has been having my mom so close, especially with M being gone as often as he is. The extra set of hands has been more than I could have ever asked for, and the time she gets to spend with the kids is beyond priceless.
I can't wait for the holidays! Christmas in Germany -- I have heard it's quite beautiful. :)