If you have followed our story for quite a while, you would know that we spent the last four years (May 2015 – August 2019) in beautiful Germany! And man, did we L-O-V-E it. In fact, moving back to America was so much more challenging than I anticipated. Upon our return, we had two extra people and navigated 13 bags and three car seats throughout three airports… I will never forget this slight nightmare, so the next move will be one bag per person.
Ironically, I also began to feel quite nauseous halfway through our time visiting family in Pennsylvania, in limbo between Germany and our destination in New Mexico – because unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant again!
A New Season
This has truthfully been a ROUGH season for us. Living in Germany for four years may seem like a short time to some, but for us it was a season of incredible growth and resiliency!
Our time in Germany was spent having babies, experiencing first-time deployments, learning new languages, juggling dual military expectations and requirements, Google translating food labels at the grocery store with young kids crying and/or running opposite directions, forcing yourself out of your comfort zone to speak the language required of you at a certain place and time (which is so incredible and everyone should do this someday if you can!), sending your oldest to a foreign school as his first introduction to school, driving stretches of highway with unfamiliar signs and occasionally on the opposite side of the road, converting 110V household items to 220V, grams to cups, and Fahrenheit to Celsius, and much, much more. ALL of those aspects were such amazing learning curves, and we really miss them!
We soaked in the German culture as much as we could while we were there, shopping at local markets and stores, walking almost everywhere we could, being around locals and spending lots of time with our German neighbors and their children and grand-children. We enjoyed the opportunity to live that way so much that we wanted the experience to be totally real.
Ironically, the silly things I thought I would miss most (Chick-fil-A, Target, and American conveniences out the wazoo) are actually not what I crave nor use at all, now that we’re back. What I now miss, is the simplistic beauty of doing most things by foot, instead of by car. The close proximity to accomplish every day things is key to operating in Europe, and I could REALLY kill for a German Bäckerei (bakery) to be in walking distance to my house again here in New Mexico… Or to walk Hayes to school one more time and pick wild blackberries along the way. It’s just the little things!!
To conclude, I will forever miss this little chapter of life overseas. If you love or miss Europe too, I would really like to hear what you love or miss most below in the comments!
A Few of My Favorite Things...
- Our village. Our landlord lived three houses down in the house his grandfather built. Our backyard was his garden and he was back there everyday either pruning the apple trees, tending to the potatoes or flowers, or raspberry bushes. He was my boys’ German Opa while we lived there and the town soul of our village. We miss him!
- Taking walks with the kids, especially to buy honey from our neighbor!
- Hearing Hayes speak German.
- Beautiful gardens everywhere; window flower boxes.
- Cobblestone streets, ancient alleyways, clock towers, old churches & cathedrals.
- Our village clock tower rang everyday at 11 am and 6 pm; it was at the end of our street.
- Bakeries and patisserie’s, I literally had to walk in every single one we passed – Austin can verify.
- Bread, cheese, chocolate, wine, beer, coffee.
- Christmas markets, castles, ancient buildings, half-timbered houses.
- The history – there’s so much AMAZING American history in Europe, to include American cemeteries, museums, and memorial sites.
- The FOOD.
- Germans love kids! Nursing is welcome anywhere, changing areas are well kept and clean, and your children are spoken to as if they are always welcome.
- Roundabouts: the.best.invention.ever.
- Flower fields; cutting tulips in April and sunflowers in September and paying using the honor system.
- Stores closed on Sundays = FAMILY TIME after church.
- Convenient traveling
- Visiting a random town by myself with the kids for the day, just to explore.
- IT SO CLEAN
- Flohmarkt and antique hunting.
- New Years Eve in our village. It was wild.
- Attending mass while traveling and hearing it being said in various languages.
- Girls weekend in Blackpool, England – stalking the Outlander cast with two of my favorite gals.
- Having family and friends come visit and explore new places with them! Or take them to favorite locations!
My favorite picture of Hayes at Burg Lichtenberg! The other castle is Burg Eltz. All three of these locations mean so much because I spent so many evenings at Burg Lichtenberg with numerous clients, and once at Burg Eltz with one of my amazing families. Austin and I also brought visiting friends and family to visit Eltz! The third image is just down the road from our village. I forced us to take our final family pics in Germany here!! (further below!)
About 2 months before Evelyn was born in 2018!
Pic at the top left is from Bitche, France. The photo on my phone is a photograph taken in 1945 when Americans liberated the town during WWII, the church in the background is the same church/location as the famous image on my phone. The WWII history nerd in me was loving this moment!!
Large image is the town of Herrstein where I spent several evenings photographing clients/friends!
Exploring the tiny town of Faggeto Lario, Italy while visiting the Lake Como region in 2018.
Evie and I at Lichtenstein Castle in December 2018. Clock tower is in Ribeauville, France. The boys are looking out across the Inn river in Innsbruck, Austria in December 2018.
Christmas markets 2017! Burg Lichtenburg Medieval market and Bernkastel-Kues Christmas market. If you can find it, you can buy real mistletoe at markets to hang as decor at home!
Visiting dad at work. The second pic is from our village. The boys loved watching the train go by.
Our wonderful, wonderful landlord who treated us like family.
Walking/chasing the boys around Trier, Germany – March 2018.
How we spent our 4th of July’s. Homemade apple pie and ice cream in the back of the Volvo parked 3 miles from the house on a hill, watching miniature-sized fireworks coming from the base 25 minutes away.
1. Riquewihr, FR. 2. Verdun, FR. 3. Lake Como, IT
Exploring the towns surrounding Lake Como, Italy. Riding the ferry in Bellagio. Sweaty, tired kids. 7 months pregnant with Evelyn.
Ribeauvillé, FR. at Christmas time – 2017.
Krakow, Poland, Thanksgiving 2017. Visiting the Wawel Royal Castle and loving Saint John Paul II even more after this trip.
Wall adornments on a building in the town of Riquewihr, FR and a random vineyard near Kircheimboladen, GE where I made the kids take some pictures one day!!
Exploring the fort and views in Bitche, FR. Hayes being Hayes in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
1. Our backyard on Easter morning, 2019 2. Anson and Austin outside the Regensburg Cathedral 3. Lake Como
1. My ever changing seasons of motherhood! 2. Kuekenhof Tulip Festival, The Netherlands, 2017
My last day in the Army!
Top photo is the sunset on the hill by our house the night I went into labor with Evie (en route to hospital!)
Bottom photo is our beautiful little street.
So many “firsts” and amazing memories in this house. We will always treasure these years!
Thanks for reading!