Thursday, July 07, 2005 last!

Well, here we are in Germany. Doesn't seem real, to be quite honest. I look out my living room and kitchen windows and see Germany. Nice red tiled roofs, quaint painted apartments. Scott cracked me up when I first got here...he said he was pretty sure that Germany actually stands for "land of the apartment house"...there are just SO many here!

I find it totally incredible that I can look one way and see Germany and look the other way and see the U.S. (well, post is technically the US!) I also have a great view of the main gate...unfortunately. We also are treated to the armed soldiers that occasionally set up position right outside our side windows...not bad until you hear them clearing their weapons as they leave their shift.

The noise level is incredible on the corner, though. I can see why so many people think that Americans are loud, selfish and ungrateful. I see and hear it on a regular basis. The soldiers come off post with their music blaring, and burn rubber, tearing down Zollnerstrasse as though they were on a dragstrip. They sit on the corner across from post, littering and leaving their beer bottles and trash on the lawns. They walk in and out of the gate, loudly and obnoxiously, as though they have the right to do as they please. With no respect to the people who live in the housing right by the gate, no respect to our host country and the people who inhabit the homes right by, they come out...obnoxious, loud, selfish Americans. I am ashamed to be associated with them at times.

Germany is beautiful though...the country side is gorgeous, the villages quaint. I love to drive and see the little villages just pop up. Driving through the heart of these villages sometimes leads you to think of times long past. How did they survive the war?

Things are SO odd here though. I don't understand why Europe in general uses 220 volt for utilities. The plugs are all different and you can quickly and easily go though appliances and lightbulbs if you're not careful! We were lucky enough to purchase someone else's "junk" which gave us a lot of european appliances for a good price.

Want something really weird? The toilets...NOTHING like in the states. They just hang off the wall...not on the floor. They are very "deep" but don't have a lot of water in them (meaning that you have to REALLY keep them clean). The flushing mechanism is on the wall...a big flat disk that you press. Hannah thinks it's "the bomb". She's still all about bathrooms everywhere we go, so we are experiencing Germany's variety of toilets rather quickly. One of the benefits of having everything hang off the wall is that it's fairly easy to clean the floors...not a lot of sweeping around things.

Driving in Germany isn't too hard, but learning all the signs is quite a challenge. I managed to pass my US Forces driving test in just one try. I aced the sign test (50 signs and their meanings), and got 3 questions of 100 wrong for the written portion. It's nice to drive again, not having to rely on when Scott will be home so I can run to the commissary or PX. I am still going to continue walking as much as possible though

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