Our time in Germany is coming to a close, with only a few days before we move back to the United States. We knew that our time was limited in Germany, as it always is during a duty station, but we had no idea how this little area of “Ramstein” would be etched into our hearts forever.
We landed in Germany just two years ago and had no idea where we would be living for our time spent overseas. After a couple weeks of house hunting the perfect spot found me during an early morning internet search. I had prayed and prayed before moving that we would find the perfect spot to call home. Now, after two years I’m confident to say that God answered our prayers ten-fold for our “home” in Germany. I’ve loved all the places we’ve lived for a variety of different reasons but this chapter of our lives has brought us the most amazing group of neighbors and friends that we call our family.
Thanks to a google search by Ara, we stepped almost immediately into a great group of friends and evolved to become like family. Through laughter, tears, trips together, the addition of 3.5 babies, monthly dinners scheduled around European travels, Christmas market outings and much more—we’ve done life well with our “Supper Club.” We had no idea, two years ago, that each of us would add a baby into our family. It has been a true joy to walk through every bit of life with each of these couples through this season of pregnancy and new parenthood.
We said tschüss (goodbye) to our “Weilerbach Haus” on Monday and turned over the keys to our landlord. We not only said goodbye to our home, but to the most amazing neighborhood. We hit the jackpot with the “Zum Geissrech” gang. Our days were filled doing daily life with two amazing families — evening campfires, coffee afternoons during naptime, tears with baking mishaps, walks around the neighborhood, sledding down the hill, “prisoner exchanges” (trading of spouses to the other house), impromptu dinners and additions to our families. Life is going to take some adjusting as we transition into our new neighborhood and finding amazing neighbors you can call at a moment’s notice for help.
It will be bittersweet leaving Europe as we make our way back to the United States. I’m going to miss roundabouts, delicious bakeries on every corner, good recycling practices, the 2.5 hour fast train to Paris, one euro scoops of gelato, the hour car ride to a French grocery store and the endless possibilities of European travel with little planning. I am looking forward to several things about USA life though - not paying for public bathrooms, meandering through Target, no more APO shipping headaches, weekend travel to an area we have never lived, Chick-fil-A, kale readily available (I’m the 5% of people who love kale) and being one to two time zones away from family.
Before moving to Germany, I had visited two other countries. Now the number of countries I’ve visited nears 15. The opportunity to travel while we have been here has been nothing short of amazing. I’m so thankful for the privilege to have been able to have weekend getaways, trips to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and babymoons across many European countries. I constantly think back to myself as a young girl growing up in small-town Kansas—never knowing that even half of these places existed beyond a map on a wall. I have soaked up every moment of travel, every meal experience (from hole in the wall and Michelin 1-stars), every historical site and museum.
I can’t wait to bring Nora back to Europe as she gets older and tell her about how her life started here. To show her all the history, amazing food and culture that exists in this beautiful world.