Military moms in Germany and anyone else that might know... whats it like? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 08-15-2009, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you love it? do you hate it? is it just ok?

DH and I are in Colorado right now and after his 4th trip to Iraq this next March we want to maybe make a move. We would give up stabilization to move. We have been in Colorado for a little over 8 years now. But we want to see the world and we are thinking there is no better time. We are, young, have no kids YET and feel if we are to go abroad why not now? This way the Army pays for everything our move there and back. We would know it is not forever. My roots are in Germany and I think it would be awesome to explore what it has to offer. Am I thinking of a fantasy life that will never come true?

My DH works on tanks I am not sure what base that would put us at.

Is it easy to get to other countries around there? whats the culture like. Please GIVE ME THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY!!!!

So other then the above here are some questions I have…

What the base housing like?
Can we live off base?- if so is off base housing hard to find?
Whats the cost like to live there? is it lots more then the states?
How does cola work? Does it even help?
Could I work over there? are jobs hard to find like here?
Is it hard to see family? Or do you get a 1x a year flight like HI?
What is the medical like over there? we don’t have kids and if it happens over there I want a homebirth.
Do you rely on the base for A LOT? or is there lots to buy, see, do off base?

OMG! And I am sure I will come up with more! Thanks so much ladies! This is a huge step for us! I just want to get other POV that have been there done that! Thanks again!

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#2 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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Well, I'm not military so I can't answer most of those questions. What I CAN say is this:

It is what you make of it. There are military people here who never ever leave base except to go on USO-sponsored tours and the like. Then there are those who venture out as much as possible. If you really want to travel and see amazing things, I suggest you do the latter! It is a gorgeous country with amazing historical and cultural differences that you can see almost anywhere you go. But you need to immerse yourselves a bit to really see the differences. Learn some German, shop off-base when possible (Farmer's markets are in every town everywhere on Saturdays, and they're cheap and huge!), take public transportation on occasion just to see a different side of things, and travel on the weekends.

Then, when you want the familiarity of America again, hang out on base. Pretty nice to have those options, huh?!

Mama to a wild girl and a chill lil' man , wife to a mad scientist , and resident of a country that I love to hate and hate to love.
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#3 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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AWESOME thank you!!!! what a great way to look at it! :

anyone else!

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#4 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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I'm not American, not military & not in Germany, but I have lived overseas for almost 10 yrs and many of our friends have been US military or foreign service. The expat life is a challenging life but there is also incredible opportunity to see and do things that you otherwise wouldn't get the chance to.

We lived in Eastern Europe for 3 years & travelled to Germany often. We love the country. There are a lot of cultural differences between Germans & Americans, but it you have an open and accepting mind then it could be a fantastic opportunity.

I have a German friend who had a homebirth there, so it is possible.

I think it would be hard for you to find work off base unless you were fluent in German. If you are a teacher, you may be able to find work at one of the international schools, if your visa allows. If there is an embassy or consulate attached to your base, there are job opportunities for family members.

It is possible to drive, train or fly inexpensively to pretty much anywhere in Europe & you definitely should travel as much as possible.

The base will have a commissary which will allow you to buy US products, comforts of home. There are also great shopping centers/grocery stores there too.

It is pretty stressful to be in a country by yourself if your spouse gets sent back to Iraq or elsewhere. Relocating is stressful, especially if your whole world is controlled by your spouse's employer.

Hmm, I had another thought about Germany & it has slipped my mind completely.....

Mom of 5: dd (10), ds (8) & dd2 (4), my sweet baby son born still 3/2/09, and celebrating the arrival of our dd 5/7/10.
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#5 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 05:16 AM
 
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it is very easy to get around and see other European countries. cheapo flights are widely available, there's trains ( on the more expensive side) and long distance buses.
what's to see and do depends on where you are, of course.

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#6 of 30 Old 08-23-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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We've lived in Stuttgart, Germany (where there is an army base) for the better part of two summers and I love the area. The city felt very safe, and there is easy access to many wonderful tourist sites in the area by train (or car, if you wish). The Alps and Paris are also easily accessable, and you can PM me if you want tips on saving $ on trains.

I'm not in the army, but my husband had some access to the base and I also met some army moms there (one of them from MDC--maybe she will answer your question?) and will answer your questions based on what I learned.

What the base housing like? -- From what I hear, base housing is like a mini USA, with US stores, restaurants (we got our Taco Bell fix there), gas prices, etc. Next to one base housing area, there is a fantastic playground.

Can we live off base?-- I think some people do that. We had university guest housing, so I can't tell you much about apartment hunting except that housing is on the expensive side.

Whats the cost like to live there? is it lots more then the states? -- Food was a little more expensive, and eating out is more expensive (though Germany is considered cheap by European standards). I missed the free tap water given at US restaurants and the free drink refills. But the euro/dollar exchange was high when we were there, so that is part of the reason things were so pricey. We were not shocked by grocery prices, but we did not eat out often. Re. travel, you can save $ staying in B&Bs and pensions. Switzerland is extremely expensive, and Paris is expensive.

What is the medical like over there? we don’t have kids and if it happens over there I want a homebirth. --Germany tends to be more progressive in health care (esp. alternative health care) than the US. I have heard stories of situations in which army families with some medical problem were told they needed surgery in the U.S., but German doctors found other gentler treatments that worked fine. Recall that some celebrities have gone to Germany for alternative cancer treatments.

If you end up going to Stuttgart, feel free to PM me for more info. And go for it! I was older when I finally took the opportunity to live overseas, though briefly, and I sure wish I'd done it when I was younger, as you might be doing. It can be a very growthful experience. But I would advise you to learn some German first, if you are not fluent.
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#7 of 30 Old 08-23-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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We've been in Germany, with the Army for almost 4 yrs. I had a babe in an Army hosp. here, and it's really not as bad as you think. But I am planning a homebirth, which is considered a little outside the mainstream, but a valid and accepted choice as far as the Germans are concerned.
Living off post is a matter of timing, but if you want it you can usually get it.
I have been to the German emergency room many times with one child or another, and have never had a bad experience, or any trouble with the language or Tricare payment.
Yes, it is an adjustment. Things are different here, but isn't that the point of traveling? And as the PP said, when it's all too much, you can hang out on post until you feel better, but get out and see Europe!!

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
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#8 of 30 Old 08-24-2009, 04:01 AM
 
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I am not military. I live in eastern Germany and like it. It is a small town and culture is a bit lacking but otherwise there is lots to do with my child and learning German for 6 months kept me busy.

I made a few podcasts about living in Germany http://feeds2.feedburner.com/jeningermany

As far as working, it depends on what is available in your area and how much German is required. You could probably teach English easily. To work, you would need permission from the foreigner's office.

Edit: You could probably teach English at a language school easily. Though it would most likely be part-time. It would be more difficult to in the public school system without approval from the Schulamt/school board.

Full-time work would most likely be difficult, depending on your degrees/experience.
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#9 of 30 Old 08-24-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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As far as working in Germany, it's very difficult for us unless we work with the military community. Even Germans who have gotten their American citizenship have a lot of problems. But on post jobs aren't hard to find, as long as you are flexible about what sort of positions you'll take.

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
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#10 of 30 Old 09-12-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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We will also be moving to Germany soon. I am on the forums at military.com as well for the more practical questions you have (work, shipping, etc.) Those ladies know EVERYTHING.

France has free tap water at restaus, by the way. It's the law, woohoo for socialism.

Seriously though, I'm posting here just so sub, but I want to ask on another thread: does anyone know of a Montessori pre-school in the Baumholder area? Cheers!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#11 of 30 Old 10-20-2009, 07:13 AM
 
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On the homebirth question: Homebirthers in Germany are only a minority. However, it can be done almost everywhere. You just have to find an independent midwife that attends homebirth, e.g. on www.hebammensuche.de
Do a search for "Hausgeburt" (home birth) with your appropriate postal code or phone number.

The midwife will then usually do your pre-natals and post-natals as well. If you want, you can share the pre-natals between your midwife and a gynecologist. That's what most women who plan a homebirth do. However, some only visit their gynecologist (which is still the main stream thing to do for women who birth in hospitals) and some only visit their midwife. Midwives also offer birth preparation classes and postnatally they will attend you in your own home, usually daily for the first 10 days and thereafter according to demand up until 8 weeks after the birth. If it's properly done, it is actually a very good service.

I'm not sure whether TRICARE pays for all that - homebirth, birth preparation classes, prenatal check-ups and post-natal home visits. Does anyone happen to know? I've been meaning to find that out anyway. All these things are covered by the German insurances and I wonder whether TRICARE covers them as well. Would be grateful for an answer!

As somebody mentioned Stuttgart, there is a very good birth centre there called Geburtshaus Stuttgart-Mitte. They also attend homebirths.

I am a German homebirth midwife that lives about 20 km from Grafenwöhr, which as I understand it is a very big U.S. Army base, although I've never actually been there.

I've lived abroad in several countries myself and my experience has been that the more I mingled with the natives and the more I learned, understood and appreciated their languages and cultures, the better a time I had. I'd encourage you to go out and meet people! Make an effort to learn the language! Most Germans are quite happy about a chance to practice their English with you or help you practice your German. Don't feel shy. Farmers' markets, as were mentioned before, are a great idea. As are local sports clubs. Or local mothers meetings or breastfeeding groups for women with kids. Local birth preparation classes for pregnant women/couples. Make friends and enjoy your stay! Remember: the key to every country are its people.

Take care and
my best sisterly regards to you,
Nina
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#12 of 30 Old 10-21-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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I have a question that I'm cross-posting in Mil Moms- DH said they have great apartments on post where we'll be moving. I really wanted to be off-post for cultural reasons. Is it a huge difference? Can you foresee us getting off-post daily for stuff? What about pre-school for DD?

I know living on-post is going to be like living in a little dream-world with all these amenities and so much ease compared to off-post. But I'm used to living abroad. I used to walk a mile to the market and carry 15 lbs. of groceries home with a baby on my back.

Still... we have two under four now.

What do you recommend?

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#13 of 30 Old 10-21-2009, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh how this thread grew! YAY thank you ALL for your input and thanks to the mama's who are asking question i never thought of!

if we come on orders i WILL be PM'ing some of you mamas... THANKS

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#14 of 30 Old 10-26-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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I'm so glad I found this post! Lots of great info! My husband is in the Army and we are considering a move to Germany. We have an almost 2 year old who was born at a freestanding birth center with direct entry midwives in Fairbanks, Alaska. I definitly want to have another midwife attended birth, but this time at home. Good to hear that's an option there. We don't vaccinate our son, and I was wondering if anyone else is in the same boat. Has that led to any difficulties as far as sponsorship, schools, etc?
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#15 of 30 Old 10-27-2009, 12:43 AM
 
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I can't really answer any of your questions really, but I wanted to pipe in that the only two Germans I've known both had homebirths. Oddly, one said it was the norm there-maybe it was when she had her kids? The eldest has to be like 20 by now. Or maybe in her little pocket it was? I dunno. But she had all 3 of her kids at home with a midwife.

The other one is even more interesting...she's a local midwife here, she delivered my 3rd actually. When she found out she was having twins years ago, she couldn't find a local midwife to do a homebirth (I believe its illegal in our state, which is probably why). So, instead, she flew in a midwife from Germany to deliver her twins.

Cari-mama to Eriq, Lile, Paikea, Kaidyn, and Mieke is here!! 2/9/10
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#16 of 30 Old 10-27-2009, 08:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PhilsBabyMama View Post
We don't vaccinate our son, and I was wondering if anyone else is in the same boat. Has that led to any difficulties as far as sponsorship, schools, etc?
It has never led to any problems with my 14-year-old-son.
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#17 of 30 Old 10-27-2009, 08:56 AM
 
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I am not in the military or in Germany, but i do visit often as i have a bunch of friends who live there. They all had homebirths (they're near Constance) and i'm not sure about Tricare, but i know for non-military types the pre and postnatal care and birth is all paid for by the heathcare system BUT you have to pay the "on-call" fee for the midwife (that is to "reserve" her time when you're due) because the official view is that you could use the hospital where the midwives are already "reserved" so you carry that cost yourself - it's under 200Euros as far as i know.

The only births of this group (of probably 10 women and about 25 kids) that were in hospital were a frank breech (born vaginally with no drugs and no tears at a hospital in Stuttgart) and a persistent brow presentation (born by c-section nearly 7 hours after mum got fully dilated and after a million things tried to help reposition baby, at a hospital where mum and babe are never parted after a section unless in medical emergency, again i think in Suttgart). Both of those were first babies, and the breech's mama went on to have a homebirth a few years later. Doctors are also more open to alternative therapies and there are homeopathic-only GP's as well as those who use homeopathics as their first-line and only go to "orthodox" treatments once they have exhausted other options.

Almost none of my friends vaccinate, though most are in Waldorf education so i'm not sure about state school but it has never posed them any issues.
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#18 of 30 Old 10-27-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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So, are there English Waldorf schools there? We are also considering home schooling. The more I read about Germany the more I want to move there! Sounds amazing!
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#19 of 30 Old 10-30-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebug View Post
Do you love it? do you hate it? is it just ok?

DH and I are in Colorado right now and after his 4th trip to Iraq this next March we want to maybe make a move. We would give up stabilization to move. We have been in Colorado for a little over 8 years now. But we want to see the world and we are thinking there is no better time. We are, young, have no kids YET and feel if we are to go abroad why not now? This way the Army pays for everything our move there and back. We would know it is not forever. My roots are in Germany and I think it would be awesome to explore what it has to offer. Am I thinking of a fantasy life that will never come true?

My DH works on tanks I am not sure what base that would put us at.

Is it easy to get to other countries around there? whats the culture like. Please GIVE ME THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY!!!!

So other then the above here are some questions I have…

What the base housing like?
Can we live off base?- if so is off base housing hard to find?
Whats the cost like to live there? is it lots more then the states?
How does cola work? Does it even help?
Could I work over there? are jobs hard to find like here?
Is it hard to see family? Or do you get a 1x a year flight like HI?
What is the medical like over there? we don’t have kids and if it happens over there I want a homebirth.
Do you rely on the base for A LOT? or is there lots to buy, see, do off base?

OMG! And I am sure I will come up with more! Thanks so much ladies! This is a huge step for us! I just want to get other POV that have been there done that! Thanks again!
Base housing...is stairwell here in Heidelberg, but we have lovely neighbors!
We lived off base for 3 years in Wurzburg until they closed the post. Heidelberg was mandatory on post housing if available.
COLA...is very helpful. I shop a lot on the economy. We eat out weekly and do field trips.
I haven't been home since I left, but everyone else has. I honestly don't miss the states just yet.
Medical...we have clinics which are great. For emergencies and ob care you would use off post hospitals which have been wonderful and very good.
I rely on the base for the commissary and px. I shop a lot on line or downtown. We've been here since 2005 and it's been an awesome experience.

Tammy--wife to a great military manjoy.gif
mom to three dd23, dd21 and ds13
new nana to one sweet little grand-daughter
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#20 of 30 Old 11-15-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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DH just found out he'll have to send more money home than he thought. (His parents, not US residents, depend on us... but we can't list them as dependents because they don't have socials, long story.) We're going to be living on $750/mo unless I work, and presumably that's before savings. I feel sick just thinking about it. DH *eats* that much, not organic. He could eat that much white rice, I swear.

Does substitute teacher for DoD schools pay okay? Anyone know what that would be like? I'm grossly over-qualified according to the job ad and I have pref. job twice over (returned PC volunteer & spouse). Would it cover day-care?

DH is an E4, do I get free child care?

Help. Our life is going to be so bleak if I don't work. Even if I do!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#21 of 30 Old 11-17-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
DH just found out he'll have to send more money home than he thought. (His parents, not US residents, depend on us... but we can't list them as dependents because they don't have socials, long story.) We're going to be living on $750/mo unless I work, and presumably that's before savings. I feel sick just thinking about it. DH *eats* that much, not organic. He could eat that much white rice, I swear.

Does substitute teacher for DoD schools pay okay? Anyone know what that would be like? I'm grossly over-qualified according to the job ad and I have pref. job twice over (returned PC volunteer & spouse). Would it cover day-care?

DH is an E4, do I get free child care?

Help. Our life is going to be so bleak if I don't work. Even if I do!

Hi, I'm military wife stationed in Italy, and found this post because dh and I were considering putting in for Germany next. We have heard nothing but good things about being there. I have many friends who substitute and the DoD school here. They get paid $100 a day, and they work several times a week with different age groups. We are Air Force, so I don't know if COLA wold be the same, but we make $1000 extra dollars a month living off base. We keep our electricy bill low so we can pocket the extra cash. We have never been able to save money before we came here. The euro sucks right now, so I do a lot of online shopping usually through Amazon, they are one of the only places that ships to APO. We have friends in Garmish, and from what I've heard it is an amazing experience to be stationed there. Everyone from here drives there for vacations. Living in a different country is hard at times, but it is so worth it, ok well hope that helps a little bit.

Eating is an agricultural act.  -Wendell Berry

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#22 of 30 Old 11-17-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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Wow, thank you so much! That is so interesting that you are able to SAVE money. So you get $1,000, and then you spend how much on housing, for a total of how much?

I will have to talk to DH about that.

We have been to Garmish. It's gorgeous!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#23 of 30 Old 11-18-2009, 04:54 AM
 
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We spend 1000 euro on rent a month, that's our cap. We never see that money though, it goes straight to the landlord. Then on top of E-5 base pay and food pay we get $1400 a month for bills. But our electric bill is only $100 a month. In the winter our gas is expensive, anywhere from $300 to $700 dollars a month. But March-Nov we don't spend that much on gas, maybe $100 a month. But that's because we made the mistake of getting a house with propane tank. I know other people who don't pay that much for gas. So yeah anyway, we are able to pocket the rest of the money. It's nice. This is the first time in 7 years of marriage that we have been able to buy furniture. Anyway, good luck.

Eating is an agricultural act.  -Wendell Berry

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#24 of 30 Old 11-18-2009, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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wow so how do you find off post housing? we are Army so i bet this would be different?

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#25 of 30 Old 11-18-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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The way they do it here is that the housing office has a listing of houses compiled for Americans. They have to meet certain requirements, like be a certain distance from the base and have a/c, and heating that works, and also be in your price range for your rank. They also have translators available to help you with signing the lease and if you need to get in touch with your landlord. Luckily, our landlord speaks English so it wasn't a problem for us.

Eating is an agricultural act.  -Wendell Berry

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#26 of 30 Old 11-18-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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that is so cool! can you please tell us what you house is like?

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#27 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 05:32 AM
 
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Here is a not so great pic of our house
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dirtyhipegirl/4116341083/

and yard
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dirtyhipegirl/3797654730/

I don't love our house, it's 150+ years old and not heat efficient at all. We picked the first house we saw because we were so ready to finally be settled. But it's a lot better than the house we had in Texas, and Las Vegas.

Eating is an agricultural act.  -Wendell Berry

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#28 of 30 Old 11-29-2009, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow that is great! thank you for posting pics!

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#29 of 30 Old 09-10-2012, 05:38 AM
 
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I was wondering how your home birth went I am pregnant and really want a home birth and am also in Germany I am not sure where to begin or what to do.  Any advice would be great.

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#30 of 30 Old 09-22-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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Shawna, are you interested in a homebirth through the military or are you civilian?  I'm civilian and had a homebirth with #3 and planned one with #4 but she came too early.  I might be able to help you.
 


intactlact.gif  Mum to five kids ages 16, 13, 9 and 4 years and baby K born 11/12!  And five angel babies angel1.gif
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