Wednesday, July 18, 2007

we're home!

what a whirlwind! We went to Europe and back in less than a week. Everything worked like clockwork, barely, and we made it! In fact, I was laughing at what a checklist might look like for what we did so here goes . . .

(oh yeah, we drove to Newburgh, NY on Wednesday afternoon to be near Stewart AFRB and catch our Thursday flight to Dover)
1. Thursday: catch "ify" mac flight to Dover then find out flight to Ramstein has been cancelled . . . check
2. surprise Dover AFB staff and try to fit on different plane going to Ramstein, Germany . . . check
3. 6 AM Friday morning: make it to Germany on a noisy C-5 (wearing earplugs the whole way) watching a sunset and sunrise (really cool) over a 7 hour flight and take taxi to nearby train station (by the way, "try to communicate in German" should be at the end of some of these next few) . . . check
4. buy correct passes/tickets for traveling through Germany and on to Prague . . . check
5. catch four trains, make all connections (usually late), poorly order lunch on train, sleep on train (barely), sit in wrong seats reserved for same people twice . . . check
6. get passports stamped when crossing Czech border (tense, but fun!) . . . check
7. end up in Prague and figure out how to take metro to our stop to meet Will's family . . . check
8. arrive w/i half and hour of the rehearsal dinner, meet Andrew and family for first time (Elanor's fiancee), surprise everyone that we actually made it . . . check
9. call mom back in RI with Will's Aunt's blackberry and cry b/c I miss my kids (that actually happened 3 times over the course of our trip) :) . . . check
10. Friday night and Sunday morning: attend rehearsal dinner, relax Saturday morning, walk through Prague (touristy part), get awkward pedicure and manicure from lady who barely spoke English, learn a bunch of Czech words, get Czech money (crowns) . . . check
11. attend beautiful, and very different Anglican wedding at 7 PM and see Elanor and Andrew ride off to reception in horse drawn carriage . . . check
12. attend reception and get to bed at midnight suffering from jetlag :) . . . check
13. Sunday: finish gift shopping Sunday morning after sleeping late and finding a French Czech restaurant to have breakfast at . . . check
14. train back to Germany, not able to buy ticket at all at first and irritating Czech attendant when we only have Euro's to pay for it . . . check
15. stop in Munich late for the night, no place to stay, hungry, figure our how to use pay phone and call hotel, take taxi to hotel, arrive at 11, walk to dinner a few blocks away (still open thank the Lord) and finally sleep at 1 . . . check
16. Monday: walk through Englisher Garten (largest inner city garden in Europe) get rained on twice, figure out metro system back to huge Deutche Bohn (German train) station where we had Burger King and sank into our private first class train room for long trip back to Kaiserslautern train station . . . check
17. after 2 or 3 train changes arrive in Ramstein, taxi back to base and sign up for mac flight leaving on Tuesday . . . check
18. Tuesday: after staying in cute hotel in town of Ramstein and having a nice meal at a local restaurant the night before, we taxi to Ramstein base at 8 AM to stand in line and hopefully catch a potentially very full flight back to Dover, DE . . . check
19. make it on flight, whew! (note: when flying space-A on a free military flight, you are not guaranteed a seat. You are given priority in travel based on your Class and when you signed up for the flight. We are Class 3 (active duty) and signed up for the flight 5 days before when we arrived. There were 99 seats to fill and a large room full of people to fill them, thus the thrill of "making" the flight!!) . . . check
20. arrive in US on Tuesday afternoon and fly to Providence, RI on a delayed flight (now 2 AM Germany time and we are tired!! Germany is 6 hours ahead of East Coast time) . . . check
21. friends pick us up at Providence airport and we arrive safely home in Middletown at 9:30 (now 3:30 AM German time) ugh! but soooo happy to hold sleeping children and see Mom!!! . . . check
22. Wednesday: drive back to Stewart AFRB to get car where we left it, see West Point and beautiful Hudson river valley along the way . . . check

Whew! what a trip!! My Mom did a wonderful job with the boys, I swear they didn't miss us. :) She flew out on Friday and I began VBS as a singing/drama leader this past Monday. We're still going!! Will leaves July 31 for a 2 month school in Dalgren, VA the same day I return from my 10 year high school reunion in Houston. This summer is flying by! Thanks for all the prayers of safely while we were gone. I'll post pics when I can. Germany was absolutely beautiful country! I wish we could be stationed there for a little while so we could learn the language and culture. Taking the train around really enabled us to see so much and the public transportation system in Europe is so incredible, it's amazing (and probably a shame) we don't have the same thing in place over here. It was so easy to get around and once you were on a train you didn't have to worry about driving and you had time to talk, or rest, or sleep or read . . . it was wonderful!! :)

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