Winter in Germany

Thought I might take a minute from writing about pregnancy (it’s hard not to share though 😉 to share some of our winter time thoughts! Kyle and I were both born and raised in Arizona, which can have four seasons, despite the common misconception that it’s an oven 365 days a year. We’ve both seen snow, it even snowed in our hometown on Christmas this year! Having said that, the winters were never really bad, none of the seasons are. I guess when you get four seasons they tend to not be very extreme, at least they aren’t in our case!


That is not the case here in western Germany! We got here just in time for summer this last year and it rained more days then it didn’t! As soon as you thought you had it figured out and were equipt in a rain jacket and rain boots the weather would switch up and give you one really stinking hot day! I wish winter was the same in the respect of only having one stinking cold day! Not the case here.. starting in October it got very cold, probably around the 40°’sF or so and it’s only gotten colder since. From the end of November to now I’d say it’s mostly 32°F or less. Our car is in metric system now so that’s what I go by and it’s been as low as -14°C/6°F or so and that’s what it’s been most mornings and it’s just now getting back up to 0°C/ 32°F. 

 


That being said, it’s only snowed twice! Other days there would be frost but no snow. So, as I like to say we are freezin’ for no reason! I love winter and think it’s so beautiful when and only when it’s snowing! Otherwise it’s just a pain in the butt to scrap your car and freeze your buns off for no snowy white gratification!


The thing about it being below freezing all day and night long, is once we got snow it’s stayed for what seems like forever! Can be a little annoying but on the bright side it gave us primo opportunity to take some impromptu maternity pictures! 

Here’s to hoping our summer weather makes up for this long and mostly dry winter! Xo

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House Hunting: Second the Best

Remember that nursery school rhyme, “first the worst, second the best”

Well that is our current situation in the house hunting game. Our first house hunt took place in May, we didn’t know it at the time but our options were scarce. Now, as we just wrapped up our second house hunt, in which we saw four more houses, except these were to a much bigger, better scale. Evidently our options during this “PCS season”(for those of you who don’t know what that means, its just a time in the summer where a lot of people have orders to move and by doing such, for our purposes, open up the housing market) are much more plentiful. We toured four more houses and we stopped when we found our dream house…

Heres a little refresher on our must haves (they haven’t changed):

MY MUST HAVES:

charm, preferably three bedrooms, natural light & a stair case in our home (weird I know, I’ve always wanted my own stair case to decorate during the holidays- but stairs in an Arizona home isn’t popular and my dad is disabled so even then we would never move into a house with stairs)

KYLE MUST HAVES:

good kitchen, modern, parking space, in budget

BOTH MUST HAVES:

outdoor space for our pup(s), good internet connection- it varies widely here and we agreed it would help us stay connected to our families and friends back home.

ITS A PLUS IF:

theres restaraunts, a bakery and grocery shopping because each village is different

House 1: The Backyard House

Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, pet friendly, located on the mountainside, detached house

 

PROS: 

Obviously the backyard house has a magnificent backyard. Kyle said we could have football tournaments there.. a big plus for him

Im a sucker for a good staircase.. gorgeous

completely updated

big bedrooms

pet friendly

nice landlord

one car garage

completely detached

CONS:

an important one: horrible internet

decent drive

CONCLUSION:

we immediately fell in love with the yard and newly renovated house, but when we looked up the internet speed we saw it was at a whopping 6mb.. which is awful. Since we’ve already dealt with the woes of internet we had to pass, but it was a promising start to our house hunt.

House 2: The Multiple Family Home

this house was a bit weird and not what we were looking for… it had two stories each with their own kitchen, living room and bedrooms. It would’ve been ideal for a long term in-law living situation but for our purposes it just didn’t scream “home”

 

PROS: 

three bedrooms

updated kitchen and bathroom

big yard

includes shed

included barbecue cabin

good internet

CONS:

two kitchens

weird living space layout

yard wasn’t fenced

everything that wasn’t updated was circa 1960

20 minutes from base

CONCLUSION:

This house technically hit all our major needs, but it was a little funky and didn’t flow. We don’t have any need for two kitchens and two living rooms. It was overall nice but it was a bit of a drive and to us the quality wasn’t worth the drive.

House 3: The Close to Perfect House

three bedrooms, three bathrooms, large living room, nice kitchen, big yard, natural hardwood floors, balcony and close proximity to horses

 

PROS:

three bedrooms

clean basement (big deal to Kyle)

separate dining room

large living area

great village

balcony of the master

included wardrobes

big yard

BBQ house

great internet

one car garage

additional parking

nice landlord

close to base

CONS:

small kitchen

CONCLUSION:

this place really hit the mark for us, it is in the same village as we are currently in, which we adore. There was plenty of space for guests and kids (one day). I wasn’t a fan of the tile downstairs but not a deal breaker. Upstairs had beautiful hardwood floors which evened it out. We were very close to taking this house but I had already lined up one for the following morning so, we told them we would call them the next day if we didn’t like the showing we saw in the morning. SPOILER ALERT: we LOVED the house we saw the next morning.

House 4: DREAM HOUSE

five bedrooms, two new bathrooms, open concept living room and kitchen (a rarity here), original hardwood floors, wardrobes included, big fenced yard, this house is a dream.

As soon as I walked in I got butterflies in my stomach, that is perhaps the best part. No, actually the best part is that Kyle felt the same way…

 

PROS:

open concept (so rare here)

five bedrooms (holy cow can you say man AND woman cave?)

one bedroom is on the main floor (ideal for my dad whom is disabled)

original hardwood floors

gorgeous stair case

detached house

two car garage

large yard

updated kitchen

good internet

four stories

tons of natural light

wood burning stove

CONS: 

20 minutes from base

creepy basement (we can suck it up right?)

CONCLUSION:

This house gave me butterflies instantaneously. Its as far as “Multiple Family Home” but here all the Pros make up for the one Con. So, we are in the middle of getting the contract signed then we will be living in our dream home..

 

 

 

Everything Happens for a Reason: Our German House Hunt

So, I know what your thinking.. “didn’t they like just move?’

Yes, kind reader, you are correct. But due to untimely circumstances or maybe perfectly timed circumstances, we are moving yet again.

We’ve been living in our historic guard tower for nearly three months now and for nearly three months we’ve been living without internet. For some reason, not to our knowledge the company who supplies internet here just can’t seem or at least can’t communicate the problem with our house. People have lived here before us, civilized people who had similar needs: internet. They all had it too, but for some mysterious reason, we cannot get to their level of sophistication and civilization. The company has been no help.. I understand that it is not as serious an issue here to most Germans. But, what I can’t understand is no one telling us whats going on or when they plan on resolving it. So, after much headaches and inconvenient drives from our house to base to use their free internet, we’ve finally had enough. Our landlord, a very kind business man, has gone on our behalf a half of dozen times to try and figure the problem out as well. He hit the same brick walls that we did.

Again, I know what your thinking.. “Why don’t you just try a different company?”

To which I’d half to tell you that things are just not like the states.. There is one provider for internet in the area we are in, even if we chose a different service provider, it would still be through the same internet provider, whom is where the problems lie..

But in what seems like a crap storm sprinkled with stress is some good news..

  1. Being the business man he is, our landlord has graciously let us out of our one year lease agreement.
  2. We got to go house hunting again, which is good because if you read the last house hunting post, you kind reader you, know that we did have some second thoughts on other things as well. Including a big second thought: we might need a second and third bedroom and not a bedroom and a half (which is what I like to call it) that we have now. Especially if even half of the people who say they’re going to visit me actually do AND ESPECIALLY IF we decide to have children while we are here, which is a pretty good possibility.

So, like my favorite saying goes: Everything Happens for a Reason!

If we hadn’t moved into this house

If we didn’t have internet problems

If we didn’t want kids

If we didn’t want guests

If we didn’t get this time

If we never had to stress

If we didn’t make countless trips to and from base

If our landlord wasn’t amazing

If… any of this stressful complicated mess didn’t happen.. we wouldn’t have found our dream house.. I MEAN DREAM HOUSE.. It is gorgeous and I can’t wait to show you all.

So, dear reader, if your life seems messy.. If things aren’t going as planned… Just remember that everything happens for a reason. If you can remember that and just have a little faith (if thats your thing) then maybe, just maybe, something even better is right around the corner waiting to catch you by complete surprise.

Housing options and decision to follow! ( I can’t wait to show you)

 

Living the German Life

First of all happy (second favorite holiday of mine) independence day America!

That being said,  and second of all to everyone whose asked, YES WE LOVE GERMANY




I personally could not be happier to be living abroad and I LOVE THE WEATHER. It rains a lot, like at least several times a day on average, which sometimes is a pain when trying to sight see and take pictures but a little water spot on the lens never killed nobody (that I’m aware of) and the constant rain makes for some beautiful green scenery. My allergies aren’t as thrilled about that but now I’m on the right dose of allergy medication, I can really enjoy it.

A little personal update for us:

we met Trace Adkins after his USO concert! He just happens to be staying at the same hotel as us so of course we had to say hello and get a picture!

The USO also provided us with free tickets to see Paul McCartney! We love our USO!


we have moved into our house (see last post for details and pictures)


we still don’t have our internet set up (boo!) so if you need me I’ll be spending all my days between the library and base coffee shop (free wifi!) until further notice.

we have already traveled quite a bit, somewhere new each weekend and have no plans on stopping.

our other car got here last week, it took exactly 8 weeks as expected, we just need to register it and we’ll be set

our household goods is actually here as well! but would you believe they can’t deliver it to our home for three more weeks! Which to be frank, sucks! Meanwhile, we are getting by with the loaner furniture the base lets us use. Let me tell ya, the bed is like a brick, I sometimes think the floor would be more comfortable, my neck ache will vouch for me

Kyle & I celebrated six years of being together!


I applied for online college!

I still don’t have my German drivers license and I’ve been procrastinating it a lot

Kyle likes his job, he has to work one Saturday a month which will take some getting used to for both of us!

We both like/kinda love his new co-workers so far! Everyone is so nice and welcoming, we’ve already been to a BBQ and I have to say I look forward to many more, perhaps at our house once we get it a little more set up!

We went to our first German club with them too, which was an amazing experience!

We do a lot of grocery shopping at the local markets and I love it

German wine is the best and I’m in love

Only complaint so far: the electricity difference! Its been a real challenge to convert my hair accessories to 220v for the most part its been a replacement kind of change

We’ve only been here for two months and have already seen two additional countries, Luxembourg and Belgium and two local castles, and one castle in Luxembourg, our neighbors to the west.

heres a little preview of brussels!

Now, I think you are up to date on our last two months! I apologize for not being more diligent in updating you blog-fam but I swear I’ll improve!

I am wanting to make separate posts on our travels so if you ever find yourself abroad you can make a couple of pointers.. what do you think? If you don’t want to comment you can always e-mail me additional input and ideas at bitethelimeblog@gmail.com

FOR CONSTANT PICTURE UPDATES FOLLOW: me on instagram here.

House Hunters: Germany Edition

First of all I  would like to apologize for taking so long to write this, for those of you who follow me on instagram already know that we have found and moved into our German Dream Home but that perfect house still isn’t connected to the internet so having a chance to both write and publish this has been a challenge!

Kyle and I used to watch house hunters on HGTV all the time (when we had cable/ hadn’t seen all the ones of Netflix), I especially liked to watch the international version and dream of what our lives would be like if we moved out of the USA. Well now that dream has come true, we would’ve liked to film our house tours cause I think it could’ve been hilarious, but it was awkward enough walking around taking pictures when there was already a language barrier.

We saw about 8-10 houses, I kept trying to recount them and I kept losing count so that is my best estimate. I want to show you the last four we narrowed it down to and why we chose the one we did. First, it helps for you to know what we were looking for and it is as follows:

MY MUST HAVES: charm, preferably three bedrooms, natural light & a stair case in our home (weird I know, I’ve always wanted my own stair case to decorate during the holidays- but stairs in an Arizona home isn’t popular and my dad is disabled so even then we would never move into a house with stairs)

KYLE MUST HAVES: good kitchen, modern, parking space, in budget

BOTH MUST HAVES: outdoor space for our pup(s), good internet connection- it varies widely here and we agreed it would help us stay connected to our families and friends back home.

ITS A PLUS IF: theres restaraunts, a bakery and grocery shopping because each village is different

 

House 1: The Pink House

This house was like my fairy tale dream home, something right out of cinderella complete with an attic. Did I mention it was pink? That was a huge selling point for me but Kyle, not so much.

 

PROS:

lots of natural light

PINK

four floors= stair cases galore

three could-be bedrooms

three bathrooms

SO MUCH CHARM

good internet

good location- a couple restraints, a bakery & a small grocery store

CONS:

no outdoor space what-so-ever

on the main street with lots of traffic

bottom floor had tile that stunk of pet odor

small kitchen- deal breaker for Kyle

no parking

CONCLUSION:

I was easily sold but in the end we had to decide whether or not it was practical for us which it really wasn’t, the parking is important because if we don’t have parking on our property kyle can’t wear his uniform, which means he has to change at work at the beginning and end of the day, which isn’t ideal or practical. The no outdoor space was kind of a deal breaker for us as well because it would be so nice for Kona & Biscotti should he join us.

House 2: The BEST house

Unfortunately the current tents were moving out as we toured it so even though I took pictures, they’re all awful. I’m so sorry.

I know what you’re thinking “its called the ‘best house’ so they must choose it… well.. my heart chose it but…

 

IMG_0164

street view

PROS:

two car garage- unheard of in this area of Germany

large yard- so many heart eyes

three stories total

modern kitchen but small

lots of charm and character

natural light

four really good sized bedrooms- one was used previously as an office but i could easily use it as a down stairs guest room for my dad who is disabled, which is awesome

master has a walk in closet

storage and another room in the basement for crafts and wood-working (ideal for me)

large laundry room

CONS:

the one and only con, a deal breaker- worst internet possible

CONCLUSION:

I could honestly have seen me going back to the stone age and living in this perfect house with no internet and we ALMOST DID. It was that great- so perfect I could see us not using the internet which is easily on my favorite things list. We chose not to because the internet is what makes us feel connected and able to stay in touch with family which is a big deal to me, it would also mean no XBOX gaming for Kyle, which is a big deal to him and No Netflix at all (we get German Netflix here, which has less then the American version but its still nice) we already don’t get Hulu or Amazon Prime and they don’t have cable here like they do in the states so we would rely on the library and possibly the Netflix DVD service and only that to watch anything, which is how we spend our Sundays so in the end we decided staying connected to everyone and everything was more important. I still regret this sometimes and it sounds weird to say but I think about the house a lot and maybe if the internet upgrades in the next year, like the rumor has it, then maybe possibly we could still move into it. Only time will tell.

House 3: The View House

This house was in our bottom two, we had actually chose this house on the condition that we both didn’t like the house we saw the next day. Spoiler alert: I loved the house we saw the next day.

PROS:

three bedrooms

one large, updated bathroom

good kitchen

great separate dining room

natural light

private parking space

lots of natural light

good internet

good location

best part: easily the view, so so beautiful of the mountains, trees and river- so peaceful

CONS:

shared entrance/shared walls- deal breaker for me

no stairs

no character at all

small outdoor balcony, no yard

bedrooms had good view and were a good size but the ceiling was at a very tilted angle and I’m not sure our furniture would fit

CONCLUSION:

If it were up to Kyle and Kyle alone we would be living in this house/ apartment. Unfortunately it wasn’t. As you can see it was missing pretty much all my must haves. I loved the view and I almost caved on this one just for that view, pictures just don’t do it justice.

We were on a time crunch, even though we kind of weren’t, it felt like it. Living in a hotel is just not as glamorous as it sounds, the only options we had for food was to eat out or eat microwavable food which done enough times, makes you feel like crap, we were just ready to be in our place. The anxiety of not knowing where we’d be next was enough to make me nauseous. Our options were withering away, so, we decided to give it one more day, one more house we got a call back on to look at and if it wasn’t right we would (I would) settle for the View House. Logically it was the best house, just didn’t feel right to me, if that makes sense.

The Next day:

House 4: The Guard Tower House

The very next day we saw the last house time would permit us to see. It is in the same village as the Pink House, which is a plus. It also has a lot of history to it, it is next to a very small castle which used to belong to a Lord or something I’m not sure but like a King on a very small scale, that has now been turned into a multiple family home and it is the tower that the guard protecting the castle would keep watch and also live. We learned all this before we even entered the house, being the nerd I am, Im practically already sold with all this history.

PROS:

natural light

great village

great internet

next to a bakery and a castle

stairs

three stories

modern kitchen (its red)

open concept (living, kitchen and dining) almost unheard of here- most houses have their kitchen kind of in a closet

private outdoor space

Juliet balcony

two bathrooms, one with a large walk-in shower

great views not the same great as the View House but still good

dedicated parking spot

so much charm, so much history

CONS:

small on the square footage scale

two bedrooms (I say more like 1.5)

CONCLUSION:

Choosing a house made me sick, not at all what i expected but i felt so much pressure to pick the right place because we didn’t want to move again once all our stuff got here.  Yes its small, yes I hate that it only has two-isn bedrooms, but it was kind of perfect in other ways. It had the best compromise of a modern kitchen in an otherwise charming house and it encompassed what Kyle and I wanted in different ways. A huge selling point was having a private entrance that was my least favorite thing about the View house.

In retrospect, I wish we could’ve gotten our TLA (temporary lodging) extended so we could’ve looked more but at the time this was our best compromise, which was weird because it is also the first time Kyle and I haven’t agreed 100% on something, not trying to brag just stating the facts. He said we could move in if I agreed to downsize on some of the furniture we don’t love and really don’t need.

We moved in about a month ago now. Our things aren’t even here yet and I already regret not making three bedrooms the number one priority, or at least saying two bedrooms AND an office was super necessary because I’m already having new anxiety on whether or not our guests will be comfortable. The house is really great for the two of us, but should I get pregnant and/or should everyone who says they want to visit ACTUALLY DOES (Huge IF) then we could potentially be screwed. We decided that since our lease is only a year long, perhaps we can just hang in there until then and it will give us time to visit more of the surrounding area and see which village is really right for us and more time to find a place thats more suitable for the last three years that we will surely be here for.

If you made it all the way to the end, I love, love, love you for it. I know it was an unusually long post

XOXO Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

A New Home, Germany

Seems that I always get blog ideas or just really deep thoughts when I’m laying in bed at three AM and can’t sleep. I always think “I should write this all down” what I want to do is just be in my own head and maybe fall asleep and what I actually do is right down tons of fragments. This method has been holding me over until the next day for as long as I can remember even if I don’t end up writing about it, at very least I have deep conversations with myself in the shower. Don’t act like you never have.

Well my reason for bringing this personal quirk up is that this week has been the exception. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. On top of being in a new country and all the stress that comes with, I am also terribly sick. If you don’t believe me, ask my wonderful husband how putting up with me has been. He’s too kind to tell the truth but we both know it’s been awful, especially because I’m especially moody when I’m sick. So, because of this added stress I especially didn’t want to get up and write as I’m laying awake, inevitably due to time change and just my natural disposition to sleep, so I did as I always do and I wrote down several fragments. This time none of them make sense. I know my head was in the “deep sense of adaption to change” because I remember being overwhelmed with emotion but what led me to write
“Fish bowl
Finding nemo
But the opposite”
I probably will never know or remember.
My best guess is I was relating to Nemo being taken out of the only home he has ever known (the ocean) to be put in a tank. I can relate having never left the country to living out of the country, it’s definitely a culture shock. That’s almost unfair to say though, because I feel that “culture shock” almost always has negative connotation and I don’t feel negative about it all. I’ve been told that I will after a while, adjusting isn’t exactly easy but I’m confident as of now, a week later.

The hardest part is being so codependent on other people. Here you don’t have a choice at first. You can’t legally drive here (until you pass the correct tests and file the right paperwork, which takes time, something you don’t have if you don’t love living in a hotel) what is a total handicap as to what happens next- finding a place to live, possibly shopping for a car, getting a phone ect. (I still don’t have a phone, God bless free wifi).

Soon Kyle will at least have his USAEUR which is a pretty much a German drivers license. Then we will be able to rent or buy a car or even both because it’s hard to do your research buying a car without seeing them in person. Most importantly we can then move into our house which we will have to have figured out by then. Honestly we should’ve figured that out yesterday, but I am still so torn.

Living in a hotel is not all its cracked up to be, contrary to The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, it is not all fun and games. I guess my expectations were a little too high considering this is a small farm town in Germany, not Boston, and this is a small Air Force Inn, not the Tipton Hotel. We do not have a kitchen which makes eating healthy especially difficult, we are limited to microwave meals and sandwiches. The microwave, bedroom, desk that is over flown with suitcases, the closet and the living room is all squished together in one little area and I am stir crazy. Thankfully we have been able to get out some to house hunt, in process and see some movies at the on base theatre.

As far as finding a place to live, we have all the thanks to give to my new friend Sommer. She is the only reason we have been able to tour places off base and might I say we have had a lot of fun doing it. My only regret is not getting everything on video and submitting it into House Hunter International because I have a new respect for the couples who can’t agree on whats important because Kyle and I are in the same boat.

We did find the perfect house but it had awful to no internet service and not to sound too first world but it has to be a priority since we are counting on it to communicate back to the states. Some food for thought, next time your complaining about how bad your signal is for a short period of time, keep in mind there are entire communities who have never used internet or know what it is.

Honestly, I am setting my expectations too high again because I am holding out to find my perfect Stars Hallow home. If you know what I am talking about, I have a deep sense of respect and all out love for you. It actually seems like it might be possible in its own way, have you there won’t be a designated Taylor Doose or Luke Danes, but I can work with that. For those of you still playing catch up, I am heavily referring to Gilmore Girls.

All or at least most of the villages within driving distance are under 1,500 people in population. The “cities” here are about 13,000 to 17,000 people, which is still less than half the size of the small town I’m from. Most of the villages are REALLY cute. I keep finding myself referring to them as “Beauty and the Beast” or “Cinderella” towns. You know the part in the beginnings where they are at the bakery buying bread and gathering produce? Well, thats exactly what its like.

We have seen six homes or apartments so far and even though the perfect one (House A) wasn’t perfect and did have a deal breaker (internet) we have two strong contenders. We almost want to hold out to find the perfect compromise so we are going to see a couple more today, whether or not we find a perfect house, we still need to make a decision by the end of the day so we don’t lose the strong contenders just because we are being picky. At that point we will just have to decide whats most important to both of us. If I could pick House A and put it in the location and internet service signal of House B with the view of House C the decision would’ve been made days ago, unfortunately, like any house hunter will know, it just doesn’t work like that.

I hope you can follow all my ramblings, I’m still getting used to the time change, we are nine hours ahead of Arizona and seven ahead of Texas. So, friends, family and online friends I haven’t met, for the most part as y’all are going to bed, Im waking up. When you are waking up, I’m wrapping up my day. When you are getting out of school and off work, I’m going to bed. Pretty much whatever your doing, Im doing the counter part or opposite. So, please be patient with me as I try my best to keep in contact with all of you.