Friday, April 11, 2014

Update with PCS to Germany!

Wow I cannot believe that its been 4 months since I last posted. Oops!
Gosh, I really thought I was gonna do better than this but, hey life has a tendency to get in the way. Priorities! Anyway it is getting really close to our move to Germany and that is really the main reason why I got back into blogging. I know that communications will not be as easily done and far, few and in between due to $$$. So I am thinking the main communications will be mostly through FB and hopefully here in my blog is where I can share pictures with what we are up to with family and friends once we are there.
So I guess I can get started today and share some of the things that we have been going through as far as getting ready for the move to Germany. Besides trying to contact as many people as I can that are now living in Germany that are in the military same as us, here are some things I have been doing for the sake of my SANITY!
*TEMPORARY LODGING* As soon as you get your orders get your hubby or yourself to reserve a room for you and your family to stay in in Germany. We reserved ours for 30 days. I know some people cant even get a room cuz they are already maxed out. Now people are having to look outside post which there are plenty out there. Its just the convenience of being on post and being close to the stores, offices where you are in processing, to your sponsor and restaurant, etc. specially in a new place where you have never been. I know I feel secure having that.
*QUESTIONS* I have joined some FB group that are based in Germany (Ladies of the KMC and Foodies in the KMC) and military spouses. This is a great place to ask questions and get suggestions on anything and everything about PCS or living abroad. They are really friendly and very helpful. Please don't be afraid to ask questions! I'm not! I have no shame in my game. I am the type to plan everything I can. I have a plan A, B, C and D and then try to have back up for my back up. That's just me, but I like to be prepared. The move is hard enough I try to get as much knowledge and info as I can so I an anticipate problems and get them fix before they happen. Are you the same or am I just crazy?
*SELL, SELL, SELL*I also have been selling as much as I can of our stuff we can bare to let go on FB garage sales in my area (I joined knowing I would have to be getting rid of as much as I can for this move), Craigslist and had a garage sale. I am nervous about going over our weight limit so this was my top priority. I have living room sets in this house and I know I am only taking one. So besides the little stuff we have also sold one of our cars. Thank GOD! We have 3 so we are letting the military ship one and we are shipping one of them out of pocket. (But now we are thinking of selling my van cuz of shipping cost and just getting rid of one car and buying a new one there. STill not sure though)
*PAPER WORK*Do your paper work as early as possible. OH MY GOSH! Did they have fun making me drive around back and forth. I tried to get our paper work done when my hubby was in Thailand so that when he got back he would just turn it in and get our orders out to be approve. No Luck! They still made him run around as well when he got back. Orders will still have to get looked at and get approve but thank God we got it. Make sure you and your kids paperwork (EFMP) as far as medical goes is taken cared of. We had to get an approval for our orders cuz my son has asthma. So they had to make sure he was good to go. This could take some time and was very frustrating for me.
*MILITARY/TOURIST PASSPORTS*Do your military passports first! I was debating which one to do first military vs. tourist but found out they changed it  now so the thing they look at is your military one so get that one done first. You do have to have your orders for this. Remember they will take your kids (if they are under 18 years of age) Birth Certificate and send it out and it takes 6 to 8 weeks to get back.  My kids tourist passports are expired that's why I am having to renew them. So what I had to do was order a certified copy of the BC so I can go ahead and renew their tourist passport (which is what you use when traveling outside of Germany which we plan on doing). I don't wanna have to wait around when we are there for their passport. I want to do them here to get them out of the way. Now if I can just get some time for my hubby to take off work so we can do their passport that would be great. We leave in the first week of July so I really need to get them done. Thank God I expedited the BC so they got here in time so even if I do the passport this week or next I would get them back my next month. Tourist passport take about 4 to 6 weeks to get back. I have time, yay! That was close though. So please don't wait around on this you really have to get them done way in advance people.
*PANTRY and TOILETRIES* My entire family have been using up everything in our pantry that the movers might not pack or would cost too much weight and same for toiletries. And when toiletries I mean lotions, perfumes, soaps..etc. I am trying to use up things in my freezer and ref. Anything at all that would cost me pain later I am trying to get rid of. I guess my candles if they are not pack will be taken to storage. I figured that if we use up as much as we can now the less I have to pack in our suitcases to bring with us. I know my hubby and I are perfume hoarders so we will be packing a ton of them. But the cheapo ones that we could care less are being used as much as possible. I have used up so much lotion my skin has never felt so smooth in my entire life. Hahahahah! Everything else in my pantry can be donated or trash. I hate to throw out something when you don't have to so I am trying my best to use what we have. I am doing great and should be ready by the time movers come.
*Organize, organize, organize! I am trying to put things in their areas. Things that are going to be STORED, SOLD, put in UB (unaccompanied baggage)or HHG (main household goods to be shipped in Germany with us) When you get your paper work they will give you a handout on suggested things you can and cannot bring with you. For example anything that is not 220 volt/dual volt will not work in Europe. It will blow up, do a fun sparkly small fireworks show but I think you will get people angry for doing so. NO FUN! Here in the US we use 110/120 volt. Although I have gotten some mix reviews on this I just don't want to risk it. You can I  think use transformers on certain things but they are electricity hogs and its too expensive over there to play around with that. I am EL CHEAPO MASTER! Microwaves, washer and dryers are a big no no and they wont even let you take them with you and will be stored courtesy of the military for you. You can do a quick google on this and tons of stuff will come up. Promise! Just do the work.
Although I had a friend that had the military packed everything they had. Including their micro,washer and dryer  and everything that are totally useless over there. I don't know how that happened. But I know I read and asked questions about which appliances I can take and wisely not to. I will do a more detailed post on this when I have the time but for now I am being really general.
*PLAN, PLAN, PLAN*Planning what I need to make life easier when we are in Germany. (This is from asking a bunch of people questions) Like I know I need to get shoes, pants, warm/cold weather clothes for my kids cuz they are growing and we got rid of a ton of them here since its hot here in SA, Texas. I will need to resupply that for them. I have been slowly doing that since last year but since they are still growing as we speak I think a shopping spree is in order before we fly out. I have heard that you do a lot your shopping online when you are there. There's not much selection at the BX or PX which ever one it is and if they do have it, it goes quickly. I don't know how much of this is true but hey I would rather be ready than not.
*SHIPPING CARS* Talking to USAA about our car loan getting it ready so when it is time to ship it (military or personal) you have all the proper paper work. Hubby said he talked to USAA and they will do paper ASAP when we need it since they do this all the time for their military customers. I would prefer to have it in our hands but hubby is handling it so I am trusting him on this one. I am still yet to get a quote on how much it will be to ship our other vehicle out of pocket but I know it ain't going to be cheap. It's gonna hurt! I need to do that ASAP.
I think that's all I can think of right now. Whew! I know that was a long post but I really want to post as much as I can. I really did got addicted reading peoples blog when I first found out we were PCS'ng to Germany to read and find out as much as I can. I was excited, scared, nervous all at the same time and reading other people's experience and seeing many people going through the same thing I was going through made me feel better. So I hope there's someone out there reading this and getting something out of it. What ever it might be and help you out in any way. That is the purpose of this post. I will try and add to this post as much as I can while I am in the process.
Thanks for sticking around and reading this. Good luck, have a good day and be blessed!