Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008

The photos are of Baumholder on a clear day (well, almost clear).
Many of the folks from the western United States think navigating in the eastern United States is tough. They talk about the roads not going straight and things not being laid out in squares. If you take that scenario and multiply it times ten you can come pretty close to what navigating in Germany is like. Because we are up for any challenge, well almost, we have found most every place in the dark. (The days are short this time of year and most of our visits to people and places are at night.)

As legal aliens we have some things that we need to accomplish to comply with German laws. So far we have obtained our residence permits/visas, been registered in the town we live in, been set up to pay German sales tax on the things we buy on post, opened a checking account here and transfered money. Are we slick or what?

Our next hurdle is to get German driver's licenses. The first hurdle in that task was to get an official translation of our drivers licenses. It took one trip to find out where to go and a couple of phone calls but then we were ready for the translation. In order to not have to send our drivers licenses away for a few weeks and not be able to drive legally we needed to go to Wiesbaden to the ADAC (like AAA only they have more services) and wait while we got the translation. We were told that if they had other customers we would have to wait until they had time to translate them. Fortunately, it took just minutes.

We have had a problem a number of times where we had no idea how to find things locally and struggled to get the job done. The address in Wiesbaden looked like a tougher task. We broke down and got a GPS with Europen maps. I would tell you how expensive that was but I don't think my finger can type those scarey numbers. Anyway, we engaged the GPS on its maiden voyage to take us to the center of Wiesbaden. It was flawless! We were impressed! She (the voice on the GPS) spoke calmly and with confidence and never made a mistake. And check this out - very near the ADAC place was an Italian resturant that we stopped at. I ordered pizza - big surprise there - and gave some to Pam. (Yes she did order her own lunch) She said it was the best pizza she had ever had. If it hadn't cost almost $150 for the translation she would like to do it again.

So we now have official translations of our licenses and are approaching the next hurdle. The next step is to go to the government building and see what we do next. The good news is that we have six months from the time we arrived in country to get our German drivers' licenses.

Germany honors some states drivers' licenses and not others. They honor Utah (where our licenses are from) but not CA, NY and many others. I don't know why - I'm just reporting the facts.

We were told that Baumholder gets lots of snow so a while back I bought a snow shovel. It has worked extremely well and no snow has shown up yet! (The snow shovel was insurance that I wouldn't have to use it.) Most days continue to be above freezing and some have been up to 50 degrees. We see lots of rain and clouds but very little of whatever that yellow ball in the sky is called!

The major deployment of the troops from here has again been delayed. We understand that this is the third delay. The current projection is for some time in April but as soon as the report came out that the date had been slipped to April rumors started flying that it will be slid again. Only time will tell!

Our work and association with the members of the church and the military continue to be very sweet. We build friendships every where we can. We volunteer at the Thrift Store and the Arts Center on post. Every time we go our job is different and we have lots of fun and help some folks out! Is that cool or what?

In the branch we continue to serve and visit. Every now and then there is a chance for an old story teller to throw in a story! It's hard for me to think of a story but I do my best!

I think that's the news that is the news from here!

The Rambling Down the Road Karns