Saturday, September 21, 2013


Since there's no more GoogleReader, a number of sites to help you keep up with blogs have popped up. I've been using BlogLovin' for a few months, and I'm pretty much in love. I get a daily digest email of all the blog updates that have happened. I think their site is exceptionally easy to use... Basically it's just amazing! Click the link below to follow my blog on bloglovin! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shipping your pet to Germany, pt. 2- The cost.

Phew-what a 2 weeks this has been! Before we got too far out and I forget everything that's happened, I wanted to update on the costs and realities of getting your pet to Germany.

So. We bought 2 crates (PetMate SkyKennel). We got the cat the small size, and JB the Giant Size. It cost us $240 for both crates. $200 of that was JB's.'s Expensive. Yes, I would've preferred it to be cheaper. But... we really lucked out later.

You have to get health certificates. It's only good for 10 days, so wait as much as you can! You can get it at your post vet. If you don't have an on-post vet, you'll have to get it from a USDA certified Vet, and hope they have room! We were able to be seen on post, where the screening for health certificates is free, so long as you have a copy of orders. SO- Vet Exam: $0

Since JB had such a large crate, we had to have it disassembled untill we got to the airport. Well, as luck would have it at BWI, pets have to be in crates to go in the terminal. So C and I got to assemble that giant thing in the vestibule between outside and inside. Luckily, at this rate we're like a NASCAR crew with that thing. Once assembled, we got her inside.

Ready for the next bonus? If you are a family with kids or pets, you get to cut the line! I was so thankful for that-we had 4 checked bags, 2 crates, and 4 carry-ons, so we needed the cut.

At check in, the agents gave the animals a quick once over, weighed them in crates (as well as our bags), and then we paid. It was about $350. WHAT?! so much cheaper than I was expecting. Then we had to wait... we checked in right around 7:30 PM, our flight left at Midnight. We couldn't drop the pets off till 10:00 PM. So, we had 2.5 hrs to kill without going through security. We ate, took the pets to the pet relief area a couple times, and talked with family and friends.

Finally, 10 rolled around and we dropped the girls off back at the check in desk. I won't lie-I cried a little. (Story of my life! ha...I'm a cryer). I told JB and Adi that nothing bad could happen to them because if it did I'd lose my sh!t and that's a bad first impression. ;)

It was a quick walk through security, then onto the plane! We got little slips once seated that let us know that our babies had been successfully loaded onto the plane.

That's not where the pet story ends- See, in Germany the pets are examined once more to make sure that they're healthy and not bringing in any crazy illnesses. That cost 55 EUR.That was the end of our costs! Our sponsor picked us up, thankfully in a minivan, so We were able to keep them in their crates till we got to the hotel.

So, when all is said and done, it cost $590 to get them to Germany. Once in Germany, it cost us about 55 EUR for the exams, then probably another $80 in supplies we had shipped ahead of time (Thanks Amazon!).

All totaled- $670. (about $750, once you convert the Euro!) It was extra time. It was money we didn't necessarily want to spend. But these are our babies, so there was no way that we weren't going to find a way to make this work!

Random notes- Our agents didn't care if there was food/water in the crates, or if all attaching hardware was metal. We didn't have to have anything crazy, just the normal paperwork for them and we paid for them as "excess bags".

Please, if you have any questions (or know someone who does) about bring pets over to Germany-especially giants-send them my way! We've met so many families missing their big babies and I'd love to help however I can.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Odyssey to Germany, pt 2

Good gravy--y'all came back for more?! ;)

So, last I left off we were about to land in Germany.

We landed around 1 PM German time, so it was about 7 AM EST. Again, deplaning was done in sections. High ranking officials, people folllowing on (Our flight was making further stops in Turkey and Manas), and lastly people stopping in Germany. Once off the flight, we were directed to get rid of meat products, so I had to dump a TON of slim jim's that C had bought, which he was sad about. He was instructed to stay in a room to fill out some paperwork, while I got to go ahead and get in line to have my passport checked. A quick question about where we were headed and we were through to baggage claim!

Baggage claim at a military passenger terminal is pretty much nothing like baggage claim at a regular airport. You walk in and bags are everywhere! You just have to grab yours and arrange them. Our girls were also at baggage claim! Both a little mad, but okay otherwise. ;) We had to have them checked out, pay a fee, and then loaded our bags onto the carrier they were already on, and got herded into a different waiting room. This one had wifi and it seemed like things were going to go easier-more people to help us out. ;)

Here's where we hit a hiccup. See, we thought our sponsor was picking us up. The reception desk said he hadn't checked in, so we had to take the bus. We walked out, and a very enthusiastic man took my bags and loaded me on the bus telling C to wait...only for our sponsor to arrive shortly thereafter. After a few more pieces of paperwork, we then loaded everything up in our sponsor's van and headed out!

The autobahn was terrifying to me. I'm fairly certain I will not be driving here, or at least not on the autobahn. It too us about an hour to get to Wiesbaden. Now, at this point it's about 1430 (2:30 PM). Last time we ate was around midnight, or 6 AM German time. We're starving, but exhausted. All I wanted at this point was to go to the hotel...but apparently there was a form that needed to be signed. So we spent some time driving around to find him... to give up and go to the hotel, and find the guy there. Typical Army, right?

It's probably around 4 by the time we got in our room, with the animals. C took JB out as soon as we got there, I went straight to the room with Adi to set her up.  We decided to rest, and then C would go get food at the bowling alley (less than 5 min walking from the hotel). Well, by the time that happened I was exhausted and nauseous. C picked up on that and grabbed me some plain food, plus some things he knew I loved (Pizza with hot sauce). We had been napping on/off for most of the afternoon, and fell asleep still almost right after we finished eating.

Since then, it's been a flurry of activity! We've set up an apartment and our phone/internet/cable/etc. We're working on cell phones, and trying to keep our heads above water.

More to come on the pets, our apartment, and Germany in general!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Odyssey to Germany, pt 1

Hello all! It has been crazy here. We have an apartment and are moving in this weekend, we've got everything but cell phones set up, and C should hopefully be getting his license this week! Once that happens, we're officially mobile. :)

I figured I'd go back to actually getting here, then blog about the pets/housing/ everything else later.

So, if you remember from my earlier posts, C and I decided we'd drive from Sierra Vista to Baltimore. We did this to ensure we'd have our girls with us, and because the Army agreed with us that $3k to ship them was ridiculous. So we stopped in Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, O'Fallon (IL), Union (KY), and then Baltimore. We were on the road from 8/28 to 9/1, then had an overnight in Baltimore.

So, the morning we were flying out from Baltimore, Cody ran around doing little errands, and I was organizing our bags. Looking back now, there's a few things I would've liked to have had, or grabbed in the States where we had more choices. Post on that later too.

Around 2, Cody went and returned our rental car. Our hotel had a shuttle and agreed to let us on there with the girls and all our stuff, so we figured that would make this whole thing a little less stressful. We were right! It ended up being pretty tough just to get us all out using the shuttle, I can't imagine having to do it with rental car return.

We took the 6:20 shuttle to the airport, for our flight at midnight. A little crazy, but since this flight was so packed, it was a great idea. We finangled all our bags into the vestibule between the two sets of doors into the airport. That's as far as we could go, untill we assembled JB's crate. That had a slight hiccup-the metal wingnut C had gotten to secure the kennel didn't fit, so we had to just use the plastic pieces. Then we had to convince JB to get in the crate, not freak out, and load the crate on a push cart. Thankfully, that went ok. ONce that and our other bags were loaded up quickly.

Special note: If you have pets or kids (or both) you can cut the line at check in at AMC in Baltimore. SO THANKFUL for this! We snuck through the HUGE line of people, and got helped nearly immediately. After all my worrying about the crates, the paper was barely a second glance at them, and not expensive at all! You'll be shocked at how not astronomical it ended up being to fly them. So when we finished checking in, we were told to bring the animals back at 10 PM. That was at about 7... so we had 3 hrs, and couldn't go through security. We ate, talked with families on our flight, and answered a lot of questions for kids about how big our dog was.

Finally, 10 rolled around and we dropped the girls off by the check in desk. I was pretty emotional-not only had it been a long day, but these girls are my babies and I would have been devastated had something happened to them.

Going through security was surprisingly simple, and I didn't have to throw out my water. From there we went to our gate, just to be the last group to board. The boarding order was: High rankers, Families with small children (Or really any children, because there were defintely some with teens who took advantage of that. LOL), those travelling in Uniform, and then "Others". We lucked out and had in seat entertainment-not that we got to use it much! We took off around midnight and I only cried a little. It's just hard to leave a family and country that I love...

In the most confusing move, they served a dinner?! I would've much preferred that they give us breakfast, because at 0100, I really don't want food. So we had oreos and drinks, I fell asleep but Cody ordered me a meal (that I ended up not eating), then snacks again in the morning, which we also slept through.

I'll write and publish the journey about once we hit the ground in Germany later; This is long enough as is! Cookies if you made it through. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wir kamen nach Deutschland!

(We came to Germany!)

Well, C and I are starting to settle in here! We got to Germany after a LOT of traveling and visiting with family. Probably not as much visiting as we would've liked, but that's our cookie crumbled this time.

We arrived around 1 PM Germany time on Tuesday, and hit the ground running. Our sponsor had some issues getting to us, thanks to a traffic accident on the autobahn, and so we had confusion on whether we were taking a bus or not. Thankfully, we were able to work it all out and get on our way...only to hit a hiccup trying to find the right person to sign a certain form in Wiesbaden. Thankfully, that all worked out the next day.

We had zero issues with the girls, and I'll do a follow up post of all the costs and steps about that. Spoiler alert: it was WAY cheaper and easier than we thought it would be.

C has been in-processing since we got here and it looks as though that will continue for at least another 2 weeks. We have no idea when we will be getting an apartment (We do have to live on post, fortunately/unfortunately),  but we are #2 on the waiting list so it shouldn't be too terribly long. I think we're now hoping for the part of housing we currently stay in with lodging right now.. so we'll see!

Hopefully in the next few days, after some schoolwork catch-up, I'll have more posts headed y'alls way! Unfortunately, it's 2330 here and I need to get on a normal sleep schedule.

Auf Wiedersehn!

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