Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Baumholder in People Mag

In April of 2003 soldiers stationed in Baumholder, Germany began what they thought would be a 12 month deployment to Iraq. Obviously, when they left, many families went without having a dad/husband or mom/wife around for a long time. This wasn't a "Honey, I'll be home late from the office tonight" or "I'll see you next week" kind of thing. This was say goodbye and I hope to see you in one piece in a year kind of thing. Around 5,000 soldiers from Baumholder went to Iraq that year and they lost 29 soldiers. April 2004 was suppose to bring the soldiers home, but to the surprise of many, the soldiers were extended for 120 days. We happen to arrive in Baumholder the week this extension was announced. Great timing! I think that this was the lowest point of morale in Baumholder’s history. Eventually families recovered and were able to welcome their soldier home in July/August of last year. Now, a funny thing has happened in Baumholder, we have a lot of ladies who are expecting and lot of newborn babies…you do the math.

People Magazine came to Baumholder and did a photo shoot about 2 weeks ago. This article is suppose to run on July 4th and is suppose to be entirely about Baumholder. If there is a picture of all of the expecting mothers you will be able to see at least one of my buds, Sara Adams. The article also might quote LTC Mike Money who is a Nurse Practitioner at the Health Clinic. Mike and his family attend the chapel and are very involved. They also happen to be members of a PCA church in San Antonio, TX. Keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you find anything cool!

The picture: The fences that line the perimeter of Baumholder Post were decorated just like this last year when the soldiers came home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

All Is Well

Life in Germany is crazy. Upon arriving to this country I really thought that there was no way I would survive. We found ourselves stuck between two cultures that were completely new and unknown to us, the German culture and the military culture. In some ways both of those cultures are just as new and unknown today as they were when we stepped off the plane April 16, 2004, but we are making some progress.

Last summer I found a job working at the Army Education Center at Baumholder. I have been working as the Test Administrator. If you have seen the movie Spies Like Us with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd you will remember the scene where they are taking the test to get into the secret service, that pretty much sums up my job. I administer all sorts of exams from college exams to Army Personnel exams, Language exams to SATs. You get the idea. It has actually been a fun job. I actually recently gave my notice and will finish here on July 29. This past February I was approached about taking on some special responsibilities at the chapel for the coming year. I will be serving as the President of Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) which is the women’s ministry of the chapel. I am heading up a board of 10 women who will be serving not only the women of the chapel, but hopefully also the chapel and the community at large. This is a huge responsibility and I am already up to my eyeballs in this position. I hope and pray that the Lord will give me strength. Once I quit my job I will have more time to devote to PWOC and to helping the women in this area.

Dave has been busy working at the Dental Clinic. He enjoys his job and the folks that he works with. He has also been busy in many other areas. This past fall he helped lead a Bible Study through Romans. We used Tim Keller’s study and it was so wonderful. The group was very diverse which became challenging at points, but overall it has been a positive experience. This small group Bible Study has turned into a Community Group of sorts. We currently have four solid couples and have two couples on the edge. Dave has transitioned the group and we are now going through the book of James. In February Dave was asked to teach Sunday School at the chapel and began teaching through II Peter, and recently the BSB Chaplain (aka- Head Pastor for you non-military folk) asked Dave to serve the chapel as the Head of Adult Religious Education. He will be overseeing Sunday School as well as small group Bible studies and discipleship. He is very excited about that.

As you can see from the above paragraphs, Dave and I are very involved and committed to our little Baumholder Chapel. It has certainly been an interesting experience transitioning from Intown, where we had attended for years, to the Chapel style of church, but overall it has been a good experience. We have found ourselves surrounded by some solid believers and have had a good time of fellowship.

Our year has also been filled with MUCH travel. This has been such a delight. We “Slept in Straw” in Switzerland, celebrated Thanksgiving with an Italian Feast in Florence, rung in the New Year in Paris, etc. We are in a unique area of Germany because we can reach Luxembourg, France and Belgium all in an hour drive. We are also about 30 minutes away from Hahn Airport where Ryan Air (Europe’s version of Air Tran only on steroids) flies. Many places are accessible that just would not be from the states. It also funny to hear kids talk around here. They say things like, “Do we have to go to Paris again” or “We were just in Brussels last weekend, can’t we go somewhere else.” I hope that we never get to that point, but in some ways I do understand that you can only go to the top of the Eiffel Tower so many times.

The picture: Hills of Germany near where our new house is in Mettweiler.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Where in the World

In February 2004, Dave and I quit our jobs in Atlanta, Georgia because Dave was hired to work as a dentist for the US Army in Europe. Though our paperwork said we needed to arrive in Baumholder, Germany by March 15, our visas did not go through until the middle of April. Last spring we found that we had a lot of time on our hands as we waited for confirmation of our visas.

By the beginning of March I was going crazy, so Dave and I decided to take a road trip. One of my best friends from college had just had her first baby boy, Todd Matthew and I wanted to drive to Cincinnati to meet little Todd. When I asked Dave where he wanted to go he quickly responded with "Banff".

For those who don't know, Banff is a Canadian National Park near Calgary, Alberta. Dave had spent some time out there after he graduated from college, and I have wanted to go there since 7th grade (ever since I read "When Comes the Heart" by Janette Oke) to see the Canadian Mountains and Lake Louise. We had talked about spending our honeymoon in Banff, but Dave opted for a surprise trip to Maine where we spent 10 days watching the leaves turn from green to red.

A couple days after our conversation we were off to Cincinnati via Banff, Alberta. On the way we decided to play a little game with our friends called "Where in the World are Dave and Ami?" Everyday we sent a random picture from a random place and gave a random clue. Everyone who got it right got a point and we got the winner of the game (I think that it was Tubbs) a special gift (I actually think that it was the movie "Fargo" which we bought at a Walmart in Fargo, ND).

In any case, we ended up leaving for Germany on tax day 2004 and since we have been here for a year we have been a LOT of places. We needed a place where we could share our love for places and our fun adventures with others and we also wanted to play another round of "Where in the World." Our good bud, Jess, created her blog a month or so ago, and we became really inspired when my bro, Dan, created his blog to keep us aprised of my nephew, Matthew's, growth (also probably because I beg them to send me pictures about once a week). So here you go, we hope that you enjoy.

The picture: Dave and Ami behind the Banff Springs Hotel.

Jim and Kristen and Air India

In June Dave and I made a mad dash to Chicago for a few days. Our good friends from over here were having their wedding. They actually were married in Denmark in August of 2004, but planned their wedding in the states for June of this year. We had a whirlwind of a trip, but it was lots of fun. Dave was a groomsman, and sang a duet with Lisa Dykstra, another pal from Germany who now lives in Augusta, GA. I helped Kristen get ready and was the gal who carried around her lipstick, etc.

The thing about the trip was that to get to Chicago cheaply we flew Air India (they have direct flights from Frankfurt to Chicago). Now, in light of how much we paid I cannot entirely complain, but sometimes it is just better to fork out the extra money. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a plane that originates in Bombay, India stops over in Frankfurt to pick up a few people and continues on to Chicago. Now think about that plane ride without air conditioning. I think you might have it. It might be better in the winter, but I cannot recommend Air India in the summer. In any case, we are glad that we were able to celebrate with Jim and Kristen.

Pics: The Bride and Groom
Ami and Kristen