Even though the Military is shutting down some Military installations in Germany, people are still PCSing over there. Sometimes they have a choice, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the spouse thinks about staying in the US. As someone who spent four years in Germany, I have to recommend that if you have the opportunity to go overseas, do it. I say this as someone who didn’t always enjoy being there, that missed the US a lot more than I should have and who hated being so far away from everything.
It’s been five years since we moved back to the states and because of that I can look back and see Germany for what it was. An experience. A sometimes really amazing one. A sometimes really frustrating one. But it is an experience I will always be thankful for. So if I hear someone is trying to decide to go, I urge them to do it. Even though it might get hard or be really frustrating at times. It really is worth it. It will change your life for the better.
For one thing, you simply can’t find that type of Military community in the states. Well, maybe you can but it is rare. For one thing very little of the people stationed where you are can go home for the weekend. Why? Because home is 2,000+ miles away. Because of this you spend a lot of time there and not as much time away. You have to stick together more because you only have each other. If you can speak the language, it can make things easier but at the end of the day, your Military friends will be your main link to America and you will feel the need to bond a little more than you do in the US.
The travel opportunities are simply amazing. From taking a day trip to a castle to planning a post deployment vacation to some amazing city you never thought you would ever travel to in your lifetime. I had little babies and toddlers when I was there. My kids were only 3 and 5 when we moved back. Traveling wasn’t easy but we did what we could. I took my two boys on a train to visit my friend in Austria, we went on a cruise to the Mediterranean and I went on a few USO trips during my time there. And of course there was Garmich, one of my favorite places.
Another great thing about living in Germany is being around another culture. In some ways Germans are a lot like us, in other ways they are completely different. Although this part of living there was frustrating at times, it really opened my mind to a different way of living and seeing the world. For example, in the US, when you go out to eat, you are pretty much rushed out of the restaurant as soon as you eat your food. In Germany you practically have to hunt your waitress down for your check when you need to go. It is normal to sit and have a long meal. You are not rushed out in the same way.
When it comes to deployments, the time difference is only about 2-3 hours. That was hard for me when we had our first deployment in the US. It made life a lot easier. You can also ship things to your deployed spouse for free. So that was another thing that kinda stopped me in my tracks. “You mean I have to pay for that?” Being a little closer to the war zone has its benefits. If something were to happen and they had to go to Germany, you are already in the country.
There is also the whole beer and flowers thing. Beer everywhere. We even had a beer delivery truck. The festivals are so much fun and are a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. They seem to be happening all the time too. And the flowers. I used to buy flowers all the time. They were so cheap. I miss that.
As you can see there are a lot of great things about being stationed in Germany. So if you have the chance, do it. You will be glad you did.