Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No Longer an Expat

Hello there. Yup, you're reading that right. As of May 8th, Terry and I are no longer residents of Germany. We are currently living right here in North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Raleigh.
Our last few weeks in Germany were extremely stressful. From the day we got orders we had roughly 30 days to outprocess, pack up, get our house ready for inspection and about a million and one other things. Since we had no luck with the job search, we moved in with Terry's parents temporarily to regroup and get back on our feet. (And hey- if you're looking to hire a disabled Vet, I just so happen to know a fantastic one with Top Secret clearance and a few IT certifications. Just saying.... ;) )

The past three weeks have been a series of both highs and lows. While we have loved being back in America, it has been hard not having any friends here and going from having a job to not having one. I've been feeling very lonely. I've cried more than I care to admit. At the same time, we have been spending a LOT of time doing all of those American things that we missed out on while living overseas. This mainly means eating, of course. So far we have visited such fine American establishments as Buffalo Wild Wings, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, The Melting Pot, Trader Joe's, the Farmer's Market, Burger Fi, and many, many, more. Strangely enough, I have lost 2.5 pounds since Germany. I'm not complaining. The beer and fried food diet is one that I could get behind.

It was also harder to re-adjust to American life than we had previously thought. After 4 years of living one lifestyle, you realize just how much you get used to doing things a certain way and it can be so hard to change. Like no longer having to separate our garbage into roughly 20 trashcans. And no longer paying for restrooms anywhere. (I will not miss either of those things.) The whole world of having to pay sales tax on literally everything is new to us. As is having to figure out how much to tip for dinner so you don't offend your waiter. (Apparently it's not considered ok to round up to $25 when your meal is $23.50, yet most places in Europe, no one would blink an eye at that.) Also pennies now seem like a foreign currency. (The military banks overseas figured out that it costs more to ship a penny than one is worth, so all of the overseas bases do penny rounding for cash purchases. The last time I even saw one before this month was in December.) Last week I said entschuldigung to a lady in Trader Joe's whose cart was blocking the aisle and got annoyed when she didn't move. We went to a Durham Bulls game and the national anthem seemed so much shorter because they only had to play one. (On overseas military installations, they always play the host nation's anthem before the Star Spangled Banner. This leads to a serious case of irony when you are at a 4th of July celebration on a base in England celebrating our freedom from the British, and you hear G-d Save the Queen.)

I'm also just now starting to realize just how lucky we really were with our four year long European adventure. We went to a beer store today and I was so excited that they had my favorite Belgian beer, until I saw the price tag. $7.39 for a single bottle. I nearly gasped out loud. I bought the same exact bottle in Belgium for 0,99€ (about $1.40). Ouch. No more trips to Belgium for beer or France for fresh baguettes and macarons for us. No more going to random places just because it's a long weekend that coincides with a Ryanair sale. Seeing all of my friends post pictures from weekend trips to places like Greece and Switzerland, I think I finally understand how all of my friends back in the States felt when they saw my pictures from similar trips. 

We are excited to see what life in America has in store for us. If you live in the Raleigh area, we would love to hear your recommendations of things to go see/do/eat in the area.


  1. I miss Germany SO MUCH. I miss the convenience of traveling, I miss the shopping, the food, have to say it again, but the traveling (7 hours to Venice, anyone?) so I LOVED seeing all of your photos on Instagram. It took me forever to adjust, and while I was only 18, it was like I was years behind everyone else, but much more advanced in certain areas all at once!

    However, eventually you will settle in your routine, you'll appreciate being able to go to Target at 11 pm or run to Rite Aid if you're sick in the middle of the night. You will never learn to love America beer though, accept it maybe, but not love it, haha. I remember my first sip of a Coor's Light and asked if someone had put tap water in it.

    I am sure your husband will find a job quickly, especially with TS clearance! I wish I had some great contacts to pass on or things to do in Raleigh, but I have only driven through. I know the beach isn't too far, a few hours drive I believe.

    Hope your days get a little easier, I know it can be tough, and hard to make friends, but eventually, like with all things, it will become easier and easier! :)

  2. Welcome back! I'm making my return in a few weeks, and def. have to swap stories with you!

  3. Welcome home! If I hear of anything at McDill (Tampa) I will let you know....

  4. I am so happy to see you back in the US safely and enjoying all of the American things again :) I have enjoyed seeing you reintroduce yourself to American foods again on Instagram! :)

  5. So happy you are back and can't wait to see what is next for you guys! I just set up a new blog, and I'm trying to get it in the swing of things, but I'm glad to get caught up on reading yours! Post again soon! JPJ (jessiepjones.wordpress.com)

  6. Yay! Welcome back to the states. Looking forward to keeping track of our journey on this side of the world. :)

  7. Maybe T can find something in DC? Lots of things around here... :)