a.) Foreign Couples – Both are from another country
b.) Cross-Cultural Couples – One local, One Foreigner
c.) Singles – a.k.a. Foreign Thrill Seeker and/or Brave Soul
I got to thinking a little bit more and realized that I might need to fine-tune or add another sub-category:
d.) Military Families – The couple may both be from another country or there might be a Cross-Cultural Couple involved.
Benefit: The Military usually provides a support system and depending on whether or not you live on base, you might not even realize much of the cultural differences with daily tasks like grocery shopping or going to the doctor.
Downside: Integrating and/or learning the local culture is more difficult without a lot of locals to converse with. Your spouse may not always be with you and may be deployed for long periods; while you may have your children, you don’t have the rest of your family with you, and you may or may not be frustrated with making new friends every time you move.
I haven’t been a military wife nor experienced being a military expat firsthand; I have only known several families that were stationed overseas, or somewhere in the US, but away from their family, or families where the husband is in the reserves. (I have yet to meet a family where the wife is in the military and not the husband or any homosexual couples where one partner is in the military. But I do know a Navy Mom who can proudly say that her daughter was “Made in Guam.” I always thought that was pretty cool.)
Today’s article is dedicated to the Military Expats and their families.
After my stop in Frankfurt and saying a heartfelt goodbye to my Foreign Expat Couple, Fynn and I made our way back onto the Autobahn, direction Heidelberg.
We were on our way to visit a friend from high school who is in the military and stationed in Heidelberg along with his wife and children.
I have only met his wife three times, but I feel like I have known her forever; we can talk for hours and I feel like it has only been a couple minutes. Plus I love getting the kids together to play, but this was my first trip to Boris and Natasha’s house.
(Kay wanted me to inform readers that names have been changed. But I think it is more entertaining not to. Darn it…I just spoiled the fun. Boris and Natasha are popular characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon… So popular in the US that they each have a Wikipedia page in English.)
I must have written the street name incorrectly because I couldn’t find it listed in the GPS, so I picked the closest likeness I could find.
While on the Autobahn, I saw a car that looked similar to Boris’ car. He kept switching lanes in traffic, but that didn’t stop me from trying to keep up.
When I finally was able to see in the driver side window, I realized that it wasn’t Boris, but could pass for his doppelganger… That is, if Boris didn’t already have an identical twin, which he does.
Once I arrived in Angalbachtal, Boris’ doppelganger went right while the GPS told me to go left. After following the doppelganger for quite some kilometers, I started to question if I was going in the correct direction especially after remembering that I wasn’t sure on the exact street name, but listened to the GPS like a good little girl following instructions.
After a quick call to Natasha, she confirmed that I really was going to the correct street name.
Upon arrival we let the children play until Boris got home. This was the first time I had actually seen him in his military uniform which seemed strange for some reason.
I had never pictured Boris as the military type while in high school. When I told him that, his response was that he decided to go into the military because he likes to help people. With this response I was satisfied because yes, this portrayal was accurate of him.
He also mentioned that while at our house the last time, he was surprised that our German neighbors hadn’t asked him any questions about being in the US military and being stationed in Germany.
Maybe they didn’t want to put him on the spot? Maybe they were trying to be polite? I’m not sure. I would venture to guess that most of the men in our neighborhood made civil service and not military service when required to choose between the two in their younger years, my husband included. I’ll have to take a poll though and get back to you.
If my brother-in-law and his friends were there, Boris probably would have received military questions.
I know that right now the topic of whether or not Germany should observe a Veteran’s Day is a heated discussion. (The Local – Veteran’s Day in Germany and opinions.) Proud to say that I just informed Kay that the topic is in the air; this is the first time I informed him of something and not the other way around. (Stay tuned for tonight’s discussion which I just might have to post tomorrow.)
After reading comments posted by various English speaking people, I was a bit dismayed with the harshness of a minority number of people’s true feelings. (Germany obviously, for WWII reasons has a different view on observing a Veteran’s Day. However, some of the comments I read from others had nothing to do with WWII discretion, but instead targeting soldiers in general.) Personally, I don’t like the idea of war, but the reality is that it does exist.
So at least have the decency to thank the women and men who are putting their lives on the line for what they believe in. And what they believe in is protecting the rights of everyone at home; protecting the rights of even the people putting them down.
They are doing their jobs and they are doing what the rest of us don’t have the courage to do…Weanies like me, that is.
While Boris was running errands or going to bed early (Yes, I am embarrassing you publicly for being the first adult to go to bed, Boris. Yet, so responsible of you.), Natasha and I had time to chitty-chat.
Among various topics, we discussed some military wife items as I am curious on how this works and how to cope when your husband isn’t with you in a foreign country and you have children to take care of while running the household.
While Natasha has told me some amazing stories, these aren’t my stories to share…Now if she would just start a Blog that would completely solve everyone’s curiosity. (Hint, Hint…maybe a guest post on the Expat-Mom site in the mean time, Natasha? No pressure.)
While I respect Boris’ dedication to our homeland country, and while we already celebrate Veteran’s Day in the US, I didn’t realize until now that the Friday before Mother’s Day is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. (Kind of a rip-off the same weekend as Mother’s Day if you ask me, but I guess take what you can get.)
Thank you to all my military friends, but most especially, thank you to the spouses at home who sacrifice their time with their husbands and wives to loan them to the military while they anxiously hope and pray for safe (and speedy) returns.
I really don’t know how the spouses do it.
I didn’t venture into town, hence no pictures (sorry to disappoint), but visiting with friends was my main objective.
So what’s with the Chocolate Chips?
Natasha sent me home with a big bag of Chocolate Chips because I can’t find them at stores in Germany. This military wife isn’t just taking care of her family, but also looking out for her fellow Expats.
Thank you!!!! And thank you for loaning Boris to help save the world…Please don’t say he isn’t saving the world. It would completely crush my fantasy of what he really does in the military. And please Boris, no more poop stories. Ok, they are really funny.
If you two weren’t so darn busy the world would be blessed with an awesome “Military Wife in Germany Blog” and a Blog about “Military Poop.” Because everyone has “to go” regardless of being home or being deployed and it being the most inopportune time.