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Round-up #32 – The Spring Break Edition

I've delayed too long. It's time for me to really get out my moving checklists and to use them!

It’s done.  I finished my high schooler’s private school application.  You see, our next duty station in Germany does not have a DODEA school for high school-age children.  Instead, you get about $45,000/year to send your child to either a boarding school or a local German school or this private school where classes are taught mostly in English.  Homeschooling is also an option. I immediately knocked out all the options, or should I say my son did, and we opted for the private school.  Now we will wait….wait to find out if he is accepted or not.  I hope we don’t wait too long.  While I was gathering papers for his application, where they want to know every shred of your life, I stopped by his current school nurse.  She loves to talk but of course is a very nice lady and told me about the “good old days” were DoDDs Europe ran a boarding school in or near London.  She used to work there and wherever there wasn’t a school for US Department of Defense children, they could choose to attend this particular boarding school option.  She tells me to this day she remains in contact with graduates and that she honestly felt like a surrogate parent for many of them.  Interesting.  I did not know this.  As with many of our overseas programs, budget cuts made it fall by the wayside.  As I count down my days in Belgium, I picked out some of my favorite blogposts and sites for this week that make me count my blessings for the opportunity for our THIRD European tour in a row.  Be sure to check them out!

Use your old neglected waffle iron to make brownies, muffins and even hashbrowns – I always wondered if you could do that. I guess if your batter doesn’t roll off the side it would be doable.  Has anyone tried this?

Child Protection Laws in Germany – You know what the American laws are.  Did you ever wonder what the German laws are when it comes to drinking, sex, clubbing and other such activities?  Here you go.  I’ve had someone ask me, well, what’s the law for my American child in regards to drinking?  I can’t answer that.  I have no idea.  I’ve had some parents tell me they allow their American underage kids to drink beer off post.  I’ve had people tell me that obviously the American drinking laws apply on post and for them, they will carry those laws for them off-post too.

55 Ways to Save on Your Trip to Paris in 2012 – Most Americans overseas will visit Paris at least once, if not many times.  It’s kind of a rite of passage of being stationed overseas.  These are some great tips!  Yes, many Europeans know many of these tips, but us Americans are many times clueless.  Read through the list, and see how many you already know…or not!

Transportation in Rome – Another rite of passage is a trip to Rome.  Please don’t go in the summertime if you can help it!  That’s my best advice.  Only clueless tourists go there in that time frame where prices are higher, crowds are huge and the natives check out and head to the coast.  Please don’t be a neophyte and order taxi or other transportation from the airport to your place of lodging either!  Unless you have mobility issues, their public transportation system is cheap and reaches just about everywhere.  Just try not to look like too much of a tourist and be aware of your surroundings.  Follow my tips.  Many tourists are not aware of the best pick pocketing spots and the aggressive/sneaky nature of the expert pick pockets, especially in Rome.

Purging and Organizing Storage – Household 6 Diva is making me feel guilty.  She has already started going through her storage in the basement in preparation for her PCS move.  I think I can count how many times I have gone in our basement in the last two years.  This makes me wonder how much do I really need the things I have neatly stacked down there, all with a thick coating of dust and droppings from flaked paint that have rained down from the low ceiling.  I’m also reminded that the city water folks made a mess when they installed a new water pipe into our house last week.  We still have a hole out front in the street, and I STILL need to clean up the thick layer of dried out clay all over the basement floor.  I guess I just should be glad they got rid of the lead pipes into our house.  Oh the joys of living in a historic home!  Oh the bigger joys of moving…yuck!

Overcome Spouse Job Search Fears – It may not be a fear for all of us, but it sure is a concern.  I get nervous when I hit a new duty station and want to find a job.  It’s like starting all over again.  You don’t even have the networking possibilities typically and are going in blind.  Make sure you read the tips here and know you are not alone.

So you want to move to Germany…driving a car – Germany is not the US when it comes to driving cars.  Here is it much more aggressive, faster paced and with tons of construction sites to navigate through.  Plus you’ll face tighter spaces and narrower routes.  No matter.  You’ll master it all with some practice.  The advice here is from someone who does not have the crutch like we do, of getting a USAREUR driving license that military folks, spouses and contractors affiliated with the US must have after moving here.  There is no way around it.  If you ever plan on driving on base and staying here beyond the 90 days, you will need a USAREUR license.  If you are coming here as an expat, not affiliated with the military, you will need a GERMAN driver’s license after those magical 90 days.  This is a GREAT post in showing you how that is done!  Yes, I know some military spouses get the German license too.  And that is ok if you don’t mind the money and training and also paperwork.  I would recommend though that you NOT give up your stateside license (although you may get in a Catch 22, because you’ll have to prove you have some kind of license to avoid the very expensive German private driving school system and be required to give it up).  I had friends give up their stateside licenses, and they ended up having trouble once they got back stateside without US licenses!  It’s amazing all the things you need a stateside driver’s license for!  There my friend was at 48 years old, having to take the written test and driving test all over again.  But…she did have her German license!

What do I need to do after losing my wallet – We all need a refresher once in a while.  This is reminding me to photocopy all that’s in my wallet.  It’s just so much easier to have a copy in the glovebox of your car, along with the phone #s of all your credit cards and bankcards.  I also keep all those phone numbers on speed dial in my mobile phone.  I did blog about it once here too.

Bake cakes in canning jars – Oh, look!  I have friends who have sent their DHs downrange these cakes in a jar!  I thought it was just a military thing.  Apparently not.  I never tried it, because my husband isn’t fond of sweets.  Is this something you do?  How do they really taste?  Be honest.  I would really like to know.

Cheap Seats – If you are up in the Brussels area, be sure to check out these methods of finding cheap seats for movies, plays and other entertainment.  You’ll find many shows in English too!

Alltop for Ipad – I am a sucker for new ipad/ipod apps.  I really am.  I was hoping this app would neatly put my favorite blogposts and newsfeeds in a pretty-as-a-picture magazine format.  I was thinking, kind of like Flipboard but with the ability for YOU to pick what you want in there.  At least this is what I thought it was.  I haven’t quite figured out yet how to navigate it yet or to make it do this, but I thought I would post it in case you can figure it out before me!

And of course I will include a post from the past right here, Before You Go to Bed Tonight. I am happy to stay that I STILL do this!!  It is definitely a ritual for me, and is such a great thing for the next morning.  Do you have any such rituals?

How about other favorite blogposts?

Oh, and I just realized what I named this blogpost.  Yeah baby, TWO WEEKS off for Spring Break!!!  This is one of those times I LOVE that we are on the European vacation schedule (or a hybrid really) and not the American one!  We don’t get enough breaks in the American school schedule:-(



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