Amazing to think that I have been home from Germany for over 2 weeks now. What an experience.
Back in December 2009, with Greg overseas, I thought - wouldn't it be fun to go and visit with Greg in Germany rather than him coming home. I knew that if he came home, he would be immersed in working on chores around the house, going into work to shoot the breeze, and then family trying to get him to come and visit. So, I thought, let's meet in Germany instead. The kids and I would take a hop on a military aircraft and meet him across the pond.
Well, we started to plan in January and had most of the things taken care of by the middle of February. What a blessing to go over there and see Europe with the kids and Greg. Wow!
Friends had taken a military hop before we did and so they gave us some hints. Fearing that we would not get out on the first plane, we decided to start our attempts at travel on Sunday, March 14, with hopes of being there by Friday, March 19. So, we drove Rebekah back to college in Charleston, SC and went right to the Air Force base. Amazingly, the airman asks, "Are you ready to go right now?" Of course I said, "Yes!" and we were booked on the next flight to leave in approximately 45 minutes! Mind you, we have no definite place to stay once we arrive in Germany but I didn't care - just get me there!
We arrived after about 13 hours inside a C17 aircraft filled with material for the war effort. What an experience that was! I walked over to the Ramstein Inn to ask if there was room, and viola, a room for 2 nights was available. Needing 3, I figured we would do whatever necessary to get the 3rd night later - I just wanted to find a bed and melt in it. We then went over to the long term parking lot to find a car that our friends were going to lone us while in Germany - found it. However, the car was as dead as a doornail. Looking helpless and a mess from the 13 hour flight (and no sleep) a nice soldier started to help me jump it. It was very difficult to jump as it had been quite dead for some time...I, believing I would be helping with the effort, decided to get out of the car so as to not leave the door open. You see the door being open was leaving the lights on. Lo and behold, the door closes and guess what? The keys are in the car, along with my purse, and it is now LOCKED! Three to 4 more soldiers now arrive to help the helpless, woman and her 3 kids. Doing everything they can, they work to no avail. Finally, someone calls the German equivalent of AAA. They arrive and save the day! I have no idea who is footing the bill for that one as they kept asking me if I have American Auto Association. I do -so, I showed him the card, and he just graciously nodded. Hopefully my friend won't get too large a bill - they did take her license number.
We proceed to our room and enjoy the beautiful 4 bedroom accommodations. Once we were on normal time, we began to explore the area. However, we soon found out that we were not allowed to drive my friend's car because of a long, long, long story...suffice it to say, it was nightmarish - but I made friends with some of the men in the Custom's office. They knew me by name the next time we came in! :)
We waited out the next few days having survived another day in a different room on the 3rd night. The 4th night we were picked up by a friend who lives in Heidelberg. She brought us over to her house, took us out to dinner, and even lent us her car! Greg arrived the next day from his flight into Frankfurt, Germany. He took the train down the Heidelberg and we enjoyed the reunion. Julie, our Heidelberg friend, graciously took us around and helped us in so many ways. What a blessing she is!
That afternoon we scampered down to Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian countryside = WHAT A TREAT! Gorgeous views of the Alps. We truly enjoyed our stay at Edelweiss in both the cabins and the lodge. It was an amazing place to be in a beautiful location.
We toured Switzerland, Austria, and Luxembourg - of course, Germany. Just the best trip ever! Sound of Music tour, Dachau concentration camp, Munich, Neuschwanstein castle, and bobsled run. So many things to remember. A great trip was had by all. I would love to go back and live there!
What did I learn from all of this? God answers prayer. We asked to be waiting in Germany for Greg instead of waiting on this side of the pond - Yes. We asked to have a great trip with little hassle - Yes. We asked to have a holiday together (Easter) - Yes. We asked that we would be able to return without difficulty (first flight out) - Yes. Just so many yeses by our God. He was there through all of it. I am in awe of his mercy and grace to us. We are SO undeserving and I am the most undeserving. He showed Himself and I got to see His Handiwork. Thank you GOD.