Here's a quick or not so quick update on our lives---
Upon arriving in Vilseck, Germany, on a cold and rainy day on July 7, 2009, Jared's sponsor took us to our tiny hotel room on base where we would call home for the next eight days. It was literally walking room only around the bed to the door. I think Sargent Aponte could sense my uneasiness of being in a new country and desire to call home, so he went to his dorm and brought me one of his old laptops to use to call and talk to my parents. He even logged into his Skype account so I could make all of the calls I needed!!!
After day one of Jared coming home and finding me asleep at lunch and dinner time due to jet lag, he decided that it was time for me to start the job hunt. So after lunch, I went and met my new best friend, Marie McElligot. Marie is the employment specialist on base that helped me apply for what seemed like a thousand jobs. The job market and salary on this base is horrible! However, after coming to terms that I would be working for at least $10,000 to $15,000 less than I was making at the INL, I was hired as a secretary at Netzaberg Elementary School. I felt very fortunate to find a job within 5 weeks of arriving in Germany because it takes many people a lot longer! Netzaberg is about a 40 minute commute from Vilseck on windy country roads. It reminds me of driving through Island Park. The teachers and staff were great in welcoming me to Germany and were willing to help me get accustomed to my new home in Deutschland!
After a few months, I learned that the secretary at Vilseck Elementary School, the school that is a three minute drive from my home, was going to be PCSing soon. So I went and visited with the principal and let her know of my interest in transferring to Vilseck. Not only would I be close to home, but I would save a lot of money on gas, spend my lunch hours with Jared, and not have to worry about driving the windy, icy roads in the winter (we all know how I hate the icy roads)! After a lot of work on Ms. Hammack's behalf, I was able to make the move to Vilseck Elementary School in January 2010! Although I miss the friends that I made at Netzaberg ES, what a blessing it as been to be so close to home.
Upon arrival to Vilseck, Germany, Jared immediately started working. The first two weeks were spent in processing. We were lucky and had a home on base to move into within 8 days. We were able to borrow a bed, table, and couch from the military while we patiently awaited for our belongings to arrive. On our first day of living in our townhouse, Jared went to take a shower and them came downstairs to find the ceiling dripping. So we called the Fired department, but they didn't want to come over, so they sent someone else over to investigate the problem 4 hours later!! Talk about slow. Then later that day, Jared set out for work only to have to call his boss an hour later letting him know that he was lost. I love to harass him about it because he's always teasing me about being the "Blondie" in the family.
Jared is an electronics technician for RSS. His unit works on night vision goggles and many other pieces of equipment that the infantry soldiers use in combat. He enjoys learning about his job and is very well liked by his coworkers. This past year has been spent in preparing for a year long deployment to Afghanistan. If fact, on June 15, 2010, his deployment began. I dropped him off at 3 a.m. where we enjoyed each other's company for the last few hours before embracing each other for the last time. That was a day that I don't ever want to relive. It's hard to explain the feelings of coming home to what feels like an empty home and knowing that it won't change for a long time. I am trying to keep myself busy and out of the house to avoid the loneliness that often occurs in the evening and weekends. Some weeks have been better than others, but I am trying to stay positive as I count down the weeks until we meet for R&R.
Moving to Germany has been a very hard transition for me. Although I love to travel abroad, I am always grateful for the trip to end and come back home to American soil, family and friends, and normal food. It was hard to leave all my family and friends behind, especially our aged grandparents. After a month and a half of being in Germany, I received a dreaded phone call from my dad in the middle of the night informing me that my Grandma Wiser had just past away. Although I knew that she was in a better place, free from pain, and reunited with Grandpa and her three children, I wasn't ready for her to go. She was my cheerleader and always looked on the bright side of things. She always had a smile on her face and would tell you that she was doing fine even though you knew she was in a lot of pain. As much as I wanted to go home for the funeral, I knew that I needed to stay and attend to my job and new life in Germany. The funeral home was amazing and streamed the whole viewing over the Internet so Jared and I could be part of it from halfway across the world.
The one thing that was not hard adjusting to was going to church. I love that fact that it does not matter where in the world you live, the gospel teachings are always the same. Our Grafenwoehr Ward consists of around 200 members, only 5 of them are German. The majority of the members are military; however, there are some civilian members too. Because it is a military ward, it is ever changing. It seems like every time we make a friend, we find out they are getting ready to PCS to their next duty station. Jared was immediately called to be the 2nd counselor in the Young Men's program and I was called to be a nursery leader. Then about a month ago, I was released and called to be the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society. I'm excited to get to serve the sisters in my ward!
In December, my parents flew out to Germany for a quick visit. During their visit, Jared and I were able to be sealed for time and all eternity in the Bern, Switzerland temple on December 10, 2009!! This has been a goal that we have worked very hard to accomplish since we were married on November 8, 2008. Words cannot express the feelings I felt when we were sealed. I'll just say that there is no better feeling than knowing that if we both live our lives the best that we can, we will be able to be together forever. Jared is my best friend, and I love him very much. I am far from perfect, yet he accepts me for who I am and encourages me daily to move forward and to be the best I can be.
In February, Jared left for a three week training to Hoenfels, Germany, with his Regiment to prove to themselves that they were ready to go to Afghanistan and do the things that they had spent the last couple of years training to do. Upon his return, he learned that he had been promoted from PFC to SPECIALIST Jackson. I was invited to attend the ceremony where I tore off the old rank and very firmly punched the new rank on him. Way to go SPC Jackson!
Prior to Jared leaving for deployment, we decided to make a quick trip home. We had a great time seeing our family, friends, and coworkers. We love them and appreciate their constant love and support.
Since moving to Germany, we are trying to see all we can. Thus far, we have been able to tour parts of Germany, Switzerland, Prague, and the Netherlands. Europe is a beautiful country, full of history.
Well, that's about all for now. Have a great day!!