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I am so jealous, my Soldier/Daughter just got stationed in Germany

I am so jealous, my Soldier/Daughter just got stationed in Germany

Aug 25th, 2011, 05:19 AM
  #21  
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Thank you Dubrovnik and everyone else who has been so helpful in this thread. I will certainly pass on the information to her. This is one of the ways in which she has managed to make friends all over the world. In fact, while she was in college, she spent her entire 4 years living in the International dorm, simply to meet people from different countries.

dave
daveesl is offline  
Aug 26th, 2011, 12:06 AM
  #22  
 
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Wiesbaden is a great place to be posted, as the town itself is gorgeous, it is right on the Rhine and for traveling, you can't beat the location. Frankfurt airport and train station are major hubs for all of Europe. Heidelberg and Mannheim are closing their bases soon and everyone is moving to Wiesbaden, so there will be a lot going on in Wiesbaden the next few years.

It is extremely easy to meet people in the Rhine Main region, whether it is going to the many fests, the neighborhood church, or just out to eat in a cafe. People are very friendly in this area. There are a lot of groups that encourage friendship between Germans and Americans, like the Ski-Clubs, hiking and biking groups, sports clubs, etc. Once your daughter is on base, she will be able to find out lots of information about these.

Please pay no attention to logos999, he simply posts rude things to make himself look important.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Aug 26th, 2011, 01:07 PM
  #23  
 
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Congratulations davees..You have a smart daughter..

We lived in the now defunct Rhein Mein AFB, in Frankfurt many years ago and we have fond memories of our time spent there.
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 26th, 2011, 01:49 PM
  #24  
 
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This is the year that American Army Headquarters is leaving Heidelberg after 60 plus years there. The move will be very difficult for Heidelberg because the military has contributed so much to the economy.

I spent five years in Heidelberg and of course enjoyed it, but it wasn't until I left Germany that I really fell in love with the whole country. I have of course returned many times since I left in 1970.

My attitude changed because I was no longer tied down with teaching and with grading those d*mned essays every evening and every weekend, and I could spend my time exploring the lovely cities and wonderful countryside.

Tell her to learn German ASAP. It really makes a difference.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Aug 27th, 2011, 11:58 AM
  #25  
 
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I was drafted in 1969 as the Viet Nam war was hitting stride. I ended up in Germany. I brought my wife with me and we had the best 18 months of our life.

Your daughter is in for some great memories. My wife and I still return to Germany and Europe as much as possible. We did 5 Thanksgivings in a row there to attend the Christmas markets.

Tell her to travel, travel, travel and enjoy the area. It makes me jealous to read about another 20+ kid getting to do what my wife and I did all those years ago at age 22 and 21. We burned the tires on our VW bug at every opportunity.
traveldawg is offline  
Aug 27th, 2011, 02:26 PM
  #26  
 
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I second Peg's suggestion to learn German - I lived in Wiesbaden for a few years about ten years ago and saw many encounters between locally-stationed Americans and local shopkeepers. While the local population has excellent English and is keen to use it, it is a courtesy to the host society to make an effort to learn. I often saw Americans using English without a "can you speak English?' first. I guess if you aren't stationed there for a long time and you need to get by, you do it with English. I also saw Americans trying to pay for things in US dollars (buying pizza or a kebab, I can't remember what exactly). I don't suppose this is discourteous if the shopkeeper accepts it but it certainly struck me as a little odd. What is your experience of this - do US military not get euros (or marks as it was at that time)?

Lavandula
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Aug 27th, 2011, 09:17 PM
  #27  
 
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For lavandula,

I may be able to help with your question about American service-folks stationed in Germany. I am a retired soldier, and I chose to move to Germany to live here. I sort of straddle the American and German communities -- I have German and American friends, I shop mainly in the German stores, and I am learning (paiiiinfullly) German.

Of course the folks who live on base shop mainly in the American stores -- because it's convenient. So they use mostly dollars. They do like to go into town for the various Fests that occur in town and in nearby towns, and they love to travel to see France & Italy mainly (some friends of mine just fell in love with Slovenia).

Sometimes these families will complain when the PX or commissary is out of products, as they often are, and I have to remind the families that German stores or Apotheke may have the things they want.

The families who are here temporarily usually get to speaking a few phrases in German; many of them are on repeat visits to Germany, so they can speak a little more. Usually the one who works full time (often with Germans in the office) can speak conversationally.

Of course, the PX sells Euro, but I don't know what the exchange rate is. And with the predominance of ATMs everywhere, everyone can get Euro at any time. I haven't ever seen an American here trying to use dollars.

I have a few retired American friends here who live in town. Most of them also shop mainly in the PX or commissary, which I cannot understand. German shops are more convenient if you live in town, and prices are just a little more expensive (we have to pay German customs on all of our PX/commissary purchases). I think it's because that, even after living in Europe for decades, they are still more familiar with and more comfortable with American products. You know, it can be challenging to try to decipher a shampoo bottle in German or to find Garbonzo beans (Kichererbsen)in the stores.

Of the retired folks, they are split between speaking German and not. Some have German spouses and are fluent; if they don't have a German spouse, then they generaly don't speak any German.

For Pegontheroad -- I've been teaching for University of Maryland online for the past year. It's terrific! The best of both worlds -- I get money for travel and can work when I want to!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2011, 05:45 AM
  #28  
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Almost from the moment she got her orders, she started studying German. One nice part about being in the service is that its members can access Rosetta Stone at no cost. She is like me, if you go somewhere, at least learn enough of the language to get by, even if it is only for a week vacation.

If you are staying for awhile, then by all means do everything you can to actually learn as much of the language as possible. The same is true for a country or region's culture, ideas and ideals.

She does speak French fairly well and some Italian and Spanish.

dave
daveesl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2011, 07:41 PM
  #29  
 
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Thanks Swandav, we know a few Americans around Wiesbaden but none in the military. I had been wondering how easy it would be to integrate into German society if you are in the military as I expect the emphasis on the side of the army would be to keep reminding people that they are American!

My only real experience with the military there - one of the first weekends when we moved to Wiesbaden we had been put up in a hotel on the outskirts of town. It was a Sunday and of course nothing was open, and we went for a short drive. To our surprise we found what we thought was a shopping centre open, so we parked the car and walked in, as I had to use the amenities. Even in the carpark we sort of realised something was different because of the number plates on the parked cars were not German plates (I know that's changed now but at the time even the plates were different). When we got inside, there were all the fast food chains (Kentucky Fried, Popeye) and some shops. Everything was US dollars, and the joint was jumping. Oh, no, we're really not supposed to be here ... I didn't dare open my mouth for fear someone would pick us for Australians and turf us out, not before I had got to the loo! And of course we unfortunately couldn't have bought anything, not having the right currency. It was a little like being a ghost, being unable to interact with the rest of the people there. It left a deep impression on me, that little island of American culture in the middle of Germany. Would they have thrown me out?

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
Aug 28th, 2011, 09:46 PM
  #30  
 
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Hi lavandula,

No, I don't think they would have thrown you out; they probably would have assumed that you were a family member or visiting a service member. The folks who serve the military do bend over pretty much backward to be helpful and kind and to bend the rules, if at all possible, to make life easier.

However, if you *ask* íf you're allowed to shop, and you acknowledge that you're not authorized to, then they are obliged to turn you down. Oh, they'll let you use the facilities, but they won't let you shop.

These days, the food concessions accept both Euro and dollars, so you would have been ok. They never card folks at the food concessions, and I think they are open to the general public. There are Subway sandwich shops on post but also in town, and the prices and the offerings are the same.

An American island in Germany -- describes it pretty accurately.

For dave -- it's great that your daughter is already learning German! But I have to say, one of the BEST ways to meet locals is to attend German classes at the Volkshochschule. The teacher will be a great way to get into the society, and just socializing with German students who are attending other classes is another way. It's really great that your daugher already has so much experience travelling, so she won't be one of the folks who is a bit afraid to venture out, beyond the American island. I've come across more than one American who is intimidated at the prospect of using city busses or just trains between cities.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 03:58 AM
  #31  
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Swandav - I just learned of the various German language classes provided on the post and in the area and have told her about these, so I'm certain she'll be really involved.

Yes, her primary reason for wanting Europe, was to specifically be able to travel around, meet people and have a more full understanding of the various cultures.

And what you are talking about people never leaving the "sanctity" of a military post is sadly true. My nephew was one of those when he first joined back in the 1980s and was stationed in Korea. He had never traveled outside of the southern US and for an entire year he never once left the post. I could have screamed! 10 years later he was in Bosnia and you couldn't keep him from traveling. His brother on the other hand, was stationed in Germany and to this day complains about all the places he was not able to visit, even though he traveled every chance he got.

dave
daveesl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 12:38 AM
  #32  
 
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Congrats to your daughter, Dave! She will love it here.

With Heidelberg closing down your daughter should be able to pick up some great deals to make her life more comfortable. Once there, she can check out bargains at: [email protected]; She can also check out the base's recycling center (where all items are free) or the second-hand store (nominal charge). It's amazing what you can pick up, like all electrical appliances, since they will no longer be of use to those who are pcsing back to the states.

If she's really serious about learning German, imo, the local Volkschule would ensure faster progress with better local contacts than the base's language classes, which are pretty much all fellow Americans.

If she wants to come spend a weekend down in Heidelberg, whether for the Christmas market or whatever, she'd be more than welcome at our house.
klondike is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 03:44 AM
  #33  
 
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Unless this soldier/daughter is 7 years old, she´d better look for the local Volkshochschule.
grrr is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 04:14 AM
  #34  
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Hi Grrr,

I'm not sure I understand your comment, or actually the term Volkshochshule. From what I understand it is an Adult Ed school, kind of like high school, that provides classes in German as a second language. Is this correct? Are non-German citizens allowed to attend? What was the relationship to being "7", as she is 24?

It would seem to be a great idea, as it would also expose her to German citizens who are pursuing other areas of education, as well as language.

Thank you for the info Grr,

Dave
daveesl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 06:07 AM
  #35  
 
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Volksschule = elementary school
Volkshochschule = adult education school

May be in the same building, but most often is not
grrr is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 06:23 AM
  #36  
 
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Dave, I mentioned the Volkshochschule in my second post above; as I said, it's a great way to meet locals and non-Americans who are also learning the language. It's a great way to break out of the barracks . . .

In addition to German classes, there are English classes, Spanish classes, Portugeuse classes, Italian classes. There are yoga classes and exercise classes and historical walks through town. And all that's just in Garmisch!

http://www.vhs-gap.de/Kurse

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 09:04 AM
  #37  
 
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Volkshochschule Wiesbaden, After work courses in the evening

http://www.vhs-wiesbaden.de/index.ph...endkurse+A1-B1
grrr is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 04:22 PM
  #38  
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Ah Grrr, now I see the difference in the spelling. Hey, I'm old.

thanks to both you and swandav for the info. I'll be certain to pass it on to her this weekend.



dave
daveesl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2011, 09:46 PM
  #39  
 
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Sorry for the spelling error...didn't mean to cause such consternation/confusion...although I'm always jealous of 7 year olds speaking such wonderful German.
klondike is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 05:40 AM
  #40  
 
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It is very exciting that your daughter will have this chance to live in Germany for the next few years. It sounds as though she will take full advantage of the opportunity.

My husband and I lived for a few years in Eichstätt in the Altmühl valley. This is a great area to explore especially if she likes hiking and biking--very scenic, lots to see and do, frequented by many German tourists but not so well known to American tourists.
Vttraveler is offline  

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