Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pity Party: We're gonna whine

While for the most part we are enjoying Germany, there are some things we miss from the US.

Getting dollar bills back for change. This may sound weird but it's actually strange to not get bills back most of the time for change when using Euros. The smallest Euro bill we've seen is a 5 Euro. That means if something costs 16,50 Euro and you give them a 20 Euro bill you'll get a 2 Euro, 1 Euro, and ,50 Euro coin back. I keep looking for single Euros. This is also weird since 1 Euro is normally worth $1.30-$1.60 depending on the exchange rate and we typically give Macen our change for his piggy bank. The kid is not getting coins worth more than a $1 from me.

The food. German food is good, we've enjoyed the wursts, schnitzl, and cordon bleu as well as the excellent beer. But I want a steak and I know Shantel wants a big juicy burger. On post we've got Burger King, Popeye's Chicken, Subway, Pizza Hut, Charley's Steakery Sandwiches, Taco Bell and a couple of Army specific fast food joints but you get tired of those after awhile. And since chocolate is a food group, they don't have the dark chocolate version of Hershey bliss here in the commissary. There is some great chocolate in Europe, so I guess we'll have to try lots of experimenting to find a new favorite.

TV. Well the good part of this is we don't have a cable bill. On the other side we went from over 300 channels of DirecTV to the 10 channels of the Armed Forces Network (AFN). The networks provide AFN with programming free of charge but AFN doesn't seem to get all of the most popular TV shows. We get American Idol but no Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice or Desperate Housewives for Shantel or no House or Lie To Me for me and no Word World or Wow Wow Wubbzy for Macen. We also don't get commercials so we see a lot of history and geography lessons as well as public service announcements. We have learned about which allows us to watch our favorite shows the week after they aired in the States. We've also learned we can download some of Macen's favorite shows from iTunes. In order to watch our shows from iTunes or hulu we've hooked up our desktop computer to the 46 inch LCD TV so it's really just like watching TV.

Shopping. This one really frustrates Shantel and it will probably eventually get to me. We do have a PX here and you've seen where we've been to IKEA and bought some things but our choices are really not what we are used to and we always have to consider that the electronics must work in the States as well. That means lots of internet shopping. The problem with that is not everything can be shipped to an APO and it really doesn't make much sense about what can and can't be shipped. We've resorted to signing up with a third party shipping company and we'll see how that works.

The Sun. Or the lack of it. When we left Missouri/Kansas, they were in the middle of some severe winter weather, and we arrived in Germany and they were in the middle of some severe winter weather. Well it's done nothing but snow since we've been here. We have only seen the sun on two or three occassions and we haven't seen the ground at all because of the snow either.


Stacy said...

I'm sorry guys. :(
The upside to this is the experience you are living and you gave everyone some really good ideas for birthday and Christmas. Hang in there and I'll get some Hershey's Bliss sent over to out to you next week!!!