Working Man

Last summer, Martin was hired by an insurance company over here. They were impressed with his banking/accounting education and experience from the United States, but still required him to get officially certified thru the German system.

That usually takes a few years. Continue reading

A Surprise at the Doctor’s Office

Martin surprised me at today’s appointment to see FestBaby. 

I wasn’t expecting him. I was trying to make sense of a German tabloid, and suddenly, there he was in his suit and tie: the only male in the waiting room full of women.

He managed to reschedule his appointments, and showed up just before I was called in for the exam. This time, the doctor could see and measure all the important parts.

To the great disappointment of friends, family, and coworkers, we did NOT find out the gender. We’re staying in the dark until FestBaby arrives. I think a reason Martin showed up today is because he didn’t think I could withstand the temptation if I was by myself.

But we did learn that FestBaby is [very] active and healthy, and developing right on schedule. I wasn’t too worried about things, but to hear the doctor rule out a bunch of the issues *older* moms are prone to face … it was a relief.

A strong heart, adorable feet, a button nose … we’re feeling pretty darn lucky and grateful things are going so well.

Lunch Date

This guy in a suit was loitering outside my office, apparently to “take a beautiful woman out to lunch.”

I offered to go back in to find one for him, but he insisted I come along with him.

 

Birthday Boy

It’s Martin’s birthday!!!!

I took him to dinner to a restaurant that overlooks Stuttgart and the Schlossplatz. We got the tasting menu, which included a Thai coconut soup that rocked our world.

He’s like fine wine, yes?!?

Lunch Date

Martin called my office and told me to look outside the window. He was down at one of the picnic benches, sitting with these roses and lunch.

Visiting the Kaserne

Martin didn’t know that part of his old Bundeswehr installation was turned into a hotel/conference center, but I did, so I surprised him and booked us a weekend visit for our anniversary. This is him looking from our room onto the parade ground where he marched trainees as a drill instructor. Across the way are his old barracks, now abandoned.

There is a museum center dedicated to his former unit here. Lots of great memories and nostalgia.

Teen Martin

Found this photo of my husband while unpacking. He was probably 13 or 14 years old here.

And I’m stating the obvious when I say my oldest is simply his mini-me…

Miss C just genuinely asked, “Did you Photoshop my face on his photo? That’s my face.” I told her it’s one of the best tricks in nature, daughters who look just like their fathers, but are somehow way more adorable.

I can practically hear “Ace of Base” playing in the background of this photo.

That Guy

 

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]M[/dropcap]artin never doubted. When I announced last year that I wanted to get back to Germany, he instantly and easily agreed as if I had merely suggested we make spaghetti for dinner. And then, as I twisted and turned and agonized over everything, he kept cool as a cucumber.

At times, I actually got really frustrated with him  for not sharing in my stress. Normally,  I am the one who remains unfazed about most things. He’s the one who normally gets anxious when plans unexpectedly change, things go awry, when things don’t happen as intended. You know, that perfectionist German guy who likes things orderly and logical. And applying for jobs overseas is a process so far from orderly and logical that surely, as my spouse, it would drive him batty, too.

But it didn’t.

“Julie, it’s just a matter of time,” he always replied when I complained of his inability to be frazzled along with me. “Why are you so worried? I know it will happen.”

To him, it was a mix of logic and confidence. He didn’t dwell on it like I did, because, in his mind, of course it was going to happen.

Now that it’s happening (as announced HERE and HERE, in case you missed ’em) and we’re taking steps to prepare the house, the kids, and our affairs here in DC for this major move?

He’s getting a little anxious, too, but in a completely positive and endearing way. It’s beginning to sink in that his children are actually going to spend a good chunk of their childhood in his home country. This is stirring a lot of emotions and memories for him, and we’re already creating a list of things we want to introduce to them: places where he lived, where we met, where we married, things he ate, television shows he watched, festivals he attended.

Also, Martin got a letter last Christmas from his father’s side of the family that included a family tree of relatives who want to reconnect with him and his brother. Martin and his brother were so young when their father died, they lost touch with that side of the family. Back in 2001 and 2002, when we were planning our wedding, we tried to locate these people to invite them to the ceremony, but back then, technology and family records just weren’t as accessible as they are now, especially in Germany which tends to buckle down on private information even now.

So you can imagine how awesome it was to hear from his kin, and to learn they were interested in reconnecting with him and learn about us, too.

Needless to say, this move means many things for us.

In addition to reconnecting with his roots, Martin will continue to embrace his responsibilities to his adopted homeland. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Martin is in the midst of working with his Air Force Reserve leadership to find a position for him at one of the military installations in Germany. It’s not uncommon for Reservists to live and work overseas, and many are able to fulfill their annual requirements right there in Europe. Others travel back to the United States for chunks of time versus the once-a-month-two-weeks-a-year schedule. We’re open to whatever aligns for him in that regard.

He’ll also be able to continue his college courses with University Maryland University College. Not only are a lot of his courses online, but Stuttgart actually has a UMUC office where he’ll be able to take some classes, his exams, and all that jazz. There will be no disruption to his educational goals.

Above all, his focus will remain on the children, and he’ll continue to be a full-time stay-at-home dad to them over there. More so than ever, they will be very dependent on him as they navigate a new culture and home, new schools, and more exposure to their second language. We’ve always been open with the kids about the possibility of the move, so they’ve had plenty of time to adjust to the idea. But of course, we realize there will be so many changes for them that they can’t possibly foresee and understand.

Yet, in that sense, I don’t really worry about them because he will be there offering all the consistency and comfort he’s always provided them, ensuring they stick to a familiar schedule, maintaining order and discipline, seeing them off to school and being there when they return home, taking them around, introducing them to everything, helping them navigate the world.

You know, that guy.