Monday, January 2, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up (New Years) - (Germany) Days 4-7

Me and my new co-workers

Friday: It's a 4-day weekend because of New Years Day. This morning we slept in until about 0900. I am still not acclimated to the new time zone yet. I woke up at 0400 and tossed and turned until about 0600 before getting back to sleep. We had a pretty low key day and just hung out in our room for the first half of the day. We tried to figure out our budget, but it's a little hard when I'm not sure exactly what I'll be making with all the changes in my pay. What we do know is that it's going to be very tight until my wife can get a job. That is going to be priority number one once we get moved into the new unit. We walked around Patrick Henry Village and stopped by our new unit so we could walk around it and make a list of items we need to buy for it. I was surprised to see with the outlets that it had an equal number of American outlets and the European outlets for power. When I was reading about moving here I read that some of the places don't have many at all, so I was pretty happy to see that we will have plenty. I was not looking forward to buying little transformers so I could hook up my TV and such.

We then went to the commissary to pick up some minor things to last until we move into our new unit. We can't really do much because we don't have a car and we have no idea how to even get to town. We watched UFC 140 on my laptop which I had been waiting to watch for a while. It was a great fight card from start to finish!

Saturday: (New Years Eve)…We had an extremely mellow day for the most part. My wife and I slept in and then just hung out in our PJs eating breakfast and watching some shows. The weather outside kept switching from overcast to drizzle, so we never even ventured outside all day. It wasn't until about 1900 that we ended up leaving our room.

We were originally going to meet up with my sponsor in a cab right outside of the main gate to head out, but it turned out that a sergeant he is friends with came and picked us up and then picked up my sponsor to head out. The first place we stopped at was actually an army bar called "Slapshots". The plan was to have a couple drinks at reasonable prices before heading out on the German economy where everything is a bit more expensive because of the exchange rate. The place was OK and after a bit we met some more folks from my office. Before long we headed out via a cab to downtown Heidelberg. I was excited to finally get out and see the city!

It was hard to see much because it was already dark, but what I did see made me excited to come back during the day sometime. The history of this old university town is going to be wonderful to explore. We all headed to a place called "Shooters" where a number of interesting shots kept being passed around and consumed. At this point was the moment my new co-workers decided to initiate me into the 43 Signal Battalion. I had to first give my consent to the bartender for the next drink "The Monica Lewinsky"…this in and of itself gave me some concern. I've never had to give consent before having a drink before. The next thing I know the bartender tells me to close my eyes, tilt my head back and open my mouth. The bartender then says get ready to swallow and do not stop! I'm thinking to myself "oh crap…what am I getting myself into?" and proceed to follow his instructions. I felt something rubber in my mouth and then liquid started pouring down my throat. I hear the bartender tell me to keep swallowing and don't stop. My eyes are closed and I'm doing the best I can to just keep going and going. Finally I finish up and open my eyes to see some rubber phallic contraption connected to a bottle of beer. I just chugged an entire bottle in a few seconds.

We hung out at Shooters for a while longer before heading out to another bar they called "The Metro". We basically just "people watched" there for a while until it was close to midnight. We then headed through crowds of people to what they call "The Old Bridge" which itself was packed full of people. Even though we still had about 10 minutes before the new year people were already shooting off fireworks. They were coming from all directions. From the middle of the old bridge we were able to look up and see Heidelberg Castle illuminated in lights which was a pretty impressive site.

So here we were, my wife, me, my sponsor, and a co-worker all on the bridge with fireworks going off literally all around us. It was pretty crazy and unlike anything I've ever experienced. People would ignite a sparkler and just throw it in the middle of the crowd. I saw a roman candle going off sideways shooting people in the feet. The stroke of midnight hit and the only thing that changed was the intensity of the fireworks. There were also more professional fireworks going off as well. Lights…explosions…cheers…campaign being sprayed, it was a little disorienting. I gave my wife a new years kiss and we tried to soak it all in. We are in Germany celebrating the new year…and we are together finally!

After a while we made our way from the old bridge to another bar called coyotes. I'm not sure when the partying was going to settle down outside, but it seemed as if it still had many hours left in it. After one last drink we ended up catching a cab and heading back to post. We live in Patrick Henry Village as I've said earlier, but we now know that everyone including the German taxi cab drivers just call it "PHV". No taxis are allowed on post, so after being dropped at the gate we walked to our place and called it a night. It was about 0230 and we were both exhausted…but what a night!

Sunday: (New Years Day) Today was a little strange as my wife and I both just kind of hung out in our room. We have no car and didn't feel like going anywhere on post, so we just stayed in our room the entire day and either poked around on the internet or watched TV. Not much else to say other than it was nice to be with my wife even though we didn't do anything.

Monday: Another pretty lazy day. My sponsor said he would be calling and we were all going to head down to Heidelberg and check out all the shops. We never settled on an exact time, so my wife and I just kind of hung out after getting ready, then decided to start a "Sons of Anarchy" marathon. Both of us had heard it was pretty good. My wife had even started watching the most current season.

After lunch we figured my sponsor was not going to call. I found out that Mission Impossible III was playing tonight on post, so we decided to have a little date night with dinner and a movie. There isn't much in the way of restaurants on PHV. There is The Village Grill and Burger King. After walking to The Village Grill we found out that it's closed on Mondays. Plan B…we grabbed a gyro from a vendor that is outside the shoppette and headed back to our room before heading to the movie. Mission Impossible III turned out to be a pretty decent movie, but even though it was an action movie it did have a couple slow spots.

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