Friday, September 10, 2010

'Sprechen Sie Deutsch?'

I've been taking German lessons on my computer using the Berlitz program. I would use Rosetta Stone if it were like a fourth of the cost! $500+ for the program. This is what the government/military uses (hmm... an explanation why it's so expensive? duh). Anyway, it's helping but it's demanding for someone who has been out of the professional world and out of school for a long time.

Along with learning a little German, we are also very busy getting things together. We have a little over a month to get things in order. I've been working hard to get information on our new location to make Joshua's transition easier. The military really offers some great resources for children. Each family gets a sponsor for their move. Sometimes their sponsor is awful, which stinks, but if things go well, a sponsor can really help families to navigate through the ins and outs of an overseas transition. Along with assigning a sponsor for the family, there's also an opportunity for children to get their own sponsor. A "child sponsor" is someone in your child's age range that can answer questions that they may have through email and send pictures of the school or other youth programs.

One thing I've had difficulty finding is a civilian blog for our area there. Unlike Japan, civilian blogs are just about non-existent. Maybe we have a new job on our hands? I've got a ton of questions and most military blogs and chat groups have answers. Many times though, I have to omit the information that we are civilians or I won't get a reply back at all. I'll try my best to give accurate updates of our transition experience for those interested though.

1. Question: Are you super busy packing things up? Doesn't that cost a lot?
Answer: The DOD covers all moving expenses to a certain weight amount. That means that movers come in, box/pack up, and move everything. We are not even allowed, because of liability, to pre-pack anything. The weight amount is generous, at 18,000 lbs for the household goods. Some folks even decide to ship their car, which is not included in the 18,000 lbs limit.

2. Question: When are you leaving?
Answer: In a little over a month.

3. Question: Where will Joshua go to school? Aren't you worried about how he's going to handle the move?
Answer: DODEA/DODDS schools are located on many military bases overseas. The Landstuhl/Ramstein/Kaiserslautern area in Germany is pretty massive and there are literally thousands of children that go to these schools. In Yokosuka, there were 9 1st grade classes and this continued all the way up to 6th grade (9-10 classes of 28 students in each grade). These are American schools and are almost identical to public schools in the States. This isn't a "military academy" or "military school" in the sense that children are not little soldiers walking around. Children don't wear uniforms or speak German there either. DODEA/DODDS teachers are civilians, much like us, who move overseas working at these schools. They are trained and extremely sensitive when it comes to helping children through the transitional period of moving or dealing with parent(s) on deployment. The high schools even offer live or recorded broadcasts of student graduations to war zones and areas where parents can't make it. Most schools offer a host nation class where children learn about their host nation cultures. Many schools offer Spanish immersion, Art, & Music. For more information here are a couple of web pages: and

Hope that this helps anyone out there facing a move or thinking about applying for something overseas... got any questions?


  1. Go to the library on base (in Yokosuka or Landstuhl) and you can get a sign on for 6 free months of Rosetta Stone.

  2. Hey Kelly Fam, thanks for the tip. Wish we had known that while in Yokosuka. We'll definitely have to ask about it once we get to Landstuhl.