It's been an incredible trip that flew by far too fast. The whirlwind visit began in DC and North Carolina hangin' with Jon's family. He had been there for a few days spending time with his parents (getting roped into VBS and other fun activities) before I arrived and we headed down to the NC farm. We enjoyed hangin' with Jon's grandparents, parents, Mark, Karen, Sam and the new farm dog, Charlie. Like usual, we had delicious meals straight from the bountiful farm and even spent an afternoon at the Outer Banks beach. After a wonderful weekend together, Jon and I parted again in the Norfolk Airport as he flew to Montgomery to begin his five-week Squadron Officer School course and I headed to Texas. I spent five glorious days in Bryan with my parents eating LOTS of Tex-Mex, running with Lar and unfortunately, working on a school paper due that week (what timing).
After some time at home, I went to Austin to hang with mis hermanas to celebrate Mandy's birthday. We had a fantastic time simply being together, whether we were watching "So You Think You Can Dance" (I had lots of catching up to do with my favorite reality show), eating (you know lots of that went down) or going out downtown. I am so blessed to have such fab sisters and although it was only a weekend's time, it was incredibly special. In addition to catching up on married life with Laurel, or Mandy's new job, we talked a lot about my future and where Jon and I would go next. Our time at Wiesbaden is coming to a close (end of November) and we've known for a while that we would most likely be headed to Oklahoma. Although Jon was dreading some aspects of his job there, the opportunity to be close to Texas is a big plus. His goal was to stay overseas, however we were told that chance was basically slim to none.
From Austin I headed to Midland where I rented a car and drove south to Fort Davis to meet my parents at Camp Meeting, which we attend yearly. On the drive, Jon called and dropped some BIG news. Remember me saying a couple sentences ago that the chance of us staying in Europe was basically nonexistent? Well, apparently we made the cut and we'll be headed to Geilenkirchen, Germany, for a couple years beginning in November. Geilenkirchen is home to a NATO base and is located near the border of Germany and the Netherlands.
I could hardly believe it. I was in shock for about an hour and experienced a plethora of emotions from bewilderment, to happiness, to confusion, to sadness, etc. Poor Jon didn't know what to think when he would call one second and I was filled with joy and 10 minutes later I was crying on the phone about not being able to use my wedding gifts for another two years. He on the other hand, was thrilled and more thrilled about this assignment in Europe - no wave of emotions was required for him. After one night of getting used to the idea, I realized that it doesn't matter where we are in the world, as long as we're together it's going to be home and the best experience imaginable.
I mean seriously - am I really sad about NOT being in Oklahoma? Heck no! I'll get to travel to all those places we weren't able to fit in this past year, make many more international friends, continue working for Baylor and have the experience of a lifetime. After all, what's another two years? The opportunity in Oklahoma I mourned was the proximity of family and friends. Being able to partake in weekend football games, reunions, barbecues, float trips, ranch trips, etc. But, those will still come, simply a little longer timeline is needed. And in the meantime, this will give more friends and family more time to visit us in Europe. We can't wait to host many more in Germany or the Netherlands (we may be living in either country), and are thrilled the "newlyweds" in Europe adventure will be continuing!
Okay - enough of that business. After a few wonderful days in West Texas with fantastic weather, I headed to Montgomery, AL, to spend the weekend with Jon. Although we had only been apart a week and a half, it was a necessary reunion in order to celebrate and digest our big news together. We had a great four days together attending a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game (that's right, their mascot is the Biscuit), hangin' at the pool, catching a flick, supporting the U.S. economy with some shopping and we even snuck in an overnight trip to Mobile to visit my grandmother.
We had a fantastic time at Somerby, her retirement community, where Jon and I got to be celebrities for the weekend as everyone wants to meet the grandchildren of the ever-so-popular Corky Catlin (my Gran). We enjoyed some delicious meals there as well as a tour of downtown Mobile that I had not visited in years. In addition to spending time with Gran, we also got to hang with my cousin, Brian, who recently moved back to Mobile from Atlanta. It was yet another great reunion with family during our three week trip.
By Wednesday, I'll be back in Germany after three weeks in the U.S. including visits to four States, eight cities, and seven airports just in time for the Wiesbaden Wine Festival kick-off this Friday (how convenient). Jon will be in Montgomery until the 29th, when he'll head back to DC for a couple days to attend a funeral at Arlington Cemetery for a good family friend. By September 1, we'll be reunited again in Germany followed by an immediate trip to Italy to hang out with the Catlin clan. As usual, the good times and travel will keep on rollin!