It's hard to believe that in the next month, Jon and I will be moving from this apartment, our squadron, Wiesbaden, and possibly Germany (though we won't be far from it). The fall season is absolutely flying by and we've been keeping busy with all kinds of activities.
As usual, the autumn is when most of the college fairs take place and my busiest time for work. This year I've had to scale back on fairs as we have the move to focus on. In October, I traveled to Berlin, Brussels, the Black Forest, and Kaiserslautern for various events. Jon accompanied me to the military fair and did an amazing job as usual talking to students. He does get a bit competitive though, and likes to see who can get more cards filled out by students. He won - but only because who can say no to those blue eyes?!
In mid-October, we spent a few days visiting the area we'll be moving to near Geilenkirchen, Germany. We were able to tour the NATO base, visit many nearby German villages, as well as see some towns on the Netherlands side of the border. Although the scenery is beautiful there, we are not quite sure we're ready to live in a farm village, and have to decide whether a farther commute to live in a city may be worth it. One thing's for sure, this will be a completely different experience than Wiesbaden. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but is making me realize how much I need to appreciate and savor our last few weeks here.
On October 18th, we took part in a squadron event in the Rheingau wine region to do some grape-picking. Several American groups do this each year and basically, a farmer has you pick his grapes off his vines for about four hours and afterwards provides a dinner and opportunity to buy some wine.
Although it was actually pretty tedious work, we had so much fun enjoying the beautiful weather with our friends and it wasn't all work. We did take lots of breaks for wine drinking and to appreciate the fruits of our labor.
Molly and me holding the extremely heavy buckets of grapes.
Last weekend, we had a farewell party for four families that are leaving the squadron over the next few weeks (including us). The evening took place at the beautiful Kloster Eberbach, which is a former Cistercian monastery and was founded in 1136. There are several vineyards around the monastery and today it is a major area of wine production.
The evening started with a tour where we learned about the start of the monastery, visited the abbey, dormitory and wine press room. We ended the tour in the Cabinetkeller, or cellar of Cabinet wines, and enjoyed tasting three different kinds.
The evening concluded with a delicious dinner in the restaurant. It was so much fun to be surrounded by the many wonderful friends that we've made over the past three years in the squadron. However, it was a very bittersweet feeling, not knowing when or if we would see many of the people again. I guess that is part of the military life and the key is to always cherish the memories and friendships made with no regrets. We plan to do just that over the next few weeks and live every moment in Wiesbaden to its utmost!