Monday, August 25, 2003

The kids and I set out on our own this morning. First we walked to the PX, which is just about a mile from our house. That's one thing I really like about being here: everywhere else I've lived, walking a mile just gets you a mile down the road; it doesn't really take you anyplace you'd especially care to go. Here we can walk a mile and get to so many different places: the commissary, the PX, the skatepark, the library. Even the stop for the Straßenbahn (streetcar) is just this side of the PX. That opens up all of Mannheim and beyond to us.

After much debate this summer, we decided to go ahead and ship both vehicles over. Fred has had his Blazer pretty much since he got here, and my van is due to arrive in Bremerhaven in mid-September. I am going to get my USAREUR drivers license if only to drive to the commissary and such and to get us closer to the Straß in bad weather. Aside from that though, I honestly have no huge designs on driving. I don't know which appeals less to me: driving in town or driving on the Autobahn. In the former scenario, I see my poor minivan flattened by a streetcar and in the latter, I see it receiving a BMW suppository.

Mike has been anxious to meet other kids, and today seems to be his lucky day. Two boys (one our next-door neighbor) just stopped by to ask him to come out and shoot hoops.

Kids seem to have a lot of freedom here, which I think will be good for Mike though scary for me. When we went to the library today to get our cards, the librarian asked if I wanted Mike to be able to check out videos on his card. It had honestly never occurred to me that he might go to the library one day without me!

Poor Annabelle was absolutely devastated to find that she is not old enough to have a library card here. The minimum age is 10. Her eyes filled with tears and her chin quivered and she said, "But, Mom-D.W. got one when she was only FIVE!!!!!" Yes, dear, but D.W. didn't live in Army-land.

We stopped by the USO to sign up for tomorrow's tour of Weinheim, but the tour has been cancelled. I'm afraid we will have to suck it up and make our own tour, as I can't wait a week for the next one before having a look around. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous, but things that I would gladly do all by myself (e.g., figuring out how the streetcar system works) seem daunting to me when I have the kids along.

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