Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trip Recap

We are back from Germany.  What a great week!

Tuesday:We took the rotator up to Ramstein with the other award nominees from our base.  Due to a funding issue, not all spouses went, but there were a few.  We checked into the big hotel at Ramstein that connects to the awesome BX.  I can't describe how it feels to walk in there for the first time after being in Turkey for awhile.  It was refreshing to be in a normal, American store.  It felt like home.  After my initial walk-thru, we met our good friends Luke and Jessie for dinner at Chili's.  Ryan and Luke have been stationed together twice.  We are both heading to the Pentagon this summer.  It was great to catch up with them...and to get some Chili's!!

Wednesday:I went with Ryan in the morning to the first set of briefings.  It was interesting...but I decided to skip out after a little bit.  The best part of the morning was hearing our host for the week speak.  Gen. Welsh is the 4 star general in charge of all Air Force operations in Europe.  To say that he is an impressive man is a giant understatement.  His speeches are some of the best that I have heard from anyone.  After he gave opening remarks, there was a group photo op outside.  Along with another spouse, I hung back to watch.  We suddenly heard a voice behind us asking why we weren't in the picture.  We turned around to see Gen. Welsh.  The other woman said "we aren't nominees sir, we are just spouses", to which the general responded "there isn't any such thing as 'just' a spouse."  According to the rumor mill, Gen. Welsh is in line to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff and be a member of the Joint Chiefs.  I couldn't think of anybody better.

That evening, we attended an icebreaker at the Officer's Club.  We were joined by all the other European nominees as well as all the Wing Commanders from Europe's Air Force bases.  They were having a separate conference and we combined many events.  It was good to meet other people living life overseas and get different perspectives from different locations.  It was a great group of people and I enjoyed getting to know  them all.

Thursday: While Ryan toured the Rhine with the other nominees, I was invited by another spouse to take a tour with her aunt Sandy, who lives in Germany.  Sandy is actually a USO guide, so I felt like I was getting my own private tour!  We went to Kaiserslautern for sightseeing and shopping (I LOVE H&M!!) and then to another smaller village to tour.  It was such a fun day! 

Friday: Ryan had a day worth of briefings and functions, so I laid low in the hotel, went to the BX, got a haircut, and read The Hunger Games.  Then we both got ready for the evening banquet at the Officers Club.  First was a medallion ceremony, where the nominees are all presented with their official medallions by the general and command chief.  Then, we headed  into the ballroom for the banquet.  We had great food, entertainment, and fellowship.  I truly didn't realize how big of a deal this was.  I am so proud of Ryan.  Even though no one from Turkey won in their category, we all had a great time and will take back priceless memories.

Pics to come!

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