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Martin and the Kaserne

I spent the weekend with Martin in Erlangen. His Bundeswehr Kaserne (German Army base) was hosting a ‘Family Day,’ so I spent the day with him and his buddies and the new soldiers he trains, and their families.

Quite a learning experience for me, since most of the time, Martin sees ME in MY uniform, doing MY work in public affairs.
This time, HE was the one clad in the browns and greens, working as an instructor and tank commander. Anyway, during the day, his company was giving free tank rides to the visitors, and of course, I just HAD to try it out.
Since I’m the girlfriend, though, I was given the ‘extended’ tank ride. This means they drove me out over rough terrain, as well as through the base streets. They even took me out to this huge parking lot and made ‘doughnuts.’ If you are not familiar with a military tank, there are two parts to it. There’s the bottom with the wheels, and the top section with the guns. Both are connected, but operate seperately.
So there I was, hanging off the top of the tank while Martin’s troop spun around the bottom part as Martin spun around the top part in the opposite direction. And they didn’t stop until I threatened to puke…in German!
Then we all had a barbecue and debated over who had the best military uniforms. It was a fun day, and a nice break from planning the wedding!

Weekend Stuff

So happy with laundry, I could spit. Or kiss. Or something. (Pic from Prague)

 

I spent the whole weekend doing laundry.

I never knew I’d feel this way about an appliance, but I was finding everything to clean; pillowcases, blankets, towels. I love it!
Martin and I also sat down over the weekend and looked through all the books, magazines, printouts and folders I have about weddings, but we still haven’t come up with any real concept of what we want, ceremony-wise. I mean, we have a zillion great ideas, but we’re not sure what will work best for us. I think we’ll be more sure of ourselves once we talk to the priest in September.
We did, however, talk ‘in-depth’ about the music. We were chilling one night, listening to cds, and he threw out some song titles that meant something to us, and surprisingly, I agreed with most of what he was saying.
So don’t be surprised if we play the song we played to each other over the phone while I was in tech school or the song that was playing at the night club that one time I ventured onto ‘the box’….

First Furniture

We bought our first major piece of furniture yesterday; a washing machine.

We were lucky enough to find a really nice one for a discounted price. It was the showroom’s machine, so we were able to take it as is without them having to order it and deliver it. (That would have taken them a whole week, time I couldn’t take off of work.)
So we wheeled it on a pulley through downtown Kaiserslautern to the parking garage to load into my four-door 1988 Ford Sierra. No matter how hard we shoved, pulled, pushed, swore and cursed, we could NOT get it into my car.

Finally, after 20 amusing minutes, the guy from the garage booth came to offer his help and we eventually got it halfway into the trunk and tied it down. The drive home was slow, of course, but we got there and realized it was up to us to carry it up to my third-story apartment. Yea! We would climb up the first flight, rest, re-grip, rest, switch positions, climb a step or two, rest, yell at each other, re-grip….it was a very long process. But we did it!
And despite all the name-calling, the blaming and the near-death experiences, it was kinda cool, knowing we did it ourselves and as a team.

Reception

Buffet or sit down dinners?

Wine or champagne or both?

Floral centerpieces or something a little different?

Martin and I have finally tackled the reception-part of our wedding, and let me tell you, this is clearly the most expensive and most detail-oriented part of the celebration

We decided our first step would be to decide on a location. So, despite the wind and rain, we hopped on his moped and sputtered off into Nuremberg. We stopped at every hotel we could think of to ask about conference and banquet rooms. I’m sure we were quite a sight; wearing our ‘bike’ gear (protective pants and coats that make us look like frumpy marshmallow men), dripping from the rain, shivering from the cold, hair messed and flat from the helmets….and these were five-star hotels, too. Despite our appearance, though, everyone was very helpful, and we certainly visited many a beautiful banquet hall.

Almost all come with complete service; decorating, catering, clean-up, everything, which is very tempting. However, it also comes with a price, and this is something Martin and I really had to consider.

However, despite all that hard work, we still couldn’t find ANYTHING that fit our needs. So, we asked his Aunt Mali for help. And sure enough, she found something!! And we booked it in a second.

The Gemeindehaus am Bohlenplatz is located in the heart of Erlangen, Martin’s hometown, which is about 10 minutes from the church. It was a church built in 1728, but over time, it was gutted out and turned into a ballroom. Besides the beautiful room with the huge windows overlooking a park, we will have a full kitchen to use, its classic dinnerware, decorations and other necessary odds and ends.
For music at the reception, Martin’s friends have a band called Green Fish. They play all kinds of music, both German and American classics. When they finish performing, they will then act as a dj for the rest of the night. We really lucked out! We haven’t decided on our first dance song, yet, but for the father-daught/mother-son dance, we’re using Celine Dion’s ‘Because You Loved Me.’

The Ceremony

“A little girl at the wedding afterwards asked her mother why the bride changed her mind. “What do you mean?” responded her mother. “Well, she went down the aisle with one man, and came back with another.”

– Anonymous

Martin and I were out driving around one day on the stretch of highway between Erlangen and Nuremberg. I happened to see a church steeple off one of the roads, and asked if we could go investigate. What we found was this adorable church, St. George’s. This church is OLD and has its very own courtyard and garden. It’s nestled in this little, tiny village that seems to have been untouched by time. We went inside the church, and I was totally in awe with it’s insides. All of it is stone and wood, with beautiful paintings.

It’s small, only one room, and in the back of the room, there are photos of the church after it was destroyed in the war. The church has been restored to its full splendor ever since. And best of all, we will definitely have our wedding in it! Yea!

The photo on the right shows the inside of St. George’s church. I finally found a photo that shows the inside like it REALLY looks. This place really is beautiful; wooden, old, quaint and peaceful. And it smells so good inside; like flowers, incense and lit candles.

At this point, we are still planning the wedding ceremony. There will be two of them, as required by German law. The day before the church ceremony, we must go down to the city building and legally swear we like each other. However, on this page, I’m going to only discuss the CHURCH ceremony.

LOCATION: We have the church! The wedding is going to be at St. George’s Church in a small, small village between Nuremberg and Erlangen. It was built in the mid-1400’s. I will have its complete history on here soon.
TIME: Two in the afternoon
PRIEST: It’s going to be Father Frank, a friend of Martin’s, the only boy from the Seminary who became a priest! He’s got a great sense of humor and speaks both English and German, which is great, since the ceremony will be in both languages.
MUSIC: Unfortunately, Martin’s cousin will not be able to attend the wedding, let alone sing! So, Martin and I are currently looking at other alternatives.
READINGS: I’m not a big fan of the traditional wedding readings, so Martin and I plan to write our own vows, which will be read in the other’s language. (Martin will say them in English, I in German.) We’re also going to ask the people we select as readers to choose their own reading, as their gift to us. Of course, we’re going to ask that it reflect the atmosphere of the wedding, speaking of love, spirituality, friendship and commitment.
TRANSLATIONS: We’re going to print out the entire ceremony in the programs, so that everyone can follow along, no matter what language they speak. For example, one of my relatives will give a reading in English, but Martin’s family can read the translation in the program.

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