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01/30/2006

We received our Green Cards

OK - I thought we'd have to wait at least a month, but it happened today:

 

medium_greencard.jpg our green cards arrived in the mail!

01/24/2006

Get stuff organized

The first two weeks were a mad rush, stressed out, trying to get everything done - at least the things that needed done immediately.

We stayed at a hotel for the first five nights and had a rental car for a week. We had figured, that this would be enough time to get things sorted out, but then nothing really goes exactly as you plan it.

medium_hotel_van.2.jpg

We wanted to rent furniture for our apartment - but once we saw the prices, we decided otherwise. Buying stuff out of the  *Peddler's Post* is fun, and you get really good deals, but you need a big car to haul home whatever you buy. So our first purchase was a 2000 Ford Windstar Van, cost us around 4800 €, big enough for beds, desks, dressers and all kinds of odds and ends. We had a bed for everybody, plus a table and four chairs, and dishes, silverware, towels, bedsheets, by the day we had to sleep in our rented home.

medium_move_in.2.jpg

The next big problem we ran into was our internet connection. Tom had signed up for DSL a month ago, we were supposed to have that working by January 23rd. But then Verizon said they ran out of lines, and actually we had found out at Tom's sister's house that Verizon DSL doesn't work for his VPN client connection. So we had to sign up for Comcast cable. The kids like that better anyways, because now we have more channels on TV.

 

And there are some other things we got organized along the way:

  • apply for social security numbers for my daughter and me
  • sign the entire family up for the Spiece fitness center
  • get renter's insurance for personal property and liability
  • sign up for a family cellphone plan for the four of us
  • register my daughter in highschool - she's a junior
  • start looking at houses to find one we'll buy

  

01/12/2006

German products at Meijer's

I was a little worried about being able to find some of the foods I *need*. Then we went grocery shopping for the first time at a local Meijer. And there it was! A section with German food items, about 10 feet wide.

They carry:

  • Dallmayr und Tchibo Kaffee
  • Dr. Oetker Backmischungen
  • Knorr Gulaschfix
  • Pfanni Knödel
  • Puddingpulvertütchen
  • Ritter Sport Schokolade, verschiedene Sorten
  • Schwartau Extra Konfitüre
  • Winsenia Nuss-Nougat-Brotaufstrich
  • verschiedene Heringsfilets in Soßen (Dosenfutter)
  • 6 Sorten Feldkamp Vollkornbrot
  • Sauerkraut
  • Blaukraut
  • Spätzle und andere Nudeln
  • Altmeister Essig
  • Gerolsteiner und Appolinaris Mineralwasser
  • Essiggurken von Hengstenberg
  • und noch einige andere Kleinigkeiten

So far it looks like I will only need Müsli, which I will order from GermanDeli.

01/10/2006

We're flying

OK, this is the big day! We flew with Delta out of Munich at 11:00 a.m., into Atlanta, then Fort Wayne from there.

Everything went as scheduled, no mayor delays or problems - just the regular tiresome long waits and endless security checks. Our luggage was exactly within the limits, maxed out but not going over it. Two suitcases per person, weighing 23 kg each, plus one carry-on bag and one laptop case per person, weighing no more than 18 kg total.

The immigration procedure in Atlanta was a new experience for me. Carry your brown envelopes with paperwork to this office, fill out a form quick, wait a while. Then the officer calls me by my first name - which I didn't expect, so I didn't react immediately. Got our fingerprints taken, received an explanaton of our rights and duties, and a *welcome to the United States*. Nobody wanted to see our x-rays. The whole transaction took less than 30 minutes.