Getting to Berlin
We are here!!!
It feels so good to finally be here, after what felt like so long after saying yes, we are finally here! God’s timing is good and we trust Him! Thanks to the Lord our travels were so blessed and thanks to many of our friends and family who were faithfully praying, we didn’t run into any issues! Many of you may have known, but Hunter and I were doing quite a bit of traveling before we hoped on our plane to Germany, and were basically away for the last two weeks before we left. This meant that we really needed to have everything done before we left for our trips so that when we got back to Tacoma for the 60 hrs we were there, that we wouldn’t have to do much.
Everything we own.
Minus the desktop computer that we shipped, and ended up getting lost in the mail anyway.
If I’m honest, packing was extremely overwhelming for myself (Miranda) in the leading months to us leaving it was easy to purge and have an idea of what we would be taking, but even my idea of what we would be taking was way too much in the end. It was also hard because I wanted to finish every last project (like sewing a shirt before I had to get rid of our sewing machine), use everything that I knew I couldn’t take to try not to be wasteful, like the chunky glass bottles of perfume and because Hunter was gone at different times than me, I gladly used the excuse that I didn’t want to pack anything that he might use, which really just mean that I didn’t pack. The only thing I successfully packed was my one suitcase full of clothes, and my clothes that I would wear for the next three weeks, everything else I imagined would just magically fit into what was supposed to be 6 tubs of stuff, that quickly turned into 9, mostly because no single tub could weigh over 50lbs. (Fun fact everything that we packed in those 9 Tubs weighs less than Hunter, Indie and myself combined!) Space most certainly was not the issue, but the weight was s pretty big hurdle! We actually had to evenly distribute our winter clothes between tubs just so certain tubs wouldn’t be half empty! While I was in Indiana for an extra week, Hunter worked miracles in packing 90% of our stuff into 9 tubs. It was so nice to be away for a week or so, just to not be surrounded by our stuff and the mess that was packing! Bless our housemate Katie for being so full of grace as we continually trashed the house with all of our stuff spread out making those decisions of “do we keep or leave”? And “where should this fit?” Once we were back it was an evaluation of all the random things we had left that we were waiting to pack ( like our Alexa speakers, our projector, our toiletries, etc ) that somehow needed to fit in our fully packed 50lb tubs... this meant going through everything, making tough calls, and repacking! It felt like every 10 minutes we were checking the weight of each tub, repacking, checking weight again, and moving on to the next tub. It was a bit overwhelming! We decided to check the website again, check and make sure that it was 50lbs that was allowed ( and check that it was actually 26 dollars for every 2 lbs it went over) upon reading, we read that there was a strict weight limit on carry-on bags ( which in my many years of traveling I have never run into! ) it was in that moment that I began to spiral into a deep panic, our entire packing was based on putting the heaviest things in our carry on’s including every piece of photography equipment we have ( about 60lbs!) and our vacuumed sealed clothes, as well as other random heavier things that fit. This halted me from even packing because it was a risk of packing a heavy carry on because they would either charge 26 for every 2 lbs over the 22 pounds and it would have to be checked if it was over 30 lbs. So it was going to be either really expensive or really bad, considering if our camera gear was checked, it probably would have made it to Germany just entirely shattered. You can imagine my fear, the possibility of giving up everything I’ve invested in for the last 10 years, impossible to recover with no income coming in to save for... it was bad! Then there was the other fact that we were not guaranteed to be able to take everything we were taking. We had paid in advance for us to take 6 pieces of luggage, and when Hunter called to make that reservation they told us that we could pay for more luggage at the airport and that there would probably be space because the flight wasn’t that full, but I held tight that it was only a possibility and we labeled our tubs from low to high priority, realizing that there was a chance that we would have to leave 3 tubs behind! It was this combined that we were told that we would have to pay much more than we had anticipated to ship our computer ( the only thing we didn’t want to pack on the plane) .... Hunter eventually figured it out but it was still a good $300 to ship it! I was a mess in the “what if’s” of everything and Hunter was able to bring me back to peace in prayer, and asked me if I had asked the Lord what he said we should do... I asked in that moment and felt like He said “it’ll be fine” haha but of course, I’m like “what if I didn’t even hear the Lord correctly?!” It would crush my spirits even more! But can I just tell you that the Lord is SO faithful, and everything went even better than expected.
Our first hurdle was making sure everything fit in our friends mini van, we had measured it out the night before, but there is something definitely different about actually putting it in there. In total it was 7 Tubs, 2 suitcases, Indie’s massive crate, 2 duffle bags, and 2 backpacks. It was tight but with Hunter’s amazing tetras abilities it all fit!
Sweet treat to welcome us to Germany from our sweet friends, the Roley’s.
2nd challenge was transporting all of that....into the airport. Thankfully our friend who drove us parked, and helped us bring everything inside. You should have seen the looks we were getting...no one really takes that much stuff on an airplane! We had to ask where to go, because there was no way we would be able to scoot in line with everything, so we pulled it all off to the side, and I proceeded to weigh everything while Hunter stood in line to check everything in. My adrenaline must have kicked in because I was weighing those boxes like it was no bodies business, each one weighing exactly enough or slightly under ( one I think was just slightly over, but they didn’t charge us !!) Once we were good on weight we zip tied everything and it was good to go, and not once did they question if it was going to fit on the plane! Everything made it on with ease and it cost even less than what we expected!
Then the moment came... we lugged our heavy carry on to the next station to finish checking in, and the employee looked at our duffel bags and asked us to put it on the scale, and sure enough, they were heavyyyyyyy. But to our surprise, he was like “we can check these for free for you! “ What... no extra bag charge?! No overweight charge?! And we didn’t have to lug them all over the airport?! PRAISE! While our backpacks were still heavy, because they were on our backs no questions were asked, and we had no issues bringing them on the plane with us... it was seriously such a blessing. And just like that all our stuff was headed toward the plane!
Indie’s first official Berlin walk!
Indie began to realize what was going on, She had flown once before on a 4.5 hr flight and wasn’t a huge fan. We had asked the vet if they thought we should give her some anxiety/ stress medicine and because she isn’t an overly anxious dog, they said it wasn’t necessary and probably wouldn’t have lasted long enough anyway. So we opted out and trusted it would be okay! The first step after getting to the airport was to get Indie’s weight on the scale with the crate and while she knows the command go in her crate, it was an immediate “heck no” from Indie and she couldn’t get away fast enough. It was quite the sight to see and people, myself included couldn’t help but chuckle. With heels metaphorically dug into the ground ( luckily it was tile...) she resisted hard. Ever since her first flight Indie had been good about making her self as obnoxiously big as possible so that doesn’t fit in the crate easily, but eventually upside down and backwards still with paws grasping onto the edge of the top of the crate she was in. 10 seconds until the weight popped up and then she was good to get out of her crate for a few more minutes while TSA checked the crate. The crate was checked, and it was time for Indie to go, she once again created a dramatic display and resisted going into the crate, even almost escaped in the SeaTac airport, but she made it and he sad little barks echoed in the airport until she was a good quarter mile away. It was a sad moment, but we knew she would be okay!
I cant tell you the relief and shock we were feeling in that moment... we had no clue how the Lord brought it all together, but thanks to the kind employees of Condor, they made it such an easy and painless process!! We were doing it, we were on our way to our new home!
One of our community’s homes.
Where we regularly meet for prayer, worship, and family dinners!
On top of that, we realized that our TSA precheck ( which we had purchased when we were traveling a lot for weddings to save us the hassle of taking out all our camera gear in security) We weren’t in a huge hurry, but the thought of taking everything out sounded extremely stressful, so we simply asked if they had forgotten to put our precheck on there and in less than a minute they did a quick fix and we were on our way! Also such a blessing.
The plane ride itself, almost 11 hrs, was find, nothing really happened, pretty normal! But in our minds we were trying to figure out how we were going to juggle everything once we landed in Frankfurt, were we going to have to take all of that in the line through customs? How were we going to get it out the door? We would soon find out.
We had an extremely smooth landing and we were off to see what awaited, praise the Lord border patrol was before baggage claim and while we felt majorly under interrogation and had to answer some tough questions, we eventually made it though. Knowing full well he could have just told us No.
Then we headed to pick up our bag, and sure enough there was Indie just chilling there! So very excited to see us. We picked her up and not more than 200 feet were all of our tubs! They all made it! Then there were our suitcases and carry on bags. Now the question was , now what do we do? The baggage area seemed pretty empty, and there was no one really around to really help, and the carts that you could rent were made for 4 or 5 normal sized suitcases... not massive tubs. We looked around and even tried to ask people if there were any bigger carts, one person we asked definitely didn’t speak any English, and the other... just suggested next time we don’t bring so much stuff. The area seemed to clear out even more, and we seemed pretty stuck... low and behold there was a random cart that were pretty confident we shouldn’t take, but so nicely fit 5 of the tubs, and then we were able to rent another cart to carry the remainder, and we were off, not 100 % sure what else we had to do to be good. But there were the doors and we essentially just left! It felt almost too easy... Actually right before we left, indie took the biggest pee I’ve ever seen ( considering she held it for 14 hrs ) right in the middle of the floor. We took some old t-shirts and cleaned it best we could and THEN went on our away.
Turns out Shane our dear friend who was driving almost 6hrs was going to get there a little later due to some traffic, which was fine with us considering we had no where to go and no where to be. We were just sitting and waiting, and because Indie with us a few people stopped and asked to pet her and see her, and this little boy was just enthralled with her. His mom asked if it was okay to come closer, and the little boy was just so happy. The woman (who spoke amazing English) who was waiting for her mom to come visit and help as they prepared to move, was from Iran who had come to Germany to study biology. Right off the bat, this was such an answer to prayer. Taking Indie was a decent amount of extra work for us, and extra expense, but I felt like the Lord would use Indie to open doors and conversations with people, and for that prayer to be answered within the first 30 minutes of being in Germany, meant so much!
Shortly after our conversation ended and we said goodbye and wished each other best of luck, a airport worker came up to us speaking in German, basically saying that we weren’t allowed to take this cart and that he needed it back ( at least that’s what his body language said ) We just tried to tell him that we needed to take it out to the curb to where we would eventually be picked up, and he so graciously brought it out there for us!! (Amen!) Reassuring us that it was okay. From there it was a 6hr journey and then we were here....our new home!!