These past four weeks have been exhausting (actually 6, if you include the two weeks we were in a hotel in Germany). We have had LONG days and LONG evenings. Poor Blue Rock is just ready to be settled back into a regular routine, as are we. Thankfully during the days while my husband is at work, Blue Rock and I have been able to meet up with various friends and visit the zoo, museum, and play at the park. Also he has enjoyed seeing my parents and siblings as well as some of my husband's family.
Our household goods arrived much earlier than we expected. They arrived last Thursday and our vehicle arrived last Tuesday. So we decided we needed to make a decision last weekend on an area to live and hopefully a house. We have gone back and forth on living in the country where there are excellent schools and having more land, to living closer to friends, or family, or work. This is difficult as we are both extremely picky and there are things we like about each option. Finally we narrowed our decision down to two great options. Here are the two options we've considered.
House #1: Perfect, beautiful, new, but top of our budget. Cons: far from family and hubby's job - it's on the other side of town so we'd deal with bad traffic. Pros: good schools and close to friends and church.
House #2: Pros: Great price and closer to hubby's job and my family. Neat neighborhood with water park and bike trails, etc. It has a strong HOA and many kids in the neighborhood go to private school. Cons: 8 years old, not as good of schools, at least ratings wise. On the other hand, we could afford private school if we go with this option and there are several really good private schools nearby. There's also the possibility of homeschooling, which I am really considering trying no matter where we live. At least for a year or two to test it out.
If we bought House #2 we would consider later renting it out and expanding our housing portfolio. Basically, we'd buy it and "rent" to ourselves until we decide to move. If we buy House #1 we plan on living in it for a long time, at least 10+ years.
Today we made an offer. We decided to make an offer on House #2. This would give us the most flexibility later on and it's well within our means and is plenty big for us. We're hoping and praying they accept! We have met the neighbors on both sides of the house and both families seem to be very nice. My husband tested the commute this morning and found it to be very good. We would really love to get this house and the only major changes we'd do is update the kitchen, which we would do before moving in.
Overall, we are just glad to be back in the States. Honestly, we have not really had any major reverse-culture shock. I don't know if it's because we lived in this area before we moved to Germany and have family and friends in the area, or what. The only thing we've really missed are our friends in Germany. Blue Rock speaks of his friends in Germany quite often. Today at Wal-Mart he saw a girl who looked like his friend, Brennan. He said, "there's Brennan!" and pointed to the little girl. He had such a huge smile on his face. He also talks about several of his other friends quite often.
As far as the weather. It's below freezing in Germany and it has been in the 70s here. So weather wise, we're loving the States more than the cold. This summer will be a different story.