Today was paperwork day on base! Kristin got her first experience on a base because we had to get her all checked in and legal. The first stop was Patch Barracks (where Matt works) so that we could get her a military ID card. A few questions about our marriage license (the guy wanted to know what exactly were the Turks and Caicos Islands) and one bad black and white picture later, she was official. We then headed over to Panzer Barracks to get her registered with the bases in Germany so that she can get on base without needing Matt to be with her. (Patch and Panzer are about 10 km apart, just outside of the city of Stuttgart.) Then off to the passport office so that Kristin could get her Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) status, which allows us to enter Germany without needing a visa. (It is a cool card that is taped to the last page of our passports.)
We had lunch with one of Matt's co-workers and his wife on base, and then it was time for the fun stuff! Kristin visited the library to get a library card and to find out what things they have for lending -- lots of books (online and in print), magazines and DVDs. Then she wandered around the commissary for a while. She was surprised how good the selection was and how cheap the prices were. There were lots of items for Thanksgiving and a pretty good baking aisle (although she'll definitely need to bring some specialty items from the US). It will be nice for her to be able to cook again once we are finally in an apartment.
We spent Tuesday night running around in the dark in Vaihingen. We weren't lost, we were part of a running group called the Stuttgart Hash House Harriers (http://stuttgarthash.de/), who run about twice a week around the area. One of Matt's coworkers is part of the group and was nice enough to invite Matt along. Tuesday was Kristin's first Hash and Matt's third in Stuttgart.
Rather than running on a flat paved surface in a straight line (Kristin's specialty), the Stuttgart H3 follow chalk and colored flour markings on the ground on a secret run devised by a leader called The Hare. You follow the symbols around in order to complete an 8K run. Don't follow the symbols correctly? Your run will be a lot more than 8K!
The hardest part is that most of the Tuesday night runs are on the trails in the hilly Stuttgart-area forests. Which means it is totally dark while you are running. Lots of uphill and downhill. And some of the path involves a bit of bushwhacking through the mud. Luckily Matt brought a flashlight and is pretty great at keeping the light from bouncing around (Kristin...not so much).
After the run we gathered at an Irish Pub in the center of Vaihingen called the Auld Rogue. The food was really great -- Kristin really liked the bread on her BLT and Matt thought the burgers were yummy. And they had great beer and cider. Definitely a treat after a fun run.