We all like to think we aren’t likely to need an ambulance or will have to call the police or put out a fire. So, when we are flipping through the information overload upon our arrival, we tend to skip right over the Emergency Numbers. It may also be because we don’t think of them as being different than those we’ve grown up knowing in the states. It’s better to have them easily accessible and never need them than the other way around!
If you purchase something at the Commissary that has directions for baking, are you going to know how to set the temperature on your German oven? Probably not without a conversion table!
Are you going to know what size shoes or pants to shop for in German stores? Conversion tables are extremely valuable, even for people who have been living here for a while.
Unless you are a Geography guru, it’s helpful to have maps of Germany and Europe handy. A visual is very helpful when determining travel destinations. Yes, the GPS or train will get you there without a map; it’s just nice to see how far and which direction you will be traveling from your starting point.
If you are living in Bavaria but need to visit an office on a military base in the KMC (for example), or you want to contact MWR at Garmisch, the Directories of each base are extremely helpful.
Need to know how to say a common phrase in Deutsch, or ask a typical question? A list of everyday “German Phrases” would be beneficial.
"Yes, the GPS or train will get you there without a map; it’s just nice to see how far and which direction you will be traveling from your starting point."
I can assure you that until you’ve been here for a couple months, there’s a good chance you will be asking “Which recycle bin does that go in”. There’s a list that clarifies which items get recycled and in which bin. In Germany, pretty much EVERYTHING gets recycled. I lived in Germany from 2008-2012, and I’ve been back since November 2019; I like to think we are really good at recycling, but I was surprised at a few things when I re-read the list a couple days ago!
WHERE TO FIND IT
Every one of the lists or directories mentioned above can be found in either The FindIt Guide, or one of the publications distributed by Stars & Stripes, all of which are free at on-base gas stations, Commissary, ACS and USO, etc.
Stars & Stripes also publishes special editions just pertaining to travel destinations throughout Europe. When I spot a destination that looks really inviting, I clip that page so I can add it to my wish-list!
MAKE IT EASILY ACCESSIBLE!
I have a thin binder that I keep near our cookbooks for easy access. The front cover has Emergency numbers on it, and then I have tabs for Conversions, Maps, Recycling, Directories, Speaking Deutsch, and Travel. The first five tabs are self-explanatory; info I may need to reference any day of the week. The last one is where I store the wish-list destinations so I don’t forget about them (because a few have names I would never be able to say again if I don’t clip it)!