Sam’s post from Facebook yesterday
We’ve officially been here for 2 full days…all 4 kids are enrolled in school and medical, We have 1 of our 2 vehicles, have a German cell phone number, have 3 additional IDs, have a Rations Card, toured 1 house, and I have had my first funny international encounter.
Italian – “Hello I’m Grandpa”
Me – “Hello”
Italian – “You’re going to die”
Italian – points to the car behind me that is trying to back up!
What is a Ration Card, you might ask.
Because of host nation tax laws, some items are rationed in the Commissaries and Exchanges. Gasoline is a big one. Other rationed items include cigarettes, distilled liquor, and coffee. You will be issued a ration card. You will need your ID card to obtain the ration card and must present the ration card and ID card anytime you buy a rationed item. Separate cards are issued for each adult family member authorized privileges and should be more than adequate for your needs. DO NOT abuse the privilege. Using your ration card to purchase items for someone not authorized privileges, except as a bona fide gift, is a violation of both military regulations and host nation tax laws. A result of abuse may be loss of privileges, fines, and disciplinary action.
Gasoline is VERY expensive on the economy. The NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) allows the sale of fuel to authorized members of the NATO forces free of local country taxes, on a controlled basis. When your register your vehicle, you will receive a certificate which conveys your gasoline allowance and is used as your ration document for gasoline.
Center of Geilenkirchen
At the southern edge of the Heinsberg district
, where the B 221 (Aachen-Kleve) and B 56 (Bonn-Sittard/NL) trunk roads cross, lies the modestly sized town of Geilenkirchen. Surrounded mainly by rural countryside
, the town has a population of over 28,000
. Geilenkirchen owes its traditional key position in the daily life of the surrounding region to its convenient location and easy access.The face of the town centre has dramatically changed in the course of extensive renovation work. The extension to the Town Hall and the redesign of the Market Place put the final touches to this phase. Without a doubt, the town has benefited tremendously from this facelift.
The town centre is surrounded by dozens of well-maintained villages that pride themselves on their cleanliness and are home to a particularly easy-going lifestyle. Geilenkirchen offers its inhabitants a high standard of living and above average leisure time activities. Apart from its excellent shopping facilities, Geilenkirchen has the full range of educational institutions and a whole range of social and care institutions – a modern hospital, old people’s homes and nursery schools. Making good use of one’s leisure time is hardly a problem here, with sport centres and gymnasiums, swimming baths, both indoor and outdoor tennis facilities, indoor riding, gliding and model aeroplane aerodromes and numerous recreational and sports grounds round off the options.Those in search of peace and quiet will find the town in the valley of the River Wurm – nestled between hidden castles and stately homes, old water-powered mills and impressive farm houses – the ideal choice. A particular attraction is the nearby Teverener Heath.The pleasures associated with this town are appreciated by, among others, the German Army and NATO
, whose soldiers are stationed close to Geilenkirchen. Relations between the local population and these “visitors” are extremely convivial.
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.