Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Updating Our Military IDs, Applying for Housing, and Getting Ration Cards

After dropping off our dogs and luggage in our temporary housing, we had a few things to get done. We were in Patrick Henry Village, and found out everywhere we needed to go was closer to the other installation, Mark Twain Village. Fortunately, we had our sponsor to drive us. He told us to hope for Mark Twain Village for our permanent housing because it’s closer to the hospital (where my husband works) and the PX (Post Exchange). One can also easily walk into town, which is not the case from our location in Patrick Henry Village.

Since everywhere we needed to go was closed until 1300 (1pm), we went to the food court which has a Taco Bell, Subway, and a Pipo’s Pasta and Pizza. We opted for Taco Bell. They had the same pictures on the menu as in the States, but had the prices blacked out on the value meal deals, which I took to mean they don’t offer those. We ended up getting four tacos, a quesadilla, and a drink for about $11, which is a few dollars more than I remember paying in the States, but I wasn’t surprised it would be a little more.

After lunch, we went to get our military IDs updated because the cards from the States do not scan in the German system. The process was pretty quick. We had expected to have to get new IDs, but all we had to do was answer a few questions, have our fingerprints digitally scanned, and have a new picture taken. My picture turned out terrible, but that was to be expected considering I’d been up for over 24 hours at that point. The updated information was linked to the original card so the gate guards can scan the card and compare the picture that comes up on their scanner to the picture on the front of the card.

Then we went to the housing office. To our understanding, someone at Fort Stewart had called to get us on a waiting list for housing, and we were already on a waiting list for a two bedroom house. When we got there, the lady said that no one can get on a waiting list without showing up in the office first. She authorized us to stay in temporary lodging until November 21st while waiting for the permanent housing assignment. She said to check at that time if she had extended our stay or not, which could be done for up to 60 days. If they didn’t have something open for us on post by the 21st, we could possibly rent somewhere on the economy. We were still authorized for two bedrooms, but whether it would be a house or an apartment we’d end up in was undetermined.

Part of a ration card

After the housing office, we went over to the hospital where the office to get ration cards is located. Ration cards are about the size of a business card but thicker because there are several linked together for each type of rationed item. One needs to use a ration card for tobacco, bottles of liquor, and packages of coffee. The original idea behind having ration cards was to prevent people from buying things at the commissary (post grocery store) and selling it downtown for a profit. People primarily used to do that for cigarettes and liquor. These days, the prices are about the same (and sometimes cheaper) on the economy, and if we use up the card we can turn it in for a new one, so it seems like more of a formality than anything.

Once we had the ration cards, we went to the commissary to get some groceries, and the shoppette (sort of like a convenience store) so my husband could get beer (which isn’t sold at the commissary). Then we finally got to go back to our room at the Patrick Henry Village Guesthouse.

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8 Thoughts on “Updating Our Military IDs, Applying for Housing, and Getting Ration Cards

  1. Did you get MTV? I love it here. There is the S-bahn right around the corner too. I love having Rewe, Aldi and Lidl close by. I only go to PHV when I have too!

    • We didn’t. We got PHV. It’s a crazy walk to get the the bus stop from here. Fortunately my husband was able to get the car the other day so it’ll be a little easier to get to town. It’s not terrible over here because we have the commissary, library, veterinarian, and so forth within walking distance and we actually got one of the newer apartments so I can’t complain. I would like to be closer to the Rewe, Aldi, etc but my husband could always stop by after work if we didn’t want to make an extra trip.

  2. Email me (edit). There is an opportunity I think you might be interested in. BTW, IACS was my first job here. I loved meeting all the new people.

    • Will do. I edited the address off the comment to protect ya from spambots 🙂 That’s cool. I don’t have a job here yet though I have applied to some. Unfortunately with Heidelberg shutting down soon many of them are temporary and/or say on the description that the job posting might not be an indication of an actual current opening so I’m not sure how that will pan out.

  3. No, it’s not because you’ve been up for 24 hours, it’s because EVERYONE looks horrible on those ID cards!
    I remember that quaint food court, very small, as is the “Shopping Base”. Patrick Henry Village is quite a ride from Heidelberg, I m not sure even a bus goes out there. However, once you get a car, it should be more manageable. Mark Twain Village is right in Rohrbach and it doesn’t take long at all to get to the Altstadt. You can even use the Strassenbahn from there! 🙂

    • Haha well that is true but I’m pretty sure the awake time didn’t help. Yes it is very small, and lately it’s a little dirty. We went in today and there were a bunch of flies in the seating area so we got the food to go. The PX isn’t a bad size but I don’t have much to compare it to. One of my friends said she can’t even get a teapot on her base, while I have heard Ramstein’s is basically a mall. Yes there is a bus that goes out there, but it isn’t exactly close to the post. It’s a good kilometer away from the gate, and even if you take a taxi they will only take you to the bottom of the bridge before the gate. There is a shuttle on post that goes over to the other side where you can walk into town from, but it runs at crazy hours. I took a shuttle to my appointment at the clinic and had to get a ride back because I missed the shuttle by 5 minutes waiting on them to fill a script. My husband was finally able to get the car the other day but he’s the only one with a license (they wouldn’t let us take the test in the same class). It has been a lot easier already though. It’s nice to be able to even go to the commissary and not be limited to what we can carry in our bookbags lol. We haven’t driven to town yet but I’m sure it’ll be easier, and we might take the S-bahn to Mannheim to avoid the traffic.

      • If a taxi won’t take you to the gate its becauses they don’t want to. The Ponds guards will let them turn around at the gate, as the would with anyone who mistakenly goes there.

        • I don’t know. When we had to get one they told us the pickup was at the bottom of the bridge, and it’s the same place they’ve always dropped us off. For the extra distance it would be for them to go to the gate when we still have the walk to our place it’s not really worth paying them to go further than that.

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