Monday, November 26, 2012

Guten Tag!

That's hello or good day in German for those who aren't as well versed as I. Why am I writing German greetings you might ask? Well, there's one probably not-so-obvious-to-you answer. Because I recently took a little trip over the great big Atlantic Ocean to the country where some of my ancestors are from. You guessed it, Germany. Don't worry, I'm still baking, in fact I've been baking quite frequently as of late, I baked 2 pies for Thanksgiving (apple and coconut creme) and Christmas baking is in full swing. Therefore, cupcake baking is currently on hold. I just haven't taken any pictures of anything (except for my Germany birthday treat you'll be seeing soon) and haven't had much time for posting. It's been a busy couple weeks.

So Germany you say? It was a work trip, and that's just about all I did. Work and try to sleep. The time difference was not my friend (Germany is 6 hours ahead of east coast time). For those who are unaware, I work in production at ESPN and for Veteran's Day this year we broadcast portions of SportsCenter from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Maybe you watched? My mom and dad did, they're so proud. We were there to support our troops and also cover the college basketball game that was going to be played in one of the hangers on base, Michigan State and Connecticut.

What's Germany like? Well, I really couldn't tell you because I didn't see much of it. There were 2 shuttle rides to and from the airport in Frankfurt, but I slept during those. Once I realized the German countryside looks a lot like the Connecticut countryside I decided sleep was more important. As I mentioned we worked from Ramstein Air Base which is also where we stayed. There's a hotel on the base for civilians, military and military families which was my home for about 5 days. The base was very much like America, and had I not known I was in Germany, I wouldn't have known I was in Germany, other than the surplus of BMWs and Mercedes that drove around the base. If you go to Germany and rent a car, it will be a Mercedes. Promise.

The food was very American as well. There was a mall attached to the hotel (that I couldn't shop in, it was only for military and their families) that had a food court (where I was allowed to purchase things, things being food items only) that included fine dining establishments like Subway, Taco Bell and Baskin Robbins to name a few. There was also a Macaroni Grill, Chili's and Burger King on base. If I had to compare it to something, I would liken it to a college campus with it's own mini airport and giant airplanes. From what I remember of what I learned while there, Ramstein mostly has C-130s which are enormous airplanes, like a cargo plane. They're the types of planes you can drive vehicles into, massive and really cool to see. I didn't get to ride in one, but it was just cool to walk to the production truck in the morning and see them all sitting on the tarmac.

As I mentioned we were there to honor our troops for Veteran's Day, we were also there to cover a basketball game. One of the first places I went when I got on base was to the hanger where the court was being built. It wasn't to see the court, it was to try to get my base pass so no one tried to throw me out, but it was cool to see part of the process of building a basketball court in a hanger. The first time I saw it there was just one set of bleachers put up. The morning of the game I stopped in the hanger again to check out the finished product, it was pretty amazing.

I had a little time so I wandered around a bit to check everything out since I knew it was unlikely I'd get back into the hanger once the game started since I'd be working. I like to have swag to remember the remotes I've done, and the military was nice enough to give us all very nice jackets to keep from our visit, but what I really wanted was one of the chairs the players would later be sitting in during the game.

I thought these were pretty awesome, and if I could have figured out how to get one on the airplane home without getting caught or fired I would have done it. But, since I couldn't, I settled for a nice fleece jacket. It was really nice, the best swag I've gotten out of all the remotes I've done (10 if we're counting).

My view during the week wasn't quite as exciting as being in a hanger. The set for SportsCenter was inside a different hanger than the game (sorry, I didn't take any pictures of it), but since I'm not nearly important enough to put on TV, I get to sit in a chilly production truck, packed like a sardine.
A mini control room on wheels and pretty close quarters as you can see (I was the middle seat with the 2 computers). But, it's all part of the traveling experience, and though it's exhausting, stressful and a lot of work, it is a great experience. One I usually only appreciate after I'm home. This trip was no different, except that I appreciated it more than I normally would because of who we were there for. You stop complaining when you're in the company of the military because you realize that you're lucky just to be in Germany to make television. It's a tiny matter compared to the bigger picture of what they're doing and the sacrifices they're making everyday. I can suck up 5 days with minimal sleep because at the end of those 5 days, I get to go home to my house and my husband.

When the week was over I had a couple reasons to celebrate. It was a successful trip, I was getting to go home, and it was my birthday. On my birthday I woke up in Germany and went to bed in Connecticut, it was a very long day of travel, but I started it off like any good birthday should begin. With a German treat, and the only German cuisine I actually ate while in Germany.
It was delicious, and capped off a truly amazing experience and opportunity. Happy Birthday to me.