The funny thing about being stationed in Germany is, well, it's too big. There are 50,000 Americans in the Ramstein Air Base area. For someone who has moved as often as I have, you would think it would be easy to find a posse.
But, no. Base housing has a one year wait list and the villages, well, they are quaint and charming, but not the 'burbs.
And, it is also SLOW to get started in a routine in Deutschland. Overseas moves are a bear in the beginning. People tell you it will take six months to get adjusted. They are not lying.
Hopeless extrovert finds it hard to make friendsIt's really hard to meet and connect with other “like minded” spouses. You really, really have to make an effort to reach out.
Lucky for me and my future friends, I’m a hopeless extrovert. I have a saying that comes in handy with every PCS when I start to feel blue, “If I want to be invited to a party, well, I guess I’ll just throw one.“
And I do. Always.
Stories Around The Table gave me an idea.This time I decided to party around a table - my kitchen table - for coffee and delicious German pastries. I invited a dozen or so ladies that I’ve run across over the last few months. I offered simple stuff, a coffee and munchies at my home to get know each other and share our stories.
Friendships starting around a table with food and drinks. Isn’t that how it usually starts? Whether it’s the kitchen table, worktable, coffee table or even a high cocktail table – the later being my personal favorite - we tend to meet the most amazing people casually chatting around a table. Nothing fancy, just strong coffee and strong milspouses.
The book Stories Around The Table gave me they idea to host a small coffee at my home. I read the most hilarious, heart warming, gut wrenching, tear-jerking, relatable stories in this book.
More than 40 different military spouses contributed an essay covering every aspect of our lives, and even a few I hadn’t thought of. It’s a compilation of short stories that will move you to tears on page 35 but have you rolling with laughter by page 50. It’s clever, witty, real, and beautifully written. It’s a quick, but an intense read.
Use the book as a tool.This book was the perfect conduit to get the conversation rolling at my little soirée. I used all the topics as a way to ask questions of my newfound friends; military marriage, deployments, friendship dating, military kids, coping and moving. I kept the book on the table for those to thumb through it as we were chatting.
Everyone seemed to relate and gabbed a little more. Stories from the mouths of strangers are never boring, either. On the contrary, they are fascinating.
You think you’ve got someone pegged from first glance, but assumptions are usually always wrong when trying to figure out a military spouse. – I know, because I never get it right and that makes me happy.
And that’s how I felt about this book. It surprised me and it wasn’t what I expected it be – and that was the best part.
I invited a few military spouses over as strangers, but I guarantee they left as friends. Isn’t that the way it should be?
How To Throw A Stories Around The Table PartyInterested in throwing your own Stories Around The Table party? It’s super simple and guaranteed for a day (or night) of laughter, connecting and friendship.
1. Throw down a date! Yes, that’s the first commitment – a date, time and location. It could be a restaurant, coffee shop, your home, the library or moms group – just be brave and throw down a date. Commit.
2. Invite ‘em! It doesn’t have to be large group, just a group of military spouse you want to get to know better. They will love the idea that you’re taking initiative, because someone has to! Be that bridge, the connector, that friend. People will be thankful that you reached out to include them. Trust me, they want you to take the lead. Go for it.
3. Say cheese! Snap a selfie - Ellen DeGeneres style - of your group and post it on the Stories Around The Table page. It’s exactly why the book was written and it’s a great excuse to slap on your favorite lipstick or wear that new shirt. Here is ours:
4. Do it again! Don’t settle for just one gathering. Nope, you need to offer another gathering again in a month or two. People need more opportunities to see each other to make that connection stronger. Take it from an extrovert - connect your dots, put on a pot of coffee or pour a glass of wine, put out some munchies and gather around your table to share your stories.
Oh, and don’t forget to get the book! Stories Around The Table; Laughter, Wisdom and Strength in Military Life is on Amazon.com for $12.47 – and it’s even offered with Amazon Prime. Awesome. It’s well worth it and will give you the conversation starters you need.
Now, let’s see those selfies!
Stacy Huisman is an Air Force wife currently living in Germany. She wrote "Dot To Dot, Friend to Friend" in Stories Around the Table (Elva Resa 2014).]