While dating, my then-boyfriend and I talked a lot about the uniqueness of life in the military. In addition to our essential “napkins” conversation, one of the other discussions during our dating months centered around duty locations. My ears perked up the ONE time he’d off-handedly mentioned a European assignment.
“Is that possible, an assignment in Europe?”
I’d recently returned from a Tuscan cooking trip, a 30th birthday gift to myself. I’d worked in England for a few months in my early professional days and loved the experience. The idea of living abroad, for years, was incredibly intriguing and exciting.
He probably saw the stars in my eyes and quickly squashed that dream. “Nope, there aren’t a lot of jobs over there for a guy like me.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I knew he was certain. A lot can change in the Army and the world in 10 years.
So, we rolled the dice and somehow the stars aligned and off we were to Germany.
The process of moving abroad was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It’s like childbirth. The final hours before you leave you’re sure you can’t possibly pull this off. You’re a bundle of stress and nerves. You go through it, and it IS painful. Then, you learn about your new community and meet amazing people. You’re sure you’d do it all again! See? Childbirth.
Comically, my husband sat me down soon after he had his orders in hand. His face so serious: “So, this is not going to be like the other moves. There are going to be details you want that I don’t have. We’re going to have to wing some things and be ok with that. It’s going to require patience.” Duh, I got this — silly husband.
Fast forward four months, I didn’t imagine I could handle a single additional piece of stressful information. In spite of the “pep-talk,” I needed this move to go perfectly. I needed to know I’d chosen the perfect balance of items for our three shipments. I needed to know we’d get there and not wish we had things we didn’t or trip over stuff we wish we’d left behind. I was trying to finish up a project at work, wrap up life in the states, and navigate a stressful move all while the Army had my husband TDY for the final 2.5 months before we left. Ah, if spouses ran the Army. That SH*T would never happen!
The truth is, it can be hard. But it is such a fantastic experience. As a gift to our Pride & Grit Community, we’ve compiled a little something we hope can make your experience a little easier. Some of you may already be on the other side of your PCS effort, others may be just beginning. Though this guide was designed with those on OCONUS or overseas assignments, we suspect even those moving a few states away may find some helpful tips.
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Military marriages exist in dog years. A five-year military marriage passes in a blink, feeling more like two-and-a-half short years. And yet simultaneously you feel like you’ve learned enough about marriage, about hard, about love, to rival the average 10-year marriage. You experience double the growth in half the time. Thirteen years, seven moves, four new duty stations, five deployments,
It is easy to miss “the good stuff” on social media. Been there, often! I’ll see articles posted that are several years old (from sites I actually follow) and I’m thinking, this is great, how did I miss this? Happens all. the. time. So, with that in mind, I wanted to start off 2020 by providing a bit of a