I was recently downing something jalapeño infused out of a perspiring copper mug with one of my best friends over lunch.
We were talking about my blog as a whole, and how to grow it. She actually brought it up and said, “We need to get more people to read your material, have you considered doing (insert idea)? That’s the sort of stuff I love to see on other blogs and I think you could totally do it.”
Her suggestion was to talk a little more about my life as it evolves, the stuff I generally find pretty mundane about my day to day, rather than simply larger life lessons thematically strung together over several different experiences. She had suggested that if I want people to see military life as it actually is, write about it as it actually is, in the now.
So here we go Mel, we are giving this a try.
My husband and I are officially twelve (as of writing this blog) days away from moving to Germany. It’s my husband’s first time to Europe, and my first time out of the country. I lived in a suburb of Seattle most of my upbringing and I was never one of those kids that went to Canada to drink before the age of 21, and I could never afford Mexico or anything farther than that.
As I write this, I am wearing a big t-shirt of my husbands and a pair of undies, drinking coffee out of a wine glass, on the floor of my empty basement living room. We no longer have a washer and dryer, so no need to dirty extra clothing, and somehow I remembered to set wine glasses aside but not coffee mugs…so here we are. Fortunately it’s one of those insulated wine cups with a sippy cup lid for the really clumsy wine drinkers, so it’s working out.
Either way, I need the coffee someway or somehow, because I have a dog that insists on trying to eat my carpet when she gets nervous or pissy, and we have already gone a couple rounds this morning.
This is roughly what PCS season looks like for a lot of us. Convincing fully trained dogs that carpet is not grass when stress causes them to regress, the movers taking our washer and dryer, forcing a lot of naked colony-esque behavior because once it’s dirty it’s basically permanent, and using the wrong utensil to cook two items that should never go together because you don’t want to waste food before moving…and we don’t even have babes yet. For my Parks & Recs fans out there…yes April & Andy, you really can use a frizbee as a plate. The military community accepts you.
This move has come easier to us than the last few that we have done. The first one was a hot mess because I was doubled over with anxiety. Medication helped with the first move until I learned new stress management habits. I didn’t want to be on meds for the life of the military so I learned new coping tricks and got off of them. (PS, there is zero shame in meds if you need them and if you need them GO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR…nobody needs to live like that and they don’t have to be long term and that doesn’t make you crazy, that makes you human.) The second one was a hot mess because it was short notice and neither of us was stoked to move to the very rural town to which we were headed. During that PCS, we packed ourselves and the morning we were supposed to leave, my husband couldn’t get our mattress to fit into the U-Haul, and he pissy threw the mattress across the yard like the Hulk while I watched from the porch, still unsure why God hadn’t left me enough coffee to deal with my husband that morning. It was a pretty funny sight.
This move, this one has been a little easier and a little harder all at the same time. I am not dealing with anxiety this time around, we are really excited to be moving to Germany, and we don’t have to pack ourselves. This time has been harder in the way of resigning (above average) control to the military. Moving overseas means a lot more paperwork, and a lot more stupid appointments, and a lot more having to deal with people who sometimes it seems can’t do their job. Moving overseas shines a blaring light in the inefficiencies of the military in terms of developing streamlining systems for families. We have been dealing with orders and moving appointments and flights, property paperwork, and getting the two homes we own prepared for renters, property management companies and car shipments and title changes and insurance transfers and hotel bookings and dog screenings and doctors appointments, new phones and passports and bank accounts moved to use overseas, trying to get a workout in and trying not to accept the phrase ‘(wo)man can indeed alone live on Kraft Mac n’ Cheese,’ and on and on and on. Each of these requires a different office, and a different overworked government employee, and a different prayer to hold my tongue.
Sometimes accomplishing all of this makes me feel like a multi-tasking goddess. Sometimes the bi-product of it all is me looking for my phone while it’s in my hand.
In the midst of all of that we have tried to make time for friends and family, which we always feel we can never give enough of.
This time around, we are a lot more tired. This time around means more forethought in moving, it means a lot more air-mattress sleeping and living out of a suitcase, it means letting go of our family and friends just a little more, because we know the time difference is going to make already distant relationships, feel even farther away.
For this move I have been meditating on the phrase, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
I have been meditating on it because I am really lucky to have this time right now with my husband at home to be with while we do all the crazy appointments together, before work gets hectic for him again in Germany. I have been focused on it because tolerating this mess is about to give me the experience of a lifetime. Despite all that we give up in the military, we also get to do really cool things no one else is doing, like live in foreign countries while collecting a paycheck and discover who we are amongst new people and new places. I am thankful because when I write that book I want to write, if nothing else, I will have way too much good content to fill the pages with.
The journey has been this; it has been remembering to drink water and say nice things to my amazing husband when I sometimes want to ring his neck, its been remembering to call my people when I am buried under boxes, its not getting mad at the dogs when they’re puking on my freshly shampooed carpet because they too are nervous, it’s choosing grace when the people behind the desk make me want to use aggressive language, it’s allowing myself to free fall into the chaos which sometimes feels like excitement, and sometimes feels like ten pound bags hanging directly below my eyelids, it’s being gentle with my favorite living things even when sometimes all the things feel really tiresome. It’s an act of being and doing and loving and accepting all the things around me as they are, even when I would rather control all the things.
So dear readers, this is why it’s taken a hot minute to get a new blog out. Moving is madness and army life is worse than Grey’s Anatomy in terms of plot twists and there isn’t any coffee cups around, but we are so
tired excited for the next part of our story.
See you on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. I’m going to go find pants.
In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of my husband sleeping in a closet. Nothing is more accurate about our international move than this picture alone.
Cheers from my double-duty wine glass to yours,