Today is way too hot to be doing anything but reflect on how time goes by way too fast. I have tried to sit down and write about our new time back in the States but somehow something always pulls me away before I can post what I have written. Guess what, I have a lot of drafts to finish.
So, I thought that since the heat has caused me to stay inside I would try to post something here.
Many people have recently asked me, ” How does it feel to be back in the United States?”
My response varies considerably depending on the day. Some days I am thrilled to be Home while others, usually after being flipped off by some angry driver, I wish I had stayed in Europe.
Today was one of those days. It is way too hot to be yelling at someone when driving. Okay, maybe I was going the speed limit and you were in a hurry to get to God knows where and you were more important than following the road speed.
Then again, maybe you were trying to get to the hospital because someone there was sent there by ambulance because they had an accident on the very road you were flipping me off on.
Okay, maybe I am glad to be Home in the States because here, we have the freedom to be truly who we are….God Bless the USA.
It has been way too long since I have written, anything. I am sitting here counting on my fingers to see how many actual days it has ben since coming back the US; 2 months and a few days. The time seems to be moving by so fast that I can not seem to catch up. I have learned to rely on Dunkin donuts coffee to give me the needed push and move faster mentality that seems to dominate the New England area. I was reminded that New Englanders are full of coffee and sarcasm and they live up to that comment.
There have been so many changes and new things to learn but on the other hand we have been trying to get use to things that never seem to change. I know, crazy, a little bit of seeing new places, stores, malls, and learning where things are but there also a feeling of, “Oh yeah, I remember that” and may favorite, “Really, I can only write a check.” I have not written a check in 3 1/2 years and I do not even have any.
So, the confusion of trying to find a house, try to get use to a new way a living and all the things that come along with that process I am finally feeling comfortable.
With that said, I wish that there were a few things that I could explain to those that live among me in my new area. Do you really have to tailgate me, even in the slow lane? I mean seriously, I am going 65 mph and you seem to either want to join me in my car and have a conversation with me or you really need to get off the exit to go to the bathroom. Later, I learned that neither was the right answer. Going 65 mph was too slow and they wanted to get there before someone else did. I thought maybe they just wanted to read my plates as they were the same ones I used overseas and looked funny among the Patriot frame license plates of Massachusetts. Some people did want to read my plates and they were the ones I would just slow down so they could see them. I found in my rearview mirror one too many drivers leaning way over the steering wheel just trying to catch a glimpse of my plate. Then there were the stalkers, those that would follow me into the parking lot and park near by. As I would get out of my car, they would shout over to me, ” Hey, where are you from, those plates look weird.” It always amazed me how much space they would have between the two of us. It just reminded me that they really must feel safer in the car and not meeting face to face an actual person.
I considered making up stories like, I am from the royal family on vacation but when it came right down to it, they really did not care. They just wanted to know why the plates looked different.
That brings me to the point of everything is different now and we need to adjust to the changes in people, places and things that go on around us. None of it is easy but much of it has been amusing.
One thing is for sure, Coffee is very important, Dunkin Donuts truly has a presence and there are very few people who do not “Run on Dunkins“
I guess the phrase I was given that New Englanders run on 2 things Coffee and sarcasm, they were right on.
Which reminds me, I need to go out and get another cup of coffee, I am all out.
I never thought the day would come that I would be sitting here writing to you about how we made it home. It really did not hit me until we were on the plane, cruising along when the Captain said, ” We are entering American airspace, welcome to the United States of America“. I did not expect the tears of excitement that we flowing down my face as I stared out the window of the plane.
We had been planning this for months, dare I say ever since we got to Germany we had been planning on our trip back to the States. There is just something about being in your own country. I know that if you have been reading this blog that we really enjoyed being in Europe, we traveled, we learned new stuff and even got frustrated with a few things. Overall, we enjoyed being in Europe but coming home just felt right.
I only had one concern, “Would we still like it? It had been told to us that things had changed…a lot. Even still, it did not matter, we would figure it out and enjoy.
I am not sure if it was the jet lag or just the excitement we had but we were smiling, laughing and commenting back and forth to each other how different, wonderful and refreshing it was to be walking in Boston’s Logan Airport. For starters, we could read all the signs, the English language never looked better. I even started to listen in on a conversation that was going on next to me as we walked. I smiled, I could understand every word and frankly decided for them the outcome of their situation. I never reveled that I was ease dropping.
When I saw our name on the sign from the car company that was picking us up, I was thinking about how different our life was starting to become. Some may ask as they read this, “You had a car company pick you up?” Yes, we did as we, my daughter and I, were not moving forward to the next Army installation. We were not going to be a part of the Army system, we were truly going back home to the life we had before we became a part of this Army adventure. Michael would be going on to finish out his time.
With teenage daughter and Lyndie, the dog in tow, we started to go to the car. Michael, was getting a connecting flight to New York helped the driver of the car and us pile the luggage, crate, and us into the black SUV. The smell of the leather seats made me close my eye as I reflected on our new situation.
While driving we broke out into conversation with the driver and his assistant. They were laughing at us. Madison was shrieking in delight with the sight of multiple malls along the highway. Our conversation turned into a tour of the area as we were traveling to our new home, a local hotel where we would be calling home for a few weeks prior to finding a more permanent home. It seemed so surreal as I watched American flags flutter in the breeze over a building or two. It was as if I had come home to visit an old friend that had grown up but never really changed all that much. A friend that seemed happy to see me home.
With all the excitement we had arrived at the hotel way too soon. All I remember was Madison saying was how she wanted to go here and there, then back to here….. all I could see was the flag hanging from the flag pole in the front of the hotel. Fluttering as if to say, “Welcome home.”
I smiled, told Madison we will go everywhere she wanted to go but tonight we sleep.
Some inspiration for your day!
We filled six cargo crates and now living with borrowed furniture. There are suitcases filled with clothes and we are eating off of paper plates. We have shipped a car and have another one for a few more weeks before it heads back to the States. We are exhausted.
Exhausted would be an understatement but as many other faithful military family wives have said to me,” The light at the end of the tunnel is here, cheer up.” It made me stop and think about the families that do this as a career. They move all the time, every three years to zig zag around the world to serve our country. They do it with kids, animals and husbands who sometimes are heading off to the latest war. It made me wonder, how many people really realize what goes on within the military family unit?
It is truly a way of life. One that is full of ups and downs that can not be defined or explained to someone who has not been there or lived the experience. I never really gave it much thought before we, I mean, he, signed up to serve in the Army.
And that brings me to the point of, when he serves, the family serves too. We are subjected to the ups and downs of deployments, changing of duty stations (PCS) and all that goes along with being uprooted from family, friends and even ones own country.
Frankly, it has not been easy and in many ways I am extremely grateful to have had this experience but am really looking forward to going home in more ways than one. Home means that we will no longer be subject to the ways of the Military. I do not have to wake up to bullets being shot at ranges that are near by, hearing mortars that make the houses shake, seeing soldiers everyday running in formation and chanting while running PT (physical fitness) at 5:30am, trying to negotiate driving behind a convoy of stykers or military vehicle’s, learning military time ( which I never really got), showing ID’s at checkpoints or standing at attention facing the flag at 1700 (5:00pm) everyday. I also will not have to watch the busses of soldiers leave in the morning going to war and knowing that some may not return, will not need to learn how to explain to my daughter that some of her friends dads/moms are not coming home, that I had a special letter for her in the dresser draw in case I get a visit telling me her Dad is gone. I can stop worrying about being blackout from the internet and wonder who was just injured, hurt or killed. Better yet, I will not have to go to another funeral. I will not have to worry about getting a speeding ticket on post and have it affect my husband. Mostly I will be able to go about doing what ever I want, where ever I want because I live in a free country, I live in the United States.
How do I go about thanking all those who have helped me go though this experience?
How do I tell them that the kind words, the help, the smiles and patience they had for me truly made me see a small picture of a world that so many judge, justify or do not even acknowledge exists?
All I can say to them is THANK YOU! It is simple, pure and full on the love that the words are meant to share. I know that I will see some of them again, somewhere, either on face book, on television, in person or by chance. I have built a new family that shares a special bond .
With a tear in my eye and pride in my heart, I am grateful for them and the great nation they serve.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
I relish in the fact that I am a patient person. I would even go so far as to say it is a strength of mine but lately it seems as if I have lost the ability to be…patient.
I have learned that when someone says something and they may be TOTALLY wrong, you listen and do not question it. If you do question it do it at your own peril. Sometimes it is not the fact that they are wrong but that you should just listen to them, accept the answer and then wait to see how it plays out. It generally goes back on the right course and the emotional feeling of frustration and feeling of,” Are you really …” (you fill the blank), goes away.
I have found that it is generally the space between being calm and going totally nuts is where the trouble begins. I am not someone to sit by and just let things happen, I am a fixer, a problem solver of sorts. I will add this is a very important skill to have as it guides me through the biggest complications in life BUT even the most logical answer to an issue needs to be filled with calm and NO emotion.
Emotion, that human quality can get us all in trouble. I am amazed at how it can cloud judgment and create a fire storm that swirls up like a tornado in the flat lands of the Unites States. Like a tornado, emotion throws debris everywhere and lashes out at even the most innocent of bystanders. Now the original issue of concern takes on more problems and it grows from there; a so on and so on scenario. Its path creates havoc on everything. Nothing is safe from its fiery and destructive path.
Here’s the thing….life in the military is constantly changing and one has to get use to that fact. It is good to be emotional but try to sound the warning signal before the actual tornado comes swirling. Let people close by have the chance to calm the storm before it brews. Most likely they will not be emotionally attached to the storm. Listening to what they have to say might save you from causing a path of irreversible destruction.
Eventually it stops and in the silence of the aftermath the rebuilding can begin. Cue sunshine and clear skies.
With the advent of chain emails and the Photoshop-fancy memes that wallpaper Facebook, I scarcely notice quotes anymore. Then I came across this:
“The way we talk to our children will become their inner voice.”
The words soaked through my skin and saw me, flaws and all. I sat down, stunned, and began to review the film of my children’s lives.