I’ll take Hawai’i, for 500…
A few weeks ago C came home with an announcement.
“We didn’t get Germany,” he said. He has been in the process of reenlisting, 1) out of his deep sense of duty to our nation and 2) hoping the Army would send him someplace more fun than Afghanistan. Germany was high on our wish list, to the point that I was already dreaming about what little bakery in Kaiserslautern I would waste my days in when we got there.
I was crushed.
“Where did they say we could go?”
“Fort Hood,” he said. My heart sank. “Or Fort Bliss.”
I swear to you all… my jaw hit the floor like a cartoon character. And then I started laughing. We get to PCS to Hawai’i??
No way, I thought to myself over the next few days. No way was this happening to us! But C kept coming home with more news about how the paperwork was progressing, and that sure enough we would be getting Hawai’i (Oahu to be specific) for our next duty station. His report date is late in the fall, giving us only about 6 months left in Tennessee. Woo hoo!
We posted cheesy pictures of us with leis and coconut cups on Facebook… I started combing through travel sites looking at all the amazing things to do and see…
And then reality hit. Major move. Major disruption. Major headaches. Ahh… our first PCS.
A quick look at any milspouse blog will tell you that a PCS can either go smoothly or it can be the biggest waking nightmare you’ve ever had. So far things have been going smoothly, but we haven’t actually started moving yet.
I have now visited probably every resource that exists about executing a PCS move, and all I can say is that I’m more confused than ever. The fact that I work full-time doesn’t help, either. I have learned over and over this year that Army Life and Working Spouses do not mix. Want a doctor’s appointment? Day-of scheduling only and the clinic closes at 4. Want to be part of the FRG? Meetings are at noon on Thursdays. The upside is that about 3 weeks from now I will be technically unemployed, and able to launch into full “move us across the country” mode.
The day that I went in to tell my Principal that I would be leaving at the end of the year was the day it all became real to me. I sat in his office and cried, because even though Hawai’i is exciting and I am looking forward to the adventure I have LOVED this year of teaching.
Every day at my job has been a blessing, and I will miss my coworkers, students, and the satisfaction of doing what I love immensely.
I have no immediate plans to launch into a teaching career on Oahu, for lots of reasons. So I am trying to treasure these last few weeks of an experience that has been incredibly special for me. I’ve had a lot of jobs since I became old enough to work, but this is the first employment that I have had where I really felt like my skills and the demands of the position intersected perfectly. I have a GROOVE going on here! I’m not sure that I’m mentally prepared for being a housewife again, but I just keep reminding myself that when I married into the Army I knew that things like a PCS were a possibility.
I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the 2 years that I’ve had here in Middle Tennessee. In Clarksville I’ve found a community of friends that I will keep for the rest of my life, meaningful employment, an appreciation for a region that I’d had only stereotypical thoughts of before I moved here, and a deeper sense of what a neat country we live in. I got back into acting, I got back into writing, I adopted a cute little kitty… ok, he adopted us, but still. Tennessee has come to feel like home, and I will miss it when we’re gone.
In the next 6 months, in addition to getting ready to move, I will be going back to all the places that I have loved here. Starting with H&S Farms next week when those strawberries get ripe! Last year C and I picked 2 quarts of the most gorgeous berries I have ever seen in just minutes, and I am looking forward to a similar experience this year.
Other things on my Tennessee bucket list include:
- Seeing a Prairie Home Companion at the Ryman Theatre (next weekend!!)
- Seeing the Lion King at TPAC in June
- Going back to Land Between the Lakes to hike, visit the bison, and catch a show at the planetarium
- Eating at the Looking Glass (the restaurant where we got married) and having another slice of our wedding cake
- Walking on the Greenway
- Seeing another show at the Roxy
- Lunch at Silke’s bakery
There are other things, but maybe too many to list now. I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to both live in the moment and uproot at the same time. But, since I’m the type who likes to put down roots, I know that by the time the end of summer rolls around I will already have one foot on Oahu, and be just about ready to make the leap.