Moving to a place with palm trees does not invalidate my feelings.
I have noticed an interesting phenomenon happening when I try to talk to people about our upcoming move to Hawaii. They say things like “Wow, tough break” or “Gosh, how terrible for you” or “Life must be So. Hard.” or my personal favorite “Can I stow away in your suitcase?”
It’s like there’s some breakdown between the words leaving my mouth and their ears, and all they hear is Hawaii.
They don’t hear the sadness in my voice when I talk about how I’m leaving the place that I have worked so hard to make home for the last two years and change.
They don’t hear the fear when I tell them that no, I don’t have a job lined up yet and I’m not really sure what my next career step will be.
They haven’t read the articles and forums that I have from other military families talking about the high cost of groceries in Hawaii, how the average yearly electric bill is $4400, or how tropical hurricanes and tsunamis are a very real threat.
In a nutshell, the concerns that I have about uprooting my life and moving it via boat and airplane to what might as well be another country are very real. I don’t deserve to be brushed off by someone else’s visions of palm trees and bikini-clad beautiful people on Waikiki Beach.
It occurred to me the other day that my experience of “moving to Spain” doesn’t really apply to this situation… a travel abroad experience, while it immerses you in another culture, is more like an extended vacation. You don’t have to worry about the logistics of moving furniture, or pets, or working. You just pack up a suitcase, book a plane ticket, and off you go.
C and I keep talking about how strange it feels to know that one week from today we will pack up my car and leave Tennessee for good. We’ve booked hotels for a few nights before we go so that we can clean the apartment, and I hope that helps with the transition of saying goodbye. There are real emotions here, and even knowing that we are moving someplace tropical doesn’t erase them.
So please, the next time you are talking to me (or any other military spouse that is going someplace that you imagine to be wonderful and problem free), don’t shut them down. Listen. Try to hear them. After all, palm trees aren’t made of fairy dust.