Yesterday, while looking at what some of my readers have been reading, I noticed that someone read a post on my main blog about Bill’s impending Army retirement. I wrote it in June of 2013. At that time, we lived in North Carolina and were about to make our big move to Texas. I was worried because Bill thought he was retiring in October, but then it turned out he had to leave the Army in July. I was concerned that we’d have three fewer months to prepare for life beyond the military.
It’s funny how perspectives are because at that time, I was pretty sure that once Bill retired, we’d be staying in Texas. I was upset because I wanted to get one last good trip in. At the time, I was making some money from my writing and travel was kind of essential to that end, although I write about a number of different topics.
Fast forward a mere sixteen months. We did our year in Texas and ended up back in Germany. I was concerned we’d never see Europe again. This year, we’ve taken three flights to Europe. After Thanksgiving, it will be four. Not only have we had two European vacations in 2014, thanks to military Space A flights, we actually got to move back to Germany. And we’ll be here for at least a year and probably longer.
What would have happened if Bill had retired in October instead of July? He might have still gotten the job, I guess, although it would have been very hectic. If he had retired in October, he would have probably gone on terminal leave in late July. That would have freed him to move to Germany in August if he’d wanted to, but it would have made the logistics of moving more difficult. There were certain things we had to do during his leave that might have been harder to get done in Germany. For instance, we had to get new ID cards that show Bill’s retired status. Since the paperwork for those new cards got fouled up– they had him as a reservist instead of a full time Guardsman getting full retirement– that might have complicated things.
We would not have had the chance to go to France and Germany in May, which was kind of a catalyst for our move back to Germany. I got to see my friend, Audra, and her family. We got to talk to people working here, who gave Bill a couple of pointers on the European job hunt.
We would have had to stay in that house we hated for two extra months, unless we could manage the move to Germany before our lease expired on July 31st. That would have meant paying $100 extra per month for a month to month lease in a house we were already paying too much for and absolutely despised. And we might have missed out on the house we’re in now. It’s not perfect, but it’s in a really nice area and we have good landlords… and very reasonable rent compared to what a lot of people are paying.
Yeah… so I was pretty upset about the prospect of leaving the Army earlier, but it’s actually worked out pretty well. If Bill had stayed until October, maybe we’d still be in Texas or maybe we would have moved somewhere else. Moving to Europe was a big pain in the butt for many reasons, but I do like it here better that I liked Texas. It feels more like home to me, even though it’s a foreign country.
Last night, I was talking to Bill about this and it occurred to me that my earliest memories are of living in England. Yes, we lived on Mildenhall Air Force Base back then, but it was still not America. It was very green and cloudy and damp… a lot like Germany. After we left England, we moved to Virginia, which is also very green. Texas didn’t feel like home. It was a different landscape– not so many trees and not really very green at all. Plus, San Antonio is just so big… it’s friendly and we did actually have some friends living there. In fact, we had more of a social life in Texas than we ever did in North Carolina and Georgia, but I never really felt very comfortable there.
That being said, I wouldn’t mind going back to Texas someday, even to live. But for now, I’m glad I get to live in Germany for awhile. Sometimes, it makes sense to just take the plunge.
Our pretty backyard in Germany… no, there’s no pool, but there’s also no busy road passing behind…