Looking Ahead…

At the end of the year we’ve just had, Looking Ahead might seem an obvious title for a blog.  I’m pretty sure most people are thinking about 2021 and hoping for MUCH better things but if 2020 has taught us anything it is that you never know what is in your future or how your year is going to turn out.  You can plan as much as you like but what will be, will be.  However, we do know that our posting is coming to an end in the summer and we know that the next person coming into the job here has been identified so one thing we can say is in our future is a move.  I would say a move to the UK because that looks very likely but this military life has shown me not to believe it until it actually happens!

Moving to the USA has been an amazing adventure and we are so glad we did it.  That said, it does feel like we haven’t been able to make the most of it because we have had travel restrictions for the last ten months and, if we’re honest, they are likely to remain in place until we leave.  By the time we leave, we will have been restricted to the local area for almost half of our time here.  I can’t tell you how frustrating that is when one of the main selling points of this move was that we would get to do lots of travelling and explore America.  It is a lovely place to live but when we came here we had hoped to do a lot of travelling in the USA and we have only done a small fraction of that.  We will just need to come back for trips to do it in the future!

Welcome to PA!

When we moved to the USA, it was sad to leave all of our friends and family behind but we knew it was for a finite period of time and then we would be back in the same time zone at least.  However, when it becomes time for us to leave the USA, it could well be forever.  We have become part of a community of international military families here (see Finding Our Village) and it has been amazing for us, and the kids, to get to know people from different countries and cultures.  Such is the nature of evolving friendships in military life though, some of these friends have already finished their postings in the USA and moved back to Canada, Greece, Korea, Israel, Australia, etc.  There is a pretty good chance that we won’t get to see them again except via video chat and that makes me sad.

I am writing this blog at a time when we would usually be at home in Scotland for a visit so I am feeling a little homesick and sad that we aren’t doing that.  That may be clouding my judgement but I feel very sad about leaving the USA and not at all ready to do so.  When we left Scotland we were excited about the new adventure but we also knew that we would be back to visit family a mere 5 months later – yes we had our first trip home planned before we even left!  When we leave the USA though, we aren’t moving ‘home’ so we don’t have the excitement of settling back into the familiar to look forward to.

If you have been following my blogs, you will know that we don’t know for sure where the next posting will be.  You will also know this is a source of great frustration for me!  At the moment it looks likely that we will be going to the south coast of England but that is as definite as we can get.  We do know it is very unlikely that we will move to Scotland (which would be the dream!) but we won’t know much more than that until the spring.

This means that we don’t yet have any excitement about what the next adventure will be because we don’t know where the next adventure will be.  This obviously means that we can’t start the process of finding accommodation yet and therefore can’t apply to schools for the kids.  This is my main source of frustration and stress but there’s really not much that can be done about that.  All of this means that we are in the position of knowing that we are leaving a place and people that we love but all we have to look forward to in the new place is the stress of moving and finding schools, dentists, doctors, etc.  There is a massive amount of admin involved in moving house but it is even worse when you are moving overseas (see The Admin…oh, the Admin!)

Off on adventures…

The other main worry is the general process of settling in in a new place.  Finding out where the local shops are, finding the best play parks for the kids and, of course, making new friends.  It won’t be quite so daunting as when we moved here because we’ve done it once so we know it can be done, but it took time.  I would say we were here for four or five months before we felt like we had a good network of close friends and we had started to find ‘our people’.  There is also the worry that the pandemic may still be an issue to be navigated when we move and it will certainly have a big impact on how easy it is to make friends and get to know people.  Again, we will just have to wait and see on that one!

Hopefully, when we find out where we are actually moving to we will be able to get excited about exploring the new area and, if we are on the south coast of England, we can also get excited about seeing friends that we haven’t seen in a long time.  I would say that as long as are together, we will be ok but in a military family, not even that is guaranteed and I don’t want to tempt fate!


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