Monday, March 11, 2013

Beer, Chocolate, and Moules?

Anybody who lives the nomadic lifestyle of a military family knows the feeling; it seems as though you are in a constant state of flux with either planning your next move, settling into a new home, or enjoying a few carefree months before you start the process all over again.  Daily life is filled with unknowns that in many cases, you have very little control over and a change of some sort is continually on the horizon.  Sometimes that change is welcome; if you happen to find yourself in a city, country, or assignment you don't like, you know there is an end in sight.  On the flip side, if you are in a place you love, there is also an impending expiration date. With the Navy's "home porting" approach, it is possible for Navy families to stay put in one location for several consecutive assignments.  This was our situation in Norfolk where we owned a home and I held a steady job in my career field but then we got restless and wanted a change of scenery.  And when we implement a change, we go all out.  Within the span of fourteen months we moved from Norfolk to Washington D.C. and then to our current location in Tirana, Albania.  And now, once again, it is our turn to play the "where to next" game.

Albania has been a hard assignment for us.  As with any location, there are pros and cons, some people love it while others despise every moment of it, and yet others fall somewhere in between.  We are in that later category but believing life is what you make of it, we are taking full advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.  We've met some wonderful people and had amazing travel opportunities over the past two years but it hasn't always been easy.  We've suffered personal heartbreak while here (unrelated to being in Albania but we were here none the less so I will always associate these pains with Albania) and our exposure to Albanian government has shown us a side of the country that isn't always pretty.  Rather than tear us apart, these experiences have made us a stronger family and for that I am grateful.   Like I said, it hasn't been easy so yes, we are ready to move on.  While that move won't come for another ten months, we are beginning to look forward to whatever lies in our future.

So what do we want in our next posting?  Being overseas has given us the travel bug so we really want to remain abroad for another few years.  Unlike the Foreign Service and even the Army, overseas Navy billets aren't as plentiful as we would like and when you knock Japan off of the list (a place I want to visit but have no desire to live), the options are even more limited.  This is likely to be our last tour so a job that will make for an easier transition into civilian employment is important for Glenn.  Because Sidney will be entering school during our next tour, quality educational opportunities are a top priority for us.  We'd love for Sidney to become proficient in a third language and we really want to live in a community where we feel comfortable, fit in, and have friends.  The reality is that I am unlikely to find meaningful employment while overseas but I do want to be in a place where I have opportunities to volunteer and get involved in a positive way.  Other priorities for us include a good quality of life, real green space and infrastructure and after our time in Albania, I really really want to live in a place with safe public transportation and reliable electricity.  I don't think I'm asking too much..........

We've been on a yo-yo in the past few months trying to find a location that meets our criteria, Glenn is of the appropriate rank for, and whose timing works out for us.  Last month we thought we had found it and were happy with what the future held for us.  Call me a cynic, however, but I refused to get too excited about the prospect because in the Navy, orders really aren't a sure thing until you are in place at your next command.  I was doing my research but keeping an open mind for our "Plan B" which while less desirable, would have been a sure thing.  Semper Gumby, right?  Well it's a good thing because it looks like we're changing directions again and for once it really is for the better.  If all goes well, all of our criteria are going to be met, including that improbable job opportunity for me plus we'll be in a large international community with like minded people (something we want but didn't think was a real possibility). There is a light at the end of our tunnel and the old adage of good things happening to those who wait is coming true.  We are excited and feel confident that this is going to be a sure thing.  Well, as sure as life in the military can be.  Its too soon to start packing but planning, purging and language refreshers are underway.


  1. I hope you get a good assignment! I commend you and your husband for his service and your dedication as it is such a hard life sometimes.

    1. Thanks Winnie. We take the good with the bad and turn life into an adventure. If nothing else, there is never a dull moment.

  2. I hope all goes well with the assignment - I love the title of the post!! You have me very curious as to where you will be next...I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. I love all your posts - they are so inspiring at times. I'm hoping when my WiFi gets back on to post more often. Thanks for the inspiration!