Friday, February 24, 2012

Things I didn't anticipate...

At the time I'm writing this, I have not yet told my company that I'm leaving. By the time you're reading this, they will already be informed. I made a decision not to go live with this blog until after my company was aware that we're moving and a departure plan was in place. Because, you know...internet etiquette and respect and whatnot. 

So I'm writing from a place of tension right now...But mostly I feel sad. I did not anticipate this. We all have fantasies about quitting our jobs, right?
No? Ok nevermind.
But let's just say I have had my fair share of days when I thought "Oh my gosh, I have to get out of here! I can't do this anymore." But rationality always wins and I always talked myself off that ledge and reminded myself how blessed I was to have a job I didn't hate and to work with good people...and to just be employed, period.
And now I'm dealing with the reality that I am about to walk away from the place that I have spent the majority of my time over the past four years. How bizarre is that? I feel a sense of loss and sense of sadness. And because I didn't think I would feel this way, now I'm confused and I need to sort it out...bear with me. The story of my life is trying to figure out how to respond to feelings I did not anticipate. You'd think at some point I'd catch on...but so far, it's brand new every time. Bless my heart.
My overwhelming feeling looking back over my time there is pride. I am really proud that I made it through those four years...proud of what I learned, what I accomplished, promotions I earned, projects I worked on, relationships that were built. I worked my butt off. And a lot of times I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but I persevered until I got to a point where I DID know what I was doing. And then repeated that cycle every 6 months or so. It kept me on my toes, if nothing else. And I was always surprised by that moment when I realized, hey! I know stuff! It was a long-running joke between me and my friends that I had an English degree and no tech experience AT ALL, yet I worked at a software company as a business analyst. I'm sure there were many times when my coworkers didn't find that very funny at all. But my gosh, did I have great coworkers. So talented, so smart, and so patient with me. They made up tenfold for any knowledge I lacked. And I lacked a lot of knowledge. I learned quickly, yes, but I'm sure there were times when they thought "are you kidding me?! how do you work here?"
No. I was not kidding. I really don't know how to figure out what version of Java I'm running. Please send detailed instructions. Screenshots would be appreciated. Also, how do I take screenshots?
The four years I spent working for this company stretched me so far outside of my comfort zone. I learned so much...not just about software, technology, and business, but about myself. And I'm proud of that.
I had good weeks and bad weeks. Weeks when I loved my job, my coworkers, and my projects and weeks when I cried, was sick with stress, and hated it. But overall, I have really positive feelings about my time there. I have warm, nostalgic feelings about that place...after all, it was my first job out of college...and my only job since then. It's the only job I know. So in a weird and twisted way, it has a feeling of "home". And that's what I'm sad to leave.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adjusting

So I've become a total online creeper networking ninja when it comes to Army wives/Army life...specifically in the form of blogs. I've scoured the Internet looking for military wife blogs, specifically from people who have gone through a PCS to Germany. (Did you see what I did there? Threw a military acronym at you.) I've been amazed at what I've found...there's an entire community that I never knew existed. And it makes me feel a little less alone and a little less afraid and a little more understood.

 It's very slowly sinking in for me that our life, and even my role as a wife, is dramatically different from most of the people I know. And I'm sure that will even out over time as I make more friends in the military world, but right now it's hard to figure out how to process what's going on because there's limited people that I know that can connect with these feelings.

Don't get me wrong, our families and friends have been incredibly supportive in every way...they are wonderful and I'm so thankful for them during this time. But there's something about connecting with someone who has shared this rare experience that brings a sense of comfort that otherwise can't be found in normal conversation. So, I've turned to the Internet. And with every new blog I read, this one thought is reinforced in my mind: If they can do it, I can do it.

We're not the first people to move to a foreign country. I'm not the first wife to feel this mixture of excitement and anxiety. Many have gone down this path before us. And that's comforting to me.

I came across this statement on an Army wife blog and it struck a chord with me, because oh my gosh it's true:

 "The Army has made my life full of countdowns and I love it" 


This has been true of my life since Z and I met. Countdowns to when we would see each other next, countdowns for when deployment would end, countdowns to our wedding, countdowns to moving to Germany... Army life is segmented in a way that civilian life is not. And whether it's days, months, or years, there is always going to be some sort of change looming on the horizon. Contrary to what you may think, that doesn't make it hard to live in the moment. From the time we set foot in Germany, we'll be on a countdown to our next move three years down the road.  So while we're very aware of how numbered our days are in any given place, we're still able to fully experience where we are currently, to get as rooted as we can, and to live like we will be there forever. And when things aren't going well, it's sometimes nice to know that it won't be like that forever.

It's been a huge adjustment to transition into the military world...but one that I'm really trying to embrace and appreciate.

Should we be doing something?

I feel like I should be DOING things to get ready for our cross-Atlantic move. Like, normal people DO things, right? But other than sign some papers and make some doctors appointments, we haven't DONE anything. And yes, it's only February and we don't leave until June...but our stuff leaves in April, so shouldn't we start packing? No? Overzealous?

I think that I'm just ready to be occupied with the tasks of preparing to move. That will help solidify things for me. I'm constantly voicing my concerns to Z at inopportune moments, like in the middle of a movie we're watching..."Zach...ZACH...hey, what about our cell phones? I've had this number since I was 16; I can't get a new cell phone." And he's wonderful and calmly explains his plan and how he has it under control and already carefully thought out, when really I'm sure he's like "my gosh, can I just watch the movie in peace?!"

But seriously...I'm not changing my cell number. I can only handle so much. So just back off. Let me keep my number.

Z has allowed me to start looking at the housing website to get an idea of what our living conditions will be like. This is another thing that makes him perfect for me and wonderful, because he knows I need time to adjust and the more preparation I have, the smoother the transition. Here are some things I've noticed after looking at all 432 housing options in the area:

1. Some houses have two kitchens. I cannot understand this, nor will I attempt to. I think it's safe to say if we end up in a place with two kitchens, one will be repurposed into "My Other Closet". Or maybe we'll shake things up and have a breakfast kitchen and a dinner kitchen. Lunch is a free zone and you can choose either kitchen, because we're a little edgy and free-spirited like that.

2. Most houses have a sauna. See: where Katie will be during the months of October through March.

3. Many houses have heated floors. I'm going to ignore the fact that this means it's obviously so cold in Germany that even the FLOORS need their own heat source and focus on the fact that should I end up in the fetal position on the floor during a complete meltdown, at least I will be quite warm.

Man, I am excited about this adventure of house-hunting in a foreign country. And comforted  by the fact that there's sure to be an IKEA close by, because, you know...Europe. IKEA is like Waffle House over there...one on every exit. Right?
I tried to google this and ended up on the German IKEA website, which is, of course, written in German so it was a useless endeavor. I'll just keep the faith that there's one nearby. And add Waffle House to the list of things I'm REALLY going to miss while living overseas. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NEWSFLASH UPDATE

UPDATE TO BREAKING NEWS

Z says we can only eat at Chili's on special occasions because we are going to experience German culture and food and eat locally.

I never thought there would be a time in my life where Chili's was considered a special occasion destination. I don't know whether to be depressed or if I finally feel like the world GETS me by making Chili's my big night out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Accommodate THIS

Today we had to go get screened to determine we aren't a medical liability to the Army and that they can provide the care we need while we're overseas. The man explained to us that the Army doesn't want to spend money sending us overseas just to have to pay for us to come back if we have a condition that cannot be accommodated.

It took a LOT of self control for me not to say "Oh, like a massive mental or emotional breakdown? CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE THAT, ARMY?!"

But I stayed quiet and signed a lot of paper instead. Fooled them.

Suckers.

Friday, February 3, 2012

NEWSFLASH

BREAKING NEWS:

I read a blog by a military wife who was stationed in Germany and SHE SAYS that the base they were on had a Chili's Bar and Grill.

Looks like I will survive after all.

Germany!

So, we're moving to Germany. It still doesn't make much sense when I say it or think it. Other times it makes so much sense that I'm nearly paralyzed with thoughts like "where do they buy groceries in Germany?" and "how will I live without Chickfila?". Actually, most of my fears about moving to Germany revolve around food. There are probably bigger fish to fry ... (gosh, I must be hungry)

ANYWAYS, Germany. It's not real to me yet. It seems far away and fake...like we just THINK we've moving to Germany but really we'll just stay in Virginia. I realize that I desperately need to get a hold of the reality of the situation, or boy, I am going to be in trouble when we get on that plane. I vacillate between overwhelming excitement and debilitating anxiety. My anxiety is, admittedly, ridiculous. Where will I get my hair cut? How will we have light in our house if our lamp plugs don't fit in the outlets? Do they sell Dove shampoo and conditioner, AND IF NOT, what will happen to my hair? Is there a nail salon?  What if we lose all of our pots and pans in the move? What if they don't have Cheerios?
I realize that this is dumb because we'll be living close to a base...with a commissary. And everything else we could ever need. Also, Germany isn't a third world country or stuck in the Dark Ages. But still. I have these anxious thoughts.
The reality is that living in Germany will probably be very anticlimactic and much like our life in Virginia. But right now it's completely unknown. And that's scary.

Oh, and I'm not going to get into the whole "living so far away from friends and family" because I'm feeling pretty emotionally stable today and I don't want to mess with a good thing. I'm taking the "head in the sand" approach to this, and I think if I had a therapist, they would agree that that's a healthy route to take. Probably.