Up-rooting is hard on people just as it is on plants. You have to replant it, nourish it and feed it; giving it the tools to thrive in its new environment. This is the hope for MilSpouses everywhere, especially if you are arriving at your first duty station.
I remember my first move was to Hurlburt Field, Florida. While I was excited, I was also nervous. I was only 19 years old and it would be my first time away from home as a grown-up. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what it meant to be a spouse nonetheless move to a new place also! I was in a new place with new faces and a completely new life ahead of me.
So, many things are different and novel as a new military spouse. For me, I was raised in the military, but being a spouse is a whole other world! I had so many questions and concerns the first time I moved to a new duty station. I didn’t know where to begin.
Through each move I have learned how to maneuver in a more beneficial ways to help my spouse and I. Here are a few things I wish I would have know moving to a new duty station for the first time.
(Technically there are so many things you can do to help your move go smoother. But this is not a check-off list. It’s just a reality check!)
You can first start by contacting the transportation office, give them an updated address and information needed to get your household shipment as soon as possible. The sooner the better so you can get settled. Meanwhile, you can go to the lending closet to borrow items to hold you over or check out Military Borrow Share, if needed.
Check out Military Town Advisor . I found this website a few years ago and boy am I glad I did! Its a very helpful and informative site if you don’t have connections with MilSpouses yet. It has information on schools, reviews of housing and prospective communities for the area your moving. It’s a great place to start and find your way to new schools, stores and doctors’ offices. Before the move, it’s probably a good idea to make a list of these so you have something to tackle once you arrive.
Always update friends, family and bills of your address change. Its always nice to receive holiday cards etc. And, you don’t want to be late on a bill you have missed or that is mailed to the old address.
Definitely, get in touch with your hubby squadron. They usually have a Key Spouse, FRG, Ombudsman or some type of military spouse program/group. This lifestyle is new, so you should really find a mentor to help you get thru the ropes. Finding someone who lives in the area is a plus because they can give you the low down. Find spouse clubs, play groups, hobby groups…PLUG IN!!
GET LOST! I know this sounds scary your alone while your spouse is at work and you have no clue of what to do. But get out there explore local coffee shops and just drive. Discover the areas history and surroundings. You’re never going to meet new people if you stay at home like a hermit. For some spouses this is not a concept they grasp as they are out of their comfort zone. I say welcome the unknown and explore. Make a staycation on your weekends. You wont be able to see your family and friends and that can be hard. But you will be able to meet new people and try new things.
Plan a friend or family visit this will give you something to look forward to in the future. Time to catch up with your friends and family and show them your new place.
If you can’t do any of the above or don’t find them useful. The most important thing to do is COMMUNICATE with your partner. If you are going thru a tough time, chances are your spouse is too. New job and new surrounding can be hard. Talking and relying on each other will make a world of difference. You can encourage and help one another thru this transition, so you don’t feel alone.
Moving to a new area can be intimidating. I say grab it by the horns and show it who’s BOSS. Believe it or not you will grow at this base and flourish in ways you never imagined. In the end, you will be surprised at how much stronger and wiser you are for the next move.
Listen, I’m not making any promises, this life isn’t easy but it isn’t hard either. It’s just new and different. Trust me you will become a pro in no time.
SO, Cheers to surviving your first Duty Station!
About the Author:
Moni is a proud Puerto Rican Air Force Spouse and mother of 3 brilliant children, that has found time as a SAHM to finish her Bachelors in Public Relations. She has moved over 13 times as an Army brat and now an Air force MilSpouse. This has allowed her to see things from different views. During her husbands last deployment, she was inspired to write about her military lifestyle from a candid, sassy, bold and witty perspective. She hopes that by sharing her experiences that it will encourage other spouses to find their voice in this journey of constant change and uncertainty……all this has been accomplished with buckets of prayer, glasses of wine and a few colorful words.