People will tell you that every post is different. Every unit is different. And your personal experience with the military really depends on where you land. Everyone's experience is not the same.
Disappointed is not strong enough a word to describe my feelings when I learned that we were headed back to the state of Louisiana for Ryan's first duty station. I mean when you join the military you imagine getting to go places you've never been. We had just spent the last two years living and mostly being miserable in Louisiana. And as I researched Fort Polk it was very hard to find anyone who said anything good about it. But getting my husband back after being gone to training most of the year, I would have went to Timbuktu, gladly.
So, we found ourselves in a new place surrounded by new people being newbies to the army life. The unit my husband was stationed with had been rumored to be deploying later that year and my worst fear was confirmed. We spent the majority of our first six months here with my husband being in the field, working late nights, and rarely seeing him except for the weekends. I remember being angry because I distinctly remember the recruiter stressing that "family" was a main priority for the army. As far as I could see, it wasn't. They didn't care that I had cooked dinner and kept it warm for over two hours. They didn't care that my husband had only been home a few minutes before being called back in to work. It was all very frustrating. Add in the fact that I didn't know anyone and it could be pretty miserable.
They also tell you how many friends you'll make. Maybe things were different in the military of yesteryear but most people aren't very nice or friendly. I seriously have a neighbor whom I always smile and speak to when I see her and all I get are icy glares and a mumbled reply. I've never had a full conversation with her so I can't imagine why she's like that. In those first 6 months, I was utterly alone.
It wasn't until I returned to Fort Polk in anticipation of my husbands return from Afghanistan that I made any friends. You can read more about that here. They aren't the only ones but they are my closest and dearest friends here. In the words of my six year old, "they're are our friends but more like family." It's a running joke about how quickly and how closely Stephanie and I became friends but there are just some people you click with, some people you are just meant to be friends with. These are my people.
So let me tell you one other thing they don't tell you about in their highlight reel...how hard saying goodbye is.
This is their last week here. I'm an emotional being. I feel everything in a big way no matter what the emotion. So, today, I find myself on the verge of tears. I'm not ready to say goodbye. It's so completely selfish. They've done their time in this hole and they are getting to go to a place closer to home. It's a good move. So I really just feel sorry for myself. It's hard to imagine people taking up so much room in your heart when you haven't known them that long but it's just the way it is.
Military life may not be everything I imagined it would be but for the most part it's been a blessing. Had we not gotten those orders to Fort Polk, I would have missed out on making some lifelong friends. So in the words of Winnie the Pooh...