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Moving to a place with palm trees does not invalidate my feelings.

September 23, 2013

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon happening when I try to talk to people about our upcoming move to Hawaii. They say things like “Wow, tough break” or “Gosh, how terrible for you” or “Life must be So. Hard.” or my personal favorite “Can I stow away in your suitcase?”

It’s like there’s some breakdown between the words leaving my mouth and their ears, and all they hear is Hawaii

They don’t hear the sadness in my voice when I talk about how I’m leaving the place that I have worked so hard to make home for the last two years and change. 

They don’t hear the fear when I tell them that no, I don’t have a job lined up yet and I’m not really sure what my next career step will be.

They haven’t read the articles and forums that I have from other military families talking about the high cost of groceries in Hawaii, how the average yearly electric bill is $4400, or how tropical hurricanes and tsunamis are a very real threat. 

In a nutshell, the concerns that I have about uprooting my life and moving it via boat and airplane to what might as well be another country are very real. I don’t deserve to be brushed off by someone else’s visions of palm trees and bikini-clad beautiful people on Waikiki Beach.

It occurred to me the other day that my experience of “moving to Spain” doesn’t really apply to this situation… a travel abroad experience, while it immerses you in another culture, is more like an extended vacation. You don’t have to worry about the logistics of moving furniture, or pets, or working. You just pack up a suitcase, book a plane ticket, and off you go. 

C and I keep talking about how strange it feels to know that one week from today we will pack up my car and leave Tennessee for good. We’ve booked hotels for a few nights before we go so that we can clean the apartment, and I hope that helps with the transition of saying goodbye. There are real emotions here, and even knowing that we are moving someplace tropical doesn’t erase them.

So please, the next time you are talking to me (or any other military spouse that is going someplace that you imagine to be wonderful and problem free), don’t shut them down. Listen. Try to hear them. After all, palm trees aren’t made of fairy dust.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2013 12:44

    I hear you. Hawaii might be a part of the US, but it is still a world away. And any OCONUS move is hard (awesome and amazing, but hard). You’ll have a great time and all your fears and concerns will be put to rest once you get there and settle in, trust me on that. You’ll find your place in Hawaii. But having said that, moving is hard and it is harder when you’re moving to what seems like another planet. If you want to talk to someone who recently did the scary army move to the other side of an ocean, let me know. Us mil spouses need to stick together. 🙂


    • September 23, 2013 15:18

      Virginia, I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate your comment– I’ve been freaking out about all the details, and it’s really hard when I confess how worried I am to someone and they say “But you’re moving to Hawaii!”. Did you get that going to Germany, too? I just feel like I’m overwhelmed, like I’m forgetting something, like I’m doing this wrong… it’s very frustrating.


  2. Kim permalink
    October 24, 2013 17:02

    We just got to Hawaii about 8 months ago and it’s all still very fresh in my head. Although we’ve been in the Army 18 years, this was our first OCONUS PCS. Whew, what a difference that itty bitty ocean makes… Want a virtual sponsor?? Hit me up! (I’m serious.) =)


    • January 1, 2014 01:51

      Kim, sorry for the late reply– I just saw this today! You’re absolutely right about that ocean making all the difference. I’ve been busy with a new job and unpacking about a million boxes 🙂 Are you on post?


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