I’ll never forget that first big move. My husband and I had only been married for a little over a year. To say I was scared was an understatement. Shortly after we got married and I had moved to Fort Bragg, NC with him he received his orders to Germany. This was a very warm welcome into the military lifestyle as you just never know what to expect. We were young and honestly, we were excited about this new adventure. We were kid-less, except for my boy Odie… our 7 pound Chihuahua.

Being stationed overseas

The trip started off a little rocky! First flight to Chicago with an eight-hour layover. We were travelling with a dog so the first thing we did when we landed in Chicago was check in with the flight attendants to make sure we had everything we needed to fly overseas with our dog (we had him checked less than 10 days prior to flight and rabies vaccine 30 days prior just like the rules say). All was good until we went to get on the plane.

After an entire day at the airport, we were informed that Odie couldn’t fly on the plane with us.

Not only that, but it was too cold to put him underneath. That would have been nice to know about eight hours ago when I asked if there was anything I need to know about flying with our animal. So long story short they had to provide us with a hotel room and food voucher and were going to fly us to Texas the next morning so that Odie could fly under the plane in warmer climates. This was stressful in many ways, but the most stressful part about it was not showing up when we were supposed to. It clearly stated on my husband’s orders “DO NOT REPORT ON THE WEEKEND”. Well, guess what, we were showing up on a Saturday!

Hello Germany

We arrived in Frankfurt on a weekend and no one was there to pick us up.

Thank goodness for the good old USO. They took really good care of us, fed us and found us a ride to where we needed to go. Showing up in a country that doesn’t speak your language makes everything just a little bit more interesting! We got to our

first but not final destination. They put us up in some military lodging in Hanau and would be taking us to our final destination, Schweinfurt, that next day.

So there we stand, the new guy and his wife and dog with no freaking clue what’s going on. This was awful, I will never forget that feeling of why? Why are we here, what are we doing and what the hell did I do to deserve this. Add some jet lag and sleep deprivation to the mix and you have a nice little concoction for a military spouse to lose her shit.

So we find my husband’s new unit and some people to take care of us. It was dark by this point so I couldn’t even tell you where the car we were riding in was headed. They got us to our military lodging and that was it.

We had no food, no way to communicate, and all I knew was that they were coming back to pick my husband up the next morning at 5.

So there I was, me and my Chihuahua in some room in God only knows where. I was hungry, I was sad and all I really wanted was to call my mom and cry. Have you ever tried to dial out form a phone in a different country? Me either! It’s not the same as dialling out where I came from I can tell you that much. Its things like this that only make you stronger, but getting through the storm is not ever easy.

So mid-morning my husband shows up with some food and some sort of direction for us. The great news was that the commissary was in walking distance from where we were. That would have been good to know about 12 hours ago. Oh well, we survived and those three years in Germany are years that I will never forget. So many firsts! My first time that far away from home, my first time cooking alone for the holidays, our first separation, our first deployment, our first travels to many places together and our first baby!

Those years are what molded me into the strong woman I am today. I always knew that if I survived that, then I could survive anything!

My advice

A couple of things I want you to take away from this blog. This is the Army! So if you are a new spouse and new to the game, this is life. You never know what’s going to happen until it is happening. Get really good at catching those curve balls! They come and they come fast! Always ALWAYS lend a helping hand to “the new girl”.

After that first move overseas I knew I never wanted to feel so alone like I did when we first got to Germany. I made a point to reach out to every new spouse I knew. I didn’t ever want anyone to have to go through an experience like mine. It brings a smile to my face to think about all of the spouses and families we helped to make comfortable whether they were coming or going over the years, and the ones that helped us too! This military life is not easy and it’s not intended to be done alone. Find your tribe and don’t ever be scared to ask for help, and remember to ALWAYS reach out to the “new girl” and make her feel at home!