My husband and I recently hopped over the 2-year hump at our current duty station. We’re at this weird gray area where we honestly don’t know how long we’re going to be here.
There is a rumor that we could be here for at the most 4 years…yes, you read it right…4 YEARS!
Of course, anything can happen. We all know that the military is notorious for throwing big surprises our way. Therefore, I’m not getting too comfortable.
As we’re waiting for orders, we’re still making the most of being in the Washington, D.C., area. Besides enjoying the things to do at our duty station, I absolutely love the community. I volunteer at our military installation and enjoy time out with other spouses. So, when one person leaves, it’ a big deal to me.
I know it’s never goodbye, only see ya later. But, this go around is hitting me harder than last year. It might be because I was a little spoiled before and didn’t see many people go. I still had quite a bit on my squad that stuck around.
Then this PCS season hit.
I’ve said more “see you laters” and have more coming up as the PCS season ramps up more. There is good news though.
As families go, new ones arrive. I’m on the Board of Directors for one of the local spouses’ club and I’ve had the privilege of already welcoming new families to the area.
This week we are challenging you to step out of your comfort zone and welcome a new military spouse in your neighborhood, service member’s command or military installation as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
If you are PCSing, you get a week off. No challenge for you. PCSing is enough of a challenge.
Week 25 Challenge: Welcome a military spouse to your neighborhood or military installation
Challenge Details: Step out of your comfort zone and look for those new people coming in. Zone in on those moving trucks, packers hauling furniture inside a nearby home and go the extra mile by introducing yourself first.
Your Deadline: June 27
Consider these 5 tips when welcoming a new military spouses to your neighborhood and post.
1. Help them unpack.
How many of us have moved into a new place and looked at the mountains of boxes and felt overwhelmed? I’m guilty!
When we PPM moved, we started sticking clothing and other random non-breakable items in bags, so when we finally made it to our new home, we didn’t even know where things went.
I can only imagine that others have experienced similar overwhelming feelings and any little bit of help moves those mountains of boxes (or bags in my case).
Remember my challenge point? Those moving trucks are a huge indicator of who is coming or going. Keep a lookout for when movers leave to break the ice. Sometimes the best thing we can do for a new family is to provide a little extra manpower when they are settling into a new home.
2. Share your local favs with them.
I’m a foodie. I love trying local restaurants and exploring new food choices. After you break the ice, a warm welcome to the area can simply be passing along insider knowledge on the best pizza joint in town or maybe a quiet date night location.
Sharing your favorites can also mean other things besides restaurants too! It might be easier to gauge your new neighbor’s interests by taking a look at what they are unpacking.
For example, you see a pair of mountain bikes, let them know about a few awesome trails that are close by. I know I would appreciate that!
3. Share your expertise.
When introducing yourself, mention your interests. You may be able to help them with a problem they are having or you and your neighbor might share a similar hobby. So don’t be shy when talking about your knack for DIY projects, growing your own food thanks to your green thumb or technological savviness.
4. Be a friend.
When we arrive at a brand-new place, it’s like navigating a whole new world again…and it can be scary! I often feel like an outsider after arriving at a new location.
Let your neighbor know that you’ll help with what you can and if you notice a struggle (i.e., they are scratching their head because they don’t know where the commissary is), let them about the hours of operation and offer to take them with you to the store.
This brings me to my last point…
5. Invite them out!
Take everything you’ve been telling your new military spouse neighbor and apply it to a fun afternoon or evening out. I’m sure they would appreciate a moment away from the boxes to experience their new duty station.
Go to the local coffee shop you adore and share a java with them – or anything else that tickles you and your new neighbor’s fancy. These little steps make a wealth of difference!