I sat beside my husband during a seemingly never-ending “welcome” program. As part of in-processing at our new duty station, we listened to a parade of these short informational spiels about the different programs and services available on post. The last person to present ended with her interesting approach to a warm welcome.
Her tone was sarcastic and the other soldiers and spouses in the room laughed uncomfortably. Had she really just acknowledged this post’s reputation as being less than ideal?
It’s no secret that soldiers aren’t clamoring to request to PCS here. When we found out this was what we got, my husband and I were both disappointed. (I actually thought he was playing a trick on me.) His buddies teased him when he revealed where we got “stuck.” Upon sharing our new duty station with a group of strangers at Passover Seder a week before moving, the entire room groaned. A few people even offered heartfelt “I’m sorrys.”
From people who’ve never been here, to people living here, to people working here (and representing the post at a welcome meeting of all things!) it’s a lot of negativity. And I’m sick of it!
The Army chose to put us here, and that’s what we signed up for. Sometimes that works in your favor (like when we ended up in Germany) and other times you get your last-choice location, but it’s all part of the adventure. I have to think that if we are strong enough, tough enough, resilient enough to combat everything that gets thrown at us (deployment immediately following basic training, the woes of reintegration, getting orders last minute, moving internationally twice in less than a year), I think I can handle living in a place that’s a little hot or too windy or with no shopping options or whatever else it is people are complaining about.
Maybe it’s just easy to complain about the location we live in because we had no control in choosing it. Just yesterday I saw a friend post on Facebook that she hates her new duty station because a tree in front of her house uprooted. Another friend added to the chorus of “this place sucks” because the traffic in her area is crappy.
Before my husband joined the Army, we lived in a tiny suburb in North Dallas. We had hand-picked the location, and we loved it there. It wasn’t all perfect (they built the largest high school football stadium in the country directly across from the apartments we were living in and my dog is afraid of construction noise), but I never attributed the things that made me angry to the town, I never considered moving, I never outright hated it there. The difference is that we chose it, in stark contrast to the Army sticking us willy-nilly where it pleases. Perhaps hating the place or wishing it away is an outlet when people get stressed. Not every place is a good fit for every person, and most of the time people have valid complaints.
But for as long as I’m living here, I want to enjoy it. I want to see the good in it. I want to find the hidden gems, and look on the bright side, and make the best of it. It may be temporary, but it’s my home for now, and I’ll be damned if someone else’s negativity is going to ruin my experience.
Amy (@MrsArmyAmy) is an Army wife, reality TV addict, lover of junk food, and Texan to the core. She, her husband, and their crazy dog Geronimo are currently living in Germany. When she is not training for her upcoming third marathon, Amy can be found writing about military life, running, Geronimo’s antics, self discovery, and everything in between on her blog Army Amy.