Do you like where you are stationed?

North VS South

I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri.  I grew up watching the Cardinals play baseball on warm summer nights.  I was an All American Midwestern girl who day dreamed about getting married and moving away, although none of my dreams included a sailor and moving to the South.  Somehow there I was in my early 20’s married and moving to Kings Bay, Georgia.

On the news, shortly after arriving in my new town, an alligator had being captured out of someone’s back yard and I realized “I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.”  In Missouri you call on a stray pet, not a man-eating reptile.

Next, while I was outside, these little bugs swarmed me.  It reminded me of the story from the Bible!  I ran inside and every day after that I was bit by something.  There were these ants that made welts on you and gnats that had TEETH.  Up North we have mosquitoes.  You put on bug spray and they leave you alone.  In the South you put on bug spray and they like you more.

One day at the playground with my two children my son who was 5 walked up to me and said “ya’ll” in a sentence.  Without hesitation and surrounded by at least ten other Mom’s I corrected him saying, “ya’ll isn’t a word.”  I had never felt a true death glare until that moment.  One mother even called to her children, “Ya’ALL (exaggerated of course) come on, we are going home!”

I soon became accustomed to the weather, wild life, and language.  I fell in LOVE with sweet tea and grits and have put up with all different types of bugs.

With our recent orders to Washington State friends and family have asked if I am anxious to leave The South.  They assume that I am, but that is completely the opposite.  Sure, baseball isn’t big here and I miss the seasons changing.  I can also live without the fear of alligators eating my children. But, I feel at home here now.

There really is such a thing as Southern Hospitality.  People are warm and inviting and will talk to you about anything and everything.  I love the old oak and magnolia trees, the architecture and the presence of such strong faith.  I love that there are crawfish festivals and family dinners. I love the big front porches where you see families and friends gathered on them at night with sweet tea in hand.

I am excited to move and explore a new place that I will make home, but part of me will be left here in Georgia.  I hope all military families give each duty station a chance to grow on them.  I could have easily decided that I didn’t like this area after my early experiences.  I could have pouted and counted down until we were transferred again.  I could have complained and made comments to everyone how much I wanted to get out of here, but I didn’t.  I let this place become my home.  If I hadn’t, I would have spent years somewhere I didn’t want to be.  How awful would that be?

There are so many amazing places to live.  Even if it’s not your first location choice, it is your choice to let it be your home.  I made the choice, will you?

Questions, comments, topic ideas? Email Marie:

7 thoughts on “Do you like where you are stationed?

  1. Ashley, Oh Gosh….I know you will enjoy it there. If there is one thing that I question why God made it…it would be the fire ants! Enjoy the beautiful beaches when you can and you are right, the History is amazing. I hope you get to take some mini-vacations and get to explore your new home! Good Luck! Thanks for writing!

  2. I’m originally from the Portland Oregon area and my husband is in the Army and we got station ed in Fort Bragg, NC. I am really trying to give this place a chance, we’ve been here about a year and a half now but I feel like I’m failing. Like you said the bugs here are….. overwhelming to say the least. You know by now that in the northwest we have nothing like that there. Another thing that’s hard to get used to is the weather. For instance last month the south end of the base was hit by a tornado, not to mention the upcoming hurricane season. Back home I had it easy there was none of that, and it didn’t get so humid there either lol. I try to look at this whole experience as an adventure and in that aspect I love it here. My husband and I are really into history and the west coast just doesn’t have nearly as much as the east. You could find something new to do or visit every weekend if you wanted. But when it comes to my daughter (she’s 8 months) it makes me sad that I’m not closer to home, then I wouldn’t have to worry about things like ants trying to eat her alive when I take out to play in the yard.

  3. Totally LOVE the article – you are so right and what other lifestyle affords you the unique opportunity to experience other places, cultures, and people often far different from those you grew up with most of your childhood years. I really do think our kids are getting a WONDERFULLY rich background and will most certainly be able to blend in almost anywhere and with anyone when they strike out on their own, thanks largely in part to their Military up-bringing.
    I agree it is what you make of it – and DITTO on ‘Bloom where you are PLANTED!’
    There is always so much to do and things to see you just need to sometimes digg to find it.
    One tip I give anyone who is facing PCS orders or has just arrived to a new station is this – pick up a copy of the travel book ‘Off the Beaten Path’ of the state you are now or will be soon residing in. This series is just FABULOUS as the publisher was so smart in how they had it written. They went to each state and found/hired a travel writer who has lived in that state for many years and has traveled all the back roads and out of the way places. The end result is a series of books – one for each state and DC too – that are so jammed packed with info, only those truly determined to be miserable would not be able to find something to do or somewhere to go. Because of this book we have experience the BEST beach in all of the Carolina’s and found the BEST EVER hushpuppies in all of the SOUTH!!, the greatest time of year to tour Mt Vernon in DC, located the actual Walton’s Mountain and could see Ike’s grocery store (Nite John boy!) in VA, went ‘sledding’ in 105 degree heat on white sand in NM, toured the coolest Revolutionary War fort in MD (saw the accomodations for the few lucky to accompany their soldier and became ever more grateful for our dinky housing-LOL!), dipped our toes in the pool JR took a dunking in in TX, ate FRIED GREEN tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe in GA (yes it really does exist – it’s the town the movie producers used and then it became a tourist hot spot) and in general have been able to look forward to each new assignment as we have read about something, somewhere we just can’t wait to go and see.
    Sign me – one moving momma with lots of milage but tons of happy memories =))

  4. Marie! First time reader here! Got your link from a friend on Facebook. Very nice to ‘meet’ you. I am an Air Force wife currently at Robins AFB, Georgia. And I am originally from the St. Louis area. GO CARDINALS! This is the first base I’ve been to with my husband. I met him while he was stationed at Scott AFB in Illinois. And I completely agree, moving to Georgia was the biggest change I’ve ever had. I am so thankful for the people I’ve met while we’ve been stationed here. We have an amazing spouses group where we help each other find information, have a shoulder to lean on, have great get togethers, etc. I’m very lucky to have spent these three years surrounded by like-minded women. We can do this. A friend of mine posted a great little quote that I think is perfect. “Bloom where you’re planted.” That is absolutely what we all need to do. Grow and succeed no matter where we are stationed.
    Thank you for your awesome insight. Can’t wait to catch up on previous blogs!! Have a great day!

  5. Thank Teddy, I love your post even though you are a Cubs Fan! 😉 Haha!

    I truly believe happiness is a choice. I have heard women complain and point out every negative point about a duty station. It’s sad in my opinion. I can’t imagine spending all that energy disliking something that you have no control over. The stress alone from our lifestyle can age you. I don’t need to look older just from a constant bad mood! 😉 Thanks for your refreshing view. I hope others read your response and realize there are a lot of us that *choose* to be happy. 🙂

  6. This article is so true and hits so close to home! I, too, am a midwesterner, born and raised just outside Chicago. Of course I am Cubs fan and love watching baseball! When I married my husband and moved to Valdosta, Georgia near Moody Air Force Base everything was so different from what I had grown accustomed to living in Chicagoland for all those years. By the time I left, I even caught myself saying y’all every once in a while and loving the southern hospitality! Sure, it wasn’t Chicago, but I had made South Georgia my home and the people I had met my family. It was hard to leave and when I heard my husband had gotten orders for us to move to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico I was nervous about starting over again.

    Now we are here and I am doing the same things I did to adjust in GA. I have met great friends and am making them family. I have learned to enjoy the local culture and the local food.

    The longer I am a part of this military lifestyle, the more I realize that every duty station is a new experience and a chance to further explore the world and myself! I wouldn’t change it for anything!

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