Wherever I may roam...

*I will apologize now, I've been working on this post for a few weeks. So its very disjointed and all over the place. It's thanks to Rose from Happy Hippie Rose that got me to truly sit down and finish it. If she can blog her way through her PCS from Hawaii to upstate New York, then I can blog through this one. *

Well, she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinkin'
That there was a little more to life somewhere else

After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
And if she had to die tryin'
She had one little promise she was gonna keep

2012 is flashing by. Quicker than I would like, but such is life and those who stand by the sidelines are sure to be left behind. I've been meaning to share the latest news for a while, however, with Alan's death and the fall out from that, as well as stress at work, preparing Sami for the end of the school year as well as her upcoming recital, I've been overwhelmed with a lot going on. 

March 1st, Nate received PCS orders. He has been assigned to an unaccompanied tour at Osan AB, South Korea and leaves at the end of summer for 12 months. (Well, I think its 14 as he has some sort of training he has to do en route.)

For my civilian friends who are cursing my use of acronyms, a PCS is a permanent change of station. You are being assigned to a new base. An unaccompanied tour means that you will not be authorized family members to go with you. In other words, he will be in Korea for a year without us. 

This is not necessarily bad news. One of the perks of an unaccompanied remote tour, is that he can submit a list of follow on requests, and depending on the needs of the USAF, we may be assigned to one of those choices. (It's the military, this is actually highly sought after)

We spent a few days discussing different bases and researching the areas surrounding them; schools, aircraft, cost of living, travel opportunities, climate, and most of all, what we would want. 

I had a briefing with fellow spouses not long after we submitted the choices. A fellow spouse is also going through a similar situation where her husband has been assigned to a base in Korea, they received their follow on orders a few weeks ago and are off to Japan. 

I wasn't expecting a decision until a few weeks before he left for Korea. But, last week, Nate comes downstairs around noon and says he got an email saying he's received notice. So he was going to go in to see what the decision was.

An hour later, he sent me a text message:

RAF Mildenhall; Suffolk, United Kingdom

"That Eagles May Fly"

This was one of our first picks. I've always been an anglophile. Nate has always wanted to live in Europe. So this is an ideal posting. We're all very excited about it.

Unfortunately, I've encountered a lot of negativity regarding the orders. I've been told countless times that they will be cancelled. That England is horrible. That I will hate it there, that its so rough on children to have to move, there is a huge Anti American sentiment with most British people, the houses are cramped, the cost of living is astronomical, there is nothing to do, it's not fair that we got overseas orders, they will be canceled because I have a job, they will be canceled because Nate and I haven't been married very long.

The kicker: "That it is unfair to send us overseas because I am of childbearing age. Because then any child we have over there will not be considered an American, or British, and will be judged by both countries as an illegal alien".  Yes. Someone told me this. (Oh and that child will never be able to run for president)

Now, I may be mistaken, but...last I checked, Nate and I are still both American citizens. I'm not really sure where that last part came from. But apparently there are some people out there that seem vastly confused on citizenship.

Will I love everything about it? Probably not. I try to be realistic about things like this, I know there will be things I dislike, but at the same time, so many things I will love. I've studied British culture and history for years. This will be a chance to truly experience it in a very hands on way. 

Will it be rough on Sami? I don't think so. She's ever so excited about it. She's always looking for her next adventure and she easily adaptable to change in a way that I will always be jealous.  She will be able to experience Europe and England. Experience a culture different from her own, yet at the same time, similar in many ways. There will be so many opportunities to share my love of history and travel with her. 

The military life is what you make of it. If you sit around complaining about how hard it is, and how much you hate the imposition, you won't enjoy it. If you never leave the base, you'll never truly experience the world around you. If you go to a foreign country and want it to be exactly like your hometown, you'll miss out. 

Military life is challenging. I will not deny that. PCSing to an OCONUS location is one of the bigger challenges. Because you represent your country and you are a guest in a foreign land. If you act like the stereotypical loud, rude and brash American, people will develop a stereotype on that and think all Americans are like that.  Embrace the culture you are being sent to. This is a chance to truly immerse yourself in something new, learn things, break those preconceived notions, and take away the good, and an appreciation for what your culture has and for what others have.  

While I know its still a ways off, I am a planner. Which is a bit of an oxymoron when it comes to the military But I can still try.

There is so much that goes into a CONUS PCS. And even more that goes into an OCONUS move.

So why not get started now? I know a lot of people are saying that pre-planning is a sure fire way to get the orders canceled. 

Oh well, I'd rather tempt fate than come down to 2 weeks before the PCS and have nothing ready. 

As of right now, anyone under E-7 is being required to live on base until housing is full. However, this might change by the time we get there. Especially as it is still some time off so I've checked out a few houses and apartments for lease over there. Just to get an idea of what our OHA will afford us, and what we may or may not need to get before the move or what we may need to get rid of. I'm not getting rid of anything yet, but we are discussing the need to get rid of some older furniture that might not make the move and replace it with stuff that will not only be sturdy, but fit into a small British house. Why do we not have an IKEA?

I'm not doing anything major. Making sure we have any things taken care of such as doctor visits and veterinarian visits. (G might need to go on a diet and needs some follow up on his dandruff issue) 

The next small thing I'm going to work on is stocking up on things I may not be able to get over there. Or things I can get over there, but are cheaper here. 

For example: I was ordering Clinique last week. Which is one of my many addictions. 

It was a small purchase this time. I ordered some lotion and a new lipstick.

With shipping, my total was: $34.00

I checked the UK site, and to order the same products, the total was: £32.50 before shipping.

Using today's exchange rate of  1 British Pound Sterling = 1.5797 US dollars

The price in USD is about $51. 

So I need to figure out a way to stock up on my Clinique before the move. I'm not sure how I will work that. As they won't pack liquids in our HHG. But I shall figure out some way. 

Also, jeans for some reason are more expensive overseas than in the US.

I'm guessing its a good reason to stock up on jeans before we move. 

I've got a list of things that I'm comparing prices of getting over there versus getting here. I know it seems silly. But trust me, having a few comforts from home will make the transition much, much easier!

If you made it through this much, Kudos to you! I know I rambled.

Now, I need recommendations! For those of you that have gone to the UK, even for a  trip, what was the most surprising difference you noticed?

Also, where should I go? What should I see? I'm going to make sure to budget it for a few tourist breaks throughout the time we're there especially when we first get settled. 


  1. I am not sure why anyone would be negative about you having the opportunity to fulfill a dream and experience new stuff. I am very excited for you!

  2. I think you are genius to be thinking of all of these things! What's the worst that can happen, you get a new assignment and you're stocked up on things you will use no matter where you are?
    I am a super planner to--there is no way you could tell me I was moving across the globe and then expect me to wait and see!! I'm excited for you and Sami. I don't ever comment, but I follow your blog and love it. I have to admit I'm even a little jealous of your adventure you're about to go on. Good luck with it and way to ignore the critics!

  3. first of all, thank you oh so much for the happy hippie shout out! i love you and your blog, and you're an awesome writer. so if babbling away during my move has inspired anyone, in any way - well then, i feel rather good about my little blog =)





    This is epic, wonderful, awesome, incredible news. You will have a blast. You can go to the British Library and see original manuscripts of the canterbury tales and the prayer book anne boylen wrote secret notes in while she was in the tower of london. that's the kind of "junk" they keep laying around their LIBRARIES over there.

    omg england! merry old!

    you'll LOVE it there. you're such an anglophile, you'll have a madonna transatlantic accent in - i'm guessing - 4 months?

    i know it's a ways off, but all the more time to research and get excited. it'll make nate's year in korea fly by. one of my close girlfriends from school just went through that a few years ago, she just ended up visiting him for the visa max, coming home for a week and then going back to korea again. so there's always the option of ya know, visiting each other!

    who cares what others say. NO MATTER WHAT the military slings at you, someone on the sidelines is going to disagree or not think it's a good move, or be upset, or whatever.

    but there's only one person who has to live your life, and that's YOU.

    so do what makes you happy, what makes your heart smile. and i KNOW that england is all that and a side of chips, for you =)

  4. PS, they always say they won't pack liquids in HHG moves, and twice now - i've had TONS of liquids packed.

    bath products, lotion, make up kinda stuff... all the way to "toxic" paint and paint remover - stuff they that won't be shipped, i've had it shipped from florida to hawaii, and now it's on its way from hawaii to ny!

    so, don't stress that one so much. you can always have it in boxes or bins before they get there, and they'll just back the box without going through it, etc.

  5. I can't believe people have been negative about this...it's freaking England. Even if it were not the most awesome country in the world, you and Sami are troopers and you would manage beautifully. Any move would be tough but you'll have the magic of Britain to comfort you.

    My favorite places in England include: Regent's Park, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Keats' House in Hampstead Heath, Blenheim Palace, and of course Platform 9 3/4. You should also visit all of the other Potter-related places. I am so excited and happy for you!

  6. When you move to the UK and get all settled in, I'll visit you for a vacation!

  7. Once you're settled in your new home in the UK, I'll come visit you for a vacation! I'm sure by then you'll have found a 24-hour restaurant that serves breakfast food :)

  8. Karen Ladson22 May, 2012 11:18

    You know how much I love England! It honestly was the best experience and adventure for our whole family! Kayla was Sami's age when we moved there and we left when she was a freshman in high school. She loved it there and made so many good friends there.
    We are so much alike in our love of travel and adventures, as you said, it is what you make of it. Of course, no where is perfect, but I have to say England was pretty close! :)
    You mentioned Clinique, unless it has changed, the bx at Lakenheath carried all of the major beauty lines. I am a Lancome girl and they had everything, Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc. And the prices were great! And if for some reason they don't have a certain product, I never had a problem ordering online from the US website and having it delivered to my APO address.
    I am just so excited for you, Sami, and Nate (and of course the fur babies too)! Don't listen to the negative comments people make, I never have understood why some people are like that. We travelled so much during our 7 years at Mildenhall, had countless adventures and had a blast! The people that complained were the ones who never left the base! Honestly, from the moment we landed in England I was content. Just the fact that I had the privledge to live there, and to experience England, was awesome!
    We'll have to get together and have coffee soon and I can fill you in on all my favorite spots there.
    Life is an adventure!


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