We move back to North Dakota in some 12 weeks now. It’s an interesting place to be. Not there yet, but looking for a home and a job. Still here, but already beginning the goodbyes.
The first time I moved to North Dakota, I had four and a half months to prep and plan. I was moving away from home for the last time. Far away, leaving everyone and most everything behind me. It was a strange place to be. I was ready to subject myself to the cold, though I was terrified of the idea of an actually snowy winter.
When we found out that we were moving back to North Dakota, my first reaction was disbelief. B’s was anger. This wasn’t supposed to be how it worked. Every other person leaving this base ahead of us, all of them got their top choice of picks. All but one. We were supposed to at least get something on our list, not a random place that wasn’t even an option when we submitted. I stayed supportive over his lunch break. After, I ran and I fumed and I ran some more.
Once we knew this wasn’t some cruel joke, we began telling people. The responses were instant and almost uniform in nature.
You have each other so you’ll be fine.
You’ll learn to love it there.
Think of the new clothes you can buy.
Yes, we have each other. But when you have two disappointed people, all you really end up with is a struggling dance of trying to keep a stiff upper lip for the other person. I don’t think we’ll learn to love it there, we’re not planning to be there long enough; but we are okay with the lesson learned from our orders there. And yes, I will get to buy a new wardrobe, because this Texan hasn’t ever seen cold the likes of North Dakota, and somehow that thought isn’t overly comforting.
All I wanted, was for people to ask me how I felt about it. I was angered by both the people who assumed I would be upset and those who assumed I would be fine. I just wanted them to ask if I was okay.
Because I am. I am okay with the idea now. But at first I was incredibly disappointed in the USAF letting us down again. I hoped to be able to talk with the people I counted as friends here, the people who are supposed to understand this crazy dance. Instead, I got platitudes and rather empty ones at that.
I’m excited for our next adventure. I’m excited because I know it is a platform that will ready us to launch into a whole new life. I’m excited because it is a return to the US and being in the same or close time zones to our families. I’m excited because I get to go home and finish planning a wedding ceremony, buy a new car, and roadtrip with my favorite travel partner.
I’m not excited about living in the freezing cold of North Dakota. I’m not excited by the prospect of fighting for a low-paying entry-level job, because there isn’t much more there. I’m slightly terrified of the difficulty of finding a home in a place that considers allowing 1 pet under 50 lbs with a deposit and monthly pet rent “pet friendly.”
Since going through this a few weeks ago, I’ve made a concerted effort to ask people how they feel about what they are experiencing. Sometimes people don’t want to be told that they’ll be fine. They know that, I knew that. I just wanted the chance to vent, or not, depending on how I felt.