My husband and I have been married for less than three years and are still chugging along at our first duty station. I didn’t grow up with an affiliation to the military life, so I’m pretty content with things always just being the way they are.
Rarely did a big change ever occur in my life that threw off my daily routine or the people I socialized with, and I’m slowly starting to get a taste of what it’s like to experience change in this Army world.
Obviously, moving to Italy was a huge adjustment for me, and I anticipated it for a lot of months leading up to the day I actually hopped on the plane that stuck me in Italy with no return ticket back to New York.
I cried a lot of tears, talked about it over and over and over again with my friends and family, seriously considered not going, and anxiously thought about my dog stuck underneath a plane for more than eight hours. But once my two feet touched Italian soil and I saw my husband waiting for me at baggage claim, my heart calmed immediately and I knew it was all going to be okay.
We’ve been here in Italy for more than two years now and, so far, nothing major has occurred. But with PCS season among us, our neighborhood is beginning to change, and it’s starting to make me sad and anxious about what’s coming next.
You see, our neighborhood has had a really great thing going on ever since we’ve lived here. We are six American military families that live in an Italian city among a bunch of Italian families, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we really keep each other sane on a daily basis.
We are each other’s go-to guys for all of life’s hiccups and needs while our extended families are an ocean away.
When I’m out of milk or sugar or the million other ingredients that slip my mind while I’m grocery shopping, I know I can call any one of my neighbors to come in with the save. When we’re gone for long hours and I need my dog to be let out in the yard, I know a neighbor will help me out. When my husband is gone for extended periods of time and I literally haven’t spoken to another adult in a week, I know my neighbors are there. When I want to get out for a walk, run to the mall, need help with my car, lock myself out of the house—the list goes on—I know my neighbors are ready to join or assist.
We do everything we can for one another, and I must admit that my neighbors are truly the best thing about where we live. I’m thankful every single day that I’m blessed with fantastic families all around us.
But now with PCS season here, my neighbors are changing. Just this past month we’ve had two families pack up and head out on their next great adventure. Their houses sit there empty—two less families to be our go-to guys for all things big and small. They have officially begun the slow trickle effect that will soon be the new neighbors of Via Barche.
Even my husband and I will slowly begin to pack up our house after the summer is over and be on our way back to America around the New Year, and to think about that brings such a bittersweet feeling.
Yes, there is a lot of change to happen in the coming months—our neighbors moving away is just the beginning. Thankfully, it’s a small and slow start for what is to come.
So, here’s to continuing to learn to go with the flow, embrace change and new experiences, and to being the same friendly and welcoming neighbor to the new families who fill these homes as our neighbors are to us every single day.