Thursday, March 29, 2012

Army life = Life in a travelling circus

So in an earlier post I mentioned that I think that Army life is like being with a Circus and I promised to expand on that view a little bit. Now for all those that might not know me, I mean this in the most positive way, but it also encompasses some challenges and trials and tribulations.

"Army life as a travelling circus" - well it is a phrase I use often ("I have been with this circus for xx years as a wife") and I sometimes get knowing glances, flat out enraged stares or the occasional question "Why do you say that?"

Well here is why I see my life as an Army wife as being analogous to the life one would have in a travelling circus, or at least what I imagine it being...

Lets examine some of the inherent properties of life in a travelling circus: Once the troop arrives at a new destination, every person has a very specific role to play while erecting the tent and preparing everything for the show. Each person either is a performer or works behind the scenes. As such, each individual plays his or her part that is needed to succeed. Further, each person is specialized on what they do (Imagine the elephant trainer having to walk the tight rope without ever having practiced such a feat- disaster). Everyone tries to find their way in their domicile for the time being.

Once the show starts, new people will arrive to enjoy all the tricks and acrobatics. Sometimes you might see a familiar face, remembered from the last time the circus was in town, but generally most people will be new. Each town or city has its' own flavor and atmosphere. Some might have more dramatic tempers than others, some are more interesting than others, some feel like home while others do not, friends are made in some places and others will be left without really getting to know anyone. Some places the circus might be truly successful while in others the tent might be half empty, but once all of the shows in a specific location have been played, each member of the circus again packs up, stored everything, says their "see you laters" in order to move on to the next town, in which the procedure repeats itself.

As for Army life, I believe it is quite similar. Upon entering this life, be it as a wife or child of a service member, we arrive at our destinations without really knowing what is waiting for us. Each member of a family plays a specific role. For us, my husband usually does a bit of research on his new unit and their background over the last few years. He familiarizes himself with the leadership and starts to make contact. In preparation for the move I usually start packing all the things we hand-carry and start doing research on the post itself and the surrounding area. Once we arrive and have a place to live, my husband concentrates mainly on work, while I settle things at home, including unpacking and exploring our immediate surroundings.

Some places feel like home immediately, others need some work. Each post has a different feel to it: fairly conservative Fort Knox, sunshine Fort Irwin, interesting and exotic Korea and grounded and clearheaded Germany. Currently we are in a more liberal than most post in Washington State. I have made friends in most places, though not all and have found life agreeing with me more in some. One thing all locations have in common is meeting new people constantly and sometimes meeting up with old friends again... until it is time to say our "see you laters" again.

As you see for me there are a lot of striking similarities. I know not everything will apply to every military family, since for one reason or another we have moved a lot over the past decade, but nontheless it is really exciting and brings a lot of joy...

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I just would like to make clear that the views I express here are my own and do not necessarily reflect my husbands or the Army's point of view. With this I would like to remind every reader to freely express their opinion, but to respect my husbands safety and Operational Security as a whole. I reserve the right to delete any comment, link or expression without notice or comment. Thank you very much for contributing to my page!