When I write a “reveal” post like this, I try to build up suspense, not reveal the answer in the title. But this news is just too darn exciting I had to jump straight to the point.
In this post a few months ago, I said that we had so many possible options after Mark returned from Africa. But we had no idea what path would be opened to us. The suspense was killing me! I kept war-gaming in my head to keep me sane. My best hope was that Mark would get assigned to the D.C. area – it was highly possible given his branch. Yeah, he did put Europe Command on his top 5 list, but we all know the Army’s needs rarely align with our personal desires.
In reality, a duty station in Europe was only a pipe dream. My practical side said that I should be happy just for Mark to get chosen for the Call to Active Duty program from the Reserves. But then one day in mid-July, that blessed email was delivered. Not only was he chosen for the CAD program, but he was being offered a location in Germany!! I checked my phone before getting out of bed early that morning for clinical, in the dark like I know you shouldn’t do. Mark had sent a Facebook message from his deployment location in Africa and also forwarded the email to me:
Congratulations on being approved for the Call to Active Duty program and welcome to the Regular Army XX Branch…I also saw EUROPE on your request. How does [unit in Germany] sound?
I could barely believe it. I hadn’t wanted to get up for clinical but now I was wide awake and actually chuckling out loud at this exciting turn of events. It took me a couple days to really process everything, and finally I was able to journal about it.
I just wrote less than a week ago how Europe would be a dream. But, I never really believed that would ACTUALLY happen. Germany/Europe assignments are what happens to other military families. And wishing for Germany just seemed like too much to ask in our position. He’s fortunate to be brought back onto AD [active duty], period.
Fast-forward two months later, and while I still have “pinch me” moments, reality has set in. Mark had to report to Germany by 15 September, before the end of the fiscal year. He was notified of this fact while he was on R&R with me in Seattle, getting ready for our Alaskan cruise in early August. He had a little over one month to finish two weeks of R&R, go back to Africa to retrieve his stuff and sign out, go to Ft. Bliss for demobilization for a week, spend about 10 days with me in NC, and then it was off to Deutschland. What a crazy whirlwind!
It’s revealing to look back on journal entries. On that same day of the above journal entry, I wrote:
…I really don’t want to do a solo PCS overseas. Coordinating HHG, POV, a pet, etc. is pretty complicated as it is. Mark told his branch manager that I graduate in December and requested that the PCS be after that.
You know what they say: want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans. And I might add, tell the Army your plans. So guess what I’m facing pretty soon. Yep, you guessed it: doing a solo move overseas. Well, unless you count Zoey. I’m pretty sure all she’ll be good for is keeping me sane with her big doggie eyes and wet kisses.
It’s been quite the learning curve as I navigate all the bureaucracy that is involved with moving to Europe with the Army. I’m sure it’s easier than moving overseas as a civilian, but it’s still a huge undertaking, especially while finishing out nursing school. I joke that PCS prep is my part-time job these days. (Too bad they don’t pay me.) I will start writing about all the steps needed to go OCONUS (outside continental United States), because I can assure you that Google, Pinterest, and Germany PCS groups on Facebook have been my best friends. I am so thankful for the helpful information I’ve found online, but there is a lot of inaccurate information out there too. So I’m going to do my part to contribute to the good stuff. (Future military wives PCSing to Germany: I get you!) And if there’s something that I’m not clear about, I’ll either not write about it or simply state my confusion and say to “ask the experts.”
I’m also getting ready to do a revamp (again) of my blog, so if you’re interested in following our adventures in Europe, stay tuned here! If you want to get on the healthy living bandwagon, also stay tuned because I’ll be rolling out something new and can direct you to that new place. And of course, if you’re interested in BOTH, I’m flattered! I’ll still write about health-related stuff here as it pertains to our personal lives, like how to eat gluten-free in Germany. But for more in-depth wellness advice (from your friendly neighborhood soon-to-be RN), I’ll have a special place for you.
All for now! Tschüss! (That means “bye” informally in German!)