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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): There is a reason for everything really...

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

There is a reason for everything really...

Visiting my mom on Mother's Day at Arlington National Cemetery
Funny...someone messaged me the other day and asked how in the world do I get anything done with all the traveling (and writing)....another person said I must have too much time on my hands....honestly, I took a little of a beating on Q&A.  I'm still not sure why.  I didn't let it bother me (okay, well not completely), whereas before, when I was younger, I might have been really hurt by some of the comments, I decided to take the time to ponder why things are the way they are.

So....I thought I would explain myself since I hadn't really thought about what I'm going to talk about today.  I guess I had to sit and think about it and even pin it down for myself....why do I go to bed late, or get up two hours early to write on my blog?  Why do I leave my computer on when I am home, knowing that electricity is more expensive over here, and make comments throughout the day on my Facebook page?  Why do I feel the need to answer emails and questions?  Why have I bothered doing videos and podcasts when I could be thoroughly enjoying myself for being me?

I'll tell you why.  I know the answer....or at least I think I do. It's because I come from a family with a strong sense of service and honestly believe it is better to give than to receive.  I also believe you should leave a place better than you found it...I used to do that as a Girl Scout, and you can bet the rental homes (and military housing) we lived in were in much better condition on our way out than in.  You might even catch me picking up an errant piece of garbage or whatever as I walk from my car to wherever I'm going.

My first memories are of my mom, bless her heart and her soul as she is no longer with us.  I think I was 5 years old, seeing her walk around in a volunteer Red Cross uniform.  Back then, the volunteers wore neat and pressed uniforms before they went out about their business of helping others. I remember the little boy who lived across the street in our onpost stairwell in Germany......before our posts had fences around the housing areas, kids ran freely, maybe too much so.  He got hit by a speeding German car and my mom dropped everything to go with them to the hospital and then spent DAYS at that mother and father's side.  She spoke fluent German and never thought to do anything different.  My brother and I spent those many days being shuttled back and forth between brother wasn't even a year old yet, but me...the five year old was tasked with his feeding, changing and watching over.  Later, growing up, I remember my friends being absolutely terrified of my mom through the years.  She could be very abrupt and honest...and it scared them...hey, it's the German way....but after they got to know her, it was my mother they called when they needed someone to help them or even to talk to, and she never told anyone the no-word.

I grew up with stories of my German grandmother hiding people and their things during the war.  Even today, a grateful family, who were perfect strangers to our family at the time, stay in touch with me....two generations removed...their children STILL grateful for my grandmother's kindness.  My American great-grandfather, the son of a slave, after the move to Chicago, used to make almost daily trips to the train station to see if anyone got off from his hometown in Mississippi.  He was determined that no one coming from down South would be out on the streets, when they first arrived to the big city.  It didn't matter that he worked long shifts and was bone tired by the time he got there.  My dad remembers sharing a bed with two, three and four others, just so everyone would have a warm place to sleep at night.  My husband can share similar stories of his own family, and we hope our kids will take note too.  I think that is what drew me to him initially.  This is just the kind of  environment I grew up in and feel comfortable with.

I am not an expert in fact, I'm a dabbler in everything...knowing a little bit of this and that is a lot but not everything....yes, it can make me dangerous sometimes but usually, my common sense will stop me before I wreck anything or anyone.  I take after my father on this one.  He of course walks around with two or three books at a time and can be found almost always waiting in line everywhere he goes with a book open.  Just because I like to give advice and get comfort and a sense of satisfaction in helping others, it does not mean that I don't appreciate the same.  I would love someone to guestpost on a subject.  I freely take advice as well.  I am so grateful that many of you post your wonderful tips and stories here in the comments and my Facebook and Twitter that, and please don't stop doing it!  All of our shared experiences can make us better people on the inside and the outside...

I don't travel every weekend with cameras and Flip in tow...honestly, no.  And I don't even write about all of our travels, just some of them.  I am also just as happy spending a lazy weekend at home.  What do I do?  We do things locally.  I shop at the PX and eat at the food court.  Many weekends I am on the couch watching a movie marathon, cuddled under a blanket with our cat.  Or maybe we are taking a bike ride along the canal or taking a walk or local volksmarch...just like anyone else.  I wish I was craftier...then I might be working on projects or photo albums or something interesting rather than cleaning the house...would LOVE to know how to make jewelry, as an example...but that gene has left me by the wayside.  I am thankful I have two coworkers who are so creative, I get to tag along with their great ideas and help with the actual grunt for now, that is good enough for me, to broaden my horizons.  Cooking can be fun too, right?  That is evidenced by all the recipes I have bookmarked, and do you know that if I find a really good recipe or someone gives me one...I will write it in an email, email it to MYSELF and then put it in a recipe folder in my email account.  I guess that's kind of weird, and I should've probably left that bit of information out....too much over the top?  Maybe.

And with that, before I get way too sappy or get myself worked up, I will end here.  Feel free to comment as you see fit....or not.  I just want to say thank-you to my blog readers and those who stop by for a visit.  I know a few of you have been with me and grown with me since the very know who you are!  I have made some amazing friendships through this blog, rekindled some old ones....and just gotten to know a great group of folks....I think 'nuff said there.  Oh, one more thing before you, he did not make it, and I still sometimes think where that boy would be today.



Blogger Bette said...

I never thought to question your motives -- I'm just happy to have all the great information you offer! Our move to Germany would have been much harder without your advice. Thank you, and please keep doing what you're doing, as long as you feel like doing it!

June 5, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Kristy Celen said...

Wow... I am amazed at the xpat thread. Well, maybe not amazed. Cyberbullying is ridiculously common. I would have hoped that like-minded people would be a little more welcoming. I have a few blogs I follow - typically nuritrition/fitness, Rheumatoid Arthritis or poetry blogs. But, I read some of yours before coming to Belgium and found them very helpful. I didn't make the connection to your posts on SHAPE families until I clicked through to your Volksmarch video.

I think you do a service to many people with your blog. And if not, they don't have to read it. At the very least, you have a record to share with family and friends. Keep at it. Ignore the online bullies. People hide behind screen names and think they have license to treat others poorly. (Some of the worst bullying I have seen is on the support groups for Rheumatoid arthritis.) Shameful, really.

Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences!

June 5, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Four of a Kind said...

I stumbled across your blog last summer when we found out we were on orders to Stuttgart. This blog has made the transition so much easier! Thank you a million for all of the great advice and tips. I, for one, really appreciate what you do.

June 5, 2011 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger edith said...

R- I can't believe what an asshole that person was!!! I will make sure NOT to visit that website.

BTW: I have enjoyed your blog since 2008 and I know that if there is information I need (even if I don't know I need it yet)... it can be found on your blog or by posting a question on your facebook page. You are great and when I grow up I want to be just like you. No really!

June 5, 2011 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

are you kidding? I love your blog! I linked to your blog on my blog! (I don't have very many followers - it's really just a good way to let old friends know what's going on with my life) But in my excitement of finding your blog with all the info about Germany, I had to share with them what I had found...a window into what I was in for! It has been SO helpful! I really think people who insist on being online are small individuals. I mean, really, taking the time to write "go away"? All they have to do is ignore you and surf to a different page if they found you so offensive in your quest for assistance. some people! *eyeroll*.
Anyway. Thank you for all of your info! keep up the good work!

June 5, 2011 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Hi Raquel! Your blog is amazing, and I have learned so much from it especially about you. With all the time working together at the USO, I am sorry I didn't take more time to get to know you... it is the work-a-holic gene that I am cursed with. I don't know what the mean comments were, but it is truly sad that people can be so mean and hurtful. I was touched by this post, and continue to enjoy reading your past posts too. You are an inspiration, truly, and I am so grateful to have met you. Keep it up, I enjoy coming here; and thanks for all you do!

June 5, 2011 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thanks all! I feel better that I got that out! Thank you for all your support. I always said if I can help just one person...I'll keep doing, it's been a great outlet for me to keep writing. I started freelancing magazine articles recently too...and it makes writing much easier when you try to do it all the time. Speaking of that Sue, so GREAT to hear from you! If you get a chance, please post your blog address. You lead the life that all of us at one time or another wanted to lead...even if for a short time. I love to read about all the places you've discovered! I sure miss everyone...

June 5, 2011 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger MooAtU2 said...

To the person who said no one wants to hear about tips on moving- they probably have never moved with the military!

What a bunch of grumps!

June 5, 2011 at 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Candace @ ArmyWivesLives said...

Some people just have no manners, no social skills, and a huge chip on their shoulders. Sorry you ran into someone like this!

June 6, 2011 at 3:02 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Obviously, if the point has not yet been made, your blog is awesome, helpful to many, and those people are total dorks. Forget about em! "Ship in the night." Indeed. Hmph.

It's my personal philosophy and belief that every person has a story to tell, and every life is enriched exponentially by every story they take the time to read or hear. We each have a different human experience, and the more open your mind, the more awesome it can be. When you feel the twinge of hurt from comments like theirs, just think of how pathetically small their little spheres of life and experience must be, if they reject others so.

To me personally...I want badly to connect to this whole military thing, but have failed to fit in with my FRG. You give me hope that there is intelligent life out there, not necessarily revolving around bingo, bake sales, and mindless awful gossip. I hope that maybe when we PCS who-knows-where, at some-time-soon (??lol) my next FRG might have more ladies like you.

July 22, 2011 at 9:25 PM  

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