Getting Over The City That I Never Thought I'd Be Able To Leave

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Its funny how over the years, plans and ideas change. When Christopher signed up with and joined the Air Force back in 2006, we were sure that we'd be stationed in Washington. Our lack of knowledge and experience had left us with a false impression of our future, implying that we'd always live in the Northwest. To us, the Northwest was all that existed, and surely everybody else must have known that, the military included.

The reality of our situation is, we'll never live in Portland ever again. Not only will we never be stationed there, there isn't an Air Force base, but we don't even want to live there anymore. That might come as a shock to anyone that knew us way back when, but when I try to imagine taking the life that we live now, and making it work in the treasure chest of our past, it makes me cringe.

There are things that I miss about the city, absolutely. Favorite shopping places, the rainy smell that always seems to be in the air, even on the rare occasion that the sun comes out, my best friend and all of the countless adventures that I know I'm missing out on by being so far away- I'm not completely over it yet. But even though there are things we're missing out on there, we have an amazing new life here.

We're a military family now. Not just, "my husband is in the military", but, we're a millitary family. I know we originally said we were going to get out after his first enlistment, but, this is it for us. This is how we want to raise our children. My husband loves what he does, and I support that. Hes set goals for himself, his career, and our family, and I have no doubt that he'll achieve them all. We've had pretty much smooth sailing since stepping on board, and we know we won't always be so lucky. The deeper into his career waters he gets, the more deployments and TDY's (temporary duty station, where he goes on a little family-free all work no play vacation to a base in the middle of nowhere) will float to the surface. We're ready for it. If he were to deploy today, I'd be ready for it. It would be hard, I'd lose my mind ever so slightly (I'd have vacuum's set up around the house to suck up the giant wolf spiders that will make their return this spring), but I could hold down the fort.

Wait, what was I writing about again?

Oh yes. Life before the now. Portland and Stumptown...

The other day I got a surprise package in the mail, and nuzzled deep inside the packing paper, were 2 mugs from Stumptown coffee. From the second that I unwrapped them, I was taken back to the scent that hovered outside our apartment door every Saturday morning. Christopher and I used to live on SE Morrison. For any Portlander, you know that means we were cool, right? The Cricket cafe a few steps to the left, and Stumptown coffee a few steps to the right. Its weird how I can't remember the actual taste of Stumptown, as much as I remember the aroma, and its existance.

The best part about getting over the city that I never thought I'd be able to leave, is when little parts of the city come to me.


Laura Craig January 14, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

I know exactly what you are saying. Adam has been in the air force since 2004. Just a few months after Mackenzie was born, we decided the best route for us to go would be the military. And we were right! But, I don't think we were quite prepared for what we got ourselves in to. It is very hard living so far away from family. But, I really don't think we could live in the same town again. We do hope to eventually move back to the North East, whether it be while in the military or after he retires (lifers here, what about you??. The North East is where we love to be. Though, HOME is where our hearts are, and that is with each other and our kids!

There are definitely tons of things that I miss about New York. And it is so nice to experience them when we drive back home once a year!!! And even better when we get those wonderful packages from home!!!

Christina January 14, 2010 at 11:20 AM  

A very sweet post. :) I have never been to Portland but would love to visit someday. My sister visited a friend out there a couple years ago. (I haven't been anywhere on the west coast).

I am happy for your lovely family, making new homes/cities your own and learning how to deal with different situations.

Sailors Pin Up January 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM  

I understand completely and I've only been away from Oregon since August.

When you start out it's such an odd feeling. I still have to put myself in check and realize I'm not there anymore I'm someplace I've never been. Of course they don't have Nalley pickles here or all of my other favorite things that Oregon has. I'm honestly so glad that Kurtis joined because it gives us our opportunities to travel and raise our kids in different cultures but at the same time I was BORN and RAISED in Oregon and being away is hard.

Kimberly D. January 14, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

I know how you feel. I feel the same way about Austin, TX. That was our home. That was where we were going to grow old together. It's been 1.5 years and I think I'm coming to terms with it. That little city will always have a special place in my heart but I've realized finally that it's not about where you live but who you surround yourself with. All that we have here we surely wouldn't be able to afford there. I just keep reminding myself that it's not even the same place anymore. It's growing way too fast, and that "mom and pop" vibe is dying there. Now we are pretty sure we will never move back. We won't stay here forever though.

Megan January 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM  

We're in the same boat. We don't want to live back in our hometown even though we miss everyone and the adventures we had there. He hasn't decided if he's staying in or doing his time and getting out but part of me wants him to stay in. It's not a horrible lifestyle and you never know what's going to happen next. (And the air force is oh, so family friendly!)

AlyGatr January 14, 2010 at 3:18 PM  

It's funny....I lived for over 20 years in Hawaii and I have no desire to go back. We've moved around a lot in 14 years together...four of them when he was in the Air Force...and the only place I really miss and want to go back to is Boston. The military moving made me OK with moving...and moving...and moving, but I'd really rather be in one place...and it ain't Texas!

Cozy January 14, 2010 at 4:00 PM  

My husband was in the Navy for 20 years from 1973 to 1993 and we got married in 1976 so we had a military family for 17 years. There is no way to sugar coat the difficulties of separations but they can be character and marriage building. And you get lots of honeymoons with the homecomings. I would not have traded those military years for civilian ones at any price.

ElegantSnobbery January 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM  

Funny, I feel the same way about where I grew up. Leaving was so hard and I always planned on moving back... but now I know we wont. Ever. Well visit... I'd never let my kids grow up without having a walk along the Golden Gate bridge, or a trip to Santa Cruz and Carmel... but I'll never live there.

Now Portland, on the other hand... that is our destination spot!

Glad you have accepted the life you want, rather than the life you used to live!

Fallon January 14, 2010 at 8:21 PM  

I couldn't imagine being you or any other military family.. it's got to be so much harder then it even seems!

ps. I've just tagged you :)

Michele Maule January 15, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

If you ever change your mind...hehe...I'm glad you've gotten over the Northwest. It's something I never could do. I just love it here. It's my home. Bravo to you Tia! :)

Lindsay Sledge January 15, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

I felt the exact same way about Austin. I eventually got over it too. I remember my AF recruiter even promised me I would get stationed there. I was so excited, part of the reason I joined. Little did I know there isn't a base there anymore. Sometimes it's tough being a military family, but I have found every place we have been so far feels like home now.

Lindsay Sledge January 15, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

oh, also you could always put in for McChord AFB, it's only two hours from Portland. It's on our dream sheet

OliveStreetStudio January 15, 2010 at 6:38 PM  

What a great post. We're thinking of moving south and I cannot imagine living anywhere but here in Long Beach with the Ocean 3 blocks away....I guess we will never know if we don't try...

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