The other kind of bucket list.

Now that it is August, we are inside our final 12 months in this beautiful country. I am already *so* sad about leaving, but I am also starting to feel excited about moving back to the States. The last 17 months have been a perfect adventure, and, now that I see the end of the adventure on the horizon, I am preparing myself to move home to the USA.

We only have 4 places we could go; 2 of those places are not very likely due to timing and the F-18 community’s dire need for department heads. That’s okay. While those 2 unlikely locations are the most appealing to us, we will be a-okay in the 2 more likely locations: Lemoore, CA or Virginia Beach, VA. When it comes to assignments for department head (DH) slots, the service member is usually asked two questions:
1. Which squadron do you absolutely not want to go to?
2. Would you like to give preference for location or type of F-18 squadron?
2a. The choices are: East Coast, West Coast, single seat, or 2 seat squadrons. The service member can pick one.

Just because those choices are given does not mean that those choices are honored. From what I understand, the first question is given priority, and the second question is USUALLY honored, if the option is available.

I’m not going to write my husband’s preferences here because I think those choices are personal. However, I will say that we don’t have any preference between East Coast and West Coast. At all. When I tell most people that, they look at me like I have 2 heads 🙂 Most people prefer VA Beach because it is family friendly and there is a lot to do in that area. Most people dislike Lemoore because it is in-the-middle-of-no-where-fertilizer-country. It has a reputation for smelling bad. Ew. We’ve already lived in VA Beach and liked it enough, but we didn’t like it so much that we want to go back. I’ve never been to Lemoore and my husband has never been stationed there. It’s kind of an unknown place in our mind, but we ave friends who are also childless and who have enjoyed living there. So … we don’t have any kind of strong opinion in either direction.

One of the main reasons we don’t have a preference in location is because we have lived abroad, and, thus, our perspective of what we want/need to live a happy life has changed. I don’t mean this in any kind of deep, spiritual sense — what I mean is, if there is a Chick Fil A, a Target, and a Nordstrom within a 3 hour radius, I WILL BE THRILLED TO TEARS.

On that note, I’ve started my Stateside Happy Life List of all the things I sincerely desire for myself once we are living in the States again. We are assuming that my husband will leave the deployment here half-way through and join his new squadron on deployment elsewhere in the world. So, I’ll have a LOT of time on my hands for a while.

Here is my list of things I want to have or do in my new location:
– A reasonably close university that has a higher-ed science education program where I do a PhD
– A nearby community college system where I can teach in their biology department
– A local rowing team that is looking for a volunteer coach for 1-2 practices per week
– A local sitar instructor. Yes, I said sitar –>
– An excellent base gym that has descent lifting equipment.
– A Nordstrom, Chick Fil A, Target(s), and various other creature comforts within a reasonable driving distance
– A home with a dog door and a big fenced-in yard for Norma and our future dogs to enjoy

That’s all I’ve got so far. I look forward to seeing our family often. I’m excited to be able to call and FaceTime friends on the regular, since, at most, we’d only be 3 timezones apart. I can’t wait to have reliable internet. And, most of all, I can’t wait to live with my awesome husband and dog in the USA. It’s going to be fabulous.

We won’t know where we’re going until at least May 2015, and we’ll only be there for 2.5-3yrs before the Navy moves us again.


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