These days it’s pretty easy to love living in Washington. The sun is shining, and we haven’t had more than a day or two of rain in weeks. The farmers markets are in full swing. There are free concerts every week in at least four local towns, and there are street dances and festivals happening all around us. Summertime in Washington is amazing, and the old adage “bloom where you are planted” is light work for this Navy wife!
But what about the other nine months of the year? What about the weeks and months on end of overcast skies and damp, chilly air? What happens when loving Washington, or whatever new place you’re stationed at, isn’t so easy?
The first few months (read: year) in Washington weren’t good for me. Wait. Weren’t good? Who am I kidding? It sucked. We came here in November, just in time to get trapped in our house by a freak snowstorm and almost wrecked our car trying to get out for supplies. We lost power while all our household goods were still in boxes and for what everyone told us could last for days. I spent the power outage crying and texting friends about how much I hated it here. Needless to say, the power did come back on, but the sun didn’t. I spent the next six months staring at gray skies, missing my friends back on the East Coast, and hating the rain and the mud. By the end of winter, I was lonely and depressed and seriously questioning my ability to make a home in this dark, gray place. I was wilting.
Fast forward two and a half years, and things are a little different. I still don’t love it here, but aside from the gray skies, I don’t hate it either. It took some time, but I think I finally am “blooming.” How? Well, it wasn’t easy, but here are some suggestions.
1. Find your people. Get a job, volunteer, or seek out a church family. Join your commands Family Readiness Group, if they have one. Join a Book Club if you like to read; join a running group if you like to run. Really it doesn’t matter what you do so much as that you go out and find people to do that thing with. Having a person or people to talk to (and likely commiserate with) on those rainy days is key.
2. Find your places. Do you miss your favorite restaurant? Make it your personal quest to find a new food joint to love! Do you miss the ocean? Find the best spots to gaze upon the deep blue (even if you have to drive a ways to see it). Are you a shop-aholic? Make it your mission to find the best boutiques around!
3. Find your things. No place will be “just like home,” but try to find something to love about your new home. I like to find things I didn’t have “back home” so there’s no comparison. For instance, I love riding the ferry to Seattle, and I love picking up a cheap bouquet of flowers at Pike’s Place. I love seeing giant art installations on random street corners, and I love having a backyard filled with FREE blackberry bushes! I never had any of those things in Connecticut or Georgia so I can’t even begin to compare them to something I miss.
Once you have some people to spend time with, a few places to while away the hours, and some exciting things to enjoy during your stay, you’ll find life becomes a little easier, and the days are (at least figuratively) a little brighter. You may just find yourself, once again, blooming where you are planted (even if you’re “planted” somewhere in the mud).
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