You know, that middle year of three-year tour.
When you are finally, really and truly, unpacked–in our case after the second move of the tour.
When you finally have all the basics stocked up, and aren’t even slightly worried about using up your pantry before packout. Refritos? Yeah, I’ll take a case of those.
When you figure if you haven’t learned the local lingo by now, it’s time to just roll with what you got. Probably a relief to the natives, anyway.
When you adopt a kitten because moving is far enough in the future that you aren’t thinking about how much hassle he’s going to be when the tour ends.
When you become really comfortable with the mission. You know who to call for what, and where the DPO and health unit are.
When you have found the people you like to hang out with, and they aren’t actually packing out, or at least not yet.
When you know your way around town and (mostly) don’t have to wander around looking for that place that sells the one ingredient that you need for the recipe that you are determined to make, just because. Except for when you do, but that’s OK, because big picture is, you at least know your way home. And by the way, lime juice is very hard to find in Vienna.
When you start to actually accomplishing things with your own personal and professional life because you aren’t taking care of other people’s short-term relocation needs, trying to find somewhere to stash the Tupperware, or putting out fires 24/7.
When your kid(s) is more or less settled, and you can put the school on auto-pilot. Or keep your fingers crossed for 18 months. Whatever seems like a good plan at the time. Well, really, whatever gets you through the week. Or gets you to 5 o’clock, depending on the day.
When it’s not quite time for bidding yet, and anyway, you are supposed to be retiring at the end of the tour, so there shouldn’t be any bids to worry about. Except maybe not so much, because your spouse is insane, and you clearly are a co-dependent enabler. So, you still end up discussing bid lists, because if you didn’t, what would you talk about?
Dang that crazy ex-girlfriend. She’s such a pain the ass, but I have to admit, she’s grown on me.