This post will be a bit different. I’m not going to review anything, but I am going to lower my walls and let you guys in a little bit. I tried to think of a funny and catchy title, but let’s face it, I’m not that creative, and at one point during our posting, I DID yell this.
So, since I started this blog because we’re a military family, and posting season will always cause me massive anxiety, I wanted to reach out to those who are facing a posting, are going through one, or anyone who has really just up and left everything they’ve ever known.
Before our posting, I had only moved once and that was 3 hours away from my hometown to attend university when I was 18, and even then I was freaking out and beside myself with homesickness. So, this whole posting thing, as you can imagine, was just super great.
Fast forward from 18 year old me to 29 year old me. I had JUST turned 29 when Chris came to my work with a posting message to Cold Lake, Alberta, and my heart sunk. Not only were we being posted outside of the regular posting season, we were being sent to the ONE place I didn’t want to go. I was terrified and feeling ALL the emotions! We started looking at houses that we couldn’t afford, and feeling VERY overwhelmed and lost. I went through a pretty dark time with it because I really didn’t know what I would do out there. Now, I know you rarely have control over your posting preferences, and they just ask for your top 3 for BEST case scenario, but I was still unprepared. I also now know that Cold Lake is not that bad because lots of our friends are posted there, but I wasn’t ready to leave yet.
A few weeks into preparing everything for Cold Lake, they suddenly switched our posting to Trenton, Ontario (never plan for anything when the military is involved). I was so relieved! I had already accepted we were being posted, but at LEAST we would be closer to home. Closer to friends, to my life, to everything. We could afford a house AND we already had some social connections in Trenton. I wasn’t 100% thrilled about leaving, but it felt a little bit better. We did our HHT (house hunting trip) with very little to look at for houses. We felt a little defeated on day one because they expect you to do A LOT in that short week of your HHT, but thanks to Nicole Parks at Remax answering a thousand panicked emails, we eventually did find a house. We tried to explore the area and get familiar with what was out there, but it was also 69 billion degrees. Belleville is about 25 minutes away, and there’s lots of little towns near by, so we knew we had everything we needed at arms reach. Trenton also has a Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Giant Tiger, fast food options, about 6 grocery stores, and 45 Tim Horton’s. Things were going to be okay.
We started packing our things to leave on September 16th, 2016 and I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life. My friends are my family, along with my real family, and I knew that this might be the last time I got to see a few of them because their posting times were coming up, too. We threw a huge party and said our goodbyes, then we packed up our two cats in my car, and Molly in Chris’ car. We were finally leaving and this wasn’t going to be home anymore. I was a tad bit heartbroken *cue sad music*.
We drove from Halifax to New Brunswick, through Quebec, and into Ontario, stopping in random places to eat and stretch our legs. Keep in mind, I had only had my license for 9 months when we were posted, so I was really getting a driving experience. It kept my mind off leaving home, though, so it was a welcome distraction. I made a playlist consisting of Marilyn Manson, SOAD, Backstreet Boys, Bruno Mars, and whatever other band you can possibly think of to pass the time. We arrived in Trenton on September 20th, and waited to move into our house while all the legal stuff was happening, living in a hotel for about a week. That became exhausting because you can’t leave the animals unattended, but you’re also trying to hold onto your sanity and get out for fresh air. Chris went to work while we were living in the hotel, too, so I was alone on and off. I was ready to hop back in my car and start paying rent to the person who bought my old house. But I stuck it out, watching endless hours of the Food Network and reading Karin Slaughter books.
When we finally got to our house, and the moving truck showed up, it was a mad rush to get things in the house, get furniture in rooms that we had barely spent 5 minutes in. There were boxes and paper flying everywhere. It took 3 days of unpacking and rearranging to finally make this place feel like home. Even then, I was very homesick, and this is actually very hard for me to write because it makes me feel emotionally weak that I couldn’t do what so many other military families had done in harder situations. But I missed home, and I think I cried every night for a week. It was all very dramatic, but I struggle with change and have anxiety, so I guess it’s pretty understandable this would be hard. I felt out of place, a bit alone, unsettled, and just unnerved. The cats felt the same way, I imagine, as they were now in a house twice the size of our last one, and meowed constantly to show their displeasure.
In the end, it took three months for me to feel normal again. In that time, I made a few friends I knew I could rely on, found my way around town, got a part time job (the job part was also a struggle here), and started a routine for myself. Routine is key! The first three months I felt bored to death because I couldn’t get full time work, and that really contributed to my struggles with being here and my mood in general. I had very little to do, and few people to do them with. Being a naturally social person, it was killing me to have no social life. My saving grace was my friends from home calling me, keeping me in the loop, and making sure I didn’t lose my mind. You find in these hard times who is really there for the difficult and ugly days. And I can happily say now that I love our posting, and I love this part of Ontario. I’ve managed to land a full time job in my field, too! It’s now my home, and visiting Halifax feels like just that, visiting. I’ve made great friends here, and as you can see, we’ve been taking advantage of our location to get out and try new things.
If I could say one thing to spouses who are struggling with a posting for reasons that AREN’T out of their control (OutCan, language barrier, IR, medical, etc..), it’s this. A posting is really what you make it. I know it sounds cheesy, and a year and a half ago, I would have punched the person who told me that, but it’s true. It’s totally normal and acceptable to feel upset, alone, unsettled, or angry. I felt those things deeply and in the worst way, and I get it. But do not let that control your life. Have a short pity party, throw some pity glitter, and move on. Second thing I would say is, your military spouse might not fully get it because they get posted with a job right away, they have a routine to fall into, and they may already be making friends with coworkers. I know Chris struggled with understanding my situation, and I his. Take time to communicate and don’t let it remain a stress on your relationship.
So get out! Post in military spouses groups, make friends, find a local cafe, use your MFRC (I know I have multiple times), go to events, make friends with your neighbour (mine can’t keep me away), keep in touch with your friends from your last posting, reach out for help, or hell, message me on here and I’ll be your friend. Not everyone will struggle with a posting like I did, but some will, and it sucks feeling like you’re alone in it.
This was long and wordy, but if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I go either full throttle with being open about my struggles, or I don’t say a word. I guess you can see how I felt tonight! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. That’s all.
Here’s another blog that has some advice on what to do for a posting. It’s called PMQ For Two and she’s fantastic. Read “The Unofficial Guide to CF Postings” post for some great advice.
Some photos from our trip from Halifax to Trenton!
My last ferry ride from Halifax back to Dartmouth
Packing truck taking our life away
Smile cookies for the road because no road trip is complete without Tim’s
Our food stop in New Brunswick involved lobster
My favourite road sign in Quebec..
Our sketchy hotel in Ottawa before we made it to Trenton and I’m pretty sure we’re lucky there wasn’t a Vacancy movie situation going on here