We’re so excited to share that we are moving back to the Midwest, to the closest we’ve been to ‘home’ in the past 7 years! This summer, we are saying goodbye to Hawaii and aloha to Omaha, Nebraska, and believe it or not, we are thrilled!
As most of you know, we’ve been living on Oahu for nearly 3 years while Curtis has been attached to a submarine. His next step is to detach from the boat and serve on shore duty for about 2 years. The way shore duty assignments are given are the detailer releases a list of around 90 different jobs. All junior officers on the subs that are nearing the end of their sea duty take the list and rank every job from most to least desired, turn them in, and hope for the best.
We turned in our list in January 2020. While making the list, our wanderlust took over, and we decided to put almost all the overseas jobs in our top 10. This included Japan, Spain, Italy, UK, and Australia. Our reasoning was, if we could survive living on a very isolated island for 3 years, surely we could do 2 years abroad? And how could we pass up living and traveling overseas on the government’s dime?!
As far as the continental US goes, we decided anything would be better than living on the East coast, so most of those jobs fell below the top third. We were disappointed by the lack of variety in the West — the majority of jobs fell between Norfolk, VA, Washington DC, and Groton, CT. Our list basically went from West to East, and the few positions on islands (Hawaii and Guam) went on the bottom of our list. We’ve made the most of our time living on Oahu, but were ready to leave the island life behind.
Curtis left for most of February, and at the time we thought that February would be the longest month of 2020 for us since we’d be apart and waiting to hear the results. Now, we look back on those days and fondly reminisce on the time when the only thing on our minds was “where would we end up?”
As the month of February progressed, COVID-19 news started to pick up as the virus spread across the globe. All of a sudden, putting Japan, Spain, and Italy on the top of our list didn’t seem like such a good idea. As things escalated, it became clear that moving to any overseas location would be much more complicated than we had originally thought, and we anxiously waited to hear the results.
I mentioned some of this in our March 2020 post, but after Curtis’ underway in February, he was home for 2 weeks before leaving again in March. We had been hopeful that we’d find out while we were together, but it wasn’t meant to be. After he left, I met with the detailer that was assigning the jobs to all officers on March 10. The detailer told me we’d find out by the end of the week (by March 13). Instead, the military travel ban came into affect on March 12, and it was another 2 weeks or so before I heard from the detailer again.
Curtis was still gone the morning I got the email. I was in our bedroom when I saw the notification on my phone. I opened it without giving it a second thought and scanned the email looking for the job location: Omaha, Nebraska. My immediate reaction was an overwhelming feeling of relief, and then excitement. While it wasn’t really on our radar when we first made the list, we made it our 11th choice because of its proximity to family and the fact that it was one of the few jobs West of the Mississippi. If we had made our list post-travel ban, it would’ve been much higher. Several times over the past few months, I had thought that it would be cool to live so close to family again, but after being isolated at home by myself for several weeks, this really felt like the best case scenario!
Because of the travel ban, we weren’t sure when this move would actually happen. However, just knowing we had a new location and a new job for Curtis to look forward to was enough to get us excited about what was to come. We started talking about all the things we could do — visit all the counties in Iowa and Nebraska! Go kayaking on the Niobara and Platte Rivers! Hike the Lewis and Clark trail! And best of all, be more present for family events and holidays! We realized while emailing back and forth that we were actually more excited about this move than we were for our move to Hawaii. I realize that this opinion may not be shared by everyone, perhaps even the majority would say that we’re crazy… But respectfully, let’s all just see how this plays out. After 2 years in Nebraska, we will report back with our results. 😉
But simply receiving the news didn’t mean that the waiting was over. Next came another long wait that we hadn’t been anticipating: waiting for our orders to arrive. At the beginning of April, the detailer sent some follow up information, saying that we’d be moving in June, and that our orders would be coming soon — but if they weren’t there by the beginning of May to reach out to him. Also at the beginning of April, we found out that Curtis would be leaving for over a month. I started to stress out thinking about all the moving details I would have to take care of alone.
As it turned out, we didn’t receive our orders until late May, after Curtis returned. The whole time he was gone, I worried about how the details and timing would work out with us having to not only ship our things and move ourselves and Charlotte, but also all we would have to do to get our house ready to put on the market. I constantly tried to remind myself that God would work it all out, as He always does. I just didn’t see how so much could happen in so little time.
When Curtis returned in May and received his orders, he immediately went about filling out forms in order to schedule a move. The moving office wasn’t the most responsive, and it seemed to me like it was taking longer than it should. I imagined that since so many families had their moves delayed until the travel ban lifted, we’d be competing for moving dates in June. I started to worry that I’d end up having to stay here alone for the move while Curtis had to report to his new job in Omaha. After a week and a half of nothing happening, Curtis left for a short 72 hour underway — potentially his last ride on his submarine.
He left on a Tuesday night. That evening, I decided to check his email before I went to bed. Thank God I did, because I saw that he had received an email that afternoon from the moving office with a message that literally said: “Please fill out and sign these forms. If they’re not finished by Wednesday at 1200 then we will cancel your move request.” Oh the irony…we had waited 10 days to hear from them, and all of a sudden it was very urgent, at the worst possible time for us! Thankfully Curtis had already gotten a Power of Attorney for me before leaving last April, so I was able to sign the forms for him and turn them in before the deadline the next morning. He returned the next day and I was so excited that I could proudly tell him of the progress I’d made in the short time he was gone.
Now, we’re definitely not ‘there’ yet, as I’m sure there will be many more obstacles to overcome in the next month. But God is faithful, and things have slowly been coming together. Our orders were changed to July instead of June, giving us extra time to get ready. Our move is happening this week, which will give us extra time to deep clean our house when empty and finish up some projects. And while I hate to say that COVID-19 has helped us in some ways, that has been the case when finding a temporary home to stay in between moving out and leaving the island.
It’s crazy to me how something that we’ve been anticipating for 3 years can suddenly just sneak up on us. I’ll eventually write some follow up posts summarizing our time here and things we learned. Now that things are coming together, we’re so excited and amazed at how this is actually happening! We’re already in our 30 day countdown till takeoff! Well, unless 2020 throws us another curveball. But at this point, that would just make for an even better story, so we’ll just wait and see what happens!