The departure gate

Flying plane
Photo by Pixabay on

Walking through the departure gate with my then six month old daughter and my newly military husband, with my family standing, waving goodbye was the single most hardest thing I have ever had to do.

A little back story. I met my husband in 2011 after he walked into the pub I worked at in England. I noticed that he kept coming back to the pub I worked at and noticed it was mainly on the days I was working. After about a month, he asked me on a date. Honestly, I wasn’t really interested at the time and thought to myself (after having many failed relationships beforehand) that if he was genuinely interested in me and really wanted to date me then he will wait. We arranged to go out on a date but I cancelled. I honestly really didn’t know why I cancelled that date, I think I was scared of letting someone in and getting hurt again. Anyway, fast forward 6 months. Yes! 6 months. We finally we on a couple dates and the last date before he asked me to be his girlfriend resulted in him cooking a home made meal, which consisted of pasta ( now I know its about the only thing he knows how to cook and his favourite food). We spent the evening chatting about everything and anything. 3 am rolled around when he drove me home. We talked for a good 6ish hours that night and I left that night with a new boyfriend.

After only 7 months he asked me to marry him in January of 2012, I of course said yes. We got married in the September of that year and fell pregnant with out first daughter a couple months after our wedding. I had terrible morning sickness to which I had to quit my job at the time. After about 4 months of puking 100 times a day the morning sickness subsided and I was finally able to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy and go on to have a healthy baby girl. 3 months later we were pregnant with baby number 2. I know, crazy right!?

My husband is in the United States military so we were due to move to hawaii roughly 6 months after our daughter was born. Those 6 months went fast. I wasn’t ready to leave my family just yet. I had just given birth to my parents granddaughter, how could I take her away from them? How could I go to hawaii and live a life where my daughter and unborn baby won’t see their grandparents or extended family for god knows how long. I had a lot of mixed feelings. And then the day came. The day to leave, the day I would move away from everything I have known for the past 21 years. I’ve never lived anywhere else.

It was time. It was early in the morning, the taxi pulled up, we put all our suitcases in the boot and we headed off, my family in their car behind following us to the airport. I know, I’m lucky to have such a supportive family. My gut wrenching, holding in the tears, my heart telling me not to go and my mind telling me to just tell the taxi driver to stop. We arrive at the airport, get everything checked in, had breakfast and spent some time with my family. Even now 6 years later my heart races whenever I think about the next part.

My family taking it in turns saying goodbye to my daughter, holding her tight. I have never seen them cry the way they did that day. My god. My turn to say goodbye. I really could’ve just walked away with them but I made a commitment. I married my husband to share his life and his life involved moving around a lot. As we’re walking to security I’m telling myself to not look back. Looking back is the worst thing you can do. But I did. I wanted to run back, my heart has never ached the way it did that day. I cried, loud, I said “what are you doing, what are you doing, you can’t do this”. But I did.

I wiped away my tears, I walked onto that plane and although that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do I am so thankful that I had the strength to do it. My mum came to visit us every year in the summer no matter where we were in the world. My dad and his wife even came out to see us, and so did a couple of my friends. I am so thankful that they were able to come and experience a part of the life I was living. In a way I was proud to show them our world. I was proud to show them that part of my life. My children created a bond with our family through Skype that I never even imagined could be possible.

Being a military wife is hard, there’s sacrafises, compromises and a whole other life out there. I am fortunate that my children got to experience the things they did (even though they weren’t old enough to remember) I’m glad I was strong enough to give them a life I could only have dreamed of, if I hadn’t of committed. After hawaii we ended up in South dskota and then after South dakota we went to alaska for a year and now we’re back home in England. I will go into much more detail about our time in all of these places in my next blogs.


South dakota

This photo I took at Badlands National Park.

That time arrived again, it was time to move onto my husbands next duty station and this time we were heading to South Dakota. We got a flight from Honolulu to LAX. We had actually decided we wanted to do a road trip from LAX to South Dakota. On our way there we stopped in Vegas, Utah, went to see my husbands parents in Colorado springs and then onto south Dakota. It was a really nice road trip and the kids surprised me in how well they managed.

Before we left Honolulu we actually already had a house that we were in the process of closing on. We had bought our first house and we were excited. It was in the perfect location, close to town, close to the school and close to my husbands work. We moved in and started working in re decorating to freshen the place up and put our own little stamp on the place. It took a few days and we were happy with the results. Our house hold goods turned up roughly a month later and I was dreading unpacking, just like always but also super excited to have our stuff and to start making this house a home.

After unpacking we had a bunch of cardboard boxes left over and downstairs in the basement we had a wood burner. I was getting sick and tired of all these boxes being in every corner of the house and our recycling bins just weren’t able to keep up. My best friend was due to arrive from England so we were cleaning the house to get ready for her arrival. My husband had come up with a good idea on a cold morning, to break down the boxes and burn them in the wood burner to get rid of them and also warm up the house.

A quarter of the way through my husband burning these boxes I noticed there was more smoke in the house than there should’ve been. All my kids were upstairs in the living room playing, I had gone down to the basement to check on my husband and see what all the smoke was about. As soon as I got down there I had to open the window immediately, I saw that the fire inside the wood burner was getting bigger. My husband panicked and took the box, that was on fire, out of the wood burner and ran it upstairs and threw it out the front door. Before he even got to the stairs the box broke in his hand, landed on the carpet and immediately a fire broke out. We were in such a panic that we didn’t even think to throw water over it. All we knew is that we needed to get rid of the problem and the problem being the box.

I remembered that we had a fire extinguisher in the cupboard under the stairs so I grabbed it and immediately tried to put the fire out. Unfortunately this fire extinguisher, that was left by the previous owner gave 2 big bursts and then ran out. It was tiny, the fire went out for a second but reignited. It was in that moment I realized there was nothing I could do. I shouted up to my husband to get the kids out. I was on the other side of where the fire had broken out so going up and out the front door wasn’t an option for me. The fire was climbing up the stairs, thick smoke had filled the entire house by this point. Once I knew my children were out I climbed out the basement window, ran and told my neighbor to call the fire department. I sat and just sobbed into my 5 month old’s chest.

My house was going up in flames. When you see adverts of fire fighters talking about how fast a fire can spread they’re not joking. The fire fighters arrived pretty quickly but when you’re watching your house burning it feels like an eternity. Nothing in my house was able to be saved apart from a few bits and bobs. But my kids were safe, they’re not replaceable but material things are. I am so blessed and thankful that no one got hurt.

It took about 5 months for our house to be gutted and rebuilt from the inside. Thankfully the structure itself wasn’t damaged and it was only the inside that was damaged. The worst part about it was that my best friend who had spent hundereds of pounds to come and visit us is now suffering the devistation with us. Me, my husband our 3 children, 3 dogs and my best friend were in a hotel room for her entire 2 week stay. It wasn’t until after she had left that the insurance company was able to find us a house to stay in until our house was finished getting fixed.

This is the upstairs of our house. The fire didn’t reach this far and this is just what the smoke damage did.

5 months had gone by, our house is finished, the builders did a fantastic job in rebuilding the inside and laying the new carpet and putting in the new kitchen and bathrooms etc etc. We were so happy to be home and actually start enjoying our time here.

Our time in South Dakota went smoothly, my mum came to visit in the summer Just like she always did. My dad had come that September and my other friend had come the following year. We were only in South Dakota 2 years until my husband volunteered to go to Alaska for a year. By going to Alaska for a year we were able to choice our base of preference which we chose would be England. Base of preference only gets given if there is a job for you to fill and luckily for us there was.

I like South Dakota. You get the right amount of snow, the weather is never predictable. There was a time where we had all 4 seasons in one day. Snow, trees changing color, hot and sunny and rain. All in the space of 12 hours. I had never seen anything like it. The wind is crazy too. They don’t joke when they say its windy in SD.

The time we spent here I really enjoyed. We were in a better place financially, we had our own house, my eldest had started kindergarten, and life was great.

The time for my husband to go to Alaska was getting close, we had actually decided that me and the kids were going to follow him and experience Alaska too. My husband had to go to Colorado springs to do some classes for his upcoming job in Alaska. While he was there I was busy getting the house packed up and put into storage. We had actually decided to drive from SD to Alaska and boy am I glad we did.