By Britni Miltner, Navy Spouse
Yes, I realize there is another “Pieces of Me” by another more famous Britney, but this is MY version – Britni’s version – of Pieces of Me.
I leave a piece of my heart in each duty station.
PCS (pieces) of Me
No matter if it was a location I “liked” or not, a layer of me was discovered there, and will always hold a place in my heart. Each location experience revealed a new part of me – almost like peeling back the layers of an onion.
Beginning with the duty station where I became a military spouse and had no clue what I was doing… the stationery store where I worked and got to know the locals who shopped at that store. The group of friends who were local and not military affiliated, welcomed us with open arms like I had always been a part of the group. The bagel store we loved and the bar we frequented for good music, better company, and cold drinks.
The duty station where I cried…
…every day because I was so miserable – we didn’t have friends, my husband was always busy, and my job situation was lacking. The tiny apartment we lived in, the gym that I frequented every day because I was pretty much alone due to my husband’s work schedule, and our short time living in this location…that gym became my sanctuary.
The duty station where it was close enough to home…
…to feel like home, but far enough away that it really wasn’t home. We made lots of friends and had all kinds of adventures exploring the bars at the beach, boat days, and random getaways. The yoga studio I went to, the spots where we created memories. We adopted our dog there – our “first kid.” When it was time to leave, I cried.
The duty station where I was entirely out of my element…
…and learned that I really don’t mind the rain, and the fresh smell of the amazing outdoors is surprisingly one of my favorite scents (I’m not much of an “outdoor girl”). The duty station where we visited tiny towns, tried many new things, made friends for life and learned life-changing lessons. The duty station where I volunteered as a youth cheer coach and discovered my love for yoga. Where a tiny wine bar became the heart of get-togethers and karaoke nights were regular events.
The duty station that we came back to…
…and while it felt familiar, so much had changed, well, since people change. I loved the salty air, the delicious familiar pizza chain, the proximity to family. The friendly faces at the fabulous yoga studio, my many volunteer activities, and learning about our current city were truly exciting. Adventurous trips to nearby historic towns, ghost stories and telling tourists not to touch the Spanish moss never got old. This was the birthplace of our daughter and the beginning of a new stage of life for our family.
The duty station where I was so alone…
…and the only familiar faces were those precious teachers at my daughter’s daycare, the housekeeper in our building, or the employees at the nearby coffee shop. The historical puppet theater that my daughter loved so much, and the amazing zoo where we were members and spent just about every weekend. The place where I lost myself and then found me again. Weekends were busy but lonely, and it brought long days and even longer nights. Since I was alone most of the time, our condo became my private haven; my home base.
The duty station where we bought a second house…
…and the scenery reminds me of home. Where the Southern Hospitality can’t be beat, and the tea is even sweeter. Trips to the Children’s museum and weird pyramid have become adventures. Driving to my hometown is an easy day’s drive away, and the way of life here is slow and comforting. Fixing up the house and playing with the neighbors have become a favorite pastime. It turns out that suburbia isn’t so bad, after all.
Each location reveals a new part of myself…
…that I didn’t know existed, or simply forgot about. While the actual location may not be a favorite, my experience there is the important part – cause that’s the part I take with me. I leave behind my imprint – on the people I encounter, on the places I visit.
Our future holds a few more duty stations, and I’m excited to see what pieces are revealed there.
PCSgrades.com is a community of military and veteran families helping each other with our biggest relocation needs through trusted reviews. Help us help each other and submit your reviews today. If you’ve ever used Gables Corporate Accommodations, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Together, we can truly make a difference!
PCSgrades Author: Britni Miltner is a Navy spouse, self-proclaimed “Expert Googler” and seasoned networker with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Family Business from Auburn University. She has been with Gables Corporate Accommodations since 2006. She is a volunteer Mentor for Military Spouse Advocacy Network’s New Military Spouse Support Program.
Britni started MilSpouse Resource in November 2015 to share remote work, entrepreneurial ideas, and inspirational stories. A new sister website and android app, OakTree Network, is THE local “mil-neighborhood” gig network for the military spouse community.