I’ve been in Pensacola for about a week and a half now. My days have been filled with getting acclimated to the area and setting up our home, with the occasional respite by the pool every now and then. It is HOT here. My Scandinavian genes go in shock nearly every time I walk outside – thank goodness I came at the end of summer. I’m missing the beauty and comfort of autumn…all of you Northerners better enjoy it for me.
The joy and struggle associated with the many significant life changes occurring simultaneously have been overwhelming at times. Until now, I had grown accustomed to living on my own – coming and going as I pleased, knowing that things would remain where I had placed them, and always aware of the amount of ice cream in the freezer. I realize this may sound selfish, but it is taking me awhile to adjust to living with another human being again.
It has been so good to be with Ben and share our lives again. His days are consumed with training, which includes academic classes and physical assessments. He spends much of the evenings and weekends preparing for his exams – I’m so impressed with him. The environment is still very intense and high-pressure, but Ben has been working hard and maintaining his focus on the overall goal. It has given me a much greater idea of what the women and men in our armed forces endure on our behalf. Be thankful for them and pray for them everyday.
Given Ben’s schedule, I have been spending a significant amount of time on my own. The unpacking and settling filled my days last week, but those tasks are nearly completed. I’ve been continuing my search for work, which has been a bit disappointing. The needs in Florida are overwhelming in the nursing/healthcare field, which isn’t surprising given the demographics of the area. I had a job interview last week, which I think went well, but they were concerned that I could only commit to a shorter timeframe…so who knows how that will turn out. I’ll keep looking…I’m going to need something to fill my days (and contribute to our financial situation).
I miss the friendly faces that brought much joy to my life. My only “friend” here (besides Ben, of course) is our 70-something next-door neighbor, who is a retired Navy officer. Captain Terry was the commanding officer of the program Ben is currently in, which is a highly esteemed position. He has an incredible POW story (he was held for 7 years in Vietnam), he’s an incredible craftsman, and has a sweet, humorous disposition. And he always calls me darlin’ or sweetheart and tells me I’m pretty – which every girl likes to hear.
As I shared with a beloved confidant before I left, I have no doubt that this was the right decision, the right move for Ben and I. But I am fearful of what these changes entail. I miss the comfort and safety of my old life. I miss the people who brought so much joy and love to my days. I know the quiet and solitude can be healing, but too much of it can prove damaging for me. I want to feel like I fit here, but I know it will take time for Pensacola to feel like home.