::Bertha the Sleepy Blog Bear stirs from hibernation, streeeeetches, tries to hit snooze and smacks her paw on a rock, resentfully concludes that it really is time to get up::
(I once had a high school substitute teacher write “Bertha” instead of “Martha” on a bathroom pass. I was devastated, but boy did it improve my enunciation.)
So. This is a post about a Kickstarter campaign. No, wait, read it, you may at least forget the monotony of your life for a minute, and I won’t even call you out if you don’t give! (Unlike my husband’s high school annual gift campaign...)
Parenthetical expressions, animal metaphors, and ::these thingies:: aside: I’ve reemerged to present to you a concrete way to support military families. I almost didn’t write this, because…awkward. Self-licking ice cream cone and all that. But then I remembered that I’m not only writing this for me or families like mine. Here’s the thing about military life:
You may know that with few exceptions the Army and other services, for mostly antiquated reasons, make military families move every 2 to 3 years (or after 1 year, or after 18 months…). It is exhausting. (I happen to mostly like living overseas, but even so this most recent move is going to go down in history as the Move That Broke Me. No fault of the location, or our amazing sponsors, or anything other than sheer exhaustion.) If you know our Gypsy Camp, you know that we have for diverse reasons requested several overseas assignments. That is not the case with many people who are sent hither, thither, and yon. Many military families want nothing more than to attempt to maintain normalcy, in the same state/country/continent as “home”, and yet are not allowed to. Some have never even left their home state until they step off the plane in the new country: sweaty, sleepy, jetlagged, confused kids in tow, airport germs incubating, wondering if their dogs survived hold and if their ride will show up at the airport for them and if their household goods have molded and if their car will get dropped into the Bay of Naples…and so on. Some of those things they aren’t worrying about yet, but they will learn the hard way to worry about them soon.
Some eagerly jet away from home and find unexpected hardships in the new location. Some move reluctantly, then find that they thrive and don’t regret it for a moment. You just never know. Regardless, for pride or humility or not wanting to whine or not wanting to gloat, we all do our best to make it look good on the other side of the Facebooks and the Instagrams. That’s the part that you see back home. The curated, sanitized part. But let me tell you, there is a lot of floundering, getting lost, struggling, bureaucrat-battling, crying, being foiled again, and frustration behind the scenes.
These are two extreme cases, the travellers and the homebodies above. But we both benefit hugely from resources like these Overseas Yes websites—currently Germany Ja, Korea Ye, Okinawa Hai, and Turkey Tamam. They provide all kinds of information about military locations abroad, from housing to navigating bureaucracy to schooling to outings to restaurants to all new activities. Watch the Kickstarter video for a more complete idea of what the websites do. Okinawa Hai helped in deciding whether I was OK with moving there (odd situation—we had a bit of a choice), with finding toddler-friendly things to do on the island, and with dealing with logistics on our way out of the country with a dog. In turn, I was able to share on Okinawa Hai about some of my more unique experiences after I got my footing. Especially when you’re having a hard time or when budget is a major factor—as it is for many military families—it really, really helps to have a little nudge, a little extra info so you can plan best, or just a great idea to get out of the house.
Yes, most bases do have Facebook groups, but let’s be real for a second: those, alone, are only marginally helpful. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So if you have even $10 to help de-stress military families headed to places like mainland Japan, Bahrain (can you put that on a map?), Guam, and maybe even one day little old Belgium and other European locations besides Germany, please support this campaign. If you need me to twist your arm, I could tie it in to mental health (It’s in YOUR power to reduce stress and anxiety on frazzled Household Sixes* everywhere!) or plain old national security (You know that the active duty family member works best when the home is happy, physically together, and if not thriving then in possession of hope that they soon will be.) So give to this Kickstarter; it’s basically as patriotic as enlisting yourself, but you get to stay in your pajamas! ‘Merica!
Or at least pass the word on to your rich uncle?
*Facetious term for military spouses, AKA the ones who run the households. There, you learned something. (And I just learned how to spell “facetious”. From spell check.)