Initially upon getting to our base housing community, settling into our beautiful new house and putting our foot in the door I knew there were going to be some ups & downs. This land called California was a complete culture shock compared to what I have known for 20+ years in the bold state of Texas.
From my first few impressons, things are just very different here. Not necessarily bad just different from what I’m used to & it bothered me for a while. For the most part people are not initially cordial here. From first sight people are a lot like the scenery here very beautiful. From head to toe some of these people are just unbelievably perfect.
Marine Corps life and Civilian life are completely different. I knew nothing of the wives’ lingo, that a commissary was a grocery store, that I would need an ID & to know his social to do anything from going to the doctor to buying a pack of gum at the gas station on base, about the different base housing communities all over the base, or that there are schools on base for only military kids. The base is like a city, buildings all look the same for the most part and the only way to tell the difference is to know the area numbers, there are different times during the day when things come to a halt depending on where you are on base so you have to constantly be aware of your surroundings (it isn’t as hard as it seems), the typical duties and expectations of some stay at home Marine wives or what to do with myself.
It was an easy downward spiral. I was basically a recluse for the first few months. I had no energy. My house didn’t get decorated for months. I didn’t want to get out because I didn’t know my way around. None of my neighbors introduced themselves. I didn’t know anyone or have a hobby. I didn’t know anything about the Marine Corps except for what I read on MarineParents.com. I didn’t volunteer at first and put myself out there. I was a combination of sad and bummed out and spent a lot of time upset feeling like I should have stayed in Texas. The girls liked the new change but once they figured we weren’t just visiting and started asking 500 times a day if we were going back to Texas I wished for the same thing. Being homesick really sucks! To top it off Anthony was preparing for an upcoming deployment (called a work up) so he wasn’t at home much.
I missed the simple and maybe slightly silly things one can only find in Texas like Mrs. Baird’s bread, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Whataburger, good country music and country dance halls, trail rides, real rodeos, a deep southern accent and everyone you walk by saying, “Hi ya’ll! Good mornin’!!” I knew though that the best thing was for our family to be together.
Looking back at my feelings then and now it’s quite a contrast. I know now more than ever that every situation is what you put into it. If you sit in the house you won’t make friends and end up day after day on the couch.
Also, don’t get me wrong, Southern California is extremely beautiful! I now have grown to love this region of the USA so much that I speak passionately about not returning to my scorching hot and humid home state that I love so much. The weather here is what makes it so ridiculously pretty. There are 350 days give or take of pure sunshine with a normal high of about 70* and lows in the 40’s. The coast is never far away, the mountains, deserts, San Diego, L.A. and even Las Vegas are all close and I’ve never seen anything like it until we moved here. The ups & downs of our first few months were definitely a life lesson that was just one of the many I would learn in the coming months.