Well, at least there aren’t sandstorms.
I feel like I should qualify that statement with a “yet.”
Two weeks ago I departed Germany. The weather was in the high 50’s, and the word on the internet was the weather in North Carolina was in the 70’s. That and the prospect of seeing the man I am told by the marriage license is my husband combined to make me very excited to go home, even during the two-turned-seven hour layover in Newark airport for weather reasons. I would like to point out that it was sunny and beautiful when I landed in Newark, but I also noted that they never pointed out exactly what the weather reasons were. I suspect it was the pilots out playing tennis.
So I get to North Carolina and the weather immediately drops into the low 60’s. Still a little better, with the exception of one day where the weather reports actually informed me that the weather in Germany was ten degrees warmer than that in North Carolina. But I dealt with it. It wasn’t snowing, and I knew that when I returned to Europe that I may very well come back to a blanket of white, so I managed.
I decided before I left the area that I really ought pop in on my old unit, largely at the prompting of one of my former soldiers, whom I ran into while out having lunch with a friend of mine. He appeared much happier than I thought he would be to see me, since I was constantly making him do push-ups, but he was almost in tears when I told him I didn’t intend to come by the old company. So I obliged and made my way over there.
I was met with stories of all of the reasons that I left, tales of battalion telling the supervisors how to counsel their soldiers, a commander who decided a 20k ruck march is good for the soul once every week or two, and a former soldier who can’t seem to remember who he is or why he has a green suit on so he decides to just go back to bed in the morning instead of showing up for formation. However, they also enlightened me of some interesting changes that were afoot, including some restructuring that could actually lead to increased training, productivity, and good missions. I almost found myself regretting my departure, at least a little bit. It took another soldier showing me his blister from the ruck march that morning to snap me out of that one.
Then I regaled them with tales of the other side of the fence where I now sit. Their grandiose dreams of a better life were shattered as I told them of an oblivious structure, limited funding, general confusion, and the inability to procure a firing range slot for even one soldier. Sure, I can wear civilian clothes, I run an office, and I have a general say-so in day-to-day operations, but getting people trained for combat is a distant dream now.
I suppose I set about to see what life was really like “over there” on the other side of my job, and I found out an important truth in the doing:
The grass may well be greener on the other side… but that may just mean they use more potent manure.