Can’t believe I would ever say that about Fort Riley, but it’s true, I have rather grown to like it here. It’s a far cry from what I was saying a year ago, and the copious amount of tears and disagreements my husband and I had about the kids and me moving here are gone now. I did not want to leave Washington because it was what I knew for the last 13 years.
But despite my not wanting to leave Washington, I was not that happy there. I was very lonely and had less than a handful of friends. I was not involved with anything, and was a stay at home mom for the whole time we lived there. I knew people yes, but we weren’t close. I longed for friends that I could hang out with all the time, more than the few that I had.
I feel that coming to Fort Riley has made me blossom in ways I never expected. Not two months after we arrived, I took over our FRG as FRG Leader, and I LOVE it. I really do. It keeps me busy, and though we’ve had our share of FRG issues, I still really enjoy my job as FRG leader. I’ve never felt that way before. It makes me feel important, when before I did not. I’m not trying sound pompous, but when you feel like you have no purpose before, this is a refreshing change.
I also started volunteering at the USO around the same time I became FRG leader. While I have not worked there nearly close to what I’ve done as FRG leader, I still find it very fulfilling. I get to be social with others, get out of the house, meet new people. Yesterday another lady and I manned the USO booth at the conference center during a welcome for new soldiers. I couldn’t tell you how many new soldiers came up to our table, and I got to tell them all about our USO center, and it felt great! I’m managing the USO twitter account, and I am also going to be working on the website as well as soon as it’s up and running properly.
I’ve met countless wonderful women, and let me tell you, it is a heartwarming feeling when you’re walking down the street and someone you know waves at you. When you call your kids’ middle school and they recognize who you are (because you have three kids there and seem to be there all the time, and calling about certain things all the time, lol), you feel like you are noticed. I have a few friends here, and I know many more women too. Today I am going out for lunch with one of the ladies in my FRG and I’m really looking forward to it.
Getting out and being active in the community has helped me blossom more than I realize. At the conference center yesterday, I ran into at least four women I knew. I don’t know if I can really explain how I feel this gives me some purpose. The USO and being FRG leader have REALLY helped me. I feel being thrown into this Army life has forced me to become more active in the community.
I thought to myself the other day that I am nervous to move back to Washington when my husband retires. I will be honest, I am afraid that I will become a hermit again. We don’t know how many years it will be till we are back in our home, but I do plan to volunteer at the USO as long as I am able, and I’ll probably get a job too. I still struggle here with feeling lonely, but I am getting better with it every day. I think I need to put myself out there more often and perhaps not be so afraid of rejection.
I miss Washington so much, but I actually am quite happy here in Kansas. And I am REALLY looking forward to a visit home this Christmas…here we come Seattle and Vancouver! In 10.5 months. 😉