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By Dr. Bassy Pekar

It’s been a year since we boarded the plane in Okinawa and landed in Germany, a country that was as foreign to us as Japan once was. It’s been a year now; a year of change, of growth, of starting over. It’s been a year since we packed up our house and said goodbye to our neighbors and community, to the friendships we’ve built. It was with bittersweet tears and hopeful dreams that we moved to Germany and braced ourselves for a new adventure. Our children were excited yet nervous, unsure of what this new chapter would bring yet eager to get started.

There was an odd sense of déjà vu when we landed in Frankfurt International Airport. While our first time in Germany, it was not our first time experiencing the rush of emotions landing in a new country, knowing that this strange place is now home. However, this time around, we approached the experience with confidence and preparation, armed with the knowledge that while it may bring challenges, it would undoubtedly be an extraordinary journey.

Observing our children adapt to their new surroundings was a lesson in resilience and courage. Without hesitation, they enthusiastically greeted our new neighbors and eagerly joined in their
games. They effortlessly forged friendships and wholeheartedly embraced Germany as their new home. Watching our children thrive showed us how we can start again, how we can build a community, a home, a life, in a new country. Watching our children grow and flourish gave us the inspiration and motivation to start again in our new home.

There’s a certain disenchantment that comes along with multiple PCS moves. No longer the bright-eyed military spouse, I am now familiar with all the things that could go wrong during a move; the heartache of sentimental possessions breaking, the frustration of losing a single screw during the move, and the ever-growing collection of curtains that never quite fit in the next home.

There are growing pains that come with a move— while my children develop new friendships, while I find my community, while we all settle into our new home and discover our new normal. Yet there’s also a sense of stability, a glimmer of normalcy, that comes after experiencing multiple moves. We’ve been here before, not in physical location but in mindset. We understand how to transform a strange and foreign house into a cozy and familiar home. We know how to help our children settle in and become acclimated to the unique culture of yet another country. We know how to find the best markets, develop new friendships, and build a close-knit community. In this sometimes-stressful yet perpetually exciting military life, we have unlocked the ability to find adventure amidst the chaos.

Originally published in the Chanukah/Purim 5784 issue of the Jewish American Warrior.