You’ll need to find these new services and places when you PCS

By Rebecca Alwine

Moving is exciting. Moving is fun. Moving is annoying.

These are some of the thoughts running through my head as we get closer and closer to our first move in almost five years. The last time we moved, we were returning to a previous duty station where we knew lots of people.

This time is different. We have a few friends nearby, but we’re heading into a different world. As an Army family, we’re heading to Navy base. . . and that means I’ve got to learn what a NEX is, and what they mean when they say “aboard,” and that a captain is definitely a bigger deal in the Navy then in the Army.

On top of that, I’ve become quite accustomed to my favorites. I’ve established relationships that reach well beyond the gates. I know all the best back roads. I’ve made our current duty station home, and now I have to start over.

I know y’all understand what I’m saying. Military spouses are constantly looking for reassurance that their next duty station will indeed have a decent pizza joint and that there will be people to watch your kids for date night.

Rediscovering all of the things you use on a normal basis is one of those parts of moving that is interwoven into each day of the process.

The personal touch

In the military community, the quest for the perfect hair dresser or barber shop is a constant. It’s not just who does a great cut and color or is the most affordable. It comes down to which barber chair your son or husband should sit in when he’s getting their bimonthly haircut. It’s a big deal!

Close behind the requests for hair dresser recommendations are nail salons and eyebrow threading. After all that unpacking, you really need a manicure and a massage.

You’ll also want to start meeting people, which means you’re probably going to be invited to direct sales parties. This area gets fuzzy, because you are desperate for friends. . . but aren’t sure just who to trust yet. Not everyone has to be your new best friend. In fact, you may go without a local best friend for a few months. So go, attend parties, playgroups, and dinners out. You’re not cheating on your Tupperware friend if you go to another Tupperware party. Promise.

For your stomach

My least favorite part about a new duty station is discovering where to buy food. Yes, I know the commissary is right there, but it’s not always the best option. And even when it is, it can take months to figure out where everything is and the most effective way to navigate it.

Restaurants for date night or special dinners are fun to figure out. It’s enjoyable to try different places and different cuisines.

And you’ll need a coffee place. Coffee is the glue to so many things involving meeting new people. Want to volunteer for something? I’ll meet you at Starbucks. Ready to make some new friends? I’ll grab Dunkin’ on the way to the playgroup.

The hard stuff

Some things you need to know in a hurry and should research before arriving. Which physician you should ask to see on the installation? Who takes TRICARE Standard out in town? Can you really make same-day appointments or do you need to save your urgent care visits for this new duty station? Time to get researching.

Reliable babysitting is one of the hardest services to find upon a move. (My theory is that people don’t want to share. I’ll admit it–new neighbors have asked if I have babysitter recommendations, and I purposefully withhold my reliable sitter’s number. She’s mine! I sought her out, I found her, I need her!) But really, babysitters and childcare are really hard to find.

Rely on other’s recommendations when appropriate, but don’t blindly trust any recommendation. Exploring your new duty station is part of the fun when moving. Right? That’s what my husband always tells me anyway.