Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home is....

a. where your heart is
b. where you hang your hat
c. all of the above

If the correct answer is a, then home for us is still back in the states. Of course, that is to be expected since, if the correct answer is b, we are hanging our hats in a hotel room.

Home, housing, houses have been the main topics of conversation for Don and me the past few days. I think we have come to a resolution, but it was a rough journey to get there.

On Monday, during in processing, Don found out that he was not put into a combat deployment bucket (yay!!). Instead, he has been assigned to the HARRT team. The HARRT team is is a humanitarian response team and will deploy as needed to offer humanitarian aid in the region. So, while we don't expect that Don will have two long (six months each) deployments while we are here, we do expect that he will be gone for several weeks at a time a few times each year. (In fact, he was actually slated to leave today to participate in a week long training exercise, but luckily someone pulled him from that). Knowing this, I became a bit more resolute in my desire to live on base.

Don, while being slightly open to living on base IF we were offered a 3 bedroom, still wanted to look at some off base options. I agreed and hoped for the best. We met with Housing and were told we would only qualify for a 2 bedroom. This didn't make either one of us happy- me because I really want to live on base and felt like 3 bedrooms would be the only thing to convince Don and also because of what we had heard from EVERYONE was that we would probably be offered a 3 bedroom so when we didn't, it was really disappointing. We went and looked at the 2 bedroom, it was actually nice and larger than either one of us expected. The lighting fixtures were AWFUL, but it had a full dining room, decent kitchen with lots of cabinet space, a sunroom/office, ok bathroom, great laundry room and 2 small bedrooms. It was a stand alone house, which was nice. And after what we've been living in for the past few weeks it seemed ok to me, but Don, not so much. Below is a picture of base housing, but not of the unit we looked at, or even from the same area, but wanted you to get an idea (we forgot to take pictures ourselves, this picture is from the local newspaper).

After looking at the house on base, I tried to put on my brave face as we looked at some off base options. The first house was in one of Guam's few western style neighborhoods. The houses are all new and there is still a lot of construction going on. And, I mean- a lot! There were construction workers everywhere, the house we looked at was finished on the inside, but still needed to be landscaped. The house was nice, it was big, it was new. I hated it, of course Don loved it. He (as I am from time to time) easily swayed by the clean, spacious, newness of it all. What jumped out to me was the fact that the owner was installing a security system, (Don thought this was a positive, I saw it as a negative- they wouldn't install it if it wasn't necessary). The houses were really close together and they all looked the same. Basically, it felt like unsanctioned, off base military housing. But, something about it just struck me as bad and not a good fit. Especially with expecting Don to be gone from time to time.
Not the exact house, but similar- again the only thing that is different between the houses in this neighborhood is the exterior color.

We have one more house to see, and by this point, I know that Don and I have reached a stalemate. I will also admit, that by this point I am a mess and unable to discuss housing, because it reduces me to tears. I am so concerned about not making friends and not having a support system here, and I'm so tired and jet lagged that it's all just too much. I am at my limit and adding a housing conundrum to it all just pushes me over my limit and the tears start to fall.

So, again as we head to the next house, I try have an open mind. This house is even farther from base and in a traditional Guamanian neighborhood. We pull up to the house and it's nothing spectacular on the outside- but there are trees and grass and I have a better feeling about the house than the first one, even though the neighborhood seems a little sketchier. We walk into the house, it's a split level with the living areas upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs, nothing too impressive until you look out the back windows and see the ocean. The back patio has a covered lanai and an outdoor shower. Of course, of the 2 off base houses, this is my choice, but not Don's, and as awesome as the view is and as much as out of town guests would love this, I still want to live on base.

front of house

view from back porch

We tried to talk about it at dinner (which consisted of croissants and mudslides) to no avail and the mudslide led me to slumber even earlier than usual. We woke up at 2 am and talked about, but again ended up no where- knowing one of us was going to be disappointed and both of us being afraid of the consequences of putting our foot down on one house over another.

Over breakfast, we opened up the talks again. We decided to look at the house on base again, and ask again if we could get a 3 bedroom. Don realized (or at least verbalized for the first time) that he could only be happy if i felt safe and secure. I also told him, that I was very much open to looking off base in a year, once I felt more comfortable with the surroundings. we both had valid reasons for wanting to live where we wanted to live. so we told the housing office our decision, and then she dropped a bombshell that we may not even be offered the house or type of house we looked at! My optimistic self is still holding out that we may be offered a three bedroom, but if the choices we are given aren't at least as nice as the original house we saw on base, then it'll be back to the drawing board.

I am not really worried. I know we will end up where we are supposed to end up and I will do everything in my power to make whatever house we end up in feel like a home. I am just ready to start hanging my hat in a house and not a hotel room.


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