Lately I have been thinking about the possibility of Eric re-enlisting for 4 more years when his contract is up in October of 2010. Up until recently I've been very much opposed to the idea, and so has he. However recently on our trip to GA we were discussing it, and he told me he would be able to fill out what is called a "dream sheet" of the top eight bases he'd like to be sent to after re-enlisting. I didn't realize this, and suddenly got terribly excited at the possibilities.
I've been itching to go back to Europe for a while now. I miss it a lot, and love it over there. The idea hit me that Eric could request to be stationed at a base in Italy or Germany if he re-enlists. That means we could LIVE in Europe for a few YEARS!! Heart be still! That would be a dream come true.
Poor Eric -- for the rest of the drive to GA I was talking about all the pros and cons of living overseas. He is still not sold on the idea, because he is really wanting to become a civilian cop. I want him to have that opportunity too ... 5 years from now. :) I'm such a supportive wife, huh?
Here are the cons:
- We may not get stationed where we want to. There's about a 70-80% chance he'll get what he wants, but that 20-30% leftover scares me a little bit. What if we got sent to Minot, North Dakota? Or Anchorage, Alaska? I would sooner die. But it's a risk I think I'm willing to take. Another way to try and avoid this is to fill up your list of eight with ALL European bases... that way at least you'd have a much higher chance of getting over there. But it's still the military we're talking about here, and when push comes to shove, they'll do whatever they damn well please and whatever is best for them. I am well aware of that.
- We plan on trying to start a family in 2011. If he re-enlists and we move, we'd be far away from grandparents, aunt, uncles and friends if we have a baby. I'm sure they won't be too excited about that possibility. And I would miss the free babysitting!!
- He could get deployed while we're overseas, which would leave me all alone in a far away land. Haha. The options are I could fly home while he's away and have a 6-month vacation, or, stay there and explore on my own (scary).
- Re-enlisting in general means putting up with the military BS for a few more years. But it also means receiving their benefits... which brings me to the pros!
Pro's of re-enlisting:
- Where do I start? :) The biggest positive would be the experience of living in Europe for an extended period of time. Every person I've talked to who's been able to live there has nothing but positive things to say. I used to work with a guy who was a Sr. Master Sgt. in the Air Force and lived in Italy for like 6 years or something. That's what I'm talking about... how fun would that be?!?
- We'd have a guaranteed income for a few more years (and no pay cut - which he would take if he got out and became a cop) and Eric would have the opportunity to test for Tech Sergeant, which equals more money. I'm not in it for the money, but there are unbelievable benefits out there for military members, and I'm not naive to them. Plus Eric might get his Bachelor's degree and go to the officer side.
- If we did start a family, the military covers everything medical 100%. No worries there. Plus, I could fly back to the states for a baby shower, and then after the baby was born and stuff. It's do-able. Oh yeah, and the baby could be a dual-citizen if they wanted to. :)
- Once you're in Europe, traveling to other countries is like traveling to another state in the USA. It's so easy and fast. We could definitely have the opportunity to see all of Europe, which is something I've been dying to do for years. How many people do you know have the opportunity to do that while they're still in their 20's?
- If we were sent to a large enough base, I could get a part-time job on base, probably doing something similar to what I do now. Or, I could just get a mindless job like bagging groceries in the BX. I could do whatever I wanted.
- If you're stationed overseas as a military dependent, they will pay for your schooling 100%. So basically I could come back with my degree completely paid for. Insane! Oh yeah, and I told Eric that depending on where we got stationed, I would buy the Rosetta Stone software and learn the language, just for the fun of it. :)
As you can see, I am terribly excited about the possibility. Of course, I am being realistic and fully aware that we could also not move anywhere and stay here at Patrick forever. I'm ok with that. That would be fine, as I could keep my current job and we'd still be close to family.
The way I see it is, why NOT? Why not try when you have the opportunity to see the world for a few years and get paid for it? It's only 5 years, and then we'd move back to Florida and Eric can do his cop thing. I may be crazy, but the whole thing is exciting to me.
We obviously still have just over a year to decide. A lot can happen in a year, so we'll see.
I know my friends and family might be opposed because I'd be far away and the whole grandkid thing. But think about it from my perspective, and put it in context. It's not forever, and it's a great opportunity. Plus, it's just an idea in my head right now. A million things could happen between now and then.
I still excited. :)