Two years ago we got the news: OCONUS orders were in the works. Moving outside of the lower 48 wasn’t even on our radar, never mind our wishlist. So this turn of events was a complete shock.
Needless to say, the news was met with heavy resistance on my part. There were tears and heated conversations. Even on the flight over, I was shooting my husband angry stares.
And now? I’d gladly stay for a lot longer.
If you have OCONUS orders, it’s time to get excited! You’re in for the ride of your life!
Reasons to be Very Excited About OCONUS Orders
Whether you are stationed in Hawaii (yes, technically OCONUS), Japan or anywhere in between, you’re going to find delicious food.
Sure, you might have had bratwurst back home, but have you had it in Germany? Getting a cuisine in its country of origin it a unique and incredible experience. You’ll never have poke bowls like they make in Hawaii or sushi as fresh as when you’re in Japan.
Before you know it, you’ll be making the local fare in your own home. It will become second nature to use chopsticks at meal time. And you’ll finally be able to tell all the wursts apart. Maybe you’ll even start holding daily formal tea time, like in the UK.
The possibilities, like the food, are endless.
You’ll be able to experience a place totally different from the norm, while still having your military community to rely on. Living overseas can open your eyes to a whole new range of experiences and ways of thinking.
You can pick up a second language, or at least bits and pieces of it. By the time you leave, you’ll know enough to comfortably greet someone, ask about the restroom and express your thanks.
Learning the history of another country and culture is eye-opening. Japan is just the land of sushi until you’re there. Then it transforms into a place with hundreds of years of history. You can explore ancient castle ruins in Okinawa or peek at the deep traditional roots of the geisha in Kyoto.
You can also experience the modern world through a different lens. From music to art to fashion, everything is possible. Things seem familiar, yet also different.
Endless Travel Opportunities
One of the best parts about living overseas is traveling. Especially in Asia and in Europe, everything is relatively close.
Just hop on a train or a plane in the EU, and you can go to dozens of other countries. Start your day in Prague and end it in Paris! You’ll be able to explore the history, food and culture of the whole region in ways you never imagined possible. Check out Windsor Castle or cruise the Rhine. Visit Transylvania, and hope to avoid a run-in with Dracula. Shore up the Leaning Tower in Pizza or marvel at the crystal waters of the Mediterranean. All of Europe is your oyster.
In Asia, trains are less possible, but there are plenty of planes! From Japan and Korea, many places are within just a few hours. Meet elephants in Thailand and slurp xiao ling bao in Hong Kong. Hike the Great Wall or dance through Gangnam (yes, it’s an actual place).
No matter where your travels take you, it’s sure to be somewhere beyond your wildest dreams.
There is something about being stuck in a location that fosters fast friendships. Living overseas, in a place where English is not the first language, can feel intimidating.
Having a community to fall back on for familiarity is crucial. Our military community provides those cultural touchstones and shared experiences that sustain me in tough times.
I’ve come to rely on my fellow military spouses for friendship, support and adventure partners. We share everything, every day. When it comes down to it, there is no one else to turn to. Whether you are just moving in, having a baby or need someone to navigate left-handed driving, you’re going to reach out to a fellow military spouse.
Our little neighborhood is tight-knit and in constant communication. I know we’ll be friends for many years to come!
Being stationed OCONUS is the best adventure I never knew I wanted or needed. I needed to get out of my little USA bubble and see the world. I’ve fallen in love with our overseas duty station, and would gladly stay here for another tour (or two).
Have you been stationed OCONUS? Tell us about your favorite memories!
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