“Where are you off to, Beth?” This was the standard question from my friends throughout my twenties. I surprised no one each time I picked up my life and moved halfway across the world. To me, this seemed normal. I was always going somewhere. I loved the adventure of living in a new city (or country), of figuring out a new job, of meeting new people. I equated movement with life.
Only when my friends or family asked the question did I realize that, for most of the rest of the world, this was NOT normal.
In 2006, I decided to attempt to put down roots, make (more) friends and stop moving for awhile. For ten years, I stayed in one spot (more or less, as travel is always part of my life). I tried really hard to make a life of stability and normalcy work for me.
As many of you know, for myriad reasons, that life simply did not stick. When I started moving again, I admit to you that I let out a very long breath – of relief. Moving felt like a return to myself. It felt like settling back into a life at once familiar, comfortable and altogether happy.
So I write to you from the road – once again. My abode for the next three months is Omaha, Nebraska.
What’s in Omaha? US Strategic Command. I am here to teach an operational planning course, along with two other instructors. My students are peers or near peers (fellow field grade officers) from across four branches of the military. They are intelligent, engaged and overall a fantastic group of individuals.
Oh, and before you feel too sorry for me (I can imagine the reaction to Omaha or Nebraska), let me assure you that I volunteered and that I’m enjoying it immensely. I am two blocks from Old Market (a hip downtown area full of great restaurants, shops and one used bookstore – dangerous, that last one!). More to come on those in future posts.
Since we will be here for three months, we instructors have rented apartments. You can see from the pictures below that I have a large loft apartment, with exposed brick, my own kitchen (ever the most important thing) and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Missouri River (which offer an amazing view of the sunrise). My newest favorite thing to do is enjoy my morning coffee while watching the sun rise in the east.
Did you know that Omaha is not flat?? I had no idea. I was expecting cornfields and flatness for miles. Then, my first trip through the city had me going up and down hills all the way across town (picture below).
The Defense Department has driven much of my travel. This time is no different. I’m in Omaha to work. The one difference is that this will be the last Defense Department adventure. My retirement is approaching rapidly. And I cannot wait to return to Chile, to close one chapter of my life to open another. But the knowledge is bittersweet. I have been fortunate enough to travel to some of the most amazing places in the world because of my military career. Starting with Australia in college, to Iraq and Afghanistan, all over Europe and much of the United States, the military has directed (and funded) so many of my adventures. I will enjoy this last adventure very much.