A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

In a little over a week from today, I will board a one-way flight across the ocean. With a new address, a new phone number, and my new last name….all of this feels like a fresh start – a blank slate.

While it may not seem that big of a deal to many millennials or some of my fellow readers, keep in mind that I come from a small town where people don’t usually leave. This is a MONUMENTAL event for my family. I asked my dad the other day if he had ever been away from his family, even for a couple months. He simply laughed and said no because he went to Guilford College (which is right down the road from us). No one in my immediate family, nor my best friends, that I know of, have traveled overseas and/or been gone so long from their families. It is emotionally overwhelming due to the fact that no one can relate to my situation except my greatest supporter – my husband.

What will I do now?!

I have been asked many, many, many times from friends & family over the last couple months and weeks about what I will do job wise when I arrive in Italy. Here’s my answer – whatever I want! 🙂 I can literally be anything or do whatever my heart desires. It’s ITALY after all! There are rules about working however….if you are a U.S. Military dependent (that’s me!), then you must abide by the NATO Status Forces of Agreement (SOFA). In other words, to be employed in Italy by someone other than the U.S. Government, you must declare yourself an Italian resident (aka pay taxes, lose command sponsorship, no shopping on the American base, etc.). Therefore, there is obviously an abundance of stay-at-home wives/moms due to this agreement and the fact that jobs on base are very limited.

So I can be anything I want, as long as I work for free, or trade goods and services for it! Did you know that I planned my entire wedding with a guest list of 200 people on our family farm? Yep, every. single. detail. I loved every minute of it. I see classes on event/wedding planning in my future. During my wedding planning days, I also taught myself hand lettering in order to make the signs for the ceremony and reception. I have already been asked to make a sign for an army wife in exchange for candles and soaps. How fun!

While I already have two mathematics degrees under my belt…I’d like to add an education degree at some point and then pursue a masters degree when I’m done. Oh, and did I mention explore all of Europe in my free time?! You see, the possibilities are endless. I am none whatsoever concerned about how I will fulfill my free time over the next 2 years 😉

Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?

It is the most bittersweet feeling leaving my hometown and starting a new life in a whole other country, but it is one that I am most excited for and the opportunities to come. It is not without emotional breakdowns twice a day and tears everytime I hug my niece or kiss my dog goodnight, knowing I only have a few days before I’ll see them for months at a time. My 25th birthday is coming up this week and I’ve chosen to spend it at home with my parents by the fireplace, ordering takeout, and watching Hallmark movies.

I sometimes think twice about sharing these sappy posts – considering this is a travel blog and all. But to be fair, travel isn’t always perfect. I want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of all things travel wise and this crazy adventure of mine. So, I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey and the “adventures of S&S“.abraham maslow moving forward

Give me all the advice you got!

Have you ever uprooted your life? Made a big change? Started fresh? Do you have any advice on being away from family for months at a time….staying strong….or just words of wisdom? Maybe even for my mom over here so she doesn’t miss me too much 😉 I’d love to hear them. <3 Drop a comment below or shoot me an email at summerrae@outsidethissmalltown.com. Army wife, family, friend, whoever you may be, I’ll take whatever advice you’re willing to give!

You are all rockstars and so supportive. Thanks for reading as always.

XOXO, Summer Rae

3 Replies to “A Fresh Start”

  1. We uprooted our life on a whim in a matter of 10 days to move to the Virgin Islands and although it was the most nerve-wracking, anxiety ridden move of our lives, it was also the best! We truly never knew how strong we were until we moved 1,500 miles away and didn’t know a single person on island. The first few weeks/months can seem daunting, but try to immerse yourself in your surroundings and take any opportunity to get involved in the community you can! It will give you sense of normalcy like at “home” and you will also start to grow your “second family” abroad and they are so valuable while your parents, siblings, etc are so far away.

    My advice for being so far away from family for long periods of time is to stay occupied. Focus on making your new home FEEL like home, and not just a temporary outpost. This goes a long way when you’ve just been uprooted and are missing NC, but it will also help with missing your family so much if you feel like you have a good home abroad too. Don’t focus all your thoughts on how much you miss them, but how excited you are to share everything about your new home with them! FaceTime calls are invaluable and so are silly texts and pictures about things you see on a daily basis that remind you of them.

    And there’s no cure for our moms, but constantly keeping her updated on your new journey goes a long way because then they are not so worried! Send pictures and selfies daily (moms love to see our faces 😊)

    One of the most important things I learned when we moved to the Caribbean was not to compare everything to America and take the culture for what it was. It’s not supposed to be like the US and therefore it was unfair to constantly compare they way things were done. Learn about your new home and enjoy it without any preconceptions and it will surprise you! Good luck on your adventure!

    1. Omg you are amazing Alyssa!!! this is the best advice I could ever get. I never knew that you guys moved to the VI on a whim! I can’t even imagine all the emotions you went through. But you guys have obviously flourished there, as I see through all your amazing pics scuba diving and traveling AND you survived a hurricane!

      I am so grateful for your advice and will take it all to heart because obviously you guys made it work being so far away, so I’m confident I can too!

      Thank you thank you thank you girl!! 🙌🏼 and good luck to you guys as well.

  2. I haven’t moved out of the country but I did leave my hometown for awhile. It was exhilarating! I loved everything I learned and got to experience. Just have fun!

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