Our first duty assignment as a couple was Lawton, Oklahoma. When my husband told me our destination, I said, "where is that?" I had never heard of Lawton, Oklahoma and furthermore, I had never stepped foot in Oklahoma. Same thing happened when we moved to Killeen, Texas.
I was from the big city so moving to these small towns was something of a culture shock in the beginning of our marriage. Now I'm used to moving and it's highly unlikely that my husband will come home one day, announce our next assignment and I'll have to grab an atlas to figure out where we're going. If I haven't been there, I've probably known someone who has.
This summer, we left Washington, DC for another small, sleepy town. There is much I miss about Washington, but yesterday I couldn't have been happier that we are living here right now.
Yesterday, I began my Christmas shopping. After six years in Washington, I had become accustomed to traffic jams, hour-long waits for dinner, parking dilemmas, crowds and irritable shoppers during the Holiday season. Things are quite different here. In fact, the entire shopping experience, from start to finish, was pure bliss. Completely enjoyable.
In 4.5 hours, I had been to ten stores in three separate shopping centers. In 4.5 hours, I had finished my Christmas shopping! This would have taken several days to complete in Washington due to traffic and crowds. I would have logged 4.5 hours in travel time alone.
After I crossed the last name off my list, I came home with a carload of gifts (I have 13 nieces and nephews - ouch...), unloaded them and announced to my husband that the Christmas shopping, with the exception of a few items I'm ordering on-line, was done. Then, I sat down on the floor, pulled gifts out of all the bags and spent three hours wrapping them. I had a little help from Max, who ruined several sheets of tissue paper while "helping" and made a mess, but he had fun.
Although we don't have the selection of stores here that we had in Washington, what we have is more then adequate and I found everything I needed. Yesterday, I was thrilled to live in a sleepy town where even on the weekend, at the peak of the Holiday shopping season, the crowds are manageable, parking isn't an issue and there are few lines at the cash register.
Today I will tackle the Christmas cards and I'll enjoy writing them, because I can relax knowing that my Christmas shopping is done. I'll occasionally glance at my headless Christmas tree with gifts tucked under it and shoved behind it, and I'll remind myself that silver linings can be found with every move. Or, in my case, red and gold linings.