Thursday, July 7, 2016

Making New Friends as a Military Spouse is Like Online Dating.

Being a military spouse has it's perks and negatives, as with most aspects in life. Making friends in every place you move is a double-edged sword. You basically have to online date.

Here's the scene. Your significant other gets orders. Like, official orders. You have mixed feeling about it. Maybe it's a place you wanted, maybe it's a place you "think" you'll hate. Maybe he/she has to go on an unaccompanied tour. You are happy you finally "know". But then you have to leave friends. You have to pack. You have to find a new house. A new school. A new job. You have to do every little thing. Again. And that means making new friends for you and/or your kids. Again.

Luckily, social media is so helpful with all these changes. This is where online dating to meet new friends comes in. You join 57 Facebook groups for everything you like. In my case, I joined mommy groups, groups specific to my post, cloth diaper groups, buy/sell/trade groups, babywearing groups, etc.

Once you are in the groups, you research. You wait. You see what others post and what the responses are. Then maybe someone catches your eye. I'll give you an example.

In one group, there was a discussion about kids and one mommy commented in a very non judgmental way with a sense of humor. Oh...sarcastic. I like her. Then you look at her thumbnail profile picture. Oh...she is babywearing. I like her. Then you click on her profile. You see coffee. Oh...she drinks coffee. We are basically besties already.

So you respond to the comment on the post she originally replied to hoping to make a connection. If it works, you start a conversation through a PM and the online relationship begins. It's very strange. I understand this. But this is seriously how I make friends.

Once you get to your new place, you set up a "date" and actually meet the person. Sometimes it totally works out. And it is completely like dating! You plan a time and place. You try to look cute, but not like you are trying too hard. You freaking PRAY to the children Gods your kids behave. You are nervous. Excited. You are hoping they like you and you like them.

 Other times, not so much. Maybe you get along great, but your kids don't. Maybe the other person works and the schedule never seems to match up. Maybe their online profile was a lie and they are a different person than you thought.

Both situations have happened to me. And I'm okay with that. It allows me to meet all types of people. It allows me to explore the area and get out of my comfort zone.

Once you have a few dates, you then have connections to make more friends with similar personalities and likes. Like dating friends of friends. But then you are all friends. Then you become a tribe or squad or besties or community or support system or insert whatever group name you prefer.

I was thinking about this because it's what I'm currently doing in my new "home". I've had one play date, which I think went well. I mean, she asked me out on another date so that's a good sign, right? I am also going to my first on-post playgroup tomorrow. Wish me luck!

P.S. Dating is exhausting.

Favorites at Fort Leavenworth

Every place we move there are favorites. Those places you will never forget. The ones you only go to once, but made memories that'll last forever. The ones you go to over and over.

Here are my favorite places! (In no particular order)

1. Okie Joe's.
LOVE this place. Best BBQ we had while in Kansas. It is part of a gas station. The line will be out the door.
2. All Slabbed Up.
Best burnt ends, bottle caps(fried jalapenos), and sweet tea.
3. Retro Diner.
Super cheap, little hole in the wall. Get the pancakes.
4. The Depot.
They give you little complimentary donuts.
5. Bassa Prua.
They have AMAZING donuts and the brunch is delish...especially with a mimosa.
6. Pullman Place.
Cheap food, but good. There is a table in the front of the restaurant with a train IN the table. So cool for the kids to see.
7. El Porto Mexican Cafe.
Queso dip, chips, and salsa are given right away for the table.
8. DFAC.
The dining facility on post. It is cafeteria style, so many options, and delish dessert options for VERY cheap.
9. Baan Thai.
Pad Se Eew and the thai iced tea is on point.
10. Tacos El Gallo 
Legit. Street tacos. Jamaica. Tamales. Pan Dulce. Mexican market attached to it.

1. Harbor Lights.
Caramel blast latte. Egg, sausage, and pepperjack on a bagel. Homemade cheescake. O.M.G.
2. Meriwether's.
Lavender Moon latte. They also have local art displayed for purchase and antiques.

Kid Places:
1. Monkey Bizness.
Indoor small zipline, bounce house slide, swing set, toddler area and cafe all inside.
2. Karnes playground.
Amazing zipline and climbling stuff for kids. Not for the paranoid parent. Made for older kids or adults if they want a good unconventional workout.
3. Landing 4 theater.
Cheap movies. .50 cents on certain days.
4. Wonderscope.
Children's interactive museum. It was an old school turned museum and each old "classroom" is a different theme/activity.
5. On post activities.
So many awesome parks here. Plus a skate park, horse stables, a pool, bowling alley and gymnastics room.
6. T-Rex Cafe.
Restaurant, but definitely for the kids.
7. Wheel Thing.
Indoor roller rink. Like, old school roller skating.
8. Missouri River.
Just to walk around, skip rocks, enjoy the bridge view, small playground.
9. Kansas City Zoo.
Not huge, not small. Gorgeous scenery.

1. Zona Rosa.
2. Olathe.
3. Ikea.
4. Legends.
5. Bonner Springs Dollar Tree.

Jason just named this list the 4 Pillars of my life. I think that is pretty accurate.