June 7, 2016

Dear Connecticut,

Like a friend who comes into your life for a short time and changes you forever, you have changed me.

You were a whirlwind. You came into my life with no warning. One minute, I thought Nick was getting out of the military. I thought that we had a whole year before we had to make any decisions about where to live next. The next minute, Nick signed a contract, and were were sent to you.

I quickly learned to always expect the unexpected. [Lesson #1]

finding ithaka life lessons from connecticut (1 of 1)-2

I was not happy with you for a long time, for things that were beyond your control. I was not happy about moving to the cold. The first time I saw your parking lots covered with snow, I said to Nick, “I hate it here.”

I’m sorry. That was not nice of me.

I didn’t realize that I was giving in to my preconceived notions, to the people who said that living on your submarine base would be an awful, terrible experience. Why do people like to tell you these things when they know you are about to move?

“Oh, you’re moving to Connecticut? THAT SUCKS! You’re going to be SO COLD! There’s nothing to do there.” – every single person I told I was coming to see you.

Thanks??

I quickly learned not to listen to what people say and to take the time to form my own opinion about things. [Lesson #2]

Especially when there is ice cream like this around.

how to love a new city (2 of 3)

A few weeks later, the movers came to unload our things. Soon, we discovered that the movers in Hawaii destroyed almost everything we own. Everything was covered in mold after they left it all outside in the rain.

My favorite things. Left out in the rain like garbage.

I quickly learned what one can live without, and what really matters in life.  [Lessons #3 and #4]

By the time we bought new furniture, shoveled all. of. the. snow, and hung pictures on our walls, it was time to pack up and leave again.

I quickly learned how to become more adaptable, more open to change.  [Lesson #5]

Change is hard. We all know that. But you taught me that with practice, you can get better at it. The past year has been filled with so much change, and moving here for only 6 months was a huge part of that. Everything is constantly changing when you are a military spouse. This experience has taught me how to go with the flow, how to accept change and move forward when I can’t believe that I’m packing up and moving again so soon.

It’s good to be adaptable, I think. If we are set in our ways for too long, we forget how to bend.

You also taught me how important it is to make the most of every single day. [Lesson #6]

6 months seems like a long time to get to know you, to see all of my family and friends, to go to all of my favorite places in NYC, and to explore New England. Even though we didn’t have nearly enough time together, I think I did a good job of making the most of every day we had.

Living somewhere for a short time always gives you a sense of urgency, like you need to take every opportunity that comes to get out and explore. Thanks to you, we filled our weekends seeing family and friends and exploring. We strategically planned out every weekend. Some weekends we just hung around relaxing. Others, we had friends come stay with us, saw family, and visited all of our favorite places in New York City. I’m happy to report that I made the most of every single day here, but that I never felt like I was rushing around.

how to love a new city (3 of 3)

Even though you were only a part of my life for 6 months, I will be forever grateful to you because you taught me how to love a new city[Lesson #7]

As we got to know each other, I found one of my favorite bookstores, fabulous restaurants, and the cutest little art museum. You gave me the best ice cream sundae I have ever had. You like to keep your gems hidden. I get it. You’re not flashy or showy.

You showed me that in order to love where you live, you have to go out and find things to love.

how to love a new city (1 of 3)

You taught me that you are in charge of your own happiness. [Lesson #8]

From the way we handled our moving disaster to getting off the couch and making our own fun – you taught me that we always have a choice in how we look at things. It’s up to me to decide whether the glass is half empty or half full.

It’s up to me to decide whether I am going to take the effort to fill up my glass when it looks empty. 

birthday dessert (1 of 1)

Finally, you taught me a lesson that we need to learn again and agan: how to be open to new things [Lesson #9].

Thank you, Connecticut. You will be forever in my heart.

Love,
Carolann

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20 responses to “A thank you letter to Connecticut.”

  1. Sarah Bence says:

    Very sweet… And now you know what not to say when you have a friend moving somewhere new 😉

    • Carolann says:

      Yes, exactly! I will always try to point out the positive. I think that people just don’t think sometimes. But when you are already going through a hard time, the last thing you need is for someone else to point out the bad things that you already know about!

  2. Cait says:

    great post 🙂 my familys from connecticut so it always feels like home going back there!

  3. You guys really have been through so much this past 6 months, but I’m so glad that you’ve loved your time in Connecticut! Our friends felt the same way about one of the bases they were stationed at, and they ended up falling in love with their time there.

    • Carolann says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Sometimes I think certain bases get a bad rap for little or no reason. Heck, there are even people who don’t like living in Hawaii. I remember when I found out we were moving to Hawaii, I didn’t have a blog, but I tried to find military spouse bloggers who lived in Hawaii. I could only find one, and she had two posts about everything she hated about living in Hawaii. Who hates Hawaii? I decided that loving where you live is all about perspective. Sure, there are some places that are better than others, but you can always find things you like.

  4. Audrey says:

    Wow… Hawaii to Connecticut. That’s a little rough. Personally, I love cold weather, but I think it’d be tough to leave Hawaii! I’m glad you were open to learning so many lessons! It sounds like you really grew during your time in New England! Now you’re going to be rewarded with more sand & surf again! 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you, Audrey! I learned to love the cold weather over the winter. I thought I would hate it, but there is something beautiful about the calmness of winter, I think. Maybe it was because I had been without winter for so long. I’m still happy to be going back to the warmth but I’m glad we got to experience winter!

  5. Susannah says:

    Wow! What a transition from Hawaii to Connecticut!!! That’s so wonderful that you were able to get so much out of your season there! Now onto the next adventure!

    • Carolann says:

      It’s been a wild ride for sure, but that’s what I love about being a military spouse! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Jenn says:

    Love it! So glad you were able to experience so much in your short time 🙂 I can relate to everyone telling you it’s going to suck. If I hear “omg winter is going to suck” one more time, I may hit someone! I know winter will be hard, I don’t need to be reminded and we have so much other stuff to look forward to that I don’t want to dwell on the one negative. I hope you guys have a super smooth transition back to Hawaii!

    • Carolann says:

      Oh my gosh, that drove me absolutely crazy! I really don’t understand why people like to say things like that. Moving is hard enough. I think that even in winter, there are things to like, so that statement doesn’t even make sense to me. So far, I feel a lot less stressed out than I ever have felt about moving. The movers are coming next week so hopefully the calmness stays! When are you PCSing?

  7. I’ve never even been there, and this gave me all the feels! So sweet!

    • Carolann says:

      Aw thank you, Chelsea! I’m getting so emotional about moving and I’ve only been here for 6 months! Crazy!

  8. Stacy says:

    This was so sweet, and so relatable! B and I always say it takes 6 months for us to get used to our new “home,” so I’m sure it was a hard 6 months in Connecticut. We LOVED visiting Hawaii, so I’m sure living there is amazing! Good luck with your PCS 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      I agree — it takes about 6 months of feel settled, to feel like you’re home. It’s kind of hard being here for only 6 months because now that I finally feel settled it it’s time to leave! I am looking forward to being in the same place for 3 years for sure.

  9. Amanda says:

    Well you sure learned some awesome things (and ate some delicious food to boot!). Learning to be adaptable and what things are important and never bad lessons to learn. I really need to be more adaptable for sure. Maybe I should head to Connecticut 😉

    • Carolann says:

      I still struggle with change a lot. I never used to be adaptable at all even just 3 years ago. But the military kind of forces you to become adaptable or you become miserable. I remember when we moved to Hawaii, they changed Nick’s job and suddenly I was sleeping alone 50% of the time. I did not like it and I was so upset but eventually I made it work. Since there are so many changes and crazy situations that get thrown at us, especially in military life, I’ve learned that I’m happier when I embrace it, when I work with what I’ve been given, rather than try to fight it. It’s still hard but I try. Talking about it helps for sure.

  10. Emma says:

    Life can take us to the strangest places, but there always seems to be some karmic lesson for us to learn…

    • Carolann says:

      I totally agree. One thing I love about blogging is being able to look back on life and see how all the pieces eventually connect 🙂

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