Lynda Higgs, serving husband Andrew and Romilly (11) tell us about their anything-but-typical Army life…
Having lived in seven countries over 15 years, we’re currently posted to Glasgow. We’ve found returning to the UK after eight years abroad somewhat of a reverse culture shock.
Successive international moves are definitely logistically complex. Simple admin can be a lot more complicated and in some locations the burden of sorting out documents falls on the Service person, which has put extra strain on my husband and left me feeling a bit sidelined. That said, we are in the fortunate position of having a safety net because we are an Army family. We have seen civilian ex-pat families left to fend for themselves.
The culture shock we experience when first arriving in an unfamiliar place is often challenging. Getting out and exploring our new home and making local friends has been the most effective way to manage this.
Keeping in touch with family and friends – established and newer ones – requires more effort because of time differences, different lifestyles and poor connectivity. But it’s provided us with a very necessary link home.
Knowing we have X amount of time in a place motivates us to explore our home-for-now. We’ve also found adopting aspects of the local lifestyle has helped us acclimatise quickly. In some locations, we’ve been able to live in the local community where you’re forced to integrate and be self-reliant. We made wonderful friends this way and it’s definitely brought our family closer. Having a child attending a local school has helped us meet people.
Being so nomadic has impacted on my ability to work at times. As a freelancer, the energy required to network in a new market is a challenge, especially as there is a chance you could move just as your hard work bears results. Equally, it can stop you becoming stale.
Italy is our favourite posting – although Kuwait comes a close second.
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