I’m in the midst of preparing to head back to Italy and it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve been away from my husband for over a month and I kind of feel like it’s the first time I’ll be visiting again, except this time I get to stay. There’s always been a combination of shipping items over and figuring out how to pack everything else that, in the end, really ends up being a lot easier. I can guarantee in 24 hours I’ll admit all this stress really wasn’t worth it.
Since my husband and I are FINALLY closing the distance (YAY! The sponsorship process is over! We get to finally live together officially!), I thought I’d let you all know some of the common questions I get often being a military wife and now as a sponsored military wife.
I usually put a tea review, but right now, I want to get this blog post out there and I’ll add a tea review later. 🙂
Did you get to fly home for free?
Well, that certainly would have been amazing! No, I do not get to fly home for free now that we are married. There are Space A flights but a lot is dependent on who else is being transported on that flight and why. There’s so many other individuals that could bump me from a spot on a Space A flight (which would be free) and that journey home could be drastically long.
What I’ve gotten really good at is finding really affordable flights and making our money work to our advantage. This mean sometimes I fly from a larger airport to save on airfare, don’t opt in for in-flight meals, and use flight rewards from my credit card to get a little hopper flight back to Phoenix. Let me know if you’d like a blog post with some of those tips.
How come your husband didn’t wear his uniform in your wedding?
For those of you who know me in person, you know I got married “twice.” Once to be legally wed and start our sponsorship process, and the second to enjoy with our family and close friends. Neither time did my husband wear his dress uniform, and I’m ok with that. It was entirely HIS decision to make.
First, there is no rule that says, “If you’re in the military and get married, you must wear your uniform.” It’s completely a choice that’s left up to the service member. As I thought more about it, there’s more reasons service members may choose to wear their dress uniform, because they primary reason I could come up with not to wear it is very simple. They don’t want to. Then THAT reason can go in zillions of different directions.
Here’s some reasons I thought of that make a whole lot of sense for a service member to wear their dress uniform when getting married.
- It’s the nicest outfit they own at the time.
- A new suit/tux/outfit is not affordable at the time.
- The service member’s participation in the military is a very strong part of their whole life.
- They want to wear it.
Bullet point #3 might throw some people off. In my husband’s case, the Navy is a large part of his life right now, but hasn’t been a large part of his life as a whole. He enlisted after graduating college, having a career, accomplishing a huge feat in refereeing, and was quite a bit older than most other recruits. Had he enlisted right out of high school MAYBE it would have been a different story.
If you’re married, how come you’re not living together?
Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as simply getting married to be able to live together when it comes to the military. It’s an even bigger pain in the butt when you’re stationed OCONUS (Outside the Continental US), and even MORE complicated if the service member had orders there before you get married.
Here’s the short story. We got married and immediately started the paperwork needed to get command sponsorship for me to officially join my husband. That took almost four months to get the approval and continue moving in the direction of getting a visa for me, which took another three months. So after seven months, I’m finally in a position where I can officially live with my husband where he is stationed.
You need a visa even if you’re there with the military…?
Ok not so much a question as a statement said in a confused tone.
Yes, I need a visa to stay in the country my husband is stationed in. This isn’t always the case with each country, but with Italy, it is. Service members do not need a visa, but spouses and other dependents do. Not only do I need a visa, but I’ll get what in someway is an Italian green card, called a soggiorno.
#FunFact! I can stay in Italy the length of my visa, and can travel throughout the Schengen area as I please without adhering to tourist restrictions!
Now that you’re married, why aren’t you having kids right away? Don’t you get more money for having kids?
No, we don’t get more money for having kids while my husband is in the military. So what’s the rush?!
It’s a common misconception that the more kids a military family has, the more money the service member gets in their paycheck. That may have been the case at one point (which I have no idea when that would be), but it is not true now. Once a service member gets married, they get allowances with dependent rates. That rate is the same whether there’s one dependent (usually the spouse) or 5 (spouse + kids).
Basically, we’re in a different country with lots of access to areas we won’t be able to get to as easily once we PCS. Having kids is not the priority right now. We have a single income and hopes of seeing as much of Europe as we can before returning to the US.
If you have other questions about being a military wife, leave a comment or sending me a message! If there’s enough, maybe you’ll see a part 2 to this post. 🙂