It feel so good that the news is out that we’re moving to Iowa! It’s been a secret for weeks now and it feels so good to have it out in the open! We told a few people at a time, but wanted to wait and tell Mamaw after my sister’s wedding and afterwards make it public, so the few friends and family who knew were cornering me at Brandi’s wedding to talk in secret 😉
A few people have asked if Iowa was our choice, and I’ll be honest: no, not at all. The Army powers-that-be decided that for us! In fact, Andy’s sister recently joked (before we found out our pinpoint) that she had her fingers crossed that we would be assigned Iowa. Both Andy and I were like “Please no!” Joke’s on us! 😉 The day after Andy’s re-enlistment, we were assigned to the Minneapolis recruiting battalion, covering the states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. I was understandably upset, as the Army didn’t even look at our wish list (our first choice was Phoenix, Arizona and the entirety of the 3rd Brigade was not on it at all). From those 4 states, we requested Des Moines or a larger city near Des Moines to give me a better shot for my career, but they then assigned us a small town in rural northern Iowa. Again, I was less than thrilled. After letting the news sink in for a few days, and many, many prayers and tears, I realized that I have to be positive about this next adventure. If I let myself go into this with a negative attitude, it will make for a long 3 years. Life is short, and I don’t want to waste 3 years of it being miserable.
As I wrote this post, I actually had fun looking up things to do in Mason City and the surrounding areas and am genuinely looking forward to them… I guess I can finally make that “Mason City, Iowa” Pinterest board public now 😉
-Being near Andy’s family
Although we’ll be moving away from my family, we will be just 2 hours away from Andy’s sister, a brother, and his mother! All in all, 12 nieces and nephews plus a great-niece live within 2 hours of our new home. I haven’t met any of that side of the family (except his sister and brother) so it will be fun to get to know them. Plus, we’ll actually get to be Uncle Andy and Aunt Bailey for real instead of just through Facebook and social media!
-Being a one-day drive from my family
Although I won’t be living 2 hours from my family anymore, we’ll still be a day’s drive away. We can still go home for 4 day weekends– it will be tiring, but we can do it!
-The chance at pocketing BAH
Since there are no military bases in Iowa, we’ll be living off-post in a civilian community. The BAH for Mason City is actually reasonable (which we are very thankful for!) and since it’s just Andy and me and our 2 pets, we can get by with a smaller house. We already have our rental budget in mind, and when we add in a few hundred dollars for utilities, we are hoping to make a small amount of money off our BAH!
-Exploring new states I have never been to
I will be entirely honest: I have never been to Iowa or most of the Midwest (I did go to Wisconsin and Minnesota in college, though.) I’ve already got a list of places I want us to travel to (check out our Iowa Travel Bucket List) and we’re already planning our first trip. I have a personal goal of visiting all 50 states, and the thought of potentially visiting 8 of them in the next 3 years is so exciting!
-Being two hours from Minneapolis
As I mentioned before, I’ve been to Minnesota before (although my time there was brief.) We’re 2 hours away from Minneapolis, which is close enough to visit for a day. Southwest Airlines also has cheap, non-stop flights from Minneapolis to Nashville so I’m excited to use my Southwest points from travel hacking to visit family. There’s so much cool stuff in Minnesota that I can’t wait to discover! Plus, I have a blog friend (Hannah) in Minnesota as well!
-A job change
A month into my new job that I had started in January, I was already looking to leave that employer for reasons I can’t really discuss on social media. In fact, I had arranged a job interview the very same day that Andy came home with orders for Recruiting school. So, it’s definitely reassuring to know that soon, I won’t be working there anymore. I’m planning to take a month or so off from work to settle into our house before looking for a job; unlike when I moved to Fort Knox, I have plans on what to do in the meantime before I do land my ideal job!
-Low cost of living
Iowa has a low cost of living, so we’re hoping we can stretch our budget even further to pay off debt!
-No major traffic congestion
Andy’s lived in Iowa before, and he said the only traffic you have to deal with outside of the major cities is getting stuck behind a tractor. I am down with no crazy drivers, unlike here in Elizabethtown!
I’m not much of a vegetable or fruit eater, but Andy is. He’s really excited to have farm-fresh fruits and veggies, since we have no time to plant or maintain a garden!
I don’t tend to get political on my blog for obvious reasons, but Iowa is the first state in election years to hold a caucus for the presidential elections. We will still be living there in January 2020, so we’ll get a front-seat to the campaigning.
When we first began telling people about our move to Iowa, a lot of people commented on how great the school systems are there. Andy and I both had a good laugh, because anyone that knows us knows we don’t have kids (and don’t plan to, at least for a few years.) Even if we did have a baby tomorrow, they wouldn’t be school age before we leave in 3 years! But, everyone else is excited about Iowa’s schools so I guess I should be as well 😉
-A new challenge
Last but not least, this will be a new challenge for us. I’m not naive enough to think Recruiting won’t be tough, because it will be, or that moving to such a small town won’t be tough, because it will be. That being said, there’s a General George S. Patton quote that I absolutely love and that sums up our thoughts about Recruiting (and how ironic it is that we’re leaving a post so closely connected with General Patton):
Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
In 3 years, when Recruiting duty is all said and done, I can’t wait for Andy and me to look at each other and say “we did it.” Hooah!