With every new move, there comes a point where I have a minor breakdown. Not so big as to require medication, but big enough that I feel like crying for little to no reason and I feel this anger for my poor husband for choosing the career that he did.
I finally hit that point after a little more than a month in Buenos Aires. Now, I need to say that I never, never write about these things. I rarely complain to my family and friends when I feel this way. Military wives are supposed to have it all together and we're not supposed to complain, except to each other. And then, there is this unwritten rule that you should only complain to those married to a person of about the same rank as your own husband. I don't need to go around scaring all the lieutenant's wives, if you know what I mean.
I mean, we chose this life, right? Who am I to have a meltdown because things are tough?
The straw that broke the camel's back today: a call to an orthodontist's office. It's the first call I've tried to make myself in Spanish. I can manage simple conversations in person. I can handle a little better than a simple conversation if it's a topic I really enjoy or I've had a glass of wine. But I hate the telephone. I can't see the physical cues that make a language so much easier to understand. I've been 'cheating' by going by offices and walking in to have conversations on purpose. Well, that didn't work for the orthodontist. Their office is behind a locked, glass door and they haven't answered the bell when we've gone by. Obviously they keep very exclusive hours. So, I tried the phone this morning.
I went on google translator first and typed out all the basic phrases I might need. I tend to panic when thrown a question and I figured if I had some things written in front of me, it would help keep me calm. I was so calm that when the anwering machine picked up and asked me for my phone number, I figured I could do it. So I explained I was looking for an orthodontist, gave my name and then realized that I don't have my phone number memorized nor did I have it written down. Complete moment of stupidity. So I apologize to the damn machine and say I forgot (how easy it is to remember those words in Spanish), hung up the phone and cried.
I haven't been able to hold in the tears since. When I think about all the stupid things that are still to be done and how they all require speaking Spanish, I'm just about overwhelmed.
The saving grace is that I know this feeling will go away. I know I will I feel more confident in my language skills. Unfortunately, I also know that I will make a fool of myself at least a dozen more times and that I will get this awful feeling in my stomach and I will be angry at my husband for not wanting to speak more Spanish for me. I will be angry at the Air Force for not offering the same training my husband received to spouses. I mean, really, in a lot of ways, I need more of the Spanish speaking skills than he does. He needs to be able to read and write to go to school. Speaking is a bonus. I have to shop for groceries, take kids to the doctor and orthodontist, set things up at school, buy school supplies, answer the phone at the house, talk with the doorman about issues in the building... the list will never end.
I guess when it comes down to it I'm pissed at the government for not investing money in me. Pretty selfish thought. However, by investing some money in my education, they would make it easier for my husband to do his job. Instead, they now have a crabby, crying, depressed spouse on their hands. Of course, they don't know that and they probably never will.
Anyway, I decided to write this because I think it's about time that we military wives and husbands start sharing more of the mundane experiences of our lives with civilians. Moving does this to all of us at some point in time. Language, of course, isn't often the trigger, but having your household goods delayed for weeks on end might do it (we're still waiting on those too). Trying to find a new school for your kids in a state with little concern for their education system might be the trigger. It could be that first spouse's event where you end up not fitting in with the group of people stationed at that base and having that sinking feeling that you're going to do without 'real' friends for yet another assignment. For every spouse, the triggers are very different. And, for those that never have that meltdown, more power to you! This family does not have one of those.