Well folks, Michael and his five classmates got their base assignments on Wednesday night. All but one of them are heading to...McConnell AFB just outside Wichita, Kansas.
If you remember, we were hoping to head to a southern state (Florida, Arizona or Texas) so when Michael gave me the news, my first reaction was disappointment. Who wants to move to Kansas? I've seen "Wizard of Oz" for goodness sakes. I don't want to look outside my window and see flat, dusty plains and tornadoes on the horizon!
Once the shock wore off though, I started doing what I do best: research. Since that phone call, I've spent countless hours on the internet, reading every single thing I could about the base, Wichita, and the area surrounding it. I've looked at city statistics, on and off-base housing, area attractions, restaurants, etc. I've posted questions on forums and joined Facebook groups.
Let me tell you, I feel so much better!
Okay, so Kansas wasn't exactly on our short-list of places we'd like to live. But my "pros" list is quite a bit longer than the "cons". For example, it's less than a ten hour drive from Wichita back to our families in Wisconsin. After my twenty hour cross-country road-trip to Texas by myself a few weeks ago, ten hours is a walk in the park. We'll be able to visit family a lot more often than if we had moved to any of the places on our dream sheet.
Wichita is a fairly large city (over 366,000 people) so it boasts many attractions. The one thing I really wanted to have wherever we moved to was a zoo--and Wichita have an amazing one. Wichita also has a lot of different kinds of museums (science, art, aviation, cultural, etc) which will help fill up our weekends. And of course, all big cities have lots of shopping!
Although the base is a small one--it only has one squadron--the Spouse Club is very active. I am extremely excited about that bit of news because the last thing I want is to be stuck in the house all day with a two-year old and no connections to the outside world. When you don't work outside the home, it is difficult to meet people, especially when you move to a new area. So I plan on joining up with the other wives right away to do whatever it is they do.
There is also a very active playgroup on base! Meeting other military wives is important to me, but meeting military wives with small children is a must.
So there may be things about Kansas that I'm not excited about--tornadoes, the wind, and some snow--but I'm staying positive that it's a place we could be happy with for a couple of years. I don't doubt that we'll try to move on to a base off our dream sheet when we're able to, but at least we won't be miserable in the meantime.