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What’s Going On Here?

By: Cass Kanevil

Date Posted: 2000-02-04

Friends. Not acquaintances, but true friendships. Why is it that some military spouses seem so reserved and shut themselves off to making ties while others are able to form temporary close bonds everywhere they go? There are some military spouses that can walk into a commissary to do their weekly shopping and meet people, exchange phone numbers and make dinner plans together before they're even through the checkout line. There are others that just can't seem to open themselves up that easily and find it hard to make friends.

"Honey, I got my orders today, and we leave next month!" What feelings creep inside you when you hear those words? Nervousness, of course, because your entire world is about to turn upside down with all of the madness that comes along with a military move. But also, there is a sadness. A sadness that comes from knowing you are about to once again leave people that you've allowed into your world, into your home, into your heart. As the departure date draws near, tearful "goodbye's" are said, hugs so tight they re-align your spine, because you know that it will be quite a while until you get to see those close friends again.

After arriving to your new home, you feel loneliness creeping in, becoming your new best friend. Email-ing your far away friends is your new hobby and you've decided that you don't want anything to do with anyone - your family, chocolate, your computer, email, the Lifetime channel and a couple of good books are all you need to survive this deployment. You clam up and swear that you won't even exchange first names with anyone that glances your way. However, day after day, those same old walls that you end up staring at become awfully boring and life becomes dull.

That really isn't the way to go through a deployment in Okinawa, especially if you are one of those spouses who's military husband or wife is gone most of the year. Let's face it, one necessity for women all over the world is to have a friend's dining room table that they can sit at and either laugh until incontinence or comfortably have a complete breakdown without fear of judgement, criticism or rejection. The problem is... finding and opening yourself up to that friend. If you're not able to do that, then perhaps the Community Counseling Center and Sharon Bennett have something to offer you.

Sharon Bennett, the Outreach Manager at the Community Counseling Center on Kadena Air Base, holds a Women's Support Group that meets Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. in the Community Counseling Center, Bldg. 90, Kadena Air Base. The support group was started for women who feel they need to talk to and connect with others but for whatever reason have currently not been able to do so. Sharon describes that moving, even when desired, causes mixed feelings and some degree of loss. Some who have difficulty with their new move may not feel that they have much to offer new relationships; they may have low self-esteem and may be afraid of rejection should they risk trying to get to know others. Others may not want to make new friends because they will have to leave them also some day.

Sharon further states that we all experience degrees of the Grief Process and relocating has the potential to activate it. There are different stages in this process, denial, anger, sadness and acceptance, and we can move in and out of those stages. This is helpful to discuss with others in a non judgmental atmosphere, such as a support group, and helps in feeling connected. The Women's Support Group meetings are just for that - for women to discuss problems they are facing in their daily lives and to encourage and support each other in finding ways to effectively deal with those problems. It is especially geared for those who have a tendency to isolate themselves and who want a safe place to vent their feelings (sound familiar?). This is an anonymous group and there are no fees or records kept. If you are interested, you can contact Sharon at 634-9617 for more information.

Hello, my name is Krizia del Rosario. I am 12 years old. I was reading your article in Japan Update. I just want to present myself as a responsible and reliable certified babysitter. I agree that responsible sitters should always focus their attention on the child's safety and enjoyment, instead of the television or the phone. I do not watch television until the child is asleep and/or the parents give me permission. I do not use the phone. I have only made a call once, only to ask for some advice from my parents. This phone call only took about a minute, but also at the same time I watched the child. If you need a teen babysitter of have any questions, you can call me at 645-5170. Thank you.

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