Choosing Orders. Overseas? — The Bump
Military Families

Choosing Orders. Overseas?

Hi Ladies. We are beginning to look at orders as my husband will be re-enlisting soon, and I was hoping I could get a little advice from all of you. One option that we have would be going to Bahrain for 24 months. To me, this seems like a HUGE decision! When we move, it will be with a (almost!) 3 month old. Now, I'm seeing some major pros (if we're in Bahrain he won't have to "deploy" ..it'll work like shore duty, just over there. And, our family will all be together for roughly the next 5 years... my hubby won't miss all of our daughter's firsts.) But, some major negatives (like being soooo far away from everyone we know, with an infant is pretty scary!) But, does anyone else have any other things that we should be looking at as we make this decision? I want to make sure we think about everything first. Thanks so much!
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Re: Choosing Orders. Overseas?

  • I will tell you this.  DH just turned down a very lucrative job offer in Bahrain becuase he would not take us there, PERIOD.  He has been stationed and TDYed enough in the middle east to know that it would never ever fly for DD and I.  

    Now, of they come back with a better leave benefit (right now it's just two 30 day paid vacations per year) we may revisit. 

    But we would never live there.   

    file:///Users/Ilumine/Desktop/Family%20Portrait%20for%20gift.jpg
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  • Just out of curiosity... even on base? And as a safety concern? Obviously the military isn't going to make it sound like its not safe for us to live on one of their bases. I'm so glad I asked and you answered!
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  • I like Bahrain.  I visited my husband for a week there in March.  I guess it was bad there a year ago, but has gotten better.  There are protests from time to time and I've heard DH complain of tear gasing around the airport (which isn't near base).  There's obviously a commissary and NEX on base, but Bahrain has any chain American restaurant that you'd want.  I'm not sure what housing is like, as we stayed off base.

    I found the people there to be nice and accommodating for the most part.  They'll mainly deal with your husband, which is nice because I didn't want to haggle at the Souq anyway.  The only thing that was really weird to me was when we were at the National Museum and reading a sign and some guy asked us to move so he could sweep the floor (and he wasn't overly polite about it). 

    I don't think there's a ton of stuff to do there, but for two years it wouldn't be bad. 

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  • imagejessilynnwilliams:
    Just out of curiosity... even on base? And as a safety concern? Obviously the military isn't going to make it sound like its not safe for us to live on one of their bases. I'm so glad I asked and you answered!

    If you only want to be on base.  Sure, women can drive and leave base by themselves, but Bahrain itself is so small, it takes 30 minutes to drive across.  And women cannot go outside of Bahrain by themselves.  And they sure as heck cannot drive.

    Women are still requited to be "presentable", ie long dresses and/or pants.  IN the heat.

    And if you are alone, you will be bothered.

    I hate being here in Germany ONLY because in the winter, there is not a whole lot to do. My  life revolves around bowling, Chuck E Cheese and the pool.  Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere?

    file:///Users/Ilumine/Desktop/Family%20Portrait%20for%20gift.jpg
  • imageIlumine:

    imagejessilynnwilliams:
    Just out of curiosity... even on base? And as a safety concern? Obviously the military isn't going to make it sound like its not safe for us to live on one of their bases. I'm so glad I asked and you answered!

    If you only want to be on base.  Sure, women can drive and leave base by themselves, but Bahrain itself is so small, it takes 30 minutes to drive across.  And women cannot go outside of Bahrain by themselves.  And they sure as heck cannot drive.

    Women are still requited to be "presentable", ie long dresses and/or pants.  IN the heat.

    And if you are alone, you will be bothered.

    This is not true.  I saw plenty of women driving in Bahrain.  I don't recall if I saw any driving alone, but I would see a few together and they would shop or have lunch together (there are a lot of awesome restaurants and shopping in Bahrain).  While Bahrain is small, traffic can be really bad.  People are also insane drivers there.

    Granted it was only 90, when I was there (it's currently 108), but the heat is dry, so it's more tolerable in my opinion.  I was fine not wearing shorts.  Muslim children are not held to the same modesty standards as adults, so kids can wear what they'd like.

    While gas is cheap, most other things are pretty expensive as 1 bahraini dinar is $2.66 usd.   

     

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  • imageIlumine:

    imagejessilynnwilliams:
    Just out of curiosity... even on base? And as a safety concern? Obviously the military isn't going to make it sound like its not safe for us to live on one of their bases. I'm so glad I asked and you answered!

    If you only want to be on base.  Sure, women can drive and leave base by themselves, but Bahrain itself is so small, it takes 30 minutes to drive across.  And women cannot go outside of Bahrain by themselves.  And they sure as heck cannot drive.

    Women are still requited to be "presentable", ie long dresses and/or pants.  IN the heat.

    And if you are alone, you will be bothered.

    I hate being here in Germany ONLY because in the winter, there is not a whole lot to do. My  life revolves around bowling, Chuck E Cheese and the pool.  Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere?

    I come from a tiny little farm town, so nothing to do doesn't scare me. LOL. I'm glad you pointed this out tho :) Like I said.... I want to throw all things into the mix to be considered! Thanks! 

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  • imageNavyPilotWife:
    imageIlumine:

    imagejessilynnwilliams:
    Just out of curiosity... even on base? And as a safety concern? Obviously the military isn't going to make it sound like its not safe for us to live on one of their bases. I'm so glad I asked and you answered!

    If you only want to be on base.  Sure, women can drive and leave base by themselves, but Bahrain itself is so small, it takes 30 minutes to drive across.  And women cannot go outside of Bahrain by themselves.  And they sure as heck cannot drive.

    Women are still requited to be "presentable", ie long dresses and/or pants.  IN the heat.

    And if you are alone, you will be bothered.

    This is not true.  I saw plenty of women driving in Bahrain.  I don't recall if I saw any driving alone, but I would see a few together and they would shop or have lunch together (there are a lot of awesome restaurants and shopping in Bahrain).  While Bahrain is small, traffic can be really bad.  People are also insane drivers there.

    Granted it was only 90, when I was there (it's currently 108), but the heat is dry, so it's more tolerable in my opinion.  I was fine not wearing shorts.  Muslim children are not held to the same modesty standards as adults, so kids can wear what they'd like.

    While gas is cheap, most other things are pretty expensive as 1 bahraini dinar is $2.66 usd.   

     

    Thanks for all the info! Glad to hear from someone who has been there! (And your museum experience sounds like mine at the Smithsonian in DC! lol. The US should really be glad I'm not writing a review based on my trip there!)

    I guess the heat is something you have to acclimate to. And, it's probably a good thing that I'm a fan of the flowy maxi skirts if this is the decision we make!  

    Thanks so much for your input! I really appreciate it! 

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  • imageIlumine:

    I hate being here in Germany ONLY because in the winter, there is not a whole lot to do. My  life revolves around bowling, Chuck E Cheese and the pool.  Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere?

    Germany is awesome!  was stationed there for 3 years and just came back to the states end of 2011.  There is a lot to do in Germany and the surrounding countries.  Being stationed in Europe would be tons better than the middle east.  

  • imagemom3boys2girls:
    imageIlumine:

    I hate being here in Germany ONLY because in the winter, there is not a whole lot to do. My  life revolves around bowling, Chuck E Cheese and the pool.  Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere?

    Germany is awesome!  was stationed there for 3 years and just came back to the states end of 2011.  There is a lot to do in Germany and the surrounding countries.  Being stationed in Europe would be tons better than the middle east.  

    Thanks for the input! I find it sort of funny that as an adult, everyone I talk to loves Germany. My cousin spend most of her childhood there (my uncle is army) and HATED it! So, I always had a bad impression. But since I've been hearing so many good things lately, it might be worth seeing if there's orders available there :) 

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  • It makes me sad when people get the chance to be stationed overseas and they say they HATE it. I get it that it can be lonely and depressing. We were stationed in England for 3 years. The weather is very depressing but how often do you get the chance to live in a foreign country on the goverments dime!!! TRAVEL people. See the world.

     As far as living in Bahrain, I think it would be a little nervewracking but again seize the opportunity!!!! You'll be in a new country and expierencing different things. Can't beat the Non-deployment status.

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  • imageF15Wife:

    It makes me sad when people get the chance to be stationed overseas and they say they HATE it. I get it that it can be lonely and depressing. We were stationed in England for 3 years. The weather is very depressing but how often do you get the chance to live in a foreign country on the goverments dime!!! TRAVEL people. See the world.

     As far as living in Bahrain, I think it would be a little nervewracking but again seize the opportunity!!!! You'll be in a new country and expierencing different things. Can't beat the Non-deployment status.

    Thanks! And so jealous you got to spend time in England! It's on my bucket list of places to visit! :)  

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  • My husband was stationed there for 2 years until about a year ago and I lived there with him.  

     I absolutely loved Bahrain....we got married the day before he left and I joined him a few months later.  I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything!   Of course, there were hard days but overall it was a WONDERFUL duty station.  

    We lived off base-in the community- in a very luxurious apartment on the 23rd floor of an ocean front building.  There is no family housing on base.

     You do have to be "presentable" while out in town, but I was able to wear modest tank tops and knee length shorts....There is a HUGE British population, so it is very westernized.  The guidelines describe being super modest, but in actuality as long as you aren't showing too much cleavage and your bra straps aren't hanging out, you should be fine.  It really depends on your comfort level.  You will get some stares/looks from men just because you look different.  

    There are plenty of activities to do in Bahrain....they have a 3 story mall with a waterpark built on the roof that is still relatively new.  They also have another water park about 20 minutes south of Manama (the main town) that is popular.  Like I said above, there is a huge British community present, so there are mother's groups and stay at home moms that get together on a regular basis-not to mention the military community and the activities on base.  If your budget allows, there are many families that make trips to Dubai at least once during the tour (it wasn't in our budget, but I loved hearing stories from friends).  If Dubai isn't your cup of tea, there is the Rotator that you can use to make hops to different locations in Europe.  

    We didn't have any kiddos while we were there, but I would go back with our baby in a heartbeat if it were available!

     If you have any questions about our experience, feel free to message me. 

  • Thank you sooo much for your reply! I am so happy to hear from someone who actually lived there! :) ...and I'm also very relieved to hear that the area isn't quite as strict as I had previously heard!

    As my husband and are weigh our options and discuss this, I'm sure we will have more questions! Thank you for all of your help already! :) 

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  • imagejessilynnwilliams:
    imagemom3boys2girls:
    imageIlumine:

    I hate being here in Germany ONLY because in the winter, there is not a whole lot to do. My  life revolves around bowling, Chuck E Cheese and the pool.  Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere?

    Germany is awesome!  was stationed there for 3 years and just came back to the states end of 2011.  There is a lot to do in Germany and the surrounding countries.  Being stationed in Europe would be tons better than the middle east.  

    Thanks for the input! I find it sort of funny that as an adult, everyone I talk to loves Germany. My cousin spend most of her childhood there (my uncle is army) and HATED it! So, I always had a bad impression. But since I've been hearing so many good things lately, it might be worth seeing if there's orders available there :) 

     

    That is interesting, as all of my children seemed to enjoy Germany and my older children keep telling me they wish they were still there. 

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