A heartfelt PCS farewell to England

Pond of the Hyde Park, one of the largest parks in London | Photo by Anton Ivanov via 123RF
Pond of the Hyde Park, one of the largest parks in London | Photo by Anton Ivanov via 123RF

A heartfelt PCS farewell to England

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

My dearest England,

For an assignment that came out of nowhere, you have turned out to be one of my absolute favorites. Admittedly, when our assignment to Germany was unexpectedly cut short by a year, we were a bit disappointed. After hurriedly going through the usual PCS motions, you greeted us with the typical English weather—gray clouds and very un-summerlike temperatures for the middle of June. We hoped this not-so-warm welcome wouldn’t be a barometer of the years to come. Thankfully, we were right. As we embark on our return to the States in a few weeks, reflecting on the past four years makes this usually level-headed writer feel pretty darn emotional.

During the summer months, I loved taking advantage of the vast amount of parks and outdoor spots. Once, we walked almost 10 miles through the different parks in London. Although we were in such a busy city, it felt as though we were surrounded by nothing but serene beauty and vibrant gardens. Traversing through the rolling hills of the countryside always reminded me of my hometown in northern California, which is one reason I felt so at home here. While not quite as glamorous as the beaches of Italy or Spain, your windswept, golden shores provided an escape from the ordinary for the day.

And your food—oh, heavens how thankful I was to have my friends wrong for a change! The bland, mushy vegetables and mysterious meat roasts are a thing of the past. While I’ve never been able to adapt to the flavor of curry, the incredible variety of spicy Indian and Asian-inspired cuisine is simply amazing. Those who complain of a lack of spice have clearly never been to Nando’s. The delicious South African-Portuguese grilled peri-peri chicken graced our dinner table almost every week. Thankfully, one of the few stateside Nando’s locations is within walking distance of our new house.

As with any of us stationed in Europe over the past year, the various COVID-19 lockdown measures thwarted a good majority of our travel plans. We experienced three trips over the past 15 months and are slowly easing back into the new normal. We were more fortunate than many, both with our health and having done a good majority of travel when we lived in Germany. But seeing the country rally together for the National Healthcare System (NHS) and get creative during lockdowns to help ease the burden was something I won’t soon forget. In addition, the strong spirit, hilarious sense of humor and kindness of the local residents is both admirable and inspiring.

Over the past four years, we have resided in this beautiful country. While we were at one of the small bases (RAF Alconbury), the sense of community was immense. Local villages have embraced the American presence and warmly welcomed us. Lifelong friends were made, and we had experiences I never imagined possible. You were my haven, my joy and most importantly, my home. Cheers to you and all the memories you helped shape.

Kindest regards,

A writer who was lucky to live here

Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Related Content

Recommended Content