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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Ann Masur

Interview with Ann Overturf, Navy Wife & Mom of 8 (Part 2)

(Check out part one of the interview, if you missed it!)

Q: How did you help your children thrive in a new place?

A: Every move was like a giant field trip. We read about the area prior to moving and once there explored everything we could. We packed lots of picnic lunches, enjoyed park days, sightseeing, hiking, and even windshield tours. Moving is enriching and broadens one’s horizons. It’s a great education!

It was always fun to meet the local families. When we lived on Okinawa, two Japanese ladies came twice a week and took our garbage cans from the side of our house to the street for pickup. Being warm most of the year, one of our daughters began taking cold water to them. As time went on, they began to bring candy to the kids. We followed with homemade cookies. This went on for the duration of our tour, and we became friends with them. Q: What is your best bit of advice for making friends when you move a lot? What about those who moved during the COVID restrictions--any tips for nurturing friendships that don't involve Zoom or Facetime, haha?!

A: Friendships aren’t automatic, they are built. It takes time and effort. Inviting other moms to get together for a play date, inviting families for dinner, getting together for coffee open the door. With Covid restrictions that is much more difficult. I have met some of our neighbors this past year while out walking. The more we pass each other, the more we talk and have even made plans to get together.

Q: Any funny stories about misunderstandings or cultural faux pas you can tell us about?

A: When we arrived in one new location, it was not at all what I was expecting. In fact, if I could have, I would have left immediately. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and I was still not feeling it! Ten months after arriving, I was sharing my grief with someone who had moved to the area a few years before. They said to me, “If you’ll just loosen your heartstrings, you’ll fall in love with the people here.” So I did, and that’s exactly what happened! To this day, it’s our favorite location out of all the places we’ve lived.

Q: Final words on making a home in the faraway...

A: Moving to a new location can be hard, unsettling, lonely…for a time. But there’s so much to see and learn and do. It requires research. And time. And probably some expense. But the memories made last a lifetime!

After all these years, I am convinced it is the mother’s attitude that sets the tone for the family. Pray, be patient, embrace where you are, find joy in the little things. What it really comes down to is time spent together. And that’s what your children want.

We have lived, as a family of nine at the time, in a simple 1100 sf townhouse with concrete walls and floors, in substandard housing slated to be gutted as soon as we moved out, in a beautiful, large historic home overlooking a bay off the Puget Sound, and everything in between. It's not the dwelling or the furnishings that make a house a home, but the memories made there, the people who sit around the table, the simple pleasures, simple beauty, and time spent together no matter where you are.

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I’m Audrey Ann—a writer who treasures the gift of travel, and I’m a mama who endeavors to love where I live one playdate, grocery trip, and sunset at a time. An island girl with heartland roots, I currently live in the Cotswolds of the United Kingdom. 

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