After a whirlwind month(+) of waiting for our command sponsorship (CSP) to come through, we finally received word last Thursday that we’ve been approved for an accompanied tour to South Korea with Ryan. For those unfamiliar with the military, this is big. If our command sponsorship was denied, our PCS to South Korea would’ve been switched to a one-year unaccompanied tour for Ryan, alone. Thankfully though, we’ve been approved to go as a family, and we finally have our OCONUS PCS timeline in hand. It’s chaos, but it’s a good kind of chaos.
Our OCONUS PCS Timeline
Usually we spend our weekends adventuring, or hiking, or exploring, but since our CSP came through late last week, we knew we needed to pummel through some of the more pressing matters – namely scheduling. With an OCONUS move, we are entitled three separating moving pack-outs. This includes the following:
- Long-term storage: this is the stuff we will not be taking with us to South Korea for the next three years
- Unaccompanied baggage: these are the items we’ll need the fastest after quarantine to start getting settled
- Household goods: essentially, this is all the furniture and belongings that will make our Korean house a home – it will also arrive last
Ryan spent most of Friday arranging dates for all of these pack-outs, as well as arranging our actual travel to South Korea. I spent a good bit of Saturday attaching our pets to our travel plans so that they can come with us on the same flight. There are a lot of moving pieces and parts to an OCONUS PCS, and I’m so grateful to have friends who’ve done it before so that I can pick their brains and plan accordingly! Right now, our timeline looks kind of like this…
- Long-term storage: 5/12
- Unaccompanied baggage: 5/19
- Household goods: 5/28 – 6/7 – for this one, they don’t actually give you a specific date. They give you a range, and then they call and schedule the actual date as you get closer in. So, basically, we have to be prepared in that window.
Frequently Asked Questions About An OCONUS PCS
We’ve had a lot of questions about our move and all the details surrounding it. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said it was all set in stone, cut and dried, and ready to go. Rather than individually addressing each one though, I figured I’d answer some of those here.
1. Do you have to quarantine in South Korea?
Yes. Right now, the Republic of Korea (ROK) requires a 15-day quarantine whether you are fully-vaccinated or not. Camp Humphreys abides by the governing rules of its host country – ROK – and, therefore, we will be required to quarantine as a family.
2. Will you quarantine in a hotel?
Nope. Camp Humphreys conducts its quarantines in barracks. Families receive a quarantine barrack that’s sort of like two adjoining rooms with a kitchenette. It should be super fun. Our goal is to make it through alive.
3. Where are you going to live?
We don’t know! We can’t actually arrange housing until after quarantine. After we finish our 15-day quarantine, Camp Humphreys will tell us whether there is housing available on post. If there is, we are required to live on post. If there isn’t, we are allowed to live off post. Our hope is to live off post, so we’re crossing our fingers!
4. Will the kids go to American school?
We’ve decided that, once we know where we’re going to live, we will enroll the boys into Korean elementary school. It’s our hope that, by doing so, our boys will better assimilate and adapt to Korean culture, which will be our way of life for the next few years. Likewise, Mieke will be enrolled into a Korean preschool.
5. Will you continue to work?
I actually lost my full-time job during the COVID lockdowns last year. While I started working for another company full-time this past fall, I couldn’t maintain the rigorous demands of the work with this upcoming move, so I transitioned back to full-time freelance. Right now, I intend to continue freelancing and, hopefully, growing in my photography.
Our OCONUS PCS timeline is finally falling into place, and it’s both exciting and a little nerve wracking. We leave the US the last week(ish) of June, so we’re getting into crunch time, and it’s definitely getting really real. We’re excited though, and we’re hopeful that things will continue to start moving along.
Tell me – do you have any questions about our PCS?