Anyone who's ever driven onto a military base will tell you one thing about all of the buildings - they look the same. Same colors. Same shapes. No flair. All uniform, including the base housing.
As a military brat, I've lived in a lot of base housing throughout the years. My favorite has to be the house my family lived in on Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, LA. It was old-school Southern style with hard wood floors and beautiful windows. Completely unlike regular military housing.
The runner up for me has to be the tower I lived in while my family was station at Yokota AFB in Japan. The building was on rollers and could withstand the sways that the earthquake tremors would bring to it, keeping its residents safe. That building protected my family many a time, and I would be thankful for it every time I woke up on the floor (instead of my bed) after a shake in the middle of the night. I awoke knowing it kept my family safe.
When you live on base you live next to other military members. You don't have any neighbors that are unfamiliar or come from different walks of life. Everyone is the same. Each morning they all wake up and put on a uniform and go defend our nation.
With that said, my family has chosen to live off base a few times in my father's career. The option to be able to pick a place that you actually want to live has always been an appeal to my Mom and it's always exciting to live next to non-military families.
As I've mentioned before, my folks are stationed in the great sunny state of Florida. Their off base housing allowance is decent and with all three kids out of the house my parents decided to rent a townhouse in a sweet community in Tampa Bay. I visit as often as I can and I have to say that it is one of the coolest casas my parents have ever had - the location, the community, the water!
As if living off base isn't a treat enough, my parents community is quite popular with the celebrity crowd. Several members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team live there, and a famous author who shall remain nameless.
With Tampa being the host city for the Super Bowl this year, other celebrities have set their sights on the community as well. For a few months now a hip-hop mogul has been interested in hosting his Super Bowl bash at the community's club. And just this week the famous American Idol superstar who is in charge of belting out the National Anthem at the big game temporarily moved in across the street from my folks.
Each time I get a celebrity update from my parents, I have to laugh. We're just a military family. And this would never happen on base. My parents really have the most interesting neighbors and the best part of it is, they don't even care.