Check, check, check
I remember when we walked into our house for the first time on that sunny evening in August and foods that were basic and familiar in almost every sense were alien in their names. I had spent a year learning the language, and while I knew the meaning of the words, this was the first time I had seen actual Estonian (singular nominative, natch) on something I knew as butter, milk, bread.
When you PCS, kids or pets or both or nothing in tow, you arrive in a place that is foreign and instantly home and new and familiar and exhausting and comforting all at once. You have known for at least a year--sometimes two or three--that this is your destination, that this isn't a two week package tour or a visit to an old college friend. This is home and it was always going to be, long before you even arrived.
You've probably seen pictures of your housing, or at least heard about it, and unless it's your first tour you can be damn sure you've already seen the furniture. And while you hate the Great Aunt Gertrude gold brocade, it's familiar. You see it and you think...here we go again.
But it's the food that makes you feel like the alien you are, homesick for familiar packaging and ingredients. Butter is butter is butter in most developed nations. Unless it's või or חמאה or a word you can't read but a picture that inexplicably connotes "butter." Maybe it's the obvious--a cow--or the less obvious--a field of flowers or a windmill--but you just know it's butter. And you know that this is what butter will look like, and this is what you will call it, and that in a few years, after you pull your welcome kit back out to sleep on papery sheets awaiting that final PCS flight out, you will stop looking for või and, in all likelihood, you will never look for it again.