Tag Archives: military

Counting Days

Well, I had a nice post written. Then my computer had a heart attack and for some reason WordPress hadn’t autosaved like it usually does. So the SparkNotes version:

My husband is coming to Korea!!!

I’ve been busy with unit stuff.

I went to the DMZ, to Osan, and to a wildlife park not too far from here.

Did I mention MY HUSBAND’S COMING???!?!? ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

New Places

Well, Korea so far has been…interesting. Pretty much nothing is what I expected, least of all my unit and the job I’m doing. So much for being a medic, let’s go work in the S1 shop! Whoohoo. But, I like most of the people in my unit, and it’s pretty relaxed. It’s awesome to NOT be with a bunch of fresh-out-of-high-school kids (I’m one of the youngest).

My husband is still in the US. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Trying to get the paperwork done for him to come here is like pulling teeth. The VA is less than helpful, on just about anything, it would seem.

I haven’t done a whole lot in Korea. Went downtown a bit, tried some amazing Korean BBQ, went up north to Camp Casey with a girl from my unit to visit her husband…it’s really different, which of course was expected, I just didn’t expect to be so homesick for little things.

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First look at Seoul…

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Spring here was beautiful. Little random gardens are everywhere.

072 075 077This was the restaurant sign. I still can’t quite understand how they think seeing the animals the meat you’re about to eat came from is appetizing…but the food is delicious anyway!

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We went to a ziplining course, that had this beautiful garden. It was huge.

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Ginkgo tree? I think?

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I’m not sure what this is called, besides a pork loin…but it was fabulous. I love how pretty they made it. I didn’t eat the flowers though. ๐Ÿ˜›

Stronger Together

It’s funny how life doesn’t work out how you planned, sometimes. Or in my case, like ever.

A few years ago, I was newly separated from my then-husband, recovering from a relationship that had turned negative and poisonous. I was determined to take some time to pursue my own life, to be me and not be ashamed of who I was โ€“ be that my body, my personality, or my achievements. That required starting at pretty much ground level. Ground level if an improvement when you’ve been sunk in a pit, you know?

I lived with my best friend for awhile, while I tried to get financially on my feet enough to get my own place. Somehow during that time, a guy I had known from work became what I thought was my summer fling. He was fun, he had a boat and a truck, and the sparks flew. He knew I was planning to join the military and we both agreed our relationship was just for fun and companionship. He had spent 9 years in the infantry; he knew exactly what was going to happen if I did sign up. We were just enjoying each other until life took us our separate ways.

Best laid plans of mice and men.

It took quite awhile for me to stop hemming and hawing and get all the papers signed, but it was almost time for me to leave. We talked a lot. I won’t go all mushy on you. Long story short, we decided we had something special, something worth working and waiting for, and we decided to stay together. When I graduated AIT, then we’d decide where our relationship was going to go from there. He came with me to see my parents that Christmas. They loved him. My dad loved that he could talk military stuff with him. My mom loved that he would talk to her, period. My 14 year old brother thought he was the best thing since sliced bread because obviously infantry = badass. They all loved that he treated me with respect, that he worked hard, and that I was so happy.

I went off to basic training, and things went to hell in a handbasket (as detailed in this post). At least with the military. I really seriously considered going home, and our relationship was one of the reasons both that I wanted to go home, and that I eventually stayed. I wanted SO BAD to be back home with him. Back where I felt safe, and loved, and comfortable. At the same time I had to be true to myself. I’d turned my back on myself for a guy once and swore I’d never do it again. Yes, relationships require sacrifice, but that has to be balanced with being true to yourself. I learned this the hard way. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to fully love someone else. So this was what I felt I had to do, this is where I was supposed to be, even if it was so hard some days I thought it would kill me. If our relationship couldn’t survive this, than it wasn’t what I – what we – thought it was.

When I came home on convalescent leave I was really worried how things were going to go between us, but it was like I’d never left. He’d taken care of everything while I was away, even my crazy (really crazy) cat. He had taken care of ME, even though I was over 1,000 miles away. He’d talked to my family. He’d written me letters. Even when I couldn’t talk to him for weeks at a time and he had no idea when I was next going to call, he never once missed a phone call. My cat was fat and happy. All was right in my world. Amazingly. Blissfully. We talked. A lot. Decided we were in this for the long haul. So at the end of my 28 days I went back to finish training. Came home for Christmas. Finished AIT.

And 2 weeks ago, we got married. Now I’m in Korea. Hopefully he’ll get to come join me before too long, if all the paperwork gets approved. If it doesn’t, I’ll get 30 days of leave in about November and then come back to finish out my year here. We’ve been apart a LONG time. I miss him like crazy. But we’re in this together and every time something gets thrown at us, we get stronger. Sure it hurts. But he’s worth it. We’re worth it. I love him so much and can’t wait to make our home together, wherever that ends up being.

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Army Strong.

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Almost There

Just a few more weeks and we’ll be finished, and I’ll be going home for a few days and then on my way to my new duty station!

Things started moving very quickly the past couple weeks, and I’ve had a lot to do…lots of things to finish here (passed all my exams, yaaaay) and lots of things to try to plan for on the homefront. More posts later, probably AFTER our time in the field.

Oh yeah, the field. Whoohoo. Last hurdle to graduation though! I’ll be so glad when this is all over.

The Struggle

Is real.

It’s compounding physical on top of mental now. Which is supposed to happen. I just feel this constant looming dread of going to my duty station and being so far away from my family. No, it’s not a deployment. But by the timeย  I finally get back to them, it will have been over 2 years since we’ve lived together as a family.

I don’t know how to describe the way I feel except dark. Just dark. I’ll graduate, I’ll make it. But for what? I don’t give 2 cents about experiencing another country if I can’t do it with the people I love. I guess that’s the wrong attitude but I really just don’t. Someone asked me the other day what I’m going to do while I’m there if I don’t go out and party and have fun. I told themย  I’d probably work as much as I can and just stay in my barracks room the rest of the time. I guess I need to pull my head out of my fourth point of contact but at this point I don’t even know how.

My paratrooper other half says you have to learn to turn the feelings off. That you have to know that you miss the ones you love, without feeling it. I guess I can see the wisdom in that, but I don’t know how to not feel something. It hurts. I miss him, I miss all of them. I don’t understand why things fell out this way and I desperately want to change it but there’s not a damn thing I can do.

No One Ever Drowned in Sweat

GodoPT

That’s what I keep telling myself. Every morning, when I drag myself out of bed at 0400 to go kill myself running, or with squats or some other form of physical torture.

The army is obsessed with PT. Especially running. Apparently I’m the only person that was unaware of this, but I got a hell of a rude awakening when I got to Basic last January. Even before the knee injury I struggled with PT. The only thing I was even halfway good at was situps. When I got to Basic, there was no flipping way I could’ve passed the PT test, even as low as the standards are for Basic and for women my age.

I’ve never been very physically active. At least not by army standards. Sure I like to hike and bike, stuff like that, but run? No, thank you, move along. I despise running. Still. And now especially because afterwards my knee hurts like hell for the rest of the day. By the end of the week, just the thought of running is almost enough to put me in tears. But I’ve learned a few things about PT, and about myself.

  • Just because my best isn’t as good as someone else’s best doesn’t de-value my best. I watch guys fly by me like I’m moving backwards every run, and they’re not even breathing hard. Meanwhile I’m dying, gasping for breath, feeling dizzy and heaving by the time the run is over. Sure, it’s embarrassing. But guess what? I gave my all, my 110%. Some of them weren’t even giving 75%.
  • Not quitting will get you further than you can imagine. I want to quit every single time. I want to stop when it starts to burn, when I feel like either my lungs or my knee are going to give out. But I keep pushing. It’s only an hour, I always tell myself. It sucks, but it can only suck for a certain amount of time, because we have too much other stuff to do today for the sergeants to keep us out here any longer. I keep going, even when I’m barely moving and my muscles are giving out. And surprise, surprise…I’ve gotten stronger.
  • You do get stronger. Sometimes, like when I compare myself to the 300+ PT scorers, I feel like I will never get any better and that a 300 is out of my reach. But then I have to remind myself of where I was in the beginning. And that I’ve already passed the PT test. Improvement is always something to strive for, but right now I have to be content with the last score and just keep pushing.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get STRONGER.

Army Strong.

Army Medicine Museum

Right after we started classes, we had a “mandatory fun” day of visiting the Army Medicine Museum here on Ft. Sam. There was of course much whining and complaining (and unfortunately, the very well-informed gentleman that gave us our tour sort of epitomized the reason people hate museums with his looooong drawn out explanations), but it was actually pretty cool to see. I took a bunch of pictures, and I’m excited to have some to share since usually I can’t post pics of anything here. Sorry for all the glare on some of the pics, all I have is my iPhone! I’m having some trouble with the editor here, so sadly you’ll have to do without captions. Most of them are pretty self explanatory though, I think.

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Just Keep Swimming…

Have we really only been back for two and a half weeks? It feels like forever ago already. Like I’ve already said, they keep us super busy.

The Monday after we got back, we had the mass drug test everyone was waiting for. Hello, 3:00 a.m. wakeup. Then we sat around for hours waiting for all 300 of us to go pee. Which, if you were like me and decided NOT to go when you first got up, meant you were in agony by the time 9:00 a.m. rolled around and it still wasn’t your turn. Lesson learned. Haha.

Then we jumped right back into EMT classes and have been going strong ever since. This is speed learning at it’s finest. We’re halfway through the standard, civilian EMT class, which means that we also certified in CPR (that was last week). I’ve been certified for about the past 6 years, but I swear every time I go through the class they’ve changed something. So that was good, and it was really nice to have a couple days of information that was pretty much all review for me. Time to breathe!

Also, unknown to most of us, this course has one of the highest wash-out rates in the army (aside from all the special forces/ranger/that kind of stuff). They give you more than one chance to make it through, but at this point it looks like about a quarter of my original company will be academically recycled. That’s a pretty sobering reality. I think a lot of people didn’t realize just how serious they were about it until our last test, which was yesterday. And suddenly it was very, very real. For those with a GPA high enough – 65-70% – they will just be put into the next company to start 68W training. For anyone with a GPA below 65% – they’ll be kissing 68W goodbye and praying the army has another job for them.

A lot of the people leaving us are good soldiers, they just struggle academically. I’m sorry to see them go but I’m glad a lot of them are getting a second chance. My roomie is one of them and I’m going to miss her a lot! We’ll still live in the same building but it’s not the same.

We have a 3-day weekend this weekend, and for everyone that passed the PT test, is doing well in class, and doesn’t have any negative counselings (i.e., you haven’t been late for formation, brought your cell phone to class, left your room unsecured, stuff like that), we get an on-post pass. Which is awesome, except I swear there’s only like 50 people out of the whole company who aren’t disqualified by one of those 3 standards. Somehow I made the cut, so I’m gonna go find me a new pair of boots this weekend! These standard-issue ones have killed my feet every since I first got them (a year ago now, holy crap). So it’s about time!

Instincts

There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds. Ignore the complications and just go for it. ~ Judith McNaught

This quote was written in Sharpie on the back wall of a locker I used for a little while at Ft. Sill. Written above a beautiful stylized drawing of a tree (nevermind that it was, if very pretty, destruction/defacing of government property and all that…it was much better than the 6-foot long penis we found drawn on the underside of a bunk one time), I first saw it at a time I really needed to be reminded that I was in the right place, no matter how hard things were. I scribbled the quote down in my notebook and forgot about it until I was cleaning out a bag of random stuff a few days ago. I’d also never heard of Judith McNaught. Turns out she’s a modern romance author. Not the first person I’d go to for quotes, but that was very inspiring. There are still many days when I have to remind myself that I followed my heart here. It’s a struggle, it’s difficult, and sometimes still I want to just throw in the towel – but this is where I’m supposed to be.