Chapters, My

8 10 2013

I’ve noticed in my nearly 30 years on this earth that our lives are made up of chapters, much like a book.

For most of us, it is outlined by major events in our lives.  For the military folk it is broken into their tours, as one tour ends, so begins a new phase in their lives.

I would say that I have had the usual ups and downs and life events in each chapter of my life.  High school and into the Navy was the first chapter, the longest, and maybe one of the most important.  It made me who I am today, and it is what shaped my values and codes.  However, the events since then have transformed me into so much more.

When I joined the Navy I was a completely different person.  I think I had always sought that structure in life, everything having a place and a recognized order.  This is what the Navy provided.  After boot camp, where I learned to just keep your mouth shut and follow directions…sometimes blindly, I went to school in Florida.  This is where I continued to learn how to not always speak my mind while I sometimes learned the hard way and rarely saw the “bigger picture” that everyone always talked about.  I just thought the military would be a four year job, and I could learn about myself, and start my college fund.  This is what I kept in mind for four years.  When I arrived in Hawaii to my first duty station, I was picked up for ceremonial guard where I performed in several burials and retirements.  This is where my sense of history and heritage began, meeting all kinds of people, all with individual stories and deep respect for what the Navy had provided them.  After a few months I headed up to my actual job.  It was not what I had hoped for, and did not prove to be as rewarding as I had hoped.  I was junior ranking, and I was so hungry for responsibility and the chance to lead people that I became discontented with my position and people telling me that some goals were just not possible.  I had some terrible leadership, and it is from them that I learned what not to do with my future Sailors.  I made a few long-lasting friends and got to explore Hawaii’s islands and also see Japan and the Philippines.

My second tour brought me to the middle east; the tiny island of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf.  Yes, I actually had to google the place before agreeing to take on the orders.  Here I had an extremely rewarding tour and learned many leadership traits from several leaders who were in and out of the command, as it was a one year billet.  Although we worked our asses off and had many a 16-18 hour day, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.  The work we put in was worth the dividends…but I did learn that when accepting high stress billets you need to be prepared.  I also learned how to live alone and depend on myself, so I came out much stronger on the other end.  I had time to start blogging and also get into fitness. For my next duty station, I knew it had to be a ship, in order to ensure my transition into the next higher paygrade, and also broaden my experience.

My most recent chapter brought me to the mighty sea….where Sailors belong, right?  My very first PCS tour afloat.  By far this has been the most rewarding tour yet.  I have learned so much from my chain of command as they have supported me in every move and decision I have made.  I have found my place in the Navy and they have empowered me to move forward with my career, which is what I will pass on to my Sailors.  The feeling I had when I was in Hawaii and I wanted so much to be the one making things happen and having those Sailors in my charge depending me was finally here.  It is unfortunate, but in the military you have to attain a certain rank to be put into positions of leadership.  Maybe I wasn’t ready in Hawaii, who knows, but I was  able to grow into the shoes that my previous mentors had left for me.

Through my travels in the Navy I have tried to date but never really made it work…some of the relationships bled over from one chapter to the next, but I could never force myself to choose my personal life over the military.  Which sounds pretty sad when saying it out loud.  Many a person has asked me what will be there for me after the Navy……the military or my family?  We all know the answer, however the military has yet to let me down as some of the men boys I have encountered….whether by simple incompatibly or pure self destruction.  Maybe the next chapter in my life will bring prince charming but for now I will stick with my Navy life and travels.  I am definitely open to any suitor that can handle this!

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WTF Weds: Ed 005 GABC…du hasst mich?

2 02 2011

I am currently drowning in a figurative sea of loneliness.

Soooo there I was, happily walking my ass over to the commissary to pick up a lovely dinner by way of cold-cut sub, Lays cheddar crisps, and nectarines. You see, there are very few things I would go as far to say that I “love” or “need” here in this island Kingdom. The commissary deli is one of them. They are the source of at least 7 meals a week for me. The deli here makes the most delectable sammiches. (Although, I must say it is in no way shape or form comparative to Junior’s General store sammies–those are created with love, sweat, and tears-minus the sweat/tears part) Okay, so there I was rolling up on the deli counter, and there appeared to be a white plastic draped across all of the shelves/display cases…so as to appear as though they were closed. As I got even closer, I noticed a small little sign that said “Great American Bagel Company coming soon!” Uh, WHAT THE FUCK. Seriously? No notice, no “oh, by the way”, no….mention of our beloved deli being replaced bo GABC?? Suddenly, my whole world had changed. I stood there for a few moments in disbelief. Made my way around to the side of the display case where I could see into the shelves. Empty. I’m not talkin no one-or-two shelf display of assored meats ripe for the slicing. No, this is about four glass cases, stacked deep, three shelves high of any kind of deli meat that you could dream of. I think they had about 9 kinds of ham. Now, in a country that doesn’t allow pork, that’s beyond amazing. Now, instead of my mouth watering at the sight of those deli cases, as it has since my very first trip there, it was filled with a bad taste and disgust. I can’t believe they would just shut it down.

I had to get to the bottom of this.

After I meandered around the commissary, up and down every aisle (which I normally do not allow myself this luxury, as I tend to have a sticky finger and empty stomach here and there and somehow my cart is filled with items of unneeded randomness)…I ventured over to my produce man. He has also been kind to me through the years. We are buddies, you could say. Though he only knows a very few select words in english, we do seem to communicate quite well with hand gestures, facial expressions, and lots of invisible question marks above our heads. He knows just what I want when I am over there (just how the deli men knew just what I wanted before I even got up to the glass case filled with meats-galore..and they had it prepared for me before I could open my mouth to say- turkey, lettuce, guacamole on wheat please!). Back to produce- he would bag grapes, nectarines, or bananas for me. I’m a pretty simple gal. But he encourages me from time to time to try new things. He’ll suggest perhaps a fresh mango from Thailand, or a new type of tomato they got from India. He’s a good produce man. ANYHOW, on this particular eve I was torn between nectarines and some fresh-looking apples. I got both and meandered over to the scale so he could bag em up for me. And I inquired about the deli. He relayed that they had closed down the day before without ANY notice to anyone..and that the GABC will be opening there in two days. (Or at least this was the gist that I got from his partial english and disappointed facial expressions.) Ugh! Then he said that the workers will no longer be on base working there or anywhere. Super sad since they were very good at their job, and they seemed to really enjoy conversing with us service folks. I mean, I could think of better things I would like to be doing than slicing meat, but they seemed to legitimately enjoy it. And always with a smile on their faces. I ushered a thank-you, and headed to the register…after picking up a few more items that I did not need nor did they match with anything that was already in my basket… hoping one of these items would give me a warm heart. I knew there was more to the story and I was going to find out what really happened. Eventually word gets around and everyone and their mother knows the real story..or the pseudo-RUMINT (rumor intelligence) story.

SO, I head back up to work and begin unloading my various edibles and sundries.  I see one of my supervisors from over the cubicle and mention the fact the deli was closed. He was as taken back as I was, though he eats there much less. It is a huge money-maker for the commissary, nearly ever day there is a line with several people winding clear past the bookstands. He said that they have just recently began to get tested by the FDA-esque people here on base. I guess medical has called in specialists to go around base and ensure that the food-places are doing their jobs with sanitizing and cleanliness. After failing said test, they have decided to close down the deli. Now, I would really like to believe this, but as paranoid as people are, I really doubt that it’s a deli with cold cuts that make you sick around here. It is 99% more likely that it is these nasty people who don’t wash their hands afer the bathroom, that don’t clean themselves after touching various door handles and objects around base. And then they touch their face, somewhere on their body, desks, other people, and then they eat with those grubby fingers..close to their mouth. Ugh, just gross. And our dear deli gets the blame. After nearly two years here I have yet to trace an illness back to the deli at the commissary. Sad. Just sad.

Goodbye little deli men, goodbye yummy sandwiches. I will miss you always.

A note to the noobies: GABC, you better come in with guns blazin, and some damn good sammies if you want my support.