Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It's been about 10 days since my last post. If I can't do better than 10 days then I'm just being lazy, no matter how busy I claim to be. I not only have a lot of catching up to do on here but I haven't done to great of a job calling people on the phone either. Here's what you need to do if you want to talk to me... Tell me to get my butt up early in the morning before the patrols go out and call you. If I get up at 0500 here then its 2130 your time. Thats usually a decent hour to call people, unless you are my mom :) Speaking of my mom, last time I talked to her (finally) she had just recovered from a tragic night being stuck out on a boat. She has always told me to watch the tides so I don't get stranded out there on the sand bars and what does she do? Gets stuck out there on a sand bar... with three other "responsible" adults. I wish Sammy and I had this gouge on our mothers when they didn't want us to take off on Mo-peds in the Cayman Islands. Though, we ended up doing that anyway.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Something interesting actually happened last night. The fact that this is interesting just goes to show how lame this place is. I really feel like I am sitting in 29 Palms just watching everyone else build roads and waiting to do something important. All that to say, here it goes. I was in the middle of watching The Modern Family and the dad decided to cool things off by going and getting pizza. This of course got me thinking of eating pizza back in Hawaii. Bob's Pizzeria is quite a find over there in Kailua. I meant to get it the day before I left and pack a few slices away for the trip. That didn't happen. It's okay, next time I will spend my time more wisely so I can better spoil myself before I leave. (I mean, I'm never going to deploy again Julia, so I take back that last sentence.)
Oh right… pizza. Its nearing dinner time, around 1830 so I take off my headphones to ask if there is anywhere we can get pizza, knowing it probably wouldn't happen. At just that moment, a few Staff Sergeants were talking about some pizza they ate for lunch! WHAT? WHERE??? I mean, I'm an officer, I can't sound too excited about this, lets try again. Where did you guys find pizza? It turns out there is another smaller base right across the way that has a nicer PX and better places to eat. Leave it to our Staff NCO's to find it. Another one of those little things that makes the Marine Corps great.
The directions to get there seem easy enough. Take the "black line" to camp "Bastone" and order a pizza with wings. But again, if you know anything about the Marine Corps, leave it to the Lieutenants to get lost. Not the stereotypical lost in the woods kind of lost. Because honestly, I know I can find my way around with a map and compass better than most. This is the kind of lost that Junior Officers get in when they try to make quick decisions and just go for it. Well, after waiting for this mysterious "black line" bus for 45 minutes, Lt Ealy decided to lie to us and tell us the bus to the flight line will take us to the same place. So, we all hop on. Now, I am not above asking people for directions if I don't know where I am going. Julia might disagree, but usually I know where I am going with her ;), so I don't ask. In this case, I welcomed the idea of asking how to find Pizza Hut, the problem is the only words the driver knew in English were: "no" "flight-line" and "other bus." So we decided yes we will take this bus to the flight line because there is no other bus.
After arriving at the flight-line and mentioning the word 'pizza' to a pilot we were just talking to, he stops us… pizza? Hahahaha he laughs out-loud. Turns out we should have waited for the "black line" back at the other stop. The black line takes you to Camp Bashtun (not sure how to spell it because we never made it there, point is, its not Bastone) And get this, the flight line is not a block away. Its a good 15-20 minute drive. By this point it is 2030 and we are starving. Oh, I just realized you all don't even know who we is. It was myself, Lt Meek and Lt Ealy. I am one of those people that will continue down a path that looks hopeless simply because I spent so much time waiting, ill just keep being miserable until i get what I want. These other two guys are the kind that abandon ship when they are hungry and will take a stale sandwich over trying to find this pizza place. Here I was hoping for a hot pizza and wings and I end up back at square one. I would have been more excited about eating at Camp Leatherneck but after 2030 they stop serving hot chow and they just have bread thats been sitting out all day and sandwich meat thats been sitting out all week. They overrule me and we head back to Camp Leatherneck to get a sandwich for dinner. We finally get some food in us around 2115. Which stinks because I had planned on being back around 2000 so I could call Julia and catch her on her lunch break. Oh well…
So thats it. For those of you worried about me over here… save it. That is about as crazy as it gets here. At least where I am now. We are going to try again today to find that pizza place. That was the deal I made with them. If we give up, we try again tomorrow. We did have a very interesting discussion over the failed 3 hour dinner adventure. We talked about the Marine Corps. Its purpose. What we are doing and what we should be doing. The gist of it is that we are fighting right now as a medium sized expeditionary force as opposed to a lightweight amphibious force (which is what the Marines are traditionally supposed to do). The Marine Corps has spent a lot of money making us this medium sized expeditionary force. Why? Probably because for the past 10 years the fight has been inland and the nation has called us to occupy when the Army needed help. To me, occupancy is for the Army alone. That's why they are bigger and its what makes them slower. The Marines should go in, hit em hard, and get out. If the US wants to occupy and stabilize or whatever else, don't make us do it. Remember, this is just my opinion, no one go quoting me as a spokesman for the Corps.
[A few hours later] Random Thought: I've stopped drinking carbonated beverages. I hear deployment is not the time to try and break habits BUT i figure there may be a lack of soda so the temptation wont be as strong. I'm going on one and a half days now. I almost forgot at lunch today and had to give back the Sprite. Yes, lunch. We made it to pizza today and it was FANTASTIC. I got a Hawaiian (naturally) because its the most healthy pizza out there ;) Except instead of ham they put pepperoni. Last night we were actually at the wrong bus stop. No black line stops there. This time we went to the right one and on the walk to it the bus was driving by to I stepped out in front of it to stop it. They drive slow so it wasn't dangerous. Though, it is likely the most dangerous thing I have done since I've been here haha. Sorry elementary school teacher, I walked out in traffic. Oh and the camp is called Camp Bastion. That was exciting as well to finally know how to spell this mythical pizza hub.
I woke Julia up this morning. It was nice to hear her tired voice. She is always so sweet when awoken, with a little bit of delirious on the side. I love it. It's nothing like when she is sick though, oh man, I cant wait to have fun with that one day!! I also tried calling mom again but she wasn't awake yet. One day I will get to talk to her. I really want to talk to my sister too but I always draw a blank when I go to make the call. I know the number, 4*9-4*6* (for security purposes, hah) Not to keep it from you all necessarily, but my whole life all my buddies have wanted her number and I have yet to make it available to them. You are welcome Linds. Thanks for being beautiful all your life, I always enjoyed keeping my friends away from the house when you were home.
Well, looks like I am finally heading up to the Dam soon. Thats all I have for now. Love you guys.
Well, not much has been going on recently. Who knew getting to my final destination would lead to so much down time? Not only that but there was all this stuff I bought thinking I wouldn't be able to get it anywhere and sure enough there has been a decent PX at my last couple stops where I could have stocked up.
It's been tougher connecting with people back home. Mornings are the best time for me to talk while I'm here at Camp Leatherneck because the phones and computers are open. The problem is everyone in Florida is sleeping at that time. In order to call people back home at a good time I would need to call in the afternoon or evening here and the wait at those times seems like forever. I think I'm just going to deal with the wait tonight to I actually get to see how everyone back home is doing.
Both my mom and my grandma hit the ignore button when I called. Its funny to see what solicitors have done to people back home. They bug everyone so much that we can't take calls from unknown numbers. No one wants to deal with them. There must be something more to this soliciting business. Theres no way it can be that great of a technique. If you have ever bought something from a solicitor, comment on this post and let me know how in the world they got you to pay attention. The whole time they are talking to me, I try to think of a clever new way to say no and get off the phone. No matter the excuse, they can't argue it. And now I don't like them even more because they made me miss talking to two of my favorite women in the world.
Julia though, she is just so nice that she answers the phone no matter who is calling! At this point in my life I am going to enjoy that fact because it means she is going to pick the phone up when I call. A few years down the road when we have bills from the phone company or solicitors saying we bought something, we can re-address the issue. Its funny to think that a few years down the road I will still be with that girl. All that time, 6 or 7 years now, I spent wasted trying to figure out what/who the Lord had for my life. Little did I know it was this crazy beautiful blonde that was there loving and supporting me all along. Now that I know, and I cant spend time with her, I'll be sure not to take that time for granted ever again. Thinking about our future is something that I really enjoy occupying my thoughts with. There are SO many things to think about that I know her and I will love doing together that I rarely even have to think about the same thing twice.
Sorry, I'm getting a little soft. Its only been a week and a half too… I'm scared to know what these posts will look like in 5 months. :/
I'm getting really eager to head to the Dam. I'm waiting for a letter from Pops talking about all the Dam fish or the Dam people in the area. Thats not all I'm waiting for though. It will be nice to actually feel like I have a part in helping something with the war. However big or small it turns out to be. Sitting here just feels like a waste. I am very glad this is not my stopping point. I'm sure some of you would rather me stay here for safety reasons, but please don't wish that on me. I would be miserable! And I would come back fat. It's hard to turn down the fresh dipped ice cream after every meal when I know I won't be getting any for a while. The food here is pretty stinking good too. Last night I had surf and turf. Yep. Steak. Lobster Tail. Shrimp. The whole shebang. mmmmmmmmm
Time to get to another episode of The Modern Family. I'm a new fan. I have the whole first season (of course) and it is cracking me up! I love it! Cant wait to see the new season that is running in the States right now. Bye bye for now…
Saturday, May 7, 2011
The flight in was good. Actually, it was the first time I've flown in a C-17. Nothing too special. No in flight meal or movies showing. It only took a little over two hours so that wasn't bad at all. The tent we are staying in is decent as well. At least we have AC here. I will be sure to enjoy it while I can. The base here is HUGE. Looks like they just found some unoccupied land in the middle of the desert and built a base. There is nothing else around for a good ways. Getting internet access here is more difficult than in my last two stops. You have to apply to get WiFi and it takes about two weeks. So for us just passing through, our personal computers are good only for movies, music and games. These internet cafe's all have about an hour wait, so good thing I don't have anything going on today but a class tonight.
I'm scared to look at my bank account. I've made a couple phone calls with my credit card, having no idea how much it was going to cost. It doesn't really matter though. There's not much else to spend money on anyway. I lost two great pairs of sunglasses (surprising, I know) right before we deployed so I'm debating getting a good pair. Other than that, I just buy sweet tea from a can because I'm terrible desperate and that's about it.
I don't really have much more time on the computer so I need to wrap it up. I am also not going to take the time to proof read it so give me a break. My high school English teachers would kill me. I hope everyone is doing great. I love you all and can't wait to see you again. I'll try to get back to you guys soon.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
2 May 2011 -
Well… a day later and still stuck in Ireland. I shouldn't say stuck because that has a negative connotation to it. I'd rather be here for extra days than in Manas where I have to carry all my gear around everywhere I go. At least here we get nice rooms, convenient showers, and great food. Wow, it's only 10:00 am back in Hawaii and we are about to go to bed!
It's funny… every meal has potatoes. Yes, some stereotypes are very, very true. I had potato soup today for lunch. Remembering it was from a cheap hotel made me think it probably isn't going to be the best quality. Well, the worst potato soup in Ireland can still compete with the best potato soup anywhere else. This stuff was good. For dinner, instead of soup it was mashed potatoes. One of my favorite foods out there. It wasn't as good as Mopsey's mashed potatoes, but it was still pretty good.
Tea. Tea is everywhere. It's actually competing with coffee and for me that is a big deal. I am usually a big fan of coffee and not so much a fan of tea. But they know how to do it right here. Times like this make me want to travel the world to eat all the local foods I enjoy in America and see how everything is supposed to taste. You know what else is in every store here? Guinness. If you are a Guinness fan, I don't think there is anywhere else that can compete with the selection you'd have in Ireland. I'm sure it's driving the Marines crazy that they can't partake. I'm fine with tea and potatoes.
Random thought: Writing day two of this journal I am discovering that somewhere along the way I learned to type without looking at my fingers. I know in college it was my goal, but I don't remember it ever happening completely. I need to go back to one of those typing games I always practiced on and see how much better I am.
I saw a castle today. No, we didn't go sightseeing or anything, its just that right behind our old hotel through the woods is a freaking castle! No joke. I couldn't believe it at first. I had only seen castles in movies and here one was. You would think it would make me think of kings or royalty, perhaps even knights. But no. Instead what came to mind was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sad, I know. Anyway, the castle was sweet and it had a beautiful lake right in front of it. I looked for a moat but no luck. I wish I could post a FANTASTIC photo that Dan took of my today doing the heel click on my way to see the castle. Its classic. I'll show it to you whenever we can get his camera hooked up to a computer.
I guess the reason it is so green here is because out of 365 1/4 days in the year, it does not rain about 10 of them. It's just a light drizzle the majority of the time which isn't bad, but its overcast all the time. That made me change my mind about wanting to own some of this beautiful land. I like Sunlight and warmth way too much. I know my fiancee does too. She would likely end up killing me if I brought her here to stay.
Supposedly Osama Bin Laden is dead now. I don't say that because I think they are lying, I just say it because the fact that he could actually be dead has not sunk in yet. And to bury him at sea because Saudi Arabia wouldn't take him? Thats ridiculous. Someone was talking about how they had to do something with his body quickly because Muslims believe you need to be buried within 24 hours of death. Personally, I would say who cares when he should be buried. It's not like he's going to heaven anyway. I don't think, however, that we should do what an unnamed marine posted on his Facebook wall concerning the treatment of his body. It had something to do with being wrapped in bacon. The main problem with his status update is that it did not read Osama… instead it read Obama. OOPS, not smart Marine. Classic mixup. Classic junior Marine. Classic I hope the media doesn't grab that statement and twist it into something completely inappropriate that Marines say.
For those of you thinking it will change things, I am thinking it won't. Only when leaders of small or tight knit organizations are killed is when that organization may fail. This is an huge, very spread out "organization," if you will. All it means is someone will take his place, we may have a new head honcho to look for, and the Taliban will continue to do what they've been doing the whole time… attempting to murder, torture, coerce and control innocent civilians. It will be easy to remember that the day Osama was killed was the first day I deployed. So much for my glimmer of hope to capture him :)
Well, thats all for now. I know these posts will start getting a lot shorter as my time becomes more occupied but there really is not much going on right now so I'm taking advantage of it.
1 May 2011 -
Our wait in Hawaii was not as long as I thought it would be. Turns out, we pulled up at Hickam Air Field and were out of there within two hours. Realizing that I would not be able to talk Julia every day was more painful than I thought it would be. I figured because she wasn't physically there, goodbye wouldn't be too tough. Sure enough, it still broke me up a little bit. I love that girl. I simply can't explain how much more I love her than I ever thought possible to love anything in this world.
Our first stop, Alaska. A quick 5 hour and 15 minute flight brought us to Anchorage and the first thing I see when I walk into the airport is a statue of a white grizzly bear. Awesome. They said it would be an hour wait to refuel and resupply the plane. Again they delivered. We were back in the air in no time. Good thing too because no one was at the airport, every shop was closed, and there was nothing to do.
The flight to Ireland was a little longer. What was scheduled to be an eight hour flight over the north pole turned into about nine hours. Good thing I really don't mind long flights anymore. Flying to Hawaii and back a couple times helped me prepare for times like this. I just see it as more time to sleep and watch movies. Arriving at the airport again they promise a short stop… approximately one and a half hours. We held a short promotion ceremony for 6 Marines right there inside the airport and shortly after discovered we may have to wait as much as three hours while they attempt to fix a bent door. I always wonder how they find such significant problems AFTER we get off the plane. It was obviously not that big of a deal, and if it was, they should have caught it before we trusted this beast all the way back in Oahu.
The airport was nice. A bar and grille was open where I enjoyed a latte and later on a delicious cupcake and Fanta. It was humbling to see how much value the American dollar had actually lost outside the US. I paid 6 bucks for a cup of coffee that was a little over 2 Euros. My bother was quickly distracted by the accent of the bar tenders and all the Irish attire around. I almost couldn't resist getting a t-shirt. I'm sure I will on my way back home. I also got to talk to Julia! I was SO happy she answered the phone. I've never wanted someone to answer the phone more than that call right there. I'm still not sure how much the payphone cost me because I paid via credit card, but those 10-15 minutes talking with her were priceless. I was telling her you would think it would be sad to hear her voice and just make me miss her more, but it was kind of the opposite. I was just happy. No sad thoughts at all. I felt so lucky to have the chance to talk to my baby just one more time before it becomes much more rare.
Oh yes, the flight, right, well… we waited and waited and after about 6 hours we realize they aren't fixing the plane and will need to send us a new one. So what do they do? Put us up in a hotel for free. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A Boeing 747 on my pre deployment flight to 29 Palms first class, and a hotel stay on my deployment to Afghanistan. See, they do take care of us. At the hotel I found an advertisement for Dungarie Castle. I don't know what it is but I love the name. Makes me think of how great it would be to come back to a place like this just to visit. It is nice at least to get to see more than just the airport though. It's dark right now, but I look forward to the scenery in the morning.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I was unable to see him off in Hawaii, but thankfully one of our good friends (thank you Brooke!) snapped some pictures for me and sent him off with a hug. I'm so proud of Ric and look forward to seeing him again.