Day 4. The Boring That Is MOB

MOB. Short for premobilization. Which is short for “prepare to have really long, boring days that your leadership will fill with redundant classes.” We have classes on nutrition, classes on drawing range cards (a picture of our sector of fire, the area we are set to guard when pulling security), and classes on close range combat. Sitting through some of these classes is similar to sitting through a boring high school class. Some of the other classes blatantly remind me that I am a soldier. Only soldiers would talk about the most effective way to shoot a human and consider it a normal class… It’s a little dark, especially for someone who is hoping not to see combat.
After classes and practicing weapons handling, we are limited to our fun now. They took our sports away, for fear of us getting hurt before going overseas… I guess from a leadership standpoint that makes sense, but that’s not to say I don’t miss playing. Life in the barracks has evolved into a never-ending game of cribbage, rummy, and spades.
I find myself torn between wanting to go home and play, and wanting to get overseas to do my job. I wouldn’t say I’m homesick yet, but I do crave the freedom to go where I want without having to check in with my leadership, or to sleep in, or to make my own food. It’s a different life in the army, it requires people to bend and change and adapt to the lifestyle that we live. We wake up between 0430 and 0600 every day. We do classes. We put our gear on. We practice with weapons. We go to the range. We haven’t had a day off in 2 weeks and we aren’t hopeful for one anytime soon. We are constantly surrounded by each other. This lack of freedom and privacy can become a little stressful, which is why it is so imperative for us to adapt quickly.
But now, formation time.
Til later.

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Day 3: Travel, Medical, and Fun

Travel. Chartered flights, to say the least, are awesome. Our bus drove us right to the plane and we hopped on for our short flight. No security, no baggage checks, just a bunch of little soldiers chilling on a plane.
Medical. Medical is less wonderful. It consists of standing in lines for about 7 hours, for 3 days, and waiting. There are waiting rooms for waiting rooms for waiting rooms. Literally. We went to 4 different waiting rooms before we could get in. Then we got shots, blood draws, and all sorts of fun exams! Yay army!
Fun. This is where the adventures come out. After being poked and prodded, we get to go play. Let me give you a summary of army backyard football…
“Where’s our first down line?”
“Let’s use that big piece of lint on the field!”
“Okay!”
“What if it moves?”
“Well then the first down line moves!”
… and so we play. Making up rules as we go.
Cards, a soldiers favorite past time. And you can be sure someone, somewhere has a projector and a hard drive loaded with movies.
We soldiers know how to play. (:
Til later.

Day 2. Get Ready.

Hi Friends! Today is a tale of preparation for Leaving Day. Share advice or stories if you have any please. I am a lover of both. (:

Work.

To begin, tomorrow is my last day at work. This is the final, looming checkpoint to my deployment. What I had been counting down in months and weeks can no longer fit into a shoe box. I had counted down by drills I had left, holidays to get through, or months to check off the calendar. Now, we are here. My last day at my civilian job, before I step into an entirely new life for a year.

Feels.

I hear the same three questions multiple times a day: When do you leave? How do you feel? Are you scared?

Well. I leave soon. I am not scared. At least, I don’t think I am. We will see in a few days how I feel…

Preparation.

My bags are packed. That is not the preparation I am talking about. The preparation that is taking the most effort is the mental one. My mindset is to assess the emotions that I am going to be subject to when I leave and be mentally equipped to deal with them. Nothing is worse that getting hit with an unexpected feel when you aren’t ready.

My favorite method of preparation has been meditation, with focus on controlling negative emotions through breathing (literally, Mindfulness of Breathing). The closer Leaving Day gets, the more difficult it is to relax. I find meditation is a good way to get a mental break and reign in negative vibes.

Hug.

Two pictures keep flowing through my mind. The one that brings the most negative vibes, that puts a lump in my throat, is the idea of the last hug I give  my grandma. I have lived with my grandma since August while preparing for this deployment and we are very close. We have been inseparable since I was born. I hate the thought of leaving her in this empty house.

The next picture is equally sad. I keep seeing me standing in the airport, trying be a tough little soldier as I hug my mom. I know she’s going to cry and that’s going to make me cry. Because really, who could possibly watch their mom cry and not cry too?

Those are the two thoughts that bring any real negativity to this, the adventure of my life. But, as with anything in life, it will pass and we will learn to live with it. What more can we do, really?

Til later.

 

We Are All Wanderers

Leaves drop, fluttering to the earth,
a hard packed trail, narrow.
The trees are changing colors. The dirt
is cold, numbing the bare toes of the wanderer.
His feet are calloused. He has been lost
for so long, he does not notice the miles,
wearing away beneath him.

Snow falls, coating the trail with
frost. Still he travels, ignorant to the passage
of time, the evolution of nature.
His feet crack and bleed, but he does
not stop.

Now spring comes, coating his feet
with mud. Flowers bloom beside the trail,
birds come to life with songs of love.
He remains blind to the life around him.

And now we welcome summer,
Sweat streams down his face. The wanderer
does not stop. He does not look
back. He does not glance to the sides. He
only looks forward.

For is this not life? Is this not how we live? Unstoppable, ignorant of those around us, plowing through them with no consideration?
We are a selfish people. We can no longer love nature. We no longer stop for pain. We must always progress, lost with no direction.
We are all wanderers.

Lost

Dimmed lights, drawn curtains, the room is thrown into an early dusk. Books line the walls, ancient volumes with yellow pages, begging to be opened. In the corner is an armchair, faded and covered in cobwebs. In the center, commanding the attention of the entire library, is a grand piano. Music, chords strung flawlessly together, flows like a current from the strings.

Arthur sat with his head bowed, eyes closed as his fingers glided over the keys. Emaciated and pale, he played, his body swaying with the rhythm of his melody. If anybody had walked by yesterday, they would have heard his music. If they had walked by the day before yesterday, they would have heard a different tune. Not a tune from a piano. A tune from the throat of a tortured soul.

Mid-song, the door to the library was slammed open. In came an irate old woman, yelling in a voice strong enough to wake the dead, “-GOOD FOR NOTHING BUM! GET YOUR ASS OUTSIDE AND TEND THE GARDEN! WHAT IS THE USE OF YOU? THEY SHOULD HAVE LET YOU DIE, RATHER THAN COME TO ME!”

Arthur jumped up from his piano in a panic. He could see the switch in her hand, saw her arm raise to strike him. He bolted, past her and out the door. He didn’t slow until he had gone down two flights of stairs, through the entry, and into the orchard. Slumped against a tree, Arthur gasped to catch his breath. Relax, he told himself, they can’t hurt you. They can’t touch you.

On the breeze, he heard a man’s voice, dragging through the wind, “Arthur, we’re going to find youuuu. Arthurrrrr, you can’t hide from ussss. Come out Arthur, we want to plaaaaay. Don’t you want to see our toysss?”

Then, mixing with the man’s voice, the woman’s came, “YOU FILTH, YOU WASTE OF SPACE, YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED ON THE STREETS RATHER THAN BURDEN OUR DOORSTEP-”

And a third, a child, high and sweet but also haunting,”Oh Arthur, why don’t you want to come out and play? Why don’t you want to see our shiny toys? They’ll only hurt a little. Come out Arthur.”

Arthur covered his ears, sliding down the tree, screaming, “STOP IT! YOU CAN’T HURT ME, YOU AREN’T REAL! STAY OUT OF MY HEAD! STOP STOP ST-”

A strange sensation was tickling his leg. Arthur opened his eyes to see a spider, at least three inches long, creeping up his pants leg. He closed his eyes and opened them once more. The spider had multiplied and now there were twenty spiders, crawling towards him, pincers clicking, echoing through the now-silent orchard; the voices had vanished. Now it was the clicking of the spiders as more and more crawled out from the grass, scuttling up his legs, threatening to overwhelm him.

He leapt to his feet, too terrified to scream. Jumping and trying to swat all the spiders off his legs, he raced back to the mansion, banging through the door and back up the stairs. He arrived back in his library in a mess of sweat and tears. He slammed the door shut and bolted it. Shaking, he crawled to the piano bench and pulled himself up. His fingers found the keys without thought and he began to play. Tears continued to fall, splashing the keys and the fingers that danced across them. Slowly, slowly, Arthur’s muscles began to unclench. His eyelids relaxed and he began to sway to the music. For music was his only release, his only safe haven, if only for a little while.

Notes blurred into notes as the hours drug on. Arthur was ignorant to the passing of time, focused only on the music. Slowly, the hours turned into a day, and one day became two. Yet still, he made his music. Lost, forever, in the notes pouring from the strings. His fingers had become cracked, the keys streaked with blood. Arthur’s eyes had not opened once to see the blood. He had not noticed the pain. He played on.

They found him, some days later, slumped over the keys of his beautiful grand piano. His headstone didn’t say much, for not much was known of the hermit. The man lost in his mansion, his mind, and his music.

I Can Be Whatever My Heart Desires

So today, I’m going to be a dragon. Why not? I’ll go eat some steak and roar a lot, maybe terrorize a village or take a dragon nap. I’ll probably fly over some trees and mountains and take a bath in a river. I’ll hang out with some dragon friends and set some stuff on fire.
They said you can be what ever you want when you grow up, so make it something spectactular.

My Little Helper

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Raising a bunny is like raising a child. One that you don’t have to hire a babysitter for.
I can’t eat an apple without Finnick feeling the need to help me out.
I can’t cook without him wanting to help get the ingredients from the fridge (he tries really hard).
My favorite though, is cleaning his cage… Usually cleaning animal cages is a pretty miserable job. Not Finnick. He has to be right in the middle of his mess, getting into his bags of hay, his bag of bedding, and his litter bag.
For a bunny who pretends to be all tough, he is really just a small child. And he’s growing up so fast… He’s already 8 weeks old, and getting so big. :’)