Yesterday I signed my official job contract. Once I earn the title of Marine I will be trained as a Cryptologic Linguist. I won’t find out which language I will learn until after boot camp. But I got my first choice job!
It’s been a long time coming. While I was living in Georgia I wasn’t able to get scheduled to take the DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery). I had to wait until I got home, which didn’t leave me with much time. I scored a 137 on the test, and I hear that was a decent score.
I’ve been working hard at getting back into shape. Living in the south certainly has its downfalls. Well, the food is great…but it’s not good when you are trying to make weight! The recruiters are learning to not worry about me… I made weight, passed all of the physical tests, and now I am good to go!
One of my best friends and I leave on the same day. He’s headed up north to the Great Lakes for boot camp and I’m headed to Parris Island, South Carolina. I will be there for thirteen weeks. My goal is to write a generic letter as often as possible and have Lauren post it on here to keep everyone updated on how it’s going over there. I hope it works out that way!
Hopefully my address will get posted on here as well. I can’t guarantee that I will have to opportunity to write everybody, but I will do my best.
Here’s to enjoying the next 5 days of civilian life!
Originally I was supposed to ship to Boot Camp on September 24, but as you can see, I’m still here. I finally got scheduled to take the DLAB and did a lot better than they thought I would. My score was a 137. I’m not sure what that means. I do know it’s well above what I needed for my Crypto Linguist position. YAY! After getting those results my date got pushed back. As of today it is now October 22. As the time gets closer (again) I am preparing myself both mentally and physically. I was so pumped and ready to go when my date changed. Now I’ve got to reevaluate and psych myself up again! I can’t tell if it’s a frustrating feeling or if I’m thankful for this extra time. My mental evaluation is as follows:
Reasons to be thankful:
1) More time with friends and family
2) More time to get physically fit
3) Time to get my transcripts in for promotion
Reasons it’s frustrating:
1) I was already prepared
2) My nerves are getting worse… (can’t tell if it’s just the anxiousness or actual nerves)
3) Grad date will now be mid-term for Lauren, meaning she might not be able to get out of school to attend.
4) I wanted to get the 13 weeks over with
5) Trying to explain to everyone why I’m still here
6) An extra month of sitting around doing nothing (no work, no car, etc.)
I’m sure there are more reasons to be put in each category, though I haven’t put too much thought into it. I am thankful for everyone who has kept me positive. For people I’ve met that have helped me prepare, and for all of the support I’ve gotten.
I’m enjoying my time here and getting some relaxing in before I won’t have the chance to anymore.
It was great seeing all of the family at Dad’s family reunion. I loved getting closer to family that lives so far away. I wish there was a way that we could all see each other more often. Dad and his horseshoe partner won the tournament. That makes it the first time his name’s been on the trophy! There was so much food that we actually had to skip one of the planned dinners and eat leftovers. I’m pretty sure we were eating leftovers for two weeks afterwards and giving food away left and right! My mom does a great job at planning things like this. It’s also wonderful that she had so much wonderful help with the cooking and keeping up! My family is so great.
Anyway, there’s not much to write about since there’s not much going on right now… I’ll keep you all updated!
I’m now working with my own desk, computer, rolly chair, and in an office with a “view.” I work at Vroooom Technology entering information for their clients’ websites. My first article written was for Freetext.com. It’s all sitting in front of a computer all day long, which is very different from any other job I’ve ever had. Nothing like walking around at the shop smelling flowers, greening vases and answering phones…There aren’t many people to talk to, but It’s a job! And I’m making more money than I was at home… It’s a lot of new information about computers and web coding and such…but I love it! Getting to know new people is always a great experience.
Speaking of meeting new people, I’ve gotten to know some of Danny’s close friends here. Mr. and Mrs. Romero and their son Victor. We’ve had a blast hanging out with them. They invited us over for fajitas and they were to DIE for!! They also gave me a great birthday present: All four of the Twilight movies on DVD. I appreciate the sarcasm haha. :] I guess there’s a first time for everything, and I better get to watching these! We also went to their house to watch game 7 for Miami & Boston. The Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight was ordered too. Talk about an experience for my first time watching boxing! It’s probably one thing I’ll never understand. Oh well. It was fun. Danny and Alfonso set up two televisions in their living room so we could watch both, and it was pretty cool!
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Claudia. We’re convinced we were separated at birth. Haha. We have so much in common. From shoes to shows, and opinions on the guys. She’s a great person and I look forward to getting to know her this summer! Not to mention their adorable son. He’s such a cutie. So much energy and so happy. They are an adorable family and I so admire how close they are.
I do miss my amazingly dynamic family. I’ve been a tad homesick lately, but I’m so glad they are easy to get a hold of! I miss two-fer Tuesday and the BLG! I miss my puppy too! I haven’t seen any dorky pictures being posted of him lately…Someone help me out!! Speaking of animals…Joey [the fish] is still alive! He must be eating when I’m not looking…
We’ve done a lot of new things too. I got to go to the River Walk on the Chattahoochee River, go fishing in a boat I actually had to paddle [and by “I” I mean “we”]. It’s been so great. Even though we didn’t catch anything we got some great pictures and the weather was AMAZING! It was like a summer day in Oregon, hot, with a nice breeze and not muggy. The River Walk was neat, very quiet, considering it was Sunday. There’s NOTHING going on down here on Sundays…It’s so quiet, but it’s nice. It gives us a chance to relax. It gives Danny a chance to catch up before another long week.
I got a hair cut this week. I was so leery of going to a new hairdresser…Nobody has cut my hair besides Rose since I was like 8… I took a risk and it actually turned out great! I went to Patrice’s Hair Design and she was great. She even does eyelash extensions! It’s a bit pricey, but they last for a minimum of 2 months! How awesome would it be to have beautiful eyelashes for once?! I’m definitely going to consider it… Thank you to the first lady who is not Rose who did not butcher my thick hair! :]
Hmm…what else is new? The weather is still great, in between rains. We are finally getting a washer and dryer, so I now no longer have to dig for quarters or clean clothes. I’ve been sitting here waiting… They gave me a 10-4 window… so here I am…at 1pm still waiting for the delivery guys to get here so I can start washing these massive piles of laundry…
In the meantime, I want to tell anyone who’s reading this: Thank you! It’s fun writing these…I’m no blogging pro, but It’s pretty fun. I also want to say congratulations. Congrats to Shaela and Roman on their new addition to their family. The pictures are adorable, little Lainey is beautiful! Also, congratulations to the class of 2012! All the Mr. Billie boys and girls, you are all amazing! Congrats Heather, I wish I coulda been their for your grad party! Congrats to Devin and Coty on your engagement, I’m so happy for you two! Congratulations to Coleen on graduation! Kristin Quick, congratulations on your amazing news about the future addition to your family! And Brandon: Your new job sounds awesome and I’m so glad you are having a wonderful time in NY! Theresa and Troy: your family is beautiful! Kate and Justin: I can’t wait to see your little Maddie! Also, congratulations on graduating too! Just a few people I’ve been missing and keeping in my thoughts.
And to my sister: You are such an inspiration. I’m proud of everything you do! You’ve made it through your second year of college and are well on your way to an amazing future. You are my motivation. I wish I could be there to help you in any way I can, but always know you can call me any time. I’m always here for you and I’m proud to be your sister. I miss you! And keep up the great work!
I finally got a call this morning from RSS Eugene, I’m scheduled to take the DLAB this Thursday! Wish me luck people! This is what my job depends on!!!!! :]
June 1st…Day one of hurricane season… we’ve experienced a bit of the tropical storm that rolled through the south. We just had a little thunder, lightning and rain. Aside from that one day it’s been lovely weather down here!
We are moved into our new apartment. It’s 1100 square feet, the same size as the other apartment. Instead of two bedrooms it only has one. The living room is much larger, there are two vanity size sinks, two sliding glass doors to our shaded patio. More pictures will be posted soon, but a few are in the gallery below. We moved on the 25th of May and it was a…situation. The couch we got from Danny’s friend was much too large to fit into the front door. We ended up removing one of the screens from the patio, removing the sliding glass door, and traipsing through the bushes to get the couch into the apartment through the patio windows. In any case, we got all of the furniture into the apartment. We got the bedroom set all set up, new mattress, new dishes, new everything. Except new kitchen appliances, these things are older than Danny and I put together… haha. Take a look at the pic of the oven! The only thing missing, as you can see in the pictures, is a dining room set. But this is no problem, we have a coffee table that works just fine!
Before this moving fiasco was my birthday. We didn’t do anything huge. Danny and I went to a martini & cigar bar called Belloo’s. It was a very nice place, we had a few beers and Danny had a cigar…I really don’t know which one he had or I’d go into detail about it haha. It was a really nice time. The manager of the place was very kind, and as it turns out, his father works at the hospital with Danny! They brought me an adorable red velvet mini cupcake with a candle in it for my birthday. It was so cute!
Other small things that have been going on: Gas last time we filled up was only $2.74/gallon! I couldn’t believe it…I feel for all of you Oregonians where gas is over $4!
I’ve taught myself [finally] how to french braid my own hair…haha. That’s how much is going on. Other than looking for a job, there’s not much for me to do here.
We got a FISH! His name is Joey. He’s a blue and red betta fish. He’s no Kurt from the Flower Home…but he’s getting used to his new home. He doesn’t eat much, and I hope he starts eating. i don’t want an anorexic fish! :] We’ve also got a defective coffee pot… I guess that’s what we get for shopping at Goodwill…haha. $6.95 for a $35 coffee pot wasn’t a bad deal until we found out it leaked all over the place.
Another awesome thing: I found an app that tells me when the light is on at Krispy Kreme down the street…this could be a bad idea…but we’ve only been there a couple times since moving down here. I have NOT gone every time the light comes on…haha. BEST APP EVER!
I’ve been in contact with both RSS Eugene, and RSS Columbus regarding my Marine Corps test that I still have to take. I should be scheduled to take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery by nest Wednesday.
I’ve applied for many jobs: Web design, pet care, child care, clerical positions…the list goes on. But today [June 1] I got a call from Vrooom.com. A web design office looking for temporary employees. I have an interview on Monday! Wish me luck!
I’ll update again soon, we are off to the movies. MIB3 starts in an hour. :]
Well, now that you are all caught up on where I am and how I got here, it’s time to show you around. I’m still learning about this lovely city, but as I learn so will you.
Since arriving here we’ve not done much. I’ve experimented with new food recipes, and looked for a job. We are preparing to move to a one-bedroom apartment. Same square footage, just a different building. I’m super excited! We have been shopping for new house stuff. Since we have to leave all this nice stuff here… :[ But here’s a pic of the new bedroom set we got:
It’s really pretty! We’ve also got a couch, love seat, end table, coffee table, and a new television! Danny’s got a good friend who is giving us a great deal on all of this amazing stuff.
We’ve been relaxing a lot. Catching Danny up on Friends so we can play a Trivial Pursuit game with his friend. His name is Alfonso. He and his wife Claudia are HUGE Friends fanatics and have challenged us to a very tough competition! We have come to love this show. As if I didn’t love it enough already!! He is so hooked on it, we no longer watch anything else!
I’ve also been experiencing with different food recipes. I’ve made an orange chicken dish with veggies and, since we didn’t have lo mien noodles, I used ramen noodles! haha. Danny really enjoyed it. I’ve been experimenting with different cheeses as well. Goat cheese seems to be his new favorite. I made a quesadilla with it and chicken. Another quesadilla with feta and cheddar was a big hit. In my gallery there is a croissant breakfast with eggs, aged cheddar cheese and spicy Italian sausage, all wrapped in a pinwheel croissant wrap. It was delicious! Pictures are all below, check them out!
Also, you can find pictures of some of the birds around here. We’ve got the ducks, herons, cardinals, and more! I’ve also been photographing the turtles. They are adorable, basking in the sunlight around the pond.
Amid all the chaos of cooking, cleaning, moving and other stuff I’ve been looking for a temporary job. So far, no luck…but I am getting closer! I’ve also been in touch with the USMC recruiters down here…this is not going very smoothly. But, hopefully they will start to help me more. [[Special thanks goes out to RSS Eugene, who have also been helping me stay in contact!]]
Anyway, I think you are all caught up…I’ll keep you posted on anything new and exciting that happens! Thanks for following and remember, your comments are always appreciated!
I love you all and I hope you are doing great as well!
Nap time was over. It was nearly 4am on Tuesday and it was FINALLY my turn to drive! I had slept for a little while before Danny pulled over for a nap, so naturally he still slept while I drove. Our next stop for gas was before the sun came up in a small town along the Historic Route 66. As it turns out we nearly paralleled this Route the whole way home!
I digress, Danny was awake now and I had only been driving for a little bit! We made it through Albuquerque and were inching closer to Texas. He drove through New Mexico and we witnessed a beautiful sunrise
The terrain was desolate. It was flat, dry, and the road looked like an infinite concrete strip stretching to the end of the world. We pulled over and I got to drive again. Other than massive herds of cattle on all of the ranches from eastern NM through Texas, there wasn’t a single animal in the fields. This road was almost as straight and boring as the stretch of I-5 between Salem and Eugene… YAWNNN!
Eventually we made it to Texas and were starving. Remembering Uncle Carl telling me of a place that was the perfect spot to stop, we had a new mission: Find The Big Texan.
We found it! We each had a “Hungry Cowboy,” and boy did it fill us up! As well, it should have, considering it had eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes, biscuits and gravy!
All in all, it was an excellent breakfast. Check out the rest of the pics from this supersized country western steak house! They are in the gallery at the end of this post. It was a fun experience. So many animals mounted on the walls. All sizes of elk, deer, antelope, bears, moose, game birds, the list goes on. There was memorabilia from the days of the Wild West. There was a small casino, a “beer garden” and gift shop; all were dripping with classic cowboy/saloon style decor. We got all the pictures we could, but we couldn’t dilly dally any more. We still had a ways to go and we wanted to be home. And so, again, we were on the road.
Driving on, we passed through Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and finally made it home. This leg of the trip was very uneventful. When we reached Tennessee it was dark, so we didn’t get to enjoy the area. Crossing into Mississippi the lightning bugs came out! We first noticed them when one smashed on the windshield and glowed bright green! It was such a cool sight looking out the window and seeing these bugs looking like shooting stars on earth!
We reached Birmingham and this was where the weather took a drastic change. Rain like I’ve never seen it before! We got within 30 minutes of the apartment and it was 3 am Wednesday. Picture this: Florida rain quantity, for the length of time that it rains in Oregon…it was the most intense thing I’ve ever seen! We could barely see out the windshield! Nevertheless, we made it home safely by 3:30 am Wednesday morning. A shower, pajamas, midnight snack and sleep followed. It’s safe to say, we spent the next 5 days relaxing and enjoying each other’s company before Danny had to go back to work. We picked up his truck…
He missed her… haha.
We also went to Callaway Gardens to go rollerblading. I had not been rollerblading since I was little but, to my surprise, it wasn’t difficult to pick up again! We had such a good time and I felt like a little kid again. Across from the Gardens there’s a viewpoint. We drove up there to see what we could “view.” Sitting on the top of his truck we looked out over Columbus. Not to my surprise, it was flat! We were probably sitting at the top of the highest part in Georgia… It was gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. So many different types of green trees [none of the evergreens we have back home], but still very green! It was beautiful and we plan on going up there again.
Well, here we are, in Columbus, Georgia. I couldn’t be happier with where we are. I am so thankful that I get to spend the summer with my love. One more post might catch you up on the week we’ve spent here. After that, I hope to post regularly on updates of our lives this summer. Stay Tuned!
Bright and early Monday, April 30 we were on the road again…Our goal was to reach the Grand Canyon before dark…meaning we had to drive all the way south through California and halfway across Arizona. Here’s the map of our journey to keep you updated:
One would think that being stuck in a car with one person would get old after a few hours…It didn’t. There wasn’t ever a lull in conversation, ranging from crazy people, to tumbleweeds. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Before we knew it we were nearly all the way through California! And around the next corner was quite a sight:
They were EVERYWHERE! These windmills gave the dry, rolling hills a larger-than-life, almost robotic feel. They were massive machines. Awesomely powerful, and inspired me to learn a little more about them and how they worked. A little of what I found came from this website: http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html. Check it out, it’s pretty amazing!
To Danny these windmills were supercool. To me, terrifying. Since I read a book in 6th grade called The Tripods, windmills have become alien-like machines that could attack at any moment! Silly, I know and I will never be able to explain why this book, out of all the books I’ve read, has stuck with me.
The journey continued, and finally we got into Arizona. Without a real camera I was unable to do the terrain justice with the photos I’ve taken but they are still an astonishing depiction of how dry it really is down there:
This, friends and family, is the Mojave River. The Mojave River is an intermittent river in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains and Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California. It is 110 miles long and…I can’t tell you what it looks like with water in it… it was a large dried up riverbed. The source being in the San Bernardino Mountains and the mouth at Soda Lake.
As we drove, enjoying all the desert and hot, dry air…I realized we hadn’t checked the tires since Sacramento. We pulled over in this desolation and checked.
It’s been such a great trip so far. There is nothing more satisfying than traveling the country with my love. He makes me so happy. —This paragraph is going to continue with mushy gushy love talk, if you don’t want to read please skip to the next paragraph — Mr. Hodges is an amazing man. Yes, he has been through a lot. We have had our ups and downs, and even further downs. But after everything we have been through, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive, loving, handsome man by my side. He is my forever and always. Since day one we have always fit together like puzzle pieces…which will explain to a lot of you the tattoo on our forearms. He is my best friend, and the love of my life. I am so grateful for where we are now in our relationship. I look forward to everything we get to experience together in the future. —end lovey dovey rant. :]
Anyway, around 4pm on Monday, somewhere between Mojave and the Grand Canyon we ran into our first problem:
The dry, dusty air more than likely combined with the altitude changes along the way gave me a MASSIVELY bloody nose! Here you see my [Danny’s] solution: a tank top that just happened to be within reach. No, we did not have a single napkin in the car… Luckily it stopped after a few miles and we made a stop for gas and to get precautionary paper towels. Waiting next to the car, Mr. Hodges almost skips out of the gas station with his new purchase:
Yes, people, those are sunglasses…with a strap…so they didn’t squeeze his head… and that allowed him to do this:
This would be Danny…hanging out of the car window…like a dog…haha. It was quite a sight to see. So, on we drove. With not much to see. We did see, however, a LOT of different animals! We saw a herd of elk, between 10 and 15. A bunch of antelope roaming the fields, and a few small herds of deer, my assumption was they were mule deer. Maybe one of my hunting fanatic friends can confirm. They were smaller, grey in color, but I didn’t see any bucks. It was pretty cool seeing this wildlife in another state. The elk looked to be a herd of cows. I’m sure if I was paying closer attention I could have found the bulls in there somewhere!
By the time we got to the sign that read: Grand Canyon Entry Fee $25…It was already dark. It was probably the only bummer of the trip. I was really looking forward to seeing this Wonder.
Moving on, It was past 8pm and we were only halfway through Arizona. We had put in 18 hours of driving and weren’t nearly as far as we’d hoped to be. However, there was a “super” moon out again and we chased it heading east. Tearing through New Mexico as the face in the moon looked down at us. It wasn’t until 2am that we pulled over for a nap.