Monday, June 29, 2009

Almost July: another update.

* I had a bit of a laundry room fiasco last Monday night. I went to put my clothes in the dryer and found the floor to be flooded. First time that happened to me and I have no idea why especially since the washer wasn't overloaded. It took me almost a half hour to get most of the water up. Que lastima!
* As I came back from the main lodging laundry room I scared off a coyote in the parking lot. I must admit it was pretty cool to listen to it howl a couple minutes later. Maybe the back door should be kept close...
* I had dinner with Marsha, Brandy, and another girl and they continue in their efforts to acclimate my taste buds to spicy food, but it was very delicious as usual. may have to get some Jamaican spice. We watched the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" and we shared a genuine chick moment.
* Yet another tie-up in paperwork and processing as I have to wait for my AKO account, which supposedly will take a few weeks.I did get to start shadowing the PA in the clinic and so it was nice to get back into the setting.
* I went to my first dance here in El Paso (for the last 40 minutes)and was actually quite impressed with the variety. I really did not know how to dance to ranchero music so I joined a group hitting a balloon and thinking of foods that start with the letter "m." I said marijuana counts, as it is an ingredient in certain baked items. Could I be corrupting these people already?
* After the dance I went to Village Inn with a large group and enjoyed some Nutella crepes with strawberries and bananas. Good good stuff.
* I learned that at the commissary they sell individual servings of Stephen's hot chocolate. There were only three flavors, but oh what joy!!
* I moved into my apartment. I won't have my stuff until Wednesday. I kinda miss my fridge. I have little to no cell phone reception and the phone company told me that I really, really needed to upgrade. I guess it is about time.
* As I was unloading my car the missionaries stopped me as they were looking for an apartment. They asked me if I had talked to guys like them before and I said many times. When they asked me where, I told them I was Mormon. I was glad that I could offer them some water in the triple-digit heat, and they just did a tough bike ride up the hill.
* Downside of El Paso: The drivers. I know that the speed limit is 60 miles an hour and I'm used to going 72, but when people drive 50 in the middle lane, that's just plain wrong!!
* Upside to El Paso: I love, love, love summer rain storms. It allows me to turn off my air conditioning for just a bit. The thunder was loud enough to set off a couple of car alarms and I got a text saying there was a funnel cloud over Biggs Air Field (out where I work). There aren't many things more peaceful than falling asleep to the sound of rain.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Almost two weeks later...

Just an update on the last couple weeks...
* I think I've been the personnel department's worst nightmare. Lots of issues and things to fix. Being reassessed in the system, hunting down other paperwork, waiting and waiting and waiting. It took me a little over a week to finally be in the system and on Friday I finally was able to get my ID card(makes leaving and getting around base much easier) and start my in-processing (basically paperwork and getting situated at the base). I should be done tomorrow. I thought today was going to be pretty easy and I would just pick up a paper before I headed to finance. That wasn't the story. Another hassle came up and I was sent to a couple other offices and found out that I didn't have a certain necessary account which I couldn't register because of another glitch, and so the cycle of frustration continued... Iwas finally able to get needed form at the end of the day and hopefully tomorrow will be a lot easier.
* I have a really cool PA in my unit that I will be working with named Marsha, who happens to be from Jamaica. She's been a big help and the past couple weekends we went to the bowling alley on base and had a couple of dinners at her house with her roommate who also is in the Army. Last night I was really spoiled with some amazing marinated grilled chicken, potatos, and homemade salsa.
*Last night I also discovered the joy of watching the Dodgers in HD. Amazing.
* I've done some apartment searching and I think I've settled on one which is actually a town home apartment. Stairs will be good for me. It's actually the farthest one away from base but it's only about 25 minutes on a highway that crosses the mountains. I actually liked being a little closer to the mountains and I guess giving myself a little space between home and work could be a good thing.
* On Saturdays I've treated myself to some Mexican food for lunch. I went to a burrito place (it starts with a C, can't quite remember) and had some good mole with wonderful homemade tortillas. I also tried Avila's which is one of the most popular places in El Paso, and I can see why. Wonderful food! I may be developing an addiction to horchata as well.
* I have a greater appreciation for clouds. Sometimes brings the heat down just a few degrees, and I especially love it when it rains - which hasn't been often. Today it dropped thirty degrees just within 30 minutes and it was heavenly. I even turned off my car's air conditioner. Unfortunatly it didn't stay cool very long. It's still in the 90's at night, uggg....
* I found 1.5 more English stations to program onto my radio. Still have a couple more buttons to fill. One of the stations - the best I've found - is a bit fuzzy but is clearer when I'm near Biggs Airfield (where I'll be working).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The LA River

I felt a touch nostalgic the other night when I saw this. During PA school I sometimes commuted to LA on the Metrolink train (as seen in the clip). A few minutes before we pulled into Union Station, the conductor would give us our wake-up call as we crossed the "beeeeeeaauutiful LA river." A fond memory.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Day

It'll take me a while to catch up with the events of the past couple weeks, so I'll just focus on today. It's been an interesting first day as I reported to my unit at Fort Bliss. Here's just a run-down of some of the events:
*Locked myself out of my motel room as I ran to get something from the car while I was on the phone.
* Had lots of salutes given to me. Failed to salute an officer because I was temporarily blinded by sun and blowing dirt while leaving a building and had to be reminded of this simple military courtesy by another officer. Sunglasses are a must here.
* Found out that I was still not in the system. Third time was not a charm, as I was previously told this at Camp Pendleton and Los Alamitos. My in-processing has been put on hold for a bit. Fortunately, I was able to get all of the paper work together and everything is now being put into the system. Then I can get my ID card. It was highly recommended that I do not leave the base until I get my ID card. This could take a few days since Friday may be off.
* While my breakfast sat like a rock in my stomach, I was reeeeally thirsty all day long. I finally re hydrated myself after a trip to the commissary in the late afternoon and I stocked up on gatorade and water.
* I was set up in one of the annexes for lodging. They are some pretty old buildings, but it's decent. The downside is that I have very low cell phone reception.
* I can see Mexico! However, I am prohibited from traveling to any part of Mexico.
* My orders for tomorrow: call the captain of my unit to let him know I am still alive (this is what he said) and search through apartment guides.
* I have not been able to find enough English stations to finish programming my car radio.


I hate goodbyes. I'm really terrible at them. I try to hold back my emotions and I had been doing a pretty good job until my last couple days. I decided to replace goodbye" with "Aloha." It just sounds more cheerful that way. I know many people I will see again, but there are always those who I will not. I remember when I was on my mission I had to do it about every 6 weeks. Most of the people I met there I knew I wouldn't see again. While I was discussing with my trainer of why saying goodbye has to be so hard. She shared a quote that her uncle told her, "The only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life." So, the only way to take the sting out of saying goodbye is to remove the love in a relationship. A man once said, "Grief is a by-product of love." A couple years later I was dealing with the death of my dog that I had for 13 years. It was pretty emotionally hard on me, even harder than some of the human deaths I had dealt with in life. I came to a realization of the emotional investment that people put into relationships, whether it be with family, pets, friends, crushes, co-workers, even jobs and homes. It's a kind of investment that I can never regret because it has brought more richness to my life. I don't look at time spent with the ones I care about -- whether it be a belly rub for my dog or staying up way past my bedtime to spend time with friends -- as wasted time. There are always things that we can focus our attention on, but some of those things will pass, become nothing more than a check-off an a to-do-list, or can be put off. This isn't an invitation to procrastinate, just re-evaluate your time with the people and things that make you happy and enrich your life.
**warm fuzzy**