‘Tis the Season
This last month has been a roller coaster y’all. From a minor scare with Ava to the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday ball to a short trip back to the United States, we have been all over the place mentally, emotionally, and physically. I hope y’all had a filling and joyful Thanksgiving meal with your family and friends.
As a yearly tradition, each Marine Corps unit and squadron celebrates the birthday of the service branch during the month of November. This year, our squadron’s ball was in our hangar instead of at the officer club. At first, I was nervous about how it would turn out. I know Marines have a way of waiting until the absolute last minute to do anything. Squadron balls can either be a total hit or a total flop. Let me tell y’all, I was floored at how beautiful everything looked. The hangar was scrubbed sparkling clean, the decorations were perfectly placed, an Osprey and Cobra were staged at the main doors for us to take pictures in front of, and a massive stage for a live band was built beside the aircrafts. The food was delicious and they graciously served us buffet style. My heart skipped a beat when I saw there was mashed potatoes and brown gravy. Those two items are one of the many things I miss about home, especially since you can’t really find it on the island. The best thing about the Marine Corps Ball every year is seeing all the men and women dressed in their nicest uniforms. All their medals shining in the lights, the traditions that take place before the fun starts, and the overwhelming sense of family that brings us all together… Words can hardly describe how awesome ball season is.
The next weekend, David and I made our way to Maryland to spend some time at the Naval Academy. Our flights were long, but when we finally got to the school, it was worth all that time on an airplane. I didn’t have the honor of going to the Academy like David did, but one can still appreciate the history that surrounds every inch of the grounds. We hadn’t been to Annapolis since we first starting dating two years ago and while I saw a lot of the school during that trip, I saw way more this time around. We spent hours wandering around the campus as David told me stories from his days as a midshipman there. The coolest thing about the city is that it’s saturated with history. Not just as a place that groomed American military heroes, but our founding fathers definitely visited or lived not too far away. David set up a haunted pub crawl and I highly encourage everyone to take this tour. We stopped at Ram’s Head, Harry Brown’s, Middleton Tavern, and the State House along our journey. Our guide was a great story teller and kept us entertained the entire time.
On our last day in Maryland, we were blessed with the opportunity to visit a previous member of David’s squadron that he hadn’t seen since the mishap in August. This family had gone through ups and downs with numerous surgeries, hospitals in two countries, and tons of therapy. What shocked us the most is how enthusiastic and uplifting the whole clan of seven was. They talked so highly of all the people they had encountered along the way and that each day is a blessing. They were a huge encouragement to us and helped David get some closure about what happened to his fellow Marines. We also had the pleasure of meeting up with a member of David’s family on the same day. I think he read my mind when he sent us the address to a local Mexican food place. I’m pretty sure my body composition is 68.2 percent Mexican food since I eat it so much.
That night, we drove down to Virginia to visit David’s friends from college in Norfolk. We are so thankful they opened up their home to us and let us finish out the remainder of our trip with their family. Thanksgiving Day felt kind of like a blur. Even though we had been back in the country for five days at this point, the time difference was kicking my butt. I had to take a short nap to reenergize myself to help finish cooking and talk with the other ladies who were there. All of the food we ate was so yummy and I’m pretty sure I gained ten pounds from everything I ate that day. While the guys stayed behind with the little ones, all of the ladies piled in a car and started our holiday shopping around 6 that evening. I have never been holiday shopping aside from Goodwill and thrift stores. I don’t think I prepared myself for the madness. By the time we got home, we had gone to Kohls, Walmart, Old Navy, and two Targets. Don’t worry. I got my fix of the amazing popcorn at Target. As soon as we got home, I took all my shopping bags upstairs, showered, packed, and went straight to bed. We unfortunately had to leave the next morning to catch our flights back to Okinawa.
Our scare with Ava was a little frightening to me since I was over 7,000 miles away and couldn’t do anything. I had a missed call from the kennel she was staying at, but they didn’t leave a voicemail. Luckily, you can communicate with them through Facebook, so I messaged them my information and asked if everything was okay. During the week she was there, another Ava was having a mini vacation. This Ava was on medication for seizures. Our Ava is healthy with an extra dose of attitude. We are lucky she doesn’t have to take medicine. The kennel responded that they accidentally mixed up the two dogs and gave our Ava anti-seizure medication. My heart dropped for my poor baby. I quickly got another message that they had consulted a vet and said that they were confident she would be completely fine. During our whole journey back to Okinawa, all I could think about was Ava and how much she probably wanted to come home.
As soon as we got back, we immediately drove over to the kennel to pick her up. Normally, Ava will almost tackle you and shower you with kisses, then cold shoulder you the rest of the day. This time she definitely did not do that. While I finished up paperwork, David went back to her kennel and got her. When he opened the door, I expected her tail to wag and for her to be excited. Instead, she went straight for the door. I don’t think David could have opened it fast enough since she was dragging him across the lobby. I think she was happy to go home with us. I wasn’t upset with the kennel for their mistake. I knew Ava was in safe hands with the vet staff and I was happy the kennel let me know immediately what had happened. They were very professional about the whole ordeal and I was thankful for that.
We were sad to leave the United States, but it’s okay. We have roughly 782 days until David’s tour in Okinawa ends, but who’s counting?
God Bless ♡
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