I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday to make the 2 hour drive down to Norfolk to start this strange yearlong road trip. I took a shower, put on my uniform, grabbed a cup of coffee, kissed Jack and got in the car. It was all very matter of fact. No drama. No jitters. Just another day. Huge difference from earlier this summer.
Two months ago I was so freaked out about this impending deployment that I couldn't eat or sleep, now I just can't wait to get it started. I'm not saying that I can't wait to leave my friends and family for a year...what I'm saying is that I am soooo ready for this to get started. The anticipation is awful! I want to clock to start ticking already!!!!
I got to the Reserve Center, got my new ID card, went through out-processing and was able to hit the road to drive home by 11am. My first day as an active duty officer was a piece of cake!
Because I only live a couple of hours from Norfolk, I am able to drive home for the weekend. I'll leave to go back late Sunday afternoon to start the week long administrative boondoggle at the Navy Marine Corps Processing Center. Medical, safety briefs, uniform issue...in true Navy fashion, 8 hours of briefings stretched over one week! I'm lucky, actually. There are people flying in who have no where to go this weekend and no rental car...they are stuck and have already said good bye to their friends and family. I get one more weekend. Woo-Hoo!
The last week has been filled with spending time with friends and family, packing, re-packing, crossing things off lists, writing new lists, etc.
Basically, everything I will need for the next year needs to fit in a medium backpack. Isn't that strange? The last year of living alone in Houston has made me more of a minimalist, but still....no loafers? No extra sweater? What do you mean I can't bring any Crazy Pants?
Then I remember that I will be issued endless amounts of gear I will never use...and that I will need to haul that crap from here to Kuwait to Baghdad and back! I've run through too many airport terminals with too heavy carry on bags to repeat that mistake. So I am paring down, big time. Running kit, Kindle, laptop, bathroom kit, jammies, one pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. That's it. I swear.
Anywhooooose, I am okay. Really. I am sleeping well, eating well and not terrible anxious. I may still have a meltdown before I leave, but I'm betting not. I have drawn an enormous amount of strength from Jack and Conor and from my friends and family over the last several weeks; it is sustaining me. It will get me through whatever comes my way. I know it.