Whew. That was quite the adventure. At this time I should (yes this is pre-written due to not having great wi-fi driving down I-95) be heading back to Jacksonville, FL, DD214 (official discharge paperwork) in hand. With crazy fingernails. :)
Basically I am officially a veteran (VFW to be exact!) and no longer in the World's Finest Navy. (Gawd. Did I just say that?! WHO AM I?!) I'll start at the beginning.
I was a senior in high school, without much college prospects because I enjoyed skipping school to hang out at the beach far more than I did actually attending class, so my GPA wasn't exactly stellar. They kept talking about some military test going on, and it just so happened to take place at the same time my least favorite class was also taking place, so I figured. Sure. I'll skip in a legit way.
Little did I know this was a flippin' four hour test. It had the weirdest stuff on it, too. Like I know how to do engine work on a car. Pssssh. Hello Christmas Tree. I finished and skipped out. The sun was calling my name.
Fast forward a few months and I've traded skipping school for the beach for skipping school to sleep in late after a night of partying with my favorite Navy boys. :-) They were super fun, and I loved them all so much. Then I get this call from a recruiter. I guess I'm the world's best Christmas Tree Test Taker, because I pretty much rocked that test. (Except I was deemed not very proficient in auto mechanics. Go figure.) So, since my telling people "NO." skills were awful at the time, I got suckered into meeting them. Next thing I know, I've signed up to join the U.S. Navy.
(Yes. There's the real reason I joined the Navy. Not college. Not serve my country. Not see the world. I wanted to skip school, and didn't want to say no. Haha. ;-) Though all of those did influence my decision. <3)
WHAT?!! How did I end here? All my Navy boys were like, "RUN!" But then I would look at them. Sure, they complained, like, um, NONSTOP, but they had sooooo many fun stories. And they were like a little family. So I did it. Next thing I know (March 2005), I'm saying tearful goodbyes to my Baby Bro (almost a year old at the time.) and my best friend. I'm on my way to Chicago (in shorts and a t-shirt. In March. This Florida girl learned a lesson about Chicago weather FAST.) and scared out of my mind.
Fast forward about 2.5 months (May 2005), and lo and behold, I'm a Sailor. HOLY COW. I'm a Sailor. I'm a Sailor. I'm a Sailor. Weird. So I'm shipped off to Monterey, California to learn Arabic. Jeesh! Arabic! Really?! I spent the next 2.5 years of my life with some of the greatest friends I'll ever make. Monterey was full of drama, life, joy, stress, studies, freezing my booty off, dancing, singing, and being happy.
Arabic and I didn't get along so well, so in January 2007 I was off to Pensacola, Florida to another school to learn how to be an 'IT'. That was a blur of 2.5 months! I was driving home every weekend, and before I knew it, it was graduation! I barely blinked!
Then in April 2007, with a brief leave period in New Orleans, I found myself in Hawaii! I was lucky enough to enjoy more memories than I'll probably recall, and meet some of my closest friends. I changed so much while I was there. But at the end, I needed to get away. So I figured I'd run away to Africa.
I was in Hawaii until June 2010, then it was off to South Carolina for training to deploy to Africa.
Come August 2010, I found myself dropped in the hottest place on Earth, trying not to get eaten alive by bird-like mosquitoes. Seven months in Djibouti, then it was time to come and spend the last two months of my Navy career in Norfolk, Virginia.
Now. May 20, 2011 has finally come along. 6+ years, and a hell of a ride. I'm ready to leave, but glad I came to the party.
Thank You USN for giving me a chance to explore outside of my comfort zone, understand the importance of responsibility, and the independence I have craved since the age of 11. Thank you for the people I've met, and the experiences I've had.
Now please. Leave me the heck alone. ;-)