Sunday, February 14, 2010

One Month Later

I've been back in the States for a little over a month now, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I had the best Valentine's Day I've had in a while today. I went to the gym and ran three miles, and then went to Chipotle's for dinner, and spent about two hours at Barnes and Noble, and also bought some cute new tops at The Limited.

For the most part, many things are just much more convenient in the States, although I think traveling was actually easier in Europe. That's probably just me, though. I think part of it is just that most of the places I want to go in the States are either too cold and snowy right now, or they really wouldn't be fun to visit alone - I mean, Las Vegas and Disney World are definitely for groups. I've never really enjoyed history museums that much (usually if a topic interests me, I would rather read a book which goes in depth than a poster board that is very general and makes everything sound awesome without getting into the moral and ethical conflicts involved). It's a whole other thing to visit some place and realize that at one point this famous historical figure stood here - that's kind of cool, but as much as I enjoy reading about the Civil War, I could care less about visiting the battle sites. Especially in the States, I feel like we sugarcoat our history when it comes to race relations, and the movement west as well as slavery and the Civil Rights. It is not as if the Civil Rights Movement fixed everything though one might get that idea from reading a poster board at museums on occasion. Okay, I definitely went on a bit of a tangent there.

One thing I have noticed about Virginia, and all my friends are commenting on it, too, is that the roads suck. A lot. The pot holes on the interstates here are ridiculously large.

I've met fun new people, I've gone out more in the past few weeks than I did in the last six months in Germany, and I've been able to go to the movies a few more times as well. Granted, I've seen two mediocre horror films in the past month that really could have done so much more with their premise (Daybreakers and The Wolfman), but it's so nice to be able to choose from several movies any given day rather than having to hope that the day you can go see a movie the theater is actually showing something worth seeing.

I can't wait to see where I'm actually going to end up after my school is complete. The branch manager will be here in the next month to talk to us, so hopefully, I'll get a cool unit in a good location - I'm not sure what's more important to me at the moment - location or unit type (honestly, it's a combination of the two - there's no way I would want Polk, but for a FSC, I might even be happy with Bragg - granted, I'm going to have to get really into running if that happens). Of course, somewhere like Ft. Lewis would have both the kind of unit I want and the location I want. I hope I didn't just jinx myself to Louisiana or North Carolina right now.

I'm actually thinking about signing up for a 10K because while I'm in a "I hate running" mood at the moment, if I have a goal in mind that I've committed to, it might help me get back into it, and I really should work on my distance and focus on something beyond just two miles. Also, all my new friends appear to be PT studs, so while there's no way I want to be on the same level as them, the peer pressure will probably help me get back into a little bit.

I actually don't even miss German food that much, or more accurately food available in Germany, such as the Italian and Greek restaurants. We went out Thursday night, and one of the other captains was stationed in Bamberg so we were both whining about wanting Doener as our post-drinking food, but other than that, I've been enjoying places like Panera's, Chipotle's and Starbucks too much.


denesteak said...

i think I've previously mentioned that i am so so jealous that you have access to Panera...

You sound like you've been doing a lot - reading that made me kinda tired. a 10k? Whoo girl, good luck, you are a better person than I. I've been trying to go to yoga and dance more (I prefer classes to gyms... i get bored at gyms) and have kinda been slacking on them.

tom said...

I've read your blogs over the last couple of days and really enjoyed them. You write very well. Like most good writing, your tangents are more interesting than your plot development.

I found your blog when I was searching for pictures of the BOQ at Fort Sill. I served my four years in 1979-83. I was an Army brat, a 4 year ROTC scholarship at University of Washington, went to "Summer Camp" at Fort Lewis, Field Artillery OBC at Fort Sill and was promptly shipped out to Baumholder, FRG. I was assigned as a Forward Observer in Sandhofen Barracks outside Mannheim for a year. During that year I spent 280 days in the field, much of it at Graf. I still have dreams about Graf mud and Graf dust. I remember sitting on my cot, covered in Graf dust, opening a letter from home that had a baggie of recently exploded Mt. St. Helens ash in it. Is that irony?

Then I was assigned to a FA battalion in Baumholder for a year and then spent almost two years in Bad Kreuznach on division staff. Overall, 3 years 9 months 26 days in country. But who was counting? By the way, while we didn't have Amazon, I read everything written and delivered to the AAFES bookstore between 1979and 1983.

I got out, got my MBA at UW (all the rage in 1983) and have a family and career in banking and accounting.

And I am astounded, given your early comments on the Army life, that you have gone on to the "Advanced Course" with the evident intention of continuing to pursue a military career.

From someone who knows how hard the job is, thank you for your service. The Army needs people who have actually read a book or two and can think in a broader context.

Keep blogging. Keep reading the good stuff. And thank you for reminding me of my hopes and fears from a long time ago.

Jen K said...

dene - I signed up for the 10 K today so hopefully I'll stick to you. I just really need to get back into shape . . . sometimes it's a good thing that being physically fit is part of my job, other times it kind of sucks.

Tom - I'm glad you enjoyed my blog, and thanks for the compliments on my writing - it's always nice to hear. It was a bit of surprise to me as well when I decided to stay in - a little over a year ago I was still set on getting out but being the company XO actually made me realize that I knew what I was doing (being on staff afterwards made me change my mind about that but apparently I fooled my supervisors).