Monday, February 13, 2017

Adventure Awaits


Right before Christmas I proudly posted this on Facebook to share with one and all:

This week we got some news we've been waiting a long time for -- Tim's been selected for promotion!! I'm SO proud of him and looking forward to seeing where our Marine Corps adventure takes us to next.

It was not a big surprise at least to me; it was just a matter of waiting for what felt like weeks and weeks to get the news. But the promotion was not a given and it's a huge deal to us. That was the first piece of news we needed, and it was great. I basked in the heaps of congratulations that came our way because I am so proud of him and his accomplishments, and I love seeing him be rewarded for his years of hard work.

Then we settled in to wait for the next big piece of news we would get: the part about where the adventure would take us next. We -- or at least I -- were pretty confident we'd be headed back to eastern North Carolina. Tim's friend who is in the know, was certain this would be the case. This was going to be the logical next step in Tim's career, because the next thing he's hoping to get is command of a unit there. I just couldn't wait to have those orders in hand so we could apply to base housing on Cherry Point.

Tim said to me somewhere along the way that the people getting orders to Okinawa, Japan would be the first to receive orders since they needed the most time to prepare. He said once those people got their orders, we'd know for sure we weren't going there. He wasn't ruling out the chance of getting Okinawa orders mostly because in his 22-year career, he's never gone there before. He kept telling me not to count my (Cherry Point) chickens before they hatched, but I was looking into the schools, moving into the house in my mind, and imagining being a half hour away from my favorite beaches again. I kept saying to him, "Have the Okinawa people gotten their orders yet? What's taking so long?"

A few weeks ago while he was away on a trip, I got a FaceTime call from him right after I put the kids to bed. Our conversation went something like this:

"How did your day go?"
"Eh, just a pretty typical day."
"Are you ready for me to change that?"
"Do you have some news for me?"
"Konichiwa."
"We're going to Japan?"
"Yep."
"Ohmygosh, hahahaha...."

Then Delaney and Timmy came running out and said, "We're going to Japan?" Tim mentioned not having wanted to tell them yet and I said, "You shouldn't have called at 8:15 then!"

So we talked for a little while about it, mostly about how we'd be so happy for this opportunity except that it means being so far away from our families. We also knew that just the logistics of moving there are staggering and mind-boggling. Then there's getting used to being in another country, in a completely unfamiliar area. Tim was taking the news harder than I was, because what it means for his career is uncertain. It's not that it's a bad thing, more that it's a detour, and he was feeling a little like WTH, Marine Corps? He hadn't seen it coming. But he says he had kind of seen it coming.

I asked him if it was a sure thing, and he said the monitor had told him it definitely was. I reminded him of what happened last time he got orders to Okinawa, and how nothing is a sure thing.. but everything works out in the end the way it's supposed to.

I felt like I took the news very much in stride considering how completely out of the realm of possibility I'd thought Okinawa was (hahahahaha, says anyone who's been a Marine or been married to one). I was just like, "OK, this is what's going to happen. We're going to make the most of it!" Then that night lying in bed I could. not. sleep. My mind started going a million miles an hour. I started to really feel sad for what was not to be after all; and then I tried wrapping my head around most likely three years of not seeing our families in Massachusetts and Ohio. Ugh. Impossible. Why do we have to go so far away?

A couple days later I shared this to Facebook:

Well, the suspense is over for us. Okinawa, Japan it is! This comes as a little bit of a shock. Not sure what I think about this. Japan is a long way away. As soon as we told Delaney she said, "Sushi. And slides." Oh boy!

And the comments I got on that post blew me away in the best possible way. Friends who are there and/or have been there chimed in telling me about things to see and do, how the schools are top-notch, the beaches are beautiful -- so much great stuff. Most of all, just being reminded again about who is already there, friends I look forward to seeing again, was so reassuring. This is something we never would have chosen for ourselves, but since the Marine Corps chose it for us, I was ready to embrace this amazing opportunity and take it for what it's worth. I love to throw the term "adventure" around when I think I'm moving five hours north to somewhere we've already been twice, but now we're looking at a no-kidding adventure. Especially with four kids in tow!

Since that day, every conversation we have either begins or ends with Okinawa. There is a long process for getting there, and we're now in the thick of it -- lots of paperwork, medical and dental stuff, passports.. I feel like it's eating up huge chunks of my time. Not to mention we are making lots of plans for places we want to go and loved ones we want to see before our August departure.

So that's where we are now. The Marine Corps threw us a curveball, but I think everything's going to be OK.

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