Merry Christmas From Sasebo, Japan

In Japan, girls dress up in funny Christmas outfits. Weird.
In Japan, girls dress up in funny Christmas outfits. Weird.

Well, we ended up stopping in Sasebo, Japan for Christmas. It was a good break and a little bit of time to relax before we headed back out for more. I think Japan is an especially strange place for Americans though. Everything is just so different, even when they try to make it American for us. (For example, our hotel breakfast was hot dogs and french fries, just like home. Haha.)

It’s hard being gone for Christmas, but at least I did get to talk to Carissa a fair bit. The time differences and our weird schedules make it pretty frustrating. I was sitting on top of my boat in 30 degree weather with no coat for hours talking to her, just because that’s the only real option. People will do anything to spend just a few more minutes talking to the people that they love.

Buying things in Japan can be pretty confusing at first...
Buying things in Japan can be pretty confusing at first…

I only had two real days off here. The first was spent stocking up on supplies, getting food, and drinking off the previous underway. It doesn’t help that all my buddies enjoy the same amount of drinking as I do. In fact, I always feel like I meet the most interesting people at bars and end up finding new places I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

My other day off I just did some Christmas shopping and walked around the area. I kind of regret not taking the trip to Nagasaki, but I don’t think I mind that much. It seems sort of distasteful and weird (much the same way I find Japanese people making cute poses on the USS Missouri — but again, it’s a cultural thing lost in translation).

These guys dragged me all over Sasebo to drink!
These guys dragged me all over Sasebo to drink!

It was nice just doing nothing for a little while. It’s an opportunity that you rarely get, so I was very pleased with that at least. But, now it’s back out to sea for a while longer. It’s a shame to think that I would be getting back in two months otherwise, but now I have even more to go. Oh well, every day closer is a good thing.

Back in Texas

Same tree, new year.
Same tree, new year.

Well, it’s been a long time (nearly a year) since I was home, but it feels good to be back. I can’t say much is new with us besides trying to get everything figured out for Hawaii. It felt like a mountain of paperwork, chasing people around base for signatures, and a lot of close calls. Originally they had told me I wouldn’t be out for another month or two pending order changes, but I was able to get everything worked out.

So far we’ve been to Dallas for a wedding shower. It was nice to see my grandma and the rest of the family, and we took home a decent amount of cash. It’s kind of up in the air as to when we will actually get to go back to Texas after this — more than likely, people will come to visit us. It is Hawaii, after all. Still on our to-do list is San Antonio and Big Bend National Park. Both of those places are some of my favorite in Texas, so I’m excited to head back that way one last time before we go.

Besides that, all I’m doing is growing a beard. Kind of neat to have facial hair for the first time in nearly three years. But soon enough, we’ll be in Hawaii. And we both can’t wait for that.

Ending the Year

Well, as you can imagine, I haven’t updated this because I have absolutely no free time and I never get online. Oh wait, I actually have so much free time that I have no real excuse for not updating stuff and putting this post up. As before, I am currently in a hold status in Charleston at NPTU, Nuclear Power Training Unit because of a bunch of problems with our submarines. While technically I’m assigned to the MTS-635 (Moored Training Ship), I actually have been driving a bus since September when I first got assigned to NPTU, aka Prototype. It’s been really relaxing to do nothing, but it makes me wonder how much I’ve forgot — and how much it’ll suck to be leaving at 4:30 AM and getting home at 8 PM every night. I’ll be a zombie, I’m sure of it.

Posing for what was one of three hundred million photos for my mom. Our faces hurt from smiling!
Posing for what was one of three hundred million photos for my mom. Our faces hurt from smiling!

Anyway, the good news about being on hold is that I got to take a 13 day leave, my first in around a year. Thank God because even working a few hours a day still means that I’m stuck here in Charleston away from family. Carissa and I fly into Midland on November 30th, and the following morning we announced that we have secretly already got married. Yep, that’s it. I’m a married man. How strange is that?

To us, it just sounded logical and we knew we were right to be together. I didn’t see the point in prolonging an engagement because I have literally no clue when/if I will get out of Prototype, and how my leave schedule would be. This way we were able to get the paperwork done, get IDs updated, bank information changed, military insurance, and all that other fun stuff out of the way. Don’t worry though; we still plan on having a wedding/reception some time in the future, somewhere. The idea will be a small service in the reception area, and then have a lot of fun and party. The honeymoon is our big focus because we know only a few members of the family will ever get to be together for the wedding since her family is in Ohio and mine is, of course, in Texas. Perhaps we’ll meet in Savannah, where her mom currently lives. It is a beautiful city, so it’s possible. But, I’ll talk about this more in the future. Just writing it down because I’ve had to explain it about a hundred thousand times already!

Koreana, the best Korean food/any food that I know of. It's enough to send Dan into tears just thinking about it!
Koreana, the best Korean food/any food that I know of. It’s enough to send Dan into tears just thinking about it!

So, back to leave. We stayed in Midland for a few days, then went to San Antonio to see my relatives, Cathy and Dennis (and their big Huskies!). I’ve always loved San Antonio, and I’ve spent so much time there because of family and attending Trinity University that I knew all the cool places to go. We did the Riverwalk, ate at fancy restaurants, saw the Alamo, went to Market Square, and a few other places. Carissa definitely loved San Antonio the same way I did. The weather was in the upper 60’s the entire time, making it amazing for walking around and being devoid of tourists since it was December, after all. There’s still more to do in San Antonio, so next time I’ll make sure we get to see it all!

From there, we headed to Austin (and I gave Carissa her first kolache, the best pig in the blanket concept ever made). We were able to meet up with a couple of people, Charlotte from Wisconsin, who I studied with in Australia (random, I know), and see my buddy Scott, who I went to middle school and Trinity with. We toured the state capitol and went to some museums, but we stayed away from 6th Street, which is probably for the best (we had been getting really, really drunk in San Antonio!). After that, we drove into Dallas and saw my mamaw and a few other relatives, before meeting up with Logen and Ashley. It’s been forever since I’ve seen them and it was great to introduce them to Carissa. I miss those two so much because we’re all opinionated assholes.

Fat Ava, the laziest damn dog alive and my princess, who I love dearly. She has her own leather couch. Throne?
Fat Ava, the laziest damn dog alive and my princess, who I love dearly. She has her own leather couch. Throne?

After that, we were going to head to Houston but scheduling and finding a cheap enough hotel was an issue, so we had to miss out on seeing Faber, which sucked, but there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. We were dead tired by that point anyway. Not sure how I did it all the last time I was on leave! So, we headed back to Midland and hung out with the family. Carissa got to have her first barbeque, including some of the best brisket ever (thank you Howard!). And, we had time to see my niece, Genevieve, who is absolutely wild and in love with puppies. All in all, it was such a much needed break.

But, that was a few weeks ago and now we’re just back in Charleston, waiting for it to finally get cold. We don’t really go out much because we’re on a budget and Carissa is always working, but then again, it’s amazing to just get to hang out around the house with her. We both have an intense love for sleeping, which is where a large part of our free time goes. Thankfully, we balance it with exercise.

So other than that, Happy New Year! I hope it’s been as good of a year as it has been for me (minus six months of hell in Nuclear Power School). See you in 2013.

Merry Christmas

Jimenez, Pendy, Stemps, and Me

I’ve been home on leave for a few days but I never find time to update this thing like I would have liked to. Since I’ve been here it’s been pretty non-stop trying to see everyone and balance family time as well. I’m just so glad to not be in Charleston.

I finally got to spend some good time with Lizz since we only briefly saw each other last time. As well, I got to meet up with Logen for a few minutes for the first time in such a long time.

I’ve also decided to spend the rest of leave traveling around Texas to see everyone else: Steph and Christian in San Antonio, Brennan in Austin, Emily in Houston, and family in Dallas. Probably a few other stops too. We’ll see!

White Christmas

Today it’s Christmas. I think I actually did good on the gift situation this year, so that made me feel good. I like to give books because I know I can match people’s personalities. Still haven’t done Christmas (we’re doing it later because my brother working and general family logistics). It’s actually a white Christmas, my first ever. Never seen so much snow come from the sky — I’m impressed, and a little grossed out. Cold weather is not my thing.  So happy I brought my peacoat.

Anyway, I am just trying to use my time wisely. So not looking forward to my return. I will be absent from Jan. 2nd until May 25, assuming I can survive that long.

December

Our Christmas tree, and I didn’t even have to help put it together

December for me usually just means it’s freezing cold and I’m in Midland for the holidays. Now that I’m living here for who knows how long until the Navy lets me figure out my future, I have just kind of faded into this month — there aren’t any finals or big parties to announce it at school, and now this is my life. I try not to hate on Midland too much (oh wait, no I don’t), but last Thursday I think everything finally got to me. I was having one of those days where you just think “how much more of this can I take”, and it was compounded by the frustrations of the preceding days. As well, not knowing what is going on in my life is really hard when I can barely afford my student loans, my job was supposed to be temporary, and I have to be here just in a holding pattern until I find out.

I’m a gangster, or an oil field worker sick of dust.

So, on this Thursday I managed to get H2S gassed pretty good and lost my breakfast from the stuff (it makes me really sick to my stomach, for some reason; my dad shrugged this off like I was just weak, but whatever). And then the next unit I went to had yellow jackets inside the panel, meaning as soon as I opened it they got completely pissed. I tried to go back to it to close it, but they were too angry, leading me to have to wrap up in every piece of winter clothes I could find to try to protect myself to go in for a quick run and get my ladder back and get the unit sealed up. I managed to do it, though I did get stung and was covered in them when I was scrambling to get into my truck. Just not a fan of these things. So they next unit I go to — same deal, full of yellow jackets. And this is the day that I ran out of wasp spray while I was spraying them. Not a very good situation to be in, trust me. Basically, the whole day turned out to be a complete bust and I was driving home just thinking about how I didn’t want to go home, but I didn’t want to be at work, but I had to do both things in one day.

The most exciting thing of the week: I got lost in the field and found the remains of Hobbs AFB, complete with old plane parts and grown up runways.

Somehow the day ended and things were better the next day. The wind had died down so I didn’t need a bandanna to keep from choking on the dust, and it was strangely something like 85 degrees. Some December this is turning out to be. I know because I said this we’ll have record cold temperatures now. I even spent some time at my brother’s and played some video games, which was nice for a change. Yes, this is about as close to going out as I get lately.

I’m excited for people I like coming into town for a few days. Change things up and refresh my sanity. I’m also hopeful that this coming week I will find out what the Navy will do with me so I can know for sure where I’m going, when I’m going, and what I’m doing. I need something to look forward to, and these are the two things that keep me going. I also need some structure that isn’t this structure. That is my hope on the horizon.

25 December 2008

BBQ for Christmas, just like God intended

In a few hours, I will be getting to eat some delicious food. I know, I know, I am underscoring the true meaning of Christmas… the presents(cough)! But, I already bought my present so I’m waiting on the food. My mom is a masterpiece cook and so is my dad. Today will be a feast so great I had to share it with the world — a Texan-style feast with smoked brisket and other southern delights.

25 December 2007

Ah, it’s Christmas. So let’s see what’s new… I scraped by with all B’s and one A, somehow. I’m not really even sure this is possible. In one class the only grades I got in the class were C’s. How odd.

Oh right, Christmas. I haven’t even got dressed yet. It’s too early. I think my brother comes here at 3 PM and it’s like 10 AM. It’s nice to be home though, that’s for sure. I just needed to get away. I don’t even care that I’m not partying all the time like last Christmas. It’s fun, just getting to sleep and eat and spend time with my family. Who would have thought I would actually say that when just a year and a half ago, I was the most eager person in the world to get away.

College is nice, but it’s also really frustrating. I wonder how a lot of people do it. I just want to shut out the world and sleep right now, but as soon as I’m back, it’s welcome to the grind all over again. I imagined, I think, that college would have been different from high school, and at first it seemed that way, but now I realize just how trivial almost everything is. It’s hard to be motivated, sometimes, that’s for sure. Literally every day it’s the same thing. You don’t learn anything — you memorize. Ask me what I learned in freshman year and I could probably only tell you the course number or a meaningless fact about something, probably not even pertaining to the course.

I really don’t know how people do the college life. It’s fun a lot of times, and you do get to meet new people, but you also have to live like a bum and be a slave to fruitless classes for a piece of paper. Perhaps I’ll learn to love it. Perhaps not. I think I would enjoy a job much more; something that is personal and meaningful, the way I expected school to be. Something with a purpose.