Gasp... it's over!

Sooooo... I originally developed my blog with good intentions. Very good intentions. I wanted to share with my family and friends what was going on with me during my deployment to Afghanistan. However, the computers I had constant access to are apparently against blogging and all it stands for, because I was unable to access it. And to be honest... I was too lazy to walk over, sign in, and wait the usual 30 minutes for a computer at the MWR area. Therefore my blog is left with a huge gap. An old friend from high school started a blog to stay in contact with her family after moving across the world to Italy due to marrying an Airman, so I found a new energy to want to start this again. Instead of re-starting a new one, just pretend to hit the fast forward button.

Where to begin now? Well, we made it. Nate and I are both home and are working on living together again. It was a rough year. Not so much for us as a couple, but for everything that happened within the brigade. A fellow platoon leader in Nate's troop was killed early on in the deployment. It definitely made me worry 1000% more than I already was. There are many good things about being on a deployment the same time as your spouse, but there are bad points as well. This was one of them. Luckily, he is home here with me and now we are focusing on the transition phase.

The deployment ended for me on March 14, 2011. Exactly 51 weeks before I left. Nate came home a little after me on March 20, 2011, which was 2 days away from my 26th birthday. I was so happy to know that we would be spending the day together this year, considering the other years of our marriage we had been apart for them. It was amazing just to be with him, and even better because we spent it with about 20 friends at a restaurant in town.

After birthday festivities and the initial hugs and kisses of being reunited we packed up our bags for a much deserved trip to the Caribbean. We spent 12 days there, and about a week of that was with my in-laws. It was a great time, and we had a lot o fun together. We rented a boat, saw dolphins, ate at many local restaurants, and just relaxed. After they left Nate and I focused on diving. On our R&R period during the deployment Nate and I went to Fiji and were certified as open water divers there. It was an amazing experience that left us wanting to do it more. The Bahamas was a perfect place for it, and we continued our training and are now Advanced Open Water Divers.

We got home on Friday and spent the weekend getting the house in order and relaxing. It is so great to be able to do that again. You forget what having a weekend (or any time off, really) is. We have been enjoying every minute of it.

Only My Husband...

Things not to tell your wife while she is deployed to the other side of the world:
1. I lost my wallet with a large amount of cash in it.
2. Oh yea, the credit cards were in there too.
3. Don't forget about the debit cards.
4. And my ID.

Things to tell your wife after you told her the things you weren't supposed to ever tell her in the first place:
1. The MPs just brought it all back to me.

In other news... we have been at Camp Spann for over a month. Everyone is finally getting into their schedule, and is eager to keep the deployment moving. Last night was our company's patch ceremony. By regulation you are authorized to wear a combat patch after being in country one day. However most units wait until around the 30 day mark. Ours was last night. My Battalion XO, who's mentored me since I got to my unit was able to put the staff's patches on them. I know a lot of people say it's no big to have the patch ceremony, but I'm not one of those people. That combat patch is a source of huge pride for me. As I was growing up in Picture Rocks, PA (population of like literally 500 people) I was too caught up in cheerleading, boyfriends, and social circles to really give the military a thought. Now here I am today in Afghansitan. It's very surreal, and sometimes I have a hard time believing it. That patch ceremony meant so much more to me than just another piece of material on a uniform. It symbolizes the sacrifices that all Soldiers that have deployed have faced, the countless hours that have been spent at work, and the missions that people have gone on to make this area a better place. Oh yea... and I beat Nate to it. HAHA

Missing my Fort Drum Friends

Here's a group shot of the ladies of 1st BSTB. Thank goodness they are here, because without them... well, who would I have "girl talk" with? The other night I went to dinner with three of the guys in our unit. The entire time they talked of lifting weights, No X-plode, and ear wax. Really.... Ear wax. There is only so much of that a girl can take. Luckily I do not have to subject myself to that kind of torture often, but when I do, it makes me miss my Fort Drum friends a ton. (Hi Kayla!)

Nate is STILL siting at home waiting for his flight. It's been a bad couple of days for him. He's had his "fifth last meal in the states" last night. He insists that our brigade is not on a deployment, but instead partying in Las Vegas and he just wasn't invited. Rest assured blog readers, because I am NOT in Las Vegas. I wish.

Did You Ever Have that Feeling?

Sometimes I get the feeling that I am a bad wife. No, not in any kind of harmful or destructive way... just in a way where I feel like I'm not the wife I "should be." Being deployed keeps me busy, but also gives me a lot of time to think. Especially at night, when my Nate isn't around for me to talk to. All that I am left with is my thoughts. Now I know I do a lot for my husband, and he is the first thing on my mind every day when I wake up and the last thing before bed. However sometimes I feel like I'm not there enough. Like I can't commit as much time or energy as I would like to to him and our relationship. I can't have dinner ready for him when he gets home from work at night. I can't take care of the finances and household things right now. And unfortunately,I can't hug him goodbye before he leaves for his deployment. I just can't do all the same things that I feel like other wives can. That makes me feel helpless and like my life is out of my control. Which, technically it is. The only thing that makes me feel better about this situation is that I know Nate is ok with all of it. If he gets home from work before me, he makes dinner. If I'm not there to take care of the finances and household things, then he is the one setting up allotments and making sure the electricity is shut off for the year. And let me tell you... that hug he gave me before I left for deployment was the best hug I have ever received. I think when I lay down before bed tonight, I will think about that.

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter! It's Easter Sunday here on Camp Spann, but it doesn't feel like Easter. I guess I really have nothing to compare what an Easter on a deployment is like... but it feels like any other day. My Soldiers did have an Easter egg hunt this morning, complete with plastic eggs and jellybeans. I think CSM ended up finding more than me, and he wasn't even participating. The sad thing is that Nate will be at home today eating a microwaveable turkey dinner (since our house is STILL in chaos due to the pipes breaking over the winter...) instead of having to sit through one of my "delicious" holiday feasts. Now that I think about it... he probably enjoys the microwaveable meal more. Last year at this time Nate had just moved up to Fort Drum and we had recently bought our house. Our Easter dinner was the first "real" meal we made together. This year I am eating an MRE for lunch. My how a year changes things. However, in that year we have learned so much and have continued to grow as a couple, so for that I am thankful.

As I write this, Nate is also getting ready to leave for the deployment. He will be on the opposite side of the country, but I am excited that he will be in the same time zone. I'm sure he is too, so that when I do get a chance to call I'm not accidentally waking him up at odd hours of the night.

Besides that, Camp Spann has been great. The Soldiers are eager to do their jobs and I am excited to see what the next year continues to bring.

Another Day in the Life of Lindsay

Well, yesterday started out like any other here in Afghanistan... but quickly took a different turn. Everyone has been trying to move into the tents or rooms where they are going to be living for the next year. It has been hectic. Chaotic. Stressful... to say the least. It doesn't sound like much, but everyone has their own ideas of how they want things done. Unfortunately in the middle of the madness, a Soldier ran over my foot with a Gator (one of those small vehicles that make it easy to get from Point A to Point B on the camp). I let out a big scream and was taken to the Aid station. From the Aid station I was sent to the Afghan hospital located within a couple miles of our camp for X-rays. I was the first one from our battalion to utilize their facilities, and it was an interesting experience. Since I am female I had to be escorted by a female at all times in the hospital. Even to use the bathroom (which, mind you, was a hole in the ground). She interpreted for me if necessary. When not doing that she told me all about herself. I quickly learned that she has a big family that she goes shopping with downtown ever Friday. She is currently enrolled in school and loves her job, and speaks better English than most Americans. She intrigued me. Her stories were compelling and she was very easy to talk to. She often reminded me of the freedoms of America by telling me of how she cannot wear her hair down or marry for fear that her husband will not allow her to work. She reminded me of how important mentorship is here in Afghanistan, and of how we are making a difference to the people by being here.

Home Sweet Home... kind of.

I made it to my final destination a couple nights ago. Travel went surprisingly well. Upon arrival at the manifest site I was able to secure an awesome first class seat on the biggest plane I have ever seen. I'm talking full recling, glorious elbow room, bed-like, first class seat. What a way to celebrate my 25th birthday... however, it definitely would have been better if my husband could have at least been there. Speaking of him, I have actually gotten to have a few small conversations since deploying. It's been nice. It in a way keeps me sane. Time has been going very fast, and so far I'm doing really well. In a way I am glad that I never deployed, because many previous Iraq veterans are not used to the way things are in Afghanistan. For example, prior to getting to our final destination we stayed in tents outside for a few days without heat or electricity. Not too big of a deal... however, for those Soldiers who went to Iraq... unheard of. Sleeping 8-20 people to a tent instead of 2 man rooms... impossible. I actually went into the situation with that "glass half full" mentality and it has made the transition easier. We are awaiting the arrival of the rest of our unit, and I am excited to get into a routine. I think having a routine will make the time go by faster. (at least I am hoping so) Nate should be getting ready to leave soon as well. My countdown for R&R has already started, since I am hoping to go in the fall. The big countdown for redployment has already started too! Less than 365 sounds wayyyyyy better than a year. I think...