Fond Farewells

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February 4th 2010
Published: May 29th 2010
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Me and BritMe and BritMe and Brit

Love this girl!
Could it be that I'll never be back here again?

One of the more pleasantly stressful moments on board a ship is when you’re waiting to get off the ship for good and move on to you next duty station. Whether you have a great boss or not, love your co-workers or not, enjoy the galley food or not... things get annoying in little ways, but not one or two at a time, all at once. GET ME OUT OF HERE! AAAHHHhhhhhh!

So maybe not that dramatic, but it’s the same thing that happens to us in high school, at least I think it happens to everyone. Come on, you remember it. It’s your senior year, you’ve been dating from the same limited gene pool for a few years, been accepted to college, have the teachers eating out of your hand, making your own money at some high school friendly part-time job. Life seems to come to this denouement, or so you believe at the time. Then, just over that cliff is a giant drop, what I call senioritis. You think, “I want to experience life outside of this, I want to start my own world.” You just can’t wait to graduate and have a little different flavor in your life, no matter if you have a plan or not. Maybe that’s not everyone, but remember, I’ve been moving around, on average, every 1.9 years (yes, I calculated it) since I was born. I wonder if all that movement has made me into a gypsy of sorts. I get a bit antsy when I’ve been somewhere too long, seems to fix itself temporarily with a move down the street, a walkabout if you will.

So, transition that to now... I love it here, but I’m ready for a change. It’s obvious why mariners take at least 2 months off every time they take a break. I want to go somewhere that I can drive to see my family. It’s been essentially 30 months of sea duty and I miss being able to call anyone I want, whenever I want. This has certainly been one hell of a year though, one I will never forget. Epic, something to tell my nieces and nephews when I’m old and toothless (okay, I don’t like that image as much as I thought I would).

This year has
At the pierAt the pierAt the pier

Awards ceremony
been about growth in many ways. Personal, professional, spiritual.. but I still feel like my life is one big contrariety (boy, that’s a big word). 29 year old, feeling like I’m 21, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m in the Navy, wondering how I can dislike my specialty (Supply) but still love my job. Married, though absent. On sea duty, but on a vessel run by Merchant Mariners (which rocks, by the way). On arduous sea duty at that, though the best tour ever. “Disconnected”, but I’ve seen 10 new countries and had the honor of being introduced to the vast array of cultures each of those places contains. How much more connected can you get than that? A little lonely, though I’ve made more true friends and met a multitude of eccentric acquaintances in this year than in the rest of my life. What does all this boil down to? What have I learned?

I now know what a Merchant Mariner is, wish I had known about them when I was looking at colleges. Specifically, over the year, I’ve learned that some 3rd Mates (3/O) sleep a lot (Brittany),
Spike MarlinSpike MarlinSpike Marlin

My hero in so many ways...
some talk a lot (shut up already!), some tan more than they should (and like to tell you about their speedo, despite me not needing the image), some try to get laid a lot when they’re married already (by anything that moves, disgusting pervert). 2nd Mates (Navigators) come and go. All Merchant Mariners are salty and worldly, and often induce others to drink too much. Work hard, play harder, figure things out and get the job done. I’ve learned that a Captain can sin just as much, if not more, than an 18 year old let loose in a brothel and that Engineers are just as quirky and eccentric in or out of the Navy. I’ve learned what sculling the propeller means. I’ve learned that I’m a bit of a pack rat, a recovering one I think now. I can now say hello in about 14 languages too.

On a more personal level, I don’t think I’ve learned a whole lot of new concepts, just a deeper reiteration of them and how I perceive them. Life is a roller coaster. It always will be, so I would like to embrace it, with all its complexities. How can I
Love this statueLove this statueLove this statue

He copped a feel.
appreciate anything without the opposite experience? I’ve learned that leaving is always bittersweet, no matter who, where or what you are leaving. But, it can always be easier to take if I look at it as an end to a needed lesson. All I can ever expect from others is what I would expect of myself. Though, just because I want to do the right thing, I can’t always expect others to want to do the same. What else?

Here’s a good one... the Divine put stupid people on this planet for a reason. At times, I wish I could beat the hell out of them, throw them over the side, feed them to tigers, throw them on top of a spinning helo, the list could go on. They are here to teach me veritable life changing lessons though. Seriously! One, I have to learn to choose my battles wisely or I turn into a steaming cauldron of negativity that gets no one anywhere. Two, patience... I really think this is my life’s lesson in one word. Take a deep breath before responding to someone, things said in anger or said in response to stupidity don’t gain anything,
The ClinicThe ClinicThe Clinic

This is a bar where you can get an iv bag full of a special drink and drink it out of the iv line. Hysterical and expensive novelty.
it can actually push situations the wrong way. Three, silence proves its weight in gold in situations that can have no winner. You gain more respect from those observers who truly matter when you can swallow your pride and try to be the bigger person with an idiot. Four, it shows you your own limits. I know what it takes to push me over the edge, more so now. The final one, five, well... I should appreciate that they are here to teach me these lessons. I don’t have to like it, or them, but without them, would I be able to learn all these things? I’ve learned that not all people get to high positions from the hard work they do, even in the Navy. I always said that sometimes you learn your most valuable leadership lessons from those who are the worst leaders... just never thought it would be a Master Chief reinforcing the lesson.

So, with orders to go to Little Creek, Virginia, I am sad to go, but happy for a change. I’ll miss a lot of people and living this strange life at sea with them. I had a “Farewell” of sorts in
The brothersThe brothersThe brothers

J-rod and his bro already hammered at the Green Day concert.
Singapore. Where else would we go but Little India? Muthu’s Curry, my favorite place for a curry and Golab Jamun (a yummy dumpling dessert). Most of the MILDET were there, along with Bos’n (Dave), Sarah, Brittany, Mike, Andrew, Stephanie and the Captain, Johnny O. I got a sweet card from the MILDET and the CivMars wouldn’t consider me paying for anything. We spent a couple of hours just talking and enjoying the good food and wine. I leave in a month, but it’s still such a foreign concept for me. We’ve still got Vietnam to visit, so that will give a little more transition time. It’ll hit as I pack my last bags to depart.

I wouldn’t trade this year out here for anything in the world. I’ve been happy and sad, lonely and not, but my life has been enriched by this place. It’s unexplainable.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


My Ship BestiesMy Ship Besties
My Ship Besties

Miss you girls!
Taxi rideTaxi ride
Taxi ride

Yes, we're drinking wine on the way to the concert.

Brings out the best in us

Engineering cadets at their finest.
Sarah and the CaptainSarah and the Captain
Sarah and the Captain

She looks thrilled, right?
Butterfly GardenButterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden

Yes, it's in the airport

29th May 2010

Your post about being in the Navy was really interesting, and I enjoyed reading it! I loved your photos too, and I can't believe there's a butterfly inside the Singapore airport! Seems like an amazing way to see the world! My blog is looking for travel tips, photos, etc, to share. If you have the time, check it out at, or email us at Continued fun at sea! Heather :)

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