Deployment: Week 13 & 14

How in the world have 14 weeks passed since I last saw Zach?

For the most part, I've gotten into a nice routine of posting a little deployment update every other weekend. When I thought about it yesterday, I brushed it off, thinking that I still had another week to go.

Wrong. TWO weeks have passed since my last update.


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Before Zach deployed, I came across a list of FAQ that military significant others often hear. No lie---one of the funniest articles I've ever read. (As in... go read it right now for a good laugh.) All of the responses are super sarcastic, and the questions are beyond absurd. Surely nobody would have the audacity to ask some of those...

Wrong again.

Let's be real: I've been asked the majority of those questions (minus number 12... just saying) more than once. But truthfully, I don't mind. People ask questions because they care and because they genuinely want to know, and I feel honored to share what a deployment is really like with my little slice of the world. Besides, I didn't have any idea what life in the military was like until I started dating Zach three years ago, so who am I to judge?

Some other frequently asked questions:

No... not yet, anyways. Skyping requires an alignment of the stars unlike any other. In order to pull off a Skype session, we need the following:
  • a computer in Afghanistan
  • Skype to actually be downloaded on that computer
  • a day without a desert sandstorm to ensure a strong enough internet connection
  • a webcam
  • a headset/microphone
And in the rare, rare instance that we've got all five of those things going for us, I also need an internet connection (which should be much easier now that I'm back at school) and a functioning alarm to wake me up at 4:30AM (this issue has also been resolved).

Perhaps it'll work out one of these days. In the meantime, I'm not too concerned about it :)

This varies from week to week. If Zach is traveling outside the FOB (forward operating base), I obviously don't hear anything for a while, seeing as how it's difficult to call from inside a helicopter or while on a convoy. If he's on a different FOB, it just depends. Some FOBs have internet and phones; some have nothing. If he's living in the armory, he isn't able to call, but he can email after hours. And if he's on guard force, he can call when his shift is over, which conveniently happens to be around 4AM over here.

Confused yet? :)

At times, the base will go into "River City", which means there's a sudden, prolonged lapse of time with restricted communication. It typically (but not always) occurs when something bad has happened, and nobody is allowed to have contact outside the country until families back home have been notified. It can be a little nerve-racking, knowing that something has happened, but not being able to get in touch for days. Fortunately, I have my best friend, Kacey, who sends reassuring texts: "Everything is okay! He is in a desert; there are mandatory weekly sandstorms as outlined under section 4b of 'Rules and Regulations of Deserts Worldwide,' aka RRDW."

She's always right.

I used to think this was the funniest question, but then I remembered that the Army has over 5x as many servicemen as the Marine Corps, so most of the things that people know about the military are based on the Army. Army deployments are typically a little longer, so they get a two-week break called "R&R" where they can come back to the States and then return to finish their deployment. Marines deploy, take care of everything they need to do all at once, and then come home. No breaks. As much fun as it would be, Zach doesn't get to fly in for a few days for my birthday or Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Zach's in a more remote location than some other Marines, so it takes at least three weeks. After that, it really just depends on when the mail truck comes around. Sometimes, it's decently frequent; other times, it takes even longer.

Lord have mercy, I won't know the answer to that question until Zach calls me as he's getting on the plane and tells me that he'll see me in a week! I do have a general range of when he might possibly be home, but we're not even halfway through deployment yet, so that's bound to change another 17 times. I think it's safe to say that as of now, we won't spend Christmas together, but he'll be my Valentine's Day date for sure :)

Simply put:
Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine,"
but it is lived by faith in the Son of God.
- Galatians 2:20

I have no doubt that Christ has given me a peace unlike any other to sustain me during this time. Do I miss Zach? Of course. Do I wish he was here right now? For sure! But am I more than okay to continue living my life and supporting him from 7000 miles away? Yeah. Yeah, I am. And that's a peace that only Christ can provide.

In addition, I have a lot of people who support me (and Zach!), constantly check in with us, and send the sweetest notes & messages of encouragement. Plus, it's not too terribly difficult to spend a chunk of a year apart when you know you'll get many more years to be together :)

photo sent 08/17/2011

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When Zach called bright & early this morning, I asked him if he wanted to say anything on my blog. His response?

"My girlfriend is amazing... and you should write her letters."

I'm not kidding; that's exactly what he said... word for word. It's not quite what I meant when I gave him the prompt, but I'll take it :)

If this post has prompted some questions of your own, feel free to submit them below. They can be about anything, not just the deployment, since I'll be bringing back the "End of the Month Q&A" next week.
Happy Sunday!