See You In Germany

Shame on me, I haven’t posted about my brother (in the Army) in a while! He finished his Advanced Individual Training (with Honors) right before Thanksgiving, and has been home since. It was definitely great being able to spend some time with him, and listening to some of his stories. He’s leaving for Germany on Thursday for two years. Every single person we’ve heard from has had nothing but wonderful things to say about Germany. The only sucky thing is that it’s not cheap flying to/from Germany, so we won’t see him unless we fly there. Yikes! Still, it’ll be a great experience for him. I’m sure there’s lots to see, and he’ll be able to visit France and other places while he’s there too. I’m happy for him and wish him nothing but the best, and a very safe trip there! Hopefully we’ll find a way to visit him, because two years is a long time.

Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick update. Even though it’s been a while, it’s still weird when I think about my brother being in the Army. How’d that happen? But we’re all very proud. He’s done great (got lots of certificates/awards) and I think it’s cool that he’s learned all these things. (He’s a medic.) He’s thinking of making a career out of this, so good for him! That’s all for now. Auf Wiedersehen! That’s goodbye in German…

~Lily~

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Welcome To The Sooner State

I went to Oklahoma, and lived to tell about it. It’s been…a long few days, to say the least. I’m just glad we all went. It was great seeing my brother, a U.S. Soldier. So weird saying that! Part of me thinks he became a soldier just so that he could call us civilians, lol. When we made it to the base on Thursday, it didn’t take long for me to start tearing up, and I hadn’t even seen him yet! It’s just hard to explain the feeling that you get when you’re there. I never had any feelings about military life, but having someone in the Army has changed that. I can’t express how much in awe I am with all the men and women who are making this sacrifice. I’m beyond proud of my little brother. We got to spend most of the day together on Thursday and Friday. It was nice catching up and hearing about the things he’s gone through. Friday was the graduation, which again had me tearing up. It was a lovely ceremony. It’s hard not to get emotional about these things. It’s a big deal, you know? My brother graduated Basic Combat Training with Honors, in the top ten percent of the graduating class. We were all very proud when we heard that. It was sad leaving him Friday night. Two days isn’t much time, but at least we got to see him and visit the base. We’ll definitely never forget it. Now he’s in Texas, getting ready for Advanced Individual Training. He’s looking forward to it, which is all that matters. I wish him LOTS of luck, and look forward to seeing him in Texas!

The trip itself was pretty exhausting; four flights in four days is a lot, especially when you hate flying. Our first flight was delayed by 4 hours. Why wouldn’t it be, considering we had a connecting flight shortly after? It would be so boring if things worked out easily. The flight was delayed for practically every reason under the sun. Air traffic control, weather, awaiting incoming aircraft. All that was missing was a terror threat. Our second flight was delayed as well, but it was still scheduled to leave RIGHT before our first flight was scheduled to arrive. It was like an adventure, to see if we could arrive in the past, in order to make our future flight. We did get lucky though. They held the second flight just for the three of us. (Apparently we were the only ones connecting from our first flight.) We were very grateful for this small miracle. We made it to Oklahoma around 2:00 am. Who needs sleep anyway? You’d think it was enough to have survived two flights in one day, delays and all, but no…why should anything be easy? We arrived at the Enterprise rental car, and no one was there! They decided they don’t need to stay open after 12:00 am, because flights are NEVER scheduled to arrive at night, nor do flights ever get delayed. Like, never EVER. Morons. So we had to pay more money to rent from another rental place that was open. Then their systems went down. Finally, after a long wait, we got to leave the stinkin’ airport. We had to drive over an hour from Oklahoma City to Lawton. I’ve never seen such a straight highway, one with very few exits. It was creepy. We were trapped.

Here’s where it gets fun. We were only a few miles away, so we started looking for the hotel. It’s 4:00 am at this point. Finally, the GPS told us our destination was on the right. Yup, there it was, on the right. On a small hill with a fence and no road leading to it. What the hell? The GPS told us to take an exit (the wrong one) which took us to the other side of the highway, even FURTHER away from this mystery hotel. It’s like Oklahoma was taunting us. “Haha! You can see the hotel, but you’ll never find it! Na-na-na-na-na!” We finally took another exit which took us to a small road that eventually lead to the hotel. It didn’t get better after that, as we got lost every single time we left the hotel, no matter where we were headed, no matter how close it was. We didn’t learn anything in the few days we were there. In our defense, Oklahoma is confusing. And in my defense, I wasn’t the one driving. A lot of times, I knew which way we should turn. And I’m horrible with directions! Listening to my parents bicker at each other was fun though. “Wrong way, it was a left! PAY ATTENTION! Watch out! The sign says no U-turns! We don’t need a U-turn, just turn LEFT!”

Other than that, Oklahoma was…empty. We barely saw any houses, and there was never much traffic. There were cows and dry grass, but other than that, not much to see. It was 105 degrees while we were there. I checked the weather yesterday, and it was only in the seventies. Of course it would cool off after we left. Oklahoma’s a bitch. But we survived, and that’s all that matters. I would have been mad at myself if I hadn’t gone, so I’m glad I did. It’s good to be back to civilization though. There are crowds and stores and plenty of gas stations. All very important things. Now it’s back to reality and catching up on work, which is always fun. Have a great week everyone!

~Lily~

Oklahoma, The Sooner State. As in, the sooner you leave, the better.

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Letters And Army Life

My brother has been away from home for a month now. I can’t believe how quickly the first month went. (If you didn’t read my last post on the subject, my brother has recently joined the Army.) Honestly, it didn’t seem real until I saw a picture of him in uniform. That’s when I was like, “Holy crap, he’s in the Army!” We were able to touch base with him the first week, but not anymore, since they all lose their phones once training officially starts. Hopefully he’ll get his phone back in a few weeks. My parents were in Puerto Rico last week to see my grandpa, who hasn’t been doing well, and when they came back, they were surprised to see two letters from my brother. My brother isn’t the most talkative person, hence the surprise. Since we weren’t able to contact him, my brother had no idea that my parents were away. He was probably wondering what was wrong with us, why we had yet to reply to his letters. Then today, my parents received a third letter. In this letter, it was obvious that my brother was wondering what was going on.

“I’m just writing to update you two, keep myself busy, and honestly because I miss home. I don’t know if you have sent any letters yet, but I still haven’t received a single piece of mail from anyone I mailed. It kind of sucks because everyone else has received between two and twenty letters already…”

The poor kid sees that everyone else has been getting letters, yet he hasn’t received a single one. It makes me so sad to think that he feels like no one cares enough to write. My parents mailed their first reply on Saturday, but since the Post Office was closed on Monday, it probably won’t arrive until today. At least, I hope it arrives today so it can lift his spirits. I also wrote him a letter, so hopefully he’ll get that soon. I know he’s feeling alone, especially in such a difficult environment. I can’t even imagine some of the things that they have to do during training. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically. I just hope that he stays positive and remembers that we all love and support him. Recently, we celebrated Memorial Day, which honors all those who died to serve our country. We should also remember to honor those who are in the beginning stages of this difficult journey, those who’ve been serving for years, those who’ve retired, as well as those who’ve lost their lives. Regardless of how I feel about war, I can’t deny that the men and women serving our country are making a huge sacrifice that some of us can’t even fathom. Even if a soldier is never called to war, every part of their journey is important, and their dedication deserves to be recognized. What these people are doing is both courageous and admirable.

Anyway, I’m not sure why, but I just wanted to share that. I don’t know how my brother would feel about being mentioned on my blog, but it’s not like I said anything embarrassing. Here’s hoping our letters make it to him soon, and that he realizes he is not alone. His graduation will be in July, so we’re all going to try to go. It’s in Oklahoma, which scares me a bit, but I think it’d be great for him to see us all there. Then after that, he’s off to Texas for his second training on being a health care specialist. That training should go more smoothly, I would think. They’ll probably be just as strict though. Everything requires so much discipline, you can’t even poop when you want to. I said “poop” on my blog. Way to make a serious post less serious. I believe that’s my cue to end this post. I hope you’re all having a great week so far. Is it Friday yet?

~Lily~

My brother...
My little brother…all grown up.

Family Time…And Stuff

I feel like I haven’t written a personal blog post in a while. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Thank God. Those are so boring!” Well, that’s a little mean, but I’m not going to stop now. The most recent change in my life concerns my brother. He decided to join the Army. It’s been a long process, but his ship date finally arrived. It was sad to say goodbye, but I’m proud of him for making a big decision like this and sticking with it. He’ll be working as a Health Care Specialist, which I think is great. Hopefully he’ll never be called to war in the event of a shortage. I was worried enough just about him getting on a plane! I know the first few weeks will be hard, but for the most part, I’m sure this will be a great experience for him, plus he’ll have great benefits. If all goes well, he plans to stay in the Army and retire after 20 years. So yeah, please wish my little brother good luck!

I spent the whole weekend with my family, which was really nice. We always have lots of laughs when we get together for dinner. Men are funny when they drink. We went bowling too, which is another recipe for laughs, because we all SUCK. I’m gonna blame it on the ugly shoes. Those people make way too much money on shoe rentals alone, probably a million times more than what the shoes are actually worth. And it’s not like they replace the shoes very often. Mine were all ripped and shit. I would totally invest in my own bowling shoes…if only I didn’t suck.

Anyway, that’s pretty much the only update I have. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week.

~Lily~

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