I’ve donated just as much time to planning and processing Bahrain as I have to keeping my mind off the weeks ahead. It took Caleb and me three days to get the right piece of paper that gives me permission to enter and reside in Bahrain for the next two years. Our household goods will be packed on May 15th and Caleb’s flight is booked for June. We ran around to different buildings, offices, and bases to talk with people – some whom showed concern and others who were rude and superfluous to their workspace.
We are getting stressed and a bit tired of this routine. It turns out that the difficulty of these last four months can be blamed on a bad turnover. A certain chief didn’t give PS1 (personnel specialist – first class) all the paperwork that had already been processed, so he remained unawares of our struggles. I would like to feel more at ease, but it’s not over yet. Caleb might have a 36-hour layover in an airport with one of the dogs. We were told the military flight only has room for one dog, and because of that we would be taking separate flights – mine anywhere from one week to three months after Caleb flies out due to heat embargoes and space on commercial flights.
I thought that was for short-nosed dogs, but have to remember we’re flying to one of the hottest places on Earth during summer. I don’t know at this point if they are flying under our seats (up front with us) or somewhere in the back of the plane with people’s luggage. This will determine whether we bring the dogs in the carry-on bags we already have or whether we need to buy one or two crates depending on space and airline rules. We have to decide which dog will go first – the loud one that loves to travel or the blind one that scares easily. The one that stays with me won’t be alone, but Caleb will be dropping the other one off in a hotel room (hopefully not quarantine) for who knows how long during his check-in process.
Then there’s the car. We were given paperwork for a company in Kearny Mesa that is closing. We showed up to make sure the car was fit to ship and were given a number to the new place in Santee. The car needs to be street legal, have a quarter-tank of gas, no leaks, and be accompanied by a Letter of Authorization (big hassle from bank, etc.) or the title (another hassle involving DMV) – in which we might not get either before we leave. We may be living in the car (camping) while we finish sorting this out and then I’m on my own once I drop the car off, so far from the airport, probably surrounded by rentals that forbid smoking and pets.
Between the running around and the phone calls I’ve filled my time with eating popsicles, hat shopping, cleaning house, hanging out with friends, getting the windshield replaced, taking the dogs to the beach, reading The Master and Margarita, knitting, and posting old pictures to Flickr. I could hope that it won’t be this hard for me to come back to the United States, but where would the story be in that, and the possibilities of being transferred to another country, another island, and learning about another culture. I have plenty of months ahead of me before concerning myself with where I will be in two, or five, years. My focus for now is doing what I can to move us, our stuff, and not forget about the people who care about both.