I’ve been gone for 25 months and already back for three weeks. Bahrain was more and less of what I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the educated, employed, and well-traveled people there. I want to be more like them. I’ve got lots of untold stories that I hope to share in the future, but I wanted to share a bit of my transition with you.
We knew, Caleb and I, that we’d be gone for two years, though one of us would’ve preferred less work there and more road trips here. We were locked on Bahrain without the ability to drive through Saudi and take the dogs with us. We found out in April that we’d be moving to San Diego. Caleb couldn’t contain his excitement, though he had applied for Hawaii, Spain, and Japan to soothe my wanderlust.
I didn’t feel ready to return, so I didn’t help with our personal property (mattress, clothes, dishes), our car, the dogs, the plane tickets… until it was too late. Caleb spent hours each day telling others to do their jobs so we could finally leave this island. June 16th came and Caleb was ready. I was unaware of the export form needed for the dogs.
Four days later and my ticket is only half confirmed. I laughed like a loony and left the airport again. Between Ramadan (holy month for Muslims) and the Fourth of July (which affects the base) I would get stuck waiting on phone calls, paperwork, and payments between the short working day. Finally, the guy in SATO (smart ass ticket office – or whatever that stands for) got tired of the back and forth and called the airline directly. He said I may only get to Los Angeles, but I’ll be in the States.
I made sure he had the correct credit card info and went back by the vet. The stress was turning my brain to mush. I would spend the mornings running around in the heat and the evenings with my dogs on my friend’s couch, which would’ve otherwise left me homeless, but I had plenty of offers for a place for us. Thank you to those people and I hope we meet again. The vet rushed my paperwork through as understanding of my situation, as she’s going through crap as well and is higher ranking.
With all things in order, Caleb and my dad found out I was on my way to the States as I pulled up to the airport. I was tired of the constant questioning without having answers. My flight was confirmed and not delayed. I sat for 2-3 hours on the ground in Dubai before going to Amsterdam for stroopwaffles and gouda in the airport. I landed in LA as my dad was on his way to San Diego to meet me in an hour only to be told that I didn’t have the proper boarding pass, my dogs paperwork wasn’t sufficient, and no one bothered to grab my bag.
I called my dad and had a pbj at the USO while waiting on him to arrive in a red convertible Camaro. Real life is so much better than Skype, we hugged. We had to drive a distance out-of-town to find a room for two nights, one so I could relax now and the second to calm down after a day in traffic to visit two synth stores.
We drove into Phoenix and Caroline walked in the door from work. Some days went by in a blur and I was soon in a Mazda 5 one-way rental to San Diego. Our old house had just been put on the market early and it was first come opportunity. We took it as a six-month lease and that gives us time to get situated and figure out if we want to stay there or relocate. I stayed in a Motel 6 and ate at Denny’s before returning the car to Phoenix.
My dad’s friend, Sonal, was in need of someone to help watch her store again, this time selling ice cream, and my dad knew I needed the distraction and a place to sleep till my bed arrives. I agreed to three weeks and her family will manage the last one. I’ve had plenty of time to read, enjoyed the rain, and a day in my dad’s office playing in Blender.
There are things to get used to, but it’s not where the guy is to pump the gas, but what’s my zip code. It’s not the overwhelming amount of cereal options inside the store, but the size of the aisles, the cheap fresh fruit, and the homeless people outside. There’s been no traffic and I can hear Arabic as if it were, “eh or a’boot” in Canada.
I work from noon to 9pm with Monday off. I have time in the mornings for a workout, shower, breakfast, puppies to play with and walk while I learn Spanish, and watch music tutorials over dad’s shoulder. I then either get a ride and am dropped off early or I leave the house at 11am for a 40-minute walk to work.
I have a long list of goals that I hope to accomplish today, next week, next month, and for coming years. I had gone by the SDSU campus but it was Caleb who got me prepped to sign up for classes in the fall. I think I almost forgot how overwhelming this process could be and thought it’d be easier without the navy in the way of the payment processing. I suppose we shall see.
How do I feel now that I’m back? This country has made great strides in moving forward in every direction, though sometimes it seems certain areas move slower due to greed and ignorance. I don’t want to be another name caller but a part of the solution. I met plenty of people who would love to be where I’m at – the land of opportunity. It would be rude of me not to take advantage of my situation. I’ll be here for a couple of years, or days, as no one can predict the future, but I’m hoping to make the most of mine.