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Yeah, see that up there? The unofficial motto of the Marine Corps. Pretty much means that we get rushed around a lot and told to be places at certain times, only to spend a shit ton of time sitting around twiddling our thumbs. That’s kind of what’s going on right now at Fort Meade, but I honestly don’t really mind it. It was annoying at MCT, I admit, because we’d be forced to wake up 0400 and then we’d end up sitting around doing nothing until 0600, but here? It’s not so bad. Yeah, I got rushed over here right after MCT graduation only to find out that my classes don’t pick up until October, but things could be worse. At least here I get good PT, decent food, lots of free time, and I get treated like a real person.

And really, what more could you ask for?

Well, faster internet and less blocks on sites, I guess, but you can’t have everything, right? And I get weekends off here (even though I can’t wear civilian clothes or go off base for another week), which means chill time and sleeping in, so honestly, I really can’t complain. It’s nice here at Fort Meade. Or better than MCT or boot camp at least.

So in that sense, there isn’t really much to update on. When I get my camera (I’m having my mom send me a few of my personals), I might take pictures of a few things here and there, but other than that… I’m mainly just waiting to get off of limited liberty. And my first order of business? Go to a spa and get my hands and feet fixed, because that shit is nasty. I’ve never been to a spa, but I’ma go now, because I can’t walk around looking like this. I’ll never be able to wear open-toed shoes again.

Next order of business? Get some Asian food. I’ve already scouted a few places via yelp, so we’ll see how that goes.

In other news, our CO has scheduled a mandatory fun day for our squad, meaning we get to go to D.C! My squad is not amused, but I’m actually pretty stoked. I haven’t been to D.C. since that field trip in 8th grade, so y’know… Not to mention there’s bound to be hella good Vietnamese food there…

So, I haven’t updated in forever. I would apologize, but then again, this is my blog, so y’know… I can do as I please. Regardless, I do feel a little bad, especially since important things happened, namely my graduation from boot camp and my becoming a Marine and all that. Unfortunately, I got lazy over boot leave and then I left for MCT (Marine Combat Training), so I wasn’t able to update.

But now I’m at Fort Meade, Maryland at DINFOS (Defense Information School) awaiting my school to get picked up. I have to say, it’s nice having soem time to relax and having me time. And a computer. It’s glorious, actually. I don’t even care that we have to wake up at 0400 for morning PT. I can go to sleep whenever I want to and since I haven’t started classes, I really don’t do much during the day. Mostly just chill and go on errands and all that. It’s pretty nice and it’s giving me a chance to get to know the other Marines here.

Anyway, I’m going to continue this trend of laziness and end this here. I’ll try to update again later, hopefully with pictures and whatnot, althought that would require me getting a camera first. It will happen at some point… I just need to get my mom to send me my stuff…

According to one of my platoon-mates, it’s officially 10 days until we step off for the Crucible. Not sure if you know what that is, but it’s pretty much our final test. It’s something like 56 hours, 2 1/2 MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), and 6-8s of sleep. And at the end of a 9-mile hike, we become Marines.

We did the Combat Endurance Course yesterday, which is supposed to give us a feel for what it’s like and it’s hard, but motivating at the same time. It’s pretty much supposed to stimulate a combat situation with a bunch of obstacles we have to crawl under and help each other and stuff. And there’s lots of running around with heavy things. Oh! Like, one girl in our group “died,” (she sat up on the wall we were going over and our SDI was like, “Keep a low profile, stupid! Good. You just got shot. You’re dead. Roll over and lay down.”), and we had to carry her for a while. Not fun. Well, I personally didn’t carry her (I carried her weapon and provided security), but it didn’t look like much fun. It was definitely interesting and I totally felt badass attempting to use hand signals, and providing cover and security and stuff. And our group was the only one that did the entire course, too. Boo-yah.

I needed that motivation for sure, because lately, I’m just getting more and more exhausted. I think the entire platoon is. Everyone just wants to go home or, in my case, just sleep for an entire day, haha. But seriously, I’m ready to go home. I haven’t reached that point where I’d like, break down or anything, but I miss being normal. I miss being lazy. Even though our senior was telling us the other day that once we get home, we’re going to get annoyed with civilians because they move so slowly, LOL. I don’t know. Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy being slow with them. I’m kind of interested to find out how I’ll be like when I get home. Like, if I’ll wake up at 4 AM and eat my meals in 2 seconds and be all confused when I have nothing to do. That last one I kind of doubt… ha. It’ll be fun to see how I’ve changed though, because I mean, I don’t feel like I’ve changed much, but that’s because the changes were gradual, so I never really had the chance to notice them. But I’m sure once I get back and I’m around my family or you or whatever, y’all will notice something. Hopefully. If not, then boot camp didn’t work, LOL.

What else happened… shit, I don’t even remember when I last wrote. We had our company inspection about a week or two ago. Pretty much, we clean a shit ton and iron and all that, and the company commander comes in to inspect our squad bay for cleanliness and uniformity. Then, she inspects the platoon, meaning our uniforms, weapons, our Marine Corps knowledge, confidence, blah blah blah… It was kind of awesome, as uncomfortable as it was, because we got to wear our service alphas for the first time. I looked pretty sharp, if I do say so myself. Even though all my shit was too big since I lost weight. But I still managed to get an excellent on my inspections. The commander said I had a lot of confidence and I knew my shit. That was a pretty good moment for me.

What else… More shooting! This time it was combat marksmanship and holy crap, it saved my score. Remember how I said I kind of sucked at the range? (or maybe I didn’t, but yeah, I didn’t do too well on qual.) Well, this round gave me enough points to get sharpshooter, which is the middle rank out of three, and the bad for it is far less ugly than marksman, which is the lowest rank. It’s not as cool as the expert badge, but I’ll take it.

It’s kind of crazy to think about how much shit I’ve done here and how it’s almost over. I mean, 3 weeks is still a long time, but not as long as 12. And the last week, I’ll be a Marine, and it’ll just be our battalion inspection, and then graduation on Friday, so it hardly counts. I’m pretty sure all we’re doing this week is paperwork, (it’s called Admin Week, after all), and drill, (final drill is in, like, a week, and we kind of suck), so really, there’s not that much left. Well, no, that’s a lie… We still have our CFT (Combat Fitness Test) tomorrow, our PFT (Physical Fitness Test) sometime soon, our final knowledge test, practical application exam, and final drill. So maybe that’s still a lot of stuff… But it’s all within a really short amount of time so whatever.

And, again, I’m going to spend time talking about how I want to stuff my face so badly. You know what sucks though? I was trying to play exactly what I was going to eat as soon as I got home and then I realized… I’m probably flying into San Jose at like, midnight or later. And I could still go get something, but fuck… I want Asian food and that shit ain’t open that late. Or some In-N-Out… Mmm… But regardless, I’m sure if it’s that late, all I’ll want to do is pass out. And fortunately, I’ll still be able to get tasty snacks and such before then, because we have Liberty Sunday the day after we get back from the Crucible, meaning we get to wander the base and buy actual food, and a bunch of the other recruits said that their families would be willing to adopt me on Family Day (the day before graduation). Either that or I figured I could mooch some treats off of them and then run off with some of the other orphans and have a bit of free time. Even though I’m a geek, so I find myself wodnering if there’s a bookstore somewhere on this base… LOL. I NEED TO READ THE SECOND BOOK IN THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY. Also, I would like to read Divergent. I think I just miss reading. And TV. Oh man, if I could, I would so just buy a pint of ice cream and a pack of cookies, (Chips Ahoy or Nutter Butters), and find a TV and just veg. That’s how I would spend my Liberty Sunday. Because I’m boring, LOL.

I’m already getting the feeling that I’m going to be super lazy when I get home. Gotta make sure I keep up with the PT. Especially since I plan to eat hella. Like… HELLA. Even though I probably shouldn’t… But fuuuck, I want me some sushi and like, KBBQ and chocolate milkshakes and a burger and a donut from this awesome donut place in downtown Campbell, and banh mi from Lee’s, and Yogurtland, and EVERYTHING. I’m hungry. This needs to stop.

To answer your question, there are 4 starting positions: standing, kneeling, sitting, prone. I’m not going to go over all of them, but I’ll go over prone, because, like you mentioned, it’s the one where you’re all sprawled on the floor. And it’s not the position itself that’s uncomfortable. It’s the sling. Pretty much, it’s cinched around your arm to the point where it’s falling asleep, and then it’s hitting your wrist in this awkward way (at least for me), so it totally fucked up my hand for like, 3 weeks. And the buttstock is digging into your shoulder. Also, the scope hit me in my face due to the recoil, more than once. Fun times.

But, it’s over and like I said, I got sharpshooter, so whatever. Oh! And yesterday, we totally got our dress blue uniforms tailored and I’m so stoked to get it back. Not sure when it’ll happen, but I don’t even care. It’s just too bad we don’t graduate in them… But the service Charlies are still pretty cute. AND, I finally have my ticket home. I just bought it the other day and was like, “Shit son! I’m finally going HOME!” I’m excited. Oh! And the CFT! I passed. Did a lot better than I thought, even though my score could have been better on the run if some jerk didn’t trip me as she was passing me, but whatever… I’ll do better on my next CFT. Did I mention what that consists of? I don’t think I did. It’s a half-mile run in boots, ammo can lifts (they’re 30 lbs.), and then a sadistic obstacle course-type thing where you have to run, crawl, drag a buddy, firearm carry a buddy, then sprint around with 2 ammo cans. Pretty much, the entire time you feel like you’re going to die. And the girls behind me are talking about baked goods and I want to punch them. Gah!

But I’ll be able to eat cake soon… Warrior’s Breakfast. It’s right after the Crucible, and rumor has it, there is EVERYTHING there. Doubt there’ll be any Asian or Mexican food, but I’ll be satisfied with some cake. Or pie. Or both. 10 days, dude… 10 days…

As of now, it’s the 24th of June and we just finished training day 35 yesterday, so we’re halfway done! Pretty exciting to think about. At the same time, it feels like we have a shit ton of stuff to do still. For instance, rifle qual. We’ve been here for a week so far, mostly just practicing all the rather uncomfortable shooting positions, but we’re officially going to get to shoot live rounds tomorrow, which I’m stoked and scared about at the same time. It’s kind of like when you get into a car by yourself for the first time–on one hand, it’s fucking awesome, but on the other hand, you could very well kill yourself or someone else. But I’m just going to try and relax and ease into it, because fuck no I’m not going to get dropped at the rifle range. Our platoon got 9 new recruits this week because so many people from the earlier platoon failed and that ain’t happening to me. FUCK NO. Hell, I’m setting my sights on that expert badge, because that would be badass to have. And you gotta aim high, right?

And speaking of quals, to answer your question, no, you don’t need to know how to swim before you get to boot camp. They teach you if you can’t and even if you fail the first day, you have the entire week to get your shit together. Our platoon had 3 people from the earlier platoon who got dropped for swim, but everyone passed this time around. And hellz yeah I’m getting buff! I’ve lost 14 lbs. since I got here and I somehow ended up as a cooler recruit, meaning me and the other 3 have to lug fucking heavy-ass coolers everywhere we go. And do a bunch of other shit that involves running around with heavy things. It’s not all bad though. We get to go chow earlier than everyone else and most of the time we get back to the squad bay way before the platoon, so we get time to make head calls and socialize. And it’s good exercise, so I’m not complaining. Too much.

But we’ve done a lot since I last wrote. We did the rappel tower and the gas chamber (both terrifying, but not as bad as I thought it would be), our initial PFT (Physical Fitness Test), and… I’m sure some other stuff that I can’t quite remember. We’re seeing a lot more of the males now, although the DI’s are very strict about making sure we don’t look at each other. So mostly I just see backs of shaved heads, haha. It’s kind of cool to think about how they’re going through the exact same stuff as us, though. Especially with Echo Company, which is the male company we’ll be graduating with. They were doing all that stuff I mentioned earlier at the exact same time our company was. And OMG, when we were doing the gas chamber, we were getting the brief at the same time the males were and some people had to go outside to exchange their masks. Our DI’s were out there and you could hear them SCREAMING at the males. Which was hilarious in itself, but when the guys came back in, this one dude was like, “Fuuuck!” And I wanted to tell him, “Hey, that’s what we have to deal with EVERY DAY.” But the gas chamber wasn’t too bad. I mean, yes, it was horrible, and I felt like I was going to suffocate and die, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Meaning, we only had to suffer through it once because (mostly) everyone did what they were supposed to do. One chick put her mask back on before they gave us the OK, but fortunately for the rest of us, they only made her stay and do it again.

As for my haircut… Not sure if it could be seen as edgy in any way. I look more like a 12-year old Asian boy straight off the boat from China (fucking middle part, guh!). But have no fear, I didn’t use the cash I brought with me for the cut. That $20 is still tucked away safely in my foot locker. When we first arrived, all the recruits were given a cash card-like thing with $300 on it. Which sounds awesome, right? Well, I spent $240 of that money on buying supplies for the platoon, and more shirts and shorts for myself (all of which have been mysteriously swallowed up by the laundry). But recently, we all got debit cards connected to the accounts where our check is going, so I still have a decent amount of money left. Of course, can’t say what will happen once I buy my plane ticket home, but that’s not going to happen for another 3 weeks or so, so I’m not going to think about it. First things first: rifle qual.

And, like always, this letter is taking me more than one day to write, so I’ve officially shot an MI6A4 service rifle with an RCO attached. Boo-yah. It was pretty awesome, although the sound was nothing like how I expected it to be. It kind of sounds like a cap gun, in all honesty. The recoil also wasn’t bad at all, although I will admit, my face was a little too close to the scope and my eye got slammed a few times. But all in all, shooting is super fun (albeit uncomfortable), and I’m not as nervous about qualifying. Whether I can get expert is an entirely different story, but I’ma do my best, yo. Still have 3 more days to practice, so there’s time. I’m sure by the time I write my next letter, I’ll be able to tell you how I did 🙂

P.S. Because this letter took me so long to write (again), we have returned from the range! And I qualified. Barely, but I’m pretty stoked that I did, because let me tell you, no matter how good you are at Left 4 Dead, shooting a real M16 is way the fuck different, LOL. In other words, I’m not very good at at it. Unfortunately, we had more people unq (not qualify) than our sister platoon, meaning we lose the series guidon we won from our initial drill. Sad times… But that just means we’ll have to work harder to get it back. Cross your fingers…!

It’s almost been a month now… Actually, it’s the 4th of June, so it’s almost exactly 2 months until graduation. Kind of crazy to think about. This week is actually the last week of phase 1 (out of 3) and phase 1 is supposed to be the worst. Even though my platoon is having a rough time and our DI’s are not happy with us, so… But, I just go one qualification out of the way, which feels quite satisfying. We have swim qual in the morning, which meant we splashed around and jumped off of things in full cammies and boots. It was fun, but a little tougher than I thought. Water all ups in my nose, yo.

But I sort of realized that I was so frustrated k=last time, I didn’t really relay what my typical day here on wonderful, sunny (ha) Parris Island. (Well, I guess it is sunny, but definitely not California sunny. We have random lightning storms. Super weird.) So, the typical day starts at 4 AM. We get woken up by a lot of yelling, then we have to get dressed, which takes a while, because the DI’s will tell us what garment to put on, count us down, inevitably someone will screw up, so we’ll have to take it off and that will happen a few times before we move on to the next piece of clothing and at some point, we will be dressed, at which time, it’s off to morning chow (breakfast). Then we go PT or do training or MCMAP or all of the above, get back, shower, (or just get wet and then change, pretty much), practice drill, go to aftermath chow, drill drill drill, and then go to evening chow. Then it’s just a little more drill, shower, free time, and bed time!

Obviously, there are variations of what we do, but that’s the gist of it. Even though next week (it’s like… the 10th of something now. God, these letters take forever), we’re going to phase 2, which means rifle range, so I’m sure it’ll be different. I’m super stoked to go to the range, even though we have to move, meaning an 8 mile hike with all of our gear. Hurray… Hopefully the pace won’t be too fast. Short legs, y’know.

Oh man though. So I had to get my hair cut before the rifle range because I was told it was going to get too long while we were over there and my hair cut is crooked now! /sobs. They call the hair stylist the butcher, haha. But she’s super nice and just getting that shampoo job was worth the $13 I paid… Haven’t been able to spend that much time on my hair in a month. Definitely one of the things I miss. Like doors on bathroom stalls. Yeah, we don’t have doors. It’s great. Also, I’m randomly craving those Dole cups from Disneyland. Really badly. And Yogurtland, LOL. Just shit to look forward to when I get back, I guess.

It’s Sunday, which is our “relax” day, because people go to church and shit, which is fine. I don’t go because I’m not a fan of church and I kind of like being in the squad bay with only a few people (anti-social to the end, LOL). Today was an easy day, but some asshole decided it would be a good idea to fall asleep during core values, (which is this time when our senior driller instructor just sits and talks touchy-feely stuff with us). So we got our asses kicked. Rush-ups in the sand? So not fun.

But I mean, I don’t blame our SDI for what she did. We’re kind of the fuck-up platoon in all honesty… My platoon stresses me out more than the DI’s do sometimes, LOL. Actually, the DI’s don’t stress me out too much… I can handle the yelling and name-calling (like, OMG, the DI from our sister platoon was totally like, “FIX YOUR FACE, UGLY!” Rude). But these girls… Some of them, I honestly, don’t know why they’re here. I’m really kind of concerned that they’ll actually graduate, because if they don’t shape up, they’re legit going to get people killed. Others are just clueless.

And of course there are good recruits, too. I’m trying to fall into the latter category, but it’s hard since I’m not the most physically fit and I’m at the end of every formation because of my last name and my height, so I literally don’t have any of the goddamn directions. Also, I’m right near the door, meaning, I get in trouble a lot for not having super peripheral vision and seeing people walk in and out at the squad bay, because we have to announce people and open doors and shit. Me and the other girls at this end of the squad bay fail epically at it. So we get to go play in the sand together.

The food is so-so. Oh, but you’d totally love the biscuits and gravy they have for breakfast here. It would make me smile if we were allowed to smile… which is depressing to say, but we have to keep our “bearing.” But I laugh at the shit on the inside, like when one person said that New Orleans was in Illinois… Really, dude? C’mon. Some people…

But, I mean, it’s only been a week or so. There’s still time for people to get their shit together. So here’s hoping. Seriously. It would make my life easier if this platoon came together… But all’s I can do right now is my  best and work on myself. And be better at opening doors. 

I know, I know… I haven’t updated in a while. The reason? Why, I’ve been traveling! My best friend from high school and I went on an epic road trip to the Northwest and it was a blast! We hit up Oregon, Washington, and Canada and I’m definitely glad we did it. I’d go into a detailed explanation of what we did, but I’m way too lazy to write it all out and I’ve also gotten myself a bit addicted to Pottermore (no shame), so I sort of want to get back to that…

But in an interesting turn of events, I received a call from my recruiter as well as some messages from Staff Sergeant and this public affairs rep. Apparently, they want to use me as the subject (or one of the subjects) of some TV documentary showcasing poolees’ last few days as civilians. I really have no other details about the project — I told the public affairs sergeant that I’d call her once I get back to the LA area. My recruiter said that that would be for the best, too. So I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated about that.

In other news… man, I really need to make sure I pass that IST. I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly good about PTing on the road trip, but I ran and stuff when I could. I hope I’m not just psyching myself out, har.