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This is it, ladies and gents. My recruiter’s driving me off to the hotel tonight, I’m going to MEPS (Military Entry Processing Station) tomorrow for my pre-ship check-up, and then on Tuesday I’m off to Parris Island. Which I have to say, I’m somewhat relieved about. I did a piss-poor job on my IST on Wednesday, but thank gods I’m shipping.

As for the documentary I’d mentioned previously, that didn’t end up happening. Apparently, it was a legit documentary for the Discovery Channel and my recruiter told me it was “reality show status,” meaning that a camera crew would be following me around for my last three days as a civilian. My recruiter told me that he honestly didn’t really want me to do it, because he wanted me to be able to relax and not have to worry about saying something stupid, which was a valid point. Also, after my IST, I just wasn’t feeling up for it, so in the end, I decided not to do it. I think it was the right move to make, considering it would have been awkward for all of the friends I’d hung out with, not to mention my roommate.

And good thing, because I didn’t do anything that interesting. Mostly watched movies with friends and ate food. And worked out.

Last thing! Because I obviously will not have access to the interwebs while I’m at boot camp, I have enlisted the help of my roommate (soon to be former roommate, sadly…) to help keep my blog going. I’m planning on writing her letters, so I figured I’d get her to type of parts of those letters and post them up here. Huge thanks to ndjmom for suggesting the idea!

Anyway, folks, this is it. I’ll see you in three months.

In a month I’m shipping off to boot camp. I have one last visit back home to move my stuff back home, hang out with old friends, and spend time with my family before I have to be back in LA to get flown over to Parris Island.

That being said, I figure it’s time for me to finally get to that bit about why exactly I’m doing all of this (and by all of this, I mean joining the Marine Corps). Not surprisingly, this isn’t going to be short. I’ve said a lot of things to various different people, all of them true in their own way, but altered a bit depending on who I was talking to, sometimes because I wanted my reasons to sound more noble than they were or to assure people this wasn’t some crazy whim or just because I didn’t feel like getting into an argument with someone. Because there are some people who just look at me like, “You graduated from college… Why would you join the military?” as if enlisting is something only people who can’t do anything else do (which is bullshit).

So this is where I’m going to be completely honest.

A really big part of why I decided to become a Marine is because I want to do something that I can be proud of. I want to become something that I can be proud of. Because yeah, I’m proud of being several things, but I mean, it’s not like I can say I worked my ass off to be Japanese American. I wasn’t like, in the womb with a game plan like, “Yeah, okay… So how do I get to the top of the list to get me that Japanese person slot?” But if I make it through boot camp, I can truly say that I fucking earned the title of U.S. Marine. And I know I can be proud of that.

Another part is that, y’know, for all the complaints I have about this country, I love it. Yeah, there’s a lot of things wrong with it, but nothing’s perfect and honestly, after going abroad for a bit, I feel pretty damn lucky to have been born an American. And it wasn’t even like I went to a third world country — I lived in Japan for a year and I still was thanking whatever divine force is out there that I was born in the States. So yeah, I love this country and I want to do something to give back. Which is kind of odd for me to admit sometimes, because I feel like in high school for some reason I thought it was cool to be all down on the United States and whine or whatever (also because I whined about a lot of things in high school, I realize. I was one of those, “omg, my life is so hard,” kind of teenagers). I thought that becoming an ex-patriot would be kind of hip and awesome, but I’ve grown up and opened my eyes and even though I can’t say that I’m the epitome of American patriotism (I still refuse to say, “One nation under God,” while reciting the pledge of allegiance), I think America is the bee’s knees.

Yes, I really did say that. Laugh all you want, I’m going to bring that phrase back, yo.

Now for some of the reasons that I haven’t actually told a lot of people. One, I want to be a badass. There’s always been a part of me that liked to think that I had some badassery in me, but I was never able to really get it out, and let’s be honest — how much more badass can you get than becoming a U.S. Marine? (Well, maybe becoming a ninja, but I’m pretty sure that only exists in comic books and highly unrealistic action flicks these days.) Two, I’ve spent most of my life playing it safe and I’m tired of doing that. I want to change myself. As Nathan Fick wrote in One Bullet Away, “I wanted something more transformative. Something that could kill me — or leave me better, stronger, more capable. I wanted to be a warrior.” And I will admit, I’ve always wanted to be a warrior in one way or another. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Robin Hood, a Ninja Turtle, an Animorph… I wanted to be the one who saved the day. Never once did I want to  be a princess. At the time, I think I just didn’t like dresses and was more into animals than people (the version of Robin Hood I was obsessed with was the one where he’s a fox), but I’d like to think that subconsciously I was trying to rebel against the traditional roles that women are often placed in.

And there’s also the writer in me. I’ve written mostly fiction up until this point and not particularly well-written or imaginative fiction — just stuff you write for class because that’s the assignment and you can’t not do the assignment. And for a while I thought writing fiction is what I wanted to do and to an extent, I still do want to do that, but there’s something about nonfiction that captivated me. I want to write something like Among the Thugs or Generation Kill. Whether I will or not as a result of joining the Marine Corps, I really can’t say, but as a combat correspondent, I know I’ll get to write stories that are at least true and that will affect people in some way. I don’t have any pretenses about my MOS — I know that I’m essentially going to be writing propaganda, — but so what? I’ll be (hopefully) writing things that will help motivate the Marines and touch their families.

Or y’know, I’ll be stuck in some room editing and laying things out, but I can hope.

Writing all of this makes me feel like I should get off my ass and go work out, because yeah, I’ve been a bit lazy with PT these days. Gotta make sure I don’t get fat before shipping out, har.

Pretty much, I would make the best boyfriend to any heterosexual woman. At the moment, that woman is my roommate. Now that I’ve quit my job (to have more time to get ready for boot camp, i.e. move my stuff back to my parents’ and such), I have more time to do stuff, like cook dinner! Which is what I did for my roommate and I the other day. And this was the result: sesame crusted salmon (thank you, Vons and your Five-Dollar Fridays), half-steamed, half-boiled broccoli, and onion and bell pepper quinoa. It was pretty tasty, if I can say so myself.

But, exciting news! I went to go do an official IST (just to see where I’m at) and guess what my hang time was? 24.7 seconds. I am so stoked. I started off not being able to even hold myself up there and now I’m almost at the required 25 seconds. Hell to the yes. And apparently, the guys at the RS were talking about how much I’ve improved, which is awesome because one, that means they actually remember me (which, honestly shouldn’t be that surprising, considering I’m probably one of the only Asian females they have) and two, they’re pleased with my progress. I’m pleased, too. No, not please. Try fucking ecstatic.

I do feel like I’ve neglected my running a little though… My run time kind of got slower. Whoops. But I don’t feel too bad, because my run time is still well within the limit and I just really, really, really, needed to get my hang time up.

And I still have five weeks… Five weeks, guys! Holy hell!

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS VIDEO FOREVER. Not only do I love this song (all of you rolling your eyes at me can suck it), I heard that Katy Perry was shooting the video for it in Camp Pendleton and literally had a meltdown. Fortunately, I was in my car and no one was there to witness it.

Anyway, I’m not going to say much else except that I love this video, it’s making me super motivated, and I like seeing Katy Perry sans most of her makeup and kicking ass. Who says pretty girls can’t be bamfs?

To start off, I just wanted to add as a disclaimer that I am twenty-two years old, which means that I am of legal drinking age in all fifty states, so nothing illegal is going down when I post about me and booze.

Doggery is an old school word for a dive, so I don’t feel so bad posting about alcohol on occasion. Recently, I went to Vons and found this Red Velvet wine from this vineyard called Cupcake and I have to admit that I like it for the most part (Vons was and still is having a 30% off sale on wine, just for your information). It’s a little light for my tastes, but there is a distinct sweetness to it that’s kind of nice, especially if you’re still getting used to red wine, but don’t want the full on sweetness of port wines.

And as an added bonus, I get weirdly productive when I drink, so I started baking. I’ve been a little obsessed with the flavor combination of green tea and white chocolate, so I baked some white chocolate shortbread cookies with white chocolate chips, which turned out quite well, despite my mild intoxication. The recipe I used was this one with the added bonus of some white baking chips.  I also made some double chocolate cookies because I felt like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t grease the pan, so they failed a little.

I really shouldn’t be eating food with so much butter, however, which makes it fortunate that I know a bunch of Marines who are in tip top shape who would love to consume some baked goods. I’m not sure if they’re fans of green tea, but I figure menfolk are generally not incredibly picky when it comes to to sweets. And it’s St. Patty’s Day this weekend, so they should appreciate green food.

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I’ve been meaning to post a picture of my little welcome box (I really can’t remember the actual name of this thing for the life of me) for a while now and I’ve finally gotten around to it! This is just a little something poolees get when they DEP in as a sort of, “Welcome! Just because you’ve sworn in, doesn’t mean you get to slack off!” Because after you’ve gotten through taking the ASVAB, going through medical, and having to do the swear-in ceremony, there isn’t much else for you to do except wait. And make sure you’re going to be able to pass the IST (something I, myself am working on).

But back to the box! I figured I’d talk about the contents, just because I have the time.

  1. Le Box – It’s pretty and silver. The end.
  2. Applicant’s Rights – Pretty much just has the Marine Corps’ policy on discrimination and sexual harassment and also has a little note about recruiters not being able to date applicants/poolees.
  3. Training Guide – A nifty little booklet that gives you some workout tips and also has an area in the back where you can track your physical progress. I really should be using that, but I always forget… But you know… tracing progress is what weekly PT sessions are for, right? Ha.
  4. Other Booklet – Has information on various things including what to bring and what not to bring to boot camp. It also provides information you should memorize before shipping off, such as leadership qualities and general orders and all that good stuff. I’m currently trying to memorize the general orders, which really wouldn’t be that difficult if I’d just sit down and do it. But sometimes my Xbox calls to me…
  5. Stickers! – Clearly, I am excited about these. I love the way they look and they’re super classy and I really want to put one on my car, but I’m going to wait, because I’m not sure for how much longer I’m going to have my car. The other sticker says, “Proud Parent of a U.S. Marine,” which I haven’t gotten around to giving to my parents yet. Mostly because they’re not exactly proud parents at the moment, but hopefully, that’ll change.

And that’s pretty much it. If I’d gone the officer route, I would have also gotten a giant-ass book that has the entire Marine Corps history in it, but since I stuck with the enlisted route, my box is a lot more manageable.

I’m not even a Marine yet and I’m already getting some benefits, yo!

So these dudes from Chase came to PT the other day to talk to me and the other poolees about banking and being smart with your money and yadda-yadda and I figured it was mainly for the youngins (I don’t really know, because I showed up kind of late that day, har…), because, I mean, I’ve had a bank account for years and I’m pretty good about my money and all that. But, what caught my attention was the fact that they offer certain services to military personnel and I figure, hey, if I’m going to serve my country, I’m sure as hell going to take advantage of whatever benefits get thrown my way. I mean, this is the girl that went to conventions and took a bunch of free stickers just because I could. I like free things, okay?

But unlike stickers, this stuff is actually useful. Not going to bore y’all with the details, but pretty much I can get a free premier checking account with Chase and it comes with some nice little perks. It also comes at a good time, because I’ve been considering getting an account that isn’t connected to my mom’s for a while. Not that I don’t trust my mother or anything, but I got that account when I was like, sixteen and wasn’t old enough to have one by myself. But it’s about time I get my big girl account.

Anyway, even though I’m pretty sure the only people who are reading this are my friends, if there are some poolees or prospective poolees out there reading this, look in to your benefits. Just being DEP’d in allowed me to qualify for this account, so look into what kind of shit you can get! And having a bank account is always a good thing anyway. I mean, once you go to bootcamp and start making your cash moneys, you have to have a place to put it, right?