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.

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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.

So, I was at Knott’s Berry Farm with my roommate over the weekend and when we went to go get dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. First of all, holy crap that chicken was delicious. I think they brined the chicken (or something) before they deep fried it, because it was super moist and flavorful. Which is not always the case when it comes to fried chicken. So I was super stoked about that, but before we even sat down, this caught my eye:

I’ve developed major Marine Corps senses ever since I swore in and I seriously notice everything Marine Corps-related these days from people’s tattoos to stickers on cars. And I guess I can add wine to that list. I was going to take pictures of the text, but I got lazy. Actually, these pictures weren’t even taken by me. I had my roommate take them with her phone and then later I remembered, duh, I have my camera in my purse. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. But the cool thing that my roommate pointed out was that apparently, this wine is made for Marines by Marines! Badass, yo.

This is also the fullest glass of wine that I’ve ever received. Most of the time the glass is only about half full, but hey, no complaints here. I do like my wine. And despite the fact that I’m usually not a huge fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as… tannin-y (yeah, I have no idea what the adjectival form of tannin is. There probably isn’t one, but whatever) as most Cabernets are and it was incredibly smooth. I definitely dug it. Not bad, Marines. Not bad at all.

 

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.