I should be at the pier right about now to attend the USS CARR (FFG 52) Ship Tour, but here I am blogging about my family’s last days in GTMO. Yes, if you haven’t heard, we are leaving. Our life in GTMO comes to an end on November 27, 2012, but our GTMO life will remain with us forever in our minds and hearts. We have almost two years worth of memories of this U.S. Naval Base: some good, some not so good. We are happy to have them all, even the not so good ones.
My husband learned about our leaving on Tuesday, November 13, the day after Veterans Day was observed, but he didn’t give me the news until Wednesday morning. I had intended to post my next blog entry for the week on Wednesday, but I was shocked, excited, confused and a little sad when I learned of the news . So, hopefully, you’ll forgive me for slacking since I had only two weeks to pack, sell our vehicles, decide on schooling options for my daughter, organize a yard sale, etc. to prepare for our family’s stateside life.
My husband was hesitant to tell me of the news because he was unsure of my reaction. He always tries to protect me from stress because he knows I am a Type A personality. He knew I would be happy to learn we were returning to my hometown, but he wasn’t sure how I would handle the short notice. To his surprise, I was thrilled. I confess… I was a bit stressed when I heard that we only had two weeks to prepare for the overseas relocation; but I insisted that if I can move to GTMO within a month, I should be able to move back stateside within two weeks. Afterall, when we moved to GTMO, we had a whole house to deal with. Here, it’s just a 2 bedroom, one bath apartment. Was I wrong! How did we accumulate so much stuff in less than two years? So far, I shipped 26 boxes, and I still have about 4 more to ship on Monday.
So, the next question: Why are we leaving? I’ll explain later in another post. It’s a long story. Although I have been dreaming and praying for this day for a long time, I still feel a little sad because we are leaving behind some people we’ve met and actually got a chance to know well. Our family has moved and lived in several places, and with each new place, new house, we were able to make it feel like a new home, except GTMO. I did everything possible, but I was unsuccessful at making GTMO feel like “Home Sweet Home” even with supportive and encouraging friends in GTMO.
I have to admit, I will miss a few things about this place. I’ll miss the fact that I don’t have to spend lots of money on clothes since it’s only one season here. I’ll miss the fact that I don’t have a mortgage, car payments, or utility bills. I’ll miss the slow life, not having to deal with traffic congestion. I’ll miss some of the people I have met. I’ll miss the delicious mouth watering Jamaican jerk chicken, roast fish, goat curry, and all the great food the “Hill” offers. I’ll miss the $4.55 Surf and Turf buffets at the Goldhill Galley. I’ll miss the opportunity to taste a variety of ethnic cuisine like Filipino lumpia and pancit and authentic Cuban sandwiches. And I’ll even miss dodging the iguanas. But, I would trade all of this for stateside life. For consistency. For choices. For convenience. For comfort. For organization. For family. For close friends. For sanity. For normalcy or what I consider normalcy.
For the past 12 days, moving preparations weren’t the only activities occupying my time. We spent Tuesday evening enjoying my daughter’s piano recital. We celebrated Thanksgiving Day at the beach with some friends and with my husband’s coworkers, saying our goodbyes and sharing good food and company. It was emotional for me, but with me being Type A personality, I was able to hide my emotions well. My daughter, on the other hand, immediately teared up when we got into the station wagon and drove away. She’s so much like one of her aunts. Even my husband choked up a bit, but he claimed it was dust causing his eyes to water.
Tomorrow night, we’ll get teary eyed again, having to say our good byes to a dear sweet couple who have invited us to have our last dinner with them. I consider the female friend as a close confidant on island, and she reminds me so much of one of my nieces that I immediately felt comfortable with her upon meeting her for the first time almost two years ago.
Monday, will be a chaotic day for us since we have to run last minute errands like turning off phone service, shipping our last boxes, cleaning the apartment, and tending to other mundane chores.
I believe that it’s a bit easier for us to leave GTMO compared to other places we have lived not because we didn’t really enjoy life here, but more so because we’ve always known that GTMO wasn’t going to be a permanent place for us. GTMO was only temporary, and we knew this before we relocated to this island of paradoxical features. GTMO is kind, harsh, supportive, vengeful, beautiful, ugly, normal, insane, and so much more. GTMO is a place that will never fade from my memory bank.
Well, my husband is staring at the computer, hinting to me that he needs to pack it up for shipping. I guess this means I need to end my blogging now. I have more packing to do. Until next time…happy reading!