Thursday, March 29, 2018
Sometimes when I am at home working on homework my mind wanders to other topics. One subject that seems to interest me is the concept of love. I used to think that "love at first sight" was not true, just as Romeo and Juliet proclaimed their arbitrary love for one another; I still believe it to be false. Throughout my adult life I have experienced love spells that captured all the quiet corners of my thoughts. It was as if life was grey and dull until I was in the presence of my person of interest. Yet, as I have come to learn, giving all my attention, love, thoughts, and being to that person became fruitless. No matter what I did, I still ended up feeling alone, and helpless in my craving for that reciprocation of affections. I am learning that obsession is my enemy. It is a cruel presence that steels all other pleasures away and only cares and hungers for that attention. The more I want the less I get. How pitiful it is that these false feelings always lead me astray. They pretend that the person is perfect and hides their flaws. Love, or "love at first sight" in this matter, is based on feelings that are overrated and deceitful. This concept depends on the luck of making an acquaintance, misguided admiration, and biological hormones. In other words, it is a circumstantial event propelled by an innate need to find a partner. If you believe that love is a feeling, then I don't agree with you. What real love to me is a commitment, even when those special, delightful feelings are not there. What I should seek after is someone who loves me unconditionally and shares my values. Feelings are blind and have only brought me grief. "Love at first sight" is a lie.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
I spend most of my weekends and hours after work doing homework. Although I am only taking one class this semester, it keeps me busy! This English class is a bit more demanding when it comes to participation, some classes are laid back while others are more challenging. I think the workload honestly depends on the professor. Despite the countless hours spend on completing the work, I find satisfaction and enjoyment in it. Just knowing that I am only 11 classes away from my bachelors is more than motivating (also the threat of failing if I don't give my 100% propels me into action). My attitude is that I have no choice other than do it. If I do not even give myself the option of quitting, then it is not even a fathomable option. Achieving my bachelors degree is singularly the most important goal in my life at this time because without it, my life after leaving the military will be all the more difficult and distressful. Sometimes I regret not starting on my bachelors sooner, but it is too late to waste time thinking about what I should have done or could have accomplished. I will keep my eyes fixed on the horizon and continue moving forward.
Friday, March 23, 2018
I asked some of the girls in the Jiu Jitsu group on base if they wanted to start drilling techniques outside the typical "class times." Since we do not have a paid instructor, the group can be unorganized. We get together about 3 times a week for the most part, but it still is not consistent. When the brown belt does teach, it is often more complicated techniques. The higher ranking white belts and blue belts, such as myself, really enjoy these techniques because they are fascinating and engaging, but for many of the beginners in the class, they have expressed that they just feel lost. My attention is focused more towards the females because we are far and few among the dominating number of males in the class. We were supposed to go to a Judo class together off base today, but I bailed because it was a bit too far for me. One of the girls and I ended up meeting at the gym to drill. I lead the warm-up, then gave her pointers on some of the warm-up techniques. We went over a take down and a pass. About half an hour into our session, one of the guys happened to show up and he joined us in practicing the techniques. We were at it for two hours! Every minute was spent critiquing and nailing down the techniques. Although I am not accustomed to teaching and giving tips, it went well and it made me feel good to help them. I was quite proud at the end as I watched them getting better at executing the moves. The bigger concern I have is that I don't want to step on anyone's toes by teaching, especially for the brown belt. Its not as if anyone is getting paid, but it is not typically me who leads (the other blue belts step in for the brown belt when he is not there). I am going to try to keep these "sessions" low key. Hopefully I will learn a thing or two about instructing for the long term since one of my bigger goals is to coach my own Jiu Jitsu class one day.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
I received an email from my leadership about a sponsored white water river rafting trip through the on base church. I love outdoors activities and immediately signed up (free trips go fast!). Then it was finally the day of the trip and I headed over to the AFRC where the bus was waiting. It was pouring outside and I had to drive slower than normal. I sat comfortably on the bus and waited for us to head out. The chaplin got roll call and we left a couple minutes after 0800. The weather was not looking the best but in my mind it did not matter (we were going to be in the water anyway). The bus made a pit stop so peole could use the bathroom. People took longer than we were supposed to and the bus driver was a bit unhappy because it threw off our schedule. I arrived at X-point in Kobarid, Slovenia where we signed waivers and picked up our gear (wet suit, life vest, wet shoes, and helmet). Everyone had to change either on the bus, in the bathroom, or outside. Next, the bus drove us to a parking lot where we formed groups. A guy named matt approached me and asked if I wanted to join his team. In total, we had 7 people in our rafting group including the instructor and I. The other groups were larger so they went first on their rafts on the Soca river. As we waited we joked around and piled rocks on top of each other to make towers. Our guid gave us instructions on how to paddle, what to do if we fell out of the raft, etc. Finally, our turn came and we jumped into the raft. I sat in inbetween Matt in front of me and Jaramia behind me on the left side of the raft. Dayna (the only other female in the group) sat across from me and david and Benjamin also sat on the right side of the raft. The guide took charge of stearing from the back of the raft. We practiced rowing in sych with each other and followed the guide's commands. Matt was too far away from the guide so I had to shout the commands to him once in a while. The waters were calm so the guide allowed us to jump in the water for fun. The moment my body hit the water I froze up; it was super super cold! My life vest kept me afloat as my teeth chattered. I floated down the river for a couple minutes then grabbed onto the side of the raft. The others in my group took hold of my arm and dragged me back into the raft along with the other who decided to take a swim. The rapids started to become more lively and we were paddling faster to keep the raft from hitting the surrounding boulders. Dayna kept falling into the middle of the raft and we would chuckle because the water made the raft unstable. As we were cruising along during a calmer part of the river, I made a comment that a rock looked like a dinosaur egg and they all laughed and made jokes about it (I also thought it was silly I said that, but sometimes people say funny things). A couple times we ran into rocks and when we did it would send Jeremia who was sitting behind me flying and he would run into me which made me run into Matt. I was having a blast! Whenever we passed the more intense rapids, we would all raise our paddles then slap them on the water. If another raft tried to surpase us or if we passed another raft then we would start a splashing war and get the others as drenched as possible. All the groups pulled up short at one point and took a break on the bank of the river. We were near an area where the river had a small waterfall. We took turns jumping in the water, let the current take us over the mini waterfall then float to where a guide was standing and pull us out of the water before the current took us away (this was my favorite part). The water was ice cold but I didn't let that affect me. We hopped back into the raftes and were on our way again. We were nearing the end of our rafting adventure when the guide suggested again that we could get out and swim. Matt immediately took the opportunity to tell everyone that we had to get out and swim and that it was not an option (which was super funny because I would not have jumped out!). The water froze my body and the people in my group grabbed onto each others life vests, arms, legs, or whatever limb was available to keep us floating together down the stream. I let the guys swim us to shore because I was too frozen to move. The guide showed up a couple seconds later with the raft and we all took a side of the raft and lifted it above our heads. We had to carry it up the hill to the parking lot and it was really heavy! The guys were a lot taller than Dayna and I so we didn't do as much strength work as they did. Everyone was changing and trying to put on some dry clothes. One of the portable toilets were unoccupied so I went in to change. I started undressing then immediately regretted my decision; a huge bee was flying around the ceilling of the portable toilet! I was already naked and hurried to dress myself. the moment I had enough clothes on I ran out of the portable toilet just thankful that the bee didn't sting me. Our next desitnation was a nearby restaurant. The chaplin announced good news that we were not only going to be served hamburgers, french fries, and soda, we were also going to be served salad, potatoes, bread, and a lot more food than planned. The bus parked near the restaurant and my group grabbed a table overlooking the valley below with the mountains looming over us. The restarant was build half way up one of the mountains on the edge of a cliff. The view was spectacular. I was no longer cold but the members of my group were still freezing (I felt bad for them). Everyone else went inside to sit down. We watched as the waitress brought all the food downstairs to where everyone else was sitting and we were starring with our stomachs growling. At one point, one of the guides came up the stairs and told us that it was self serve (I think they said it was self serve in the beginning of the trip but we all honestly forgot). We all ran down the stairs and got in line. We just grabbed our plates and were about to get to the food when the guide announced that the children should go first. We made way for the children and their mothers to get their share of the food then the line resumed. I admit that I ate a top of food but it was really delicious. Once we were all full, everyone returned to the bus and we headed back towards home. It took about an hour to an hour and a half to return to base. I jumped back in my car and went home and relaxed on the couch for a while thinking about the day that just passed. I was thankful to the church for sponsoring the trip. The church was able to do the trip through Outdoor Rec and some people who went through outdoor rec had to pay the $95. I promised myself that I would go back to Slovenia again one day to take another adventure on the river. The best part of all was the new friends I made with whom made the trip one of the better trips I've been on.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I went to the legal office today because all 4 rotors (a part of the breaks) in my car need to be fixed and I just bought the car in 21 Feb 2017. Montana Cars, the dealership I bought the car from, does not want to pay to fix it. They said that in my contract they will only fix issues with the engine or clutch. I was so upset. It will cost me $620 to get it fixed. I feel ripped off. Italy does not have lemon laws so there is no protection for those who buy bad cars. I wish I would have not had such bad luck. My friend from Jiu Jitsu suggested I order the rotors online and I may just do that to save some money.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
I picked up Miho from her house in Aviano then drove to Pordenone. It was about a 20 minute drive but it passed quickly as we chatted. We parked next to the train station and walk a couple minutes to get to the center square where the festival was being held. We walked past different tables full of various items. We continued to another street to an area with food trucks and tents. I got hummus and deep fried bread which was amazingly delicious. Miho got pad thai. She let me try some and it did not taste like pad thai; it tasted like spaghetti with white sauce. I thought this was amusing since we are in Italy and the people here prepare foreign dishes similar to their own. As we walked back to the car I bought 3 small paintings. The interior of my apartment is themed green and orange so I thought it would be perfect. I dropped Miho off back at her house then went home to do laundry.
Gas in Italy and Europe is expensive, so my work provides a benefit called gas coupons. They are convenient because they offset the price of the gas so we don't go broke! Only a certain amount can be purchased within each month and they all expire in August. They are only accepted at a gas stations called Eni. We have plenty of those gas stations in Aviano, but in places elsewhere the gas coupons may not be recognized. Whenever I go to the Eni gas station, one of the workers comes up to my car and fills the gas for me, a luxury that I will enjoy while being in Italy! On a different note, the sign Eni is quite peculiar. I cannot decide if the image is a dragon or some other mythical creature.