Thanks to my husband’s amazing sewing skills it appears I am now off the hook for this little hiatus to South Korea. Of course there is a story behind that comment….there is ALWAYS a story…
One evening almost a year ago, Mr. X and I are standing in our kitchen in Harker Heights, Texas.
“I wanna go to South Korea,” I said.
“Huh? Where? Why South Korea? Why not Germany? I would love to go back to Germany.” Mr. X replies with just the slightest hint of seriously in his tone. The kind of seriously that you hear in a Tina Fey/Amy Poehler SNL skit. So, not necessarily good. He doesn’t have a seriously tone because South Korea is a bad assignment – not at all. But not too many service members go out of their way to request an assignment there. South Korea is a really long way away from the states – unless you are counting Hawaii (which is a really long way away from all the other states). It’s kind of isolated on the southern part of a peninsula (you can go for a walk up north but they may not let you walk back unless you can get Bill Clinton involved.) Then there is all the history (Korean War), the politics (not going there), thermonuclear war and “what not” to consider. But on the flip side there are four seasons to enjoy again (if you can afford the cold weather gear – check out this blog post for more information on that whole fiasco), mountains to climb, Korean food to eat (which totally kicks ass), Seoul to explore (which is somewhere between the 2nd or the 8th largest city in the world depending on who you ask), a nation of people who work hard and value family and the opportunity to learn a new culture first hand. Oh, and knock-off Coach purses!
“Well, I would really like to go to Italy, but I don’t even think that’s an option.” I mutter, “But South Korea would be so cool – It’s so expensive to travel to Asia and that many hours on a plane has got to just suck the life out of you (little did I know just how right I was about that one….). So if I had to choose, I would choose Italy and then South Korea and then Germany. But I want to go to South Korea. We could afford to take a vacation to Europe, but we’ll probably never travel to that part of the world if the Army doesn’t make us. Then we could and take a vacation to China…I want to touch the Great Wall of China and then do a burpee on it. We could hit Thailand and maybe Australia. But if all I did was do a burpee on the Great Wall of China the entire two years would be worth it for me. When I’m 80, I want to tell people about that burpee.”
Now you must know that Mr. X was ready to leave Fort Hood prior to this conversation. We had been weighing our pros and cons for some time now; not our first exchange on the matter. Moreover, this was the second time he had been stationed at Fort Hood – once very early in his military career and now. For this last stent at “The Hood”, he had taken Phase II of PA school in 2009, was assigned to Fort Hood immediately after he graduated. He deployed three months later and upon returning, worked on Fort Hood for another 18 months. He could probably find another assignment on Fort Hood or even another unit in the state of Texas, but I think he’s got a little gypsy in his blood. He was getting that feeling it was time to move again – much like a migratory bird or a herd of buffalo. Time to find greener pastures – explore different opportunities. The military lifestyle is a transient one by nature but you do get to see a lot of cool places, meet a lot of cool people and we really don’t have outstanding debt…so there is that. So, Mr. X was ready to migrate and even more he was interested in one last overseas tour before he retires from the Army. As for me, Mrs. “I have never been out of the country, don’t have a passport, descendent of Angry Irish German farmers” – an overseas tour sounded pretty freak’n cool. Scary as hell, but exciting and cool all the same. And I now I had gotten this wild hair up my butt about burpees in China – my poor husband.
In the Army you can do one of two things – wait for someone to take care of you or try to take charge of your own future. Mr. X is more than capable of taking care of his career interests and planning for the future. Moreover, he could feel a moving coming. (Much like you can feel someone looking at you so you turn around to see who it is.) I don’t question his sixth sense on these matters. (I do, however, question that my brother-in-law has a trick knee he claims can predict weather patterns four states away.) So he began the dance that is working with your Army branch to get a new assignment. You can either make the effort to try to lead the dance or have your faced danced upon. Mr. X prefers to lead.
Dinner conversation….. Mr. X, “Italy is pretty much not going to happen. The timing is wrong. They already have their people in place there for the foreseeable future.”
In my most brilliant tone, “Oh, shit. Oh well, worth a shot.”
Dinner Conversation…. Mr. X, “Are you sure that you want to go to South Korea?
In my most brilliant tone, “Yup.”
“Well, I think you are going to get your wish.”
“Oh, Shit. OK then, cool.”
And there it was – Mr. X had bended time, space and air and worked out an assignment to The Republic of Korea (2 years because he was dragging me and the demon along – or should I say I was dragging him.). He was being assigned as a battalion PA in Area 1. This assignment meant early morning sick call and mentoring medics and medically advising his Commander and the field and a ruck sack and some fun stuff and some bullshit. Like any job – all the same, but different because the DMZ is 30 minutes away.
So the planning began – estimating our exit and war gaming our move. We traveled all summer to see and say good-bye to our family assuming the only one we would get to see “in the flesh” over the next two years would be the first born spawn. Trips to Iowa, Fort Worth, Pennsylvania and Colorado trying to get in those last hugs and those last moments. Knowing that you aren’t going to see your family for a few years makes you do really stupid stuff like jumping off the side of the mountain with a paraglide chute strapped to your back… when you’re terrified of heights…because you think your nephew would like that. Sigh… If I ever do some dumb shit like that again I will confidently report that “No, I do NOT like roller coasters, Sir. Feel free to simply float from here to where ever we are going to land, Sir.” Instead of my half-assed, “Uhm, yeah I suppose. Kind of. Guess it depends on the roller coaster. What do ya mean?”
Early September – Mr. X gets on a plane.
Late October – Our life is packed in boxes by the lowest bidder.
Early November – Me and the demon head over. Three out of four Walshes in South Korea getting settled in. Mr. X is navigating the newest area of the military machine he has been placed into.
Late November – We find out Mr. X has made the promotions list and this spring/summer will be Major Mr. X. Which is cool.
December – Merry Christmas
January – Holy Winter
Late January – US Army Medical Command sends out an email identifying Army PAs that have been selected for certain visible position throughout the Army. Whose name should appear on that list? CPT (P)….Soon to be Major…..Mr. X – that is who. Mr. X has been selected as the 2nd Infantry Division PA. A job that is awesome, huge, amazing, and one that he didn’t mind having his name thrown in the hat for. Cool jobs like that don’t just fall out of the sky and land on your foot either. He worked his ass off, was in the right place (South Korea) at the right time (whew), knows a lot of stuff about A LOT of stuff (that you don’t even have clearance for sucker), has the right education and background, communicates well and sews like no one else’s business.
Congratulations to my dear Mr. X. This is a big freak’n deal dude. I am so happy for you!! You are my Rock Star!!