I joined the Navy to see the world. It just happens that about 60% of the Navy is in my home state. Not a very well-thought out plan, but hey I was 16 when I decided to join.
Home is where the Navy sent me. No, that’s not a delightfully crafty sign hanging in my living room- it’s a fact. My Dad, after retiring from the Navy, decided to settle in Northern Virginia. I then joined the Navy when I came of age entering Naval Service through the Richmond Military Entrance Processing Station. After a nine week stint to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill.- I ended up back in the DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) at the Defense Information School in Ft. Meade, Md.- a mere 1.5 hours from Mom and Dad.
At school, I filled out a “dream sheet” of where I wanted to be stationed: Hawaii, Italy, San Diego. All these glamorous and tropical locales every little E-3 dreams of going. Where did I end up? Yep, haze gray and underway at Naval Station Norfolk aboard the USS Iwo Jima, another mere 2.5 hours from Mom and Dad. Luckily, ships do what they do best, and I got underway for two deployments to the Mediterranean and a few visits up and down the eastern seaboard.
After Iwo, I got selected to work at White House Communications Agency (WHCA), which as it happens to be, is in Washington, D.C. Through that assignment I got picked up to work in the Pentagon, where I’m stationed now. Closer to home than ever.
On June 27, I’ll celebrate 12 years of service to the Navy. Most of that service will have been served all within a 100 mile radius of my hometown. Am I spoiled? Heck yeah, I’m close to my parents, I get to see my best friends on a regular basis, and I’m home. Everything is familiar to me here.
There are downsides of living near home. There are frequent awkward run-ins with people you hoped you’d never see again, that recurring feeling of high school anxiety when you drive past your alma mater, your mother lovingly reminding you that you need to get married and have babies on a weekly basis. I definitely feel frequent pangs of jealousy when I see shipmates moving to Hawaii and San Diego. Yeah, I’m talking to you Tanya Whitner. But you take the good with the bad, and the bad isn’t so bad really, especially when your mom makes fresh lumpia.
I love Virginia. Most people who move here, hate it. They hate the traffic, the swampy and unpredictable weather, the not-so pristine beaches. I love the history, the culture, the mountains, the sea sides and everything in between. I love living near Washington D.C., a place that so many people travel to see the monuments to our democracy. But mostly I love living near the people I love most in this world- and I am grateful that the Navy keeps sending me home. Hopefully, if I can sustain this blog, I can share some of what makes VA kind of Okay.
Will I stay in VA forever? I guess that’s up to the U.S. Navy. Would I mind? Probably not.
It’s like Dorothy said, there’s no place like home. (Always trust a girl with cute shoes).