Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Exhaustive Guide for the Canadian Mennonite Entering US Military Life

An Exhaustive Guide for the Canadian Mennonite Entering US Military Life

I'm beginning an extensive manual designed to help people such as myself transition from one lifestyle to the next.  Growing up as a Canadian Mennonite my exposure to the military was minimal to say the least.  First, Canada is not the militaristic superpower we appear to be.  And secondly, being raised in a pacifist upbringing where my only exposure to military was an occasional singing of "I'm in the Lord's Army" and the annual airshow where the planes of war did tricks and skywriting in the air, did not prepare me well for what I am now experiencing.  Therefore, I am compiling my observations and experiences for those who follow after me as I'm sure there are many.


1.  Everything will be an acronym.  There are acronyms for acronyms.  When entering a conversation you will feel the confusion you did as a small child when your parents would spell out things to one another so that you couldn't understand what they were talking about.

2.  Do not be offended if someone asks you if you are PCS'ing.  This is also asked of men.  It means Permanent Change of Station and has nothing to do with women's health.

3.  At 17:00 (5pm) a horn will sounds.  Everyone must stop what they are doing and face the nearest flag while they play the Star Spangled Banner.  Do not keep running around a track while this happens.  They will not play the Canadian Anthem after.  You will have to sing it to yourself or get your spouse to sing it to you.

4.  You must get used to the presence of artillery and planes of war flying overhead. 

5.  You must stop and present your new military ID to a guard upon entering the base.  If you do not stop they will shoot you.

6.  As a comfort to the Mennonites, you can buy your groceries at a grocery store on base for much cheaper than the regular grocery stores.  But you will not call it a grocery store, you will call it a
     6a.  There may be a very friendly Philippino woman who bags your groceries and insists on helping you to your car with them even though you are very able bodied.  She will be very friendly and you will just want to hug her because she is the only one you have talked to all week.  This may happen several times and then you are informed by your spouse that you are supposed to tip said dearest lady.  You will then feel awful for betraying your one and only friend on base.

7.  Get used to being called Ma'am. 

8.  People are very loyal to the USA.  Do not comment on the quality of NBC Olympic coverage in public. 

.... to be continued

Monday, August 06, 2012

Moose on the Loose...

I ran to the window and what did I see?  A mama moose and her babies staring at me.  And such is life in Alaska where on your trailer doorstep you find these big ol' mammals.  Now, although they look a little goofy and and quite adorable it's best not to get too close, despite what Bullwinkle has taught us (and Joey from Full House).  These can be some dangerous animals, especially when you get between a mother and her mooselettes (that's the scientific latin word for moose babies).   

These flowers are delicious.  Make sure to eat all your stems, son.

You got a little something in your teeth.  How embarrassing.