I can’t believe it’s come to this point. I’ve been putting off writing about this time. Just when I am really starting to feel like I’m fitting in more and am able to deal with all of the army’s problems, it’s coming to an end.
I decided to write this now (while I’m on base), around two weeks before my last days, so that I’ll have a chance to update then as well (out of the army!). I am typing on a tiny iPhone screen so please forgive any spelling and/or grammar mistakes, it’s much harder editing here than on a big shiny laptop screen!
My last post, which was dreadfully long ago, was a bit of a downer and I apologize for that. It was how I felt then though, and thinking back, I still understand why I felt that way. Maybe it’s because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe I’ve put up with enough crap up until now that it just seems normal, or maybe it’s just that the sun has finally started bronzing my pale, winter frozen skin, but I’ve finally begun feeling a little more relaxed in the army.
I know I’m impatient with others and can easily lose my cool so there have been tough times here. Sometimes I could have acted differently, but under the stressful circumstances, I’d say many of my reactions have been plenty justified. Whichever way you want to look at it, I feel much more at ease now than ever (could it be possible it’s all this herbal tea I’ve been drinking recently? [Aunt Jonnie aren't you proud?!?])
As a bit of an update on location and what we’re doing, we finally finished our 3 months of imun (training) and have moved onto guarding the northern border of Israel with Lebanon. Won’t say where exactly, because I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things we’re not totally supposed to disclose, but let’s just say it’s on a mountain and it’s windy and cold at night.
Imun was hard. 6 of the hardest days of my life were included in imun. Our Targad (short for Targil Gdud, Battalion Drill) was lengthened from 4 days to 6, on the day we were supposed to leave. It rained 5 1/2 days of the 6. It snowed one morning. We slept one night (Shabbat). The rest was composed of trudging through mud all night resting every few hours to catch a quick 15 min cat nap. Days and some nights were drills in the field. No sleeping bags, no change of clothes and a 60 lb bag on our backs at all times (not including combat vest and gun). I could write a book about that week, so let’s just leave it at this: I have never, and never want to ever feel like I felt that week again.
Our new base is small and close knit, not like the other places we’ve been. I think this is part of the reason I’m adapting more easily here. I love all but one of the 7 other people in my room here. We’ve really started to get along great the past month and a half; sharing glasses of tea or coffee, fixing our gear together or just plain ironically being equally annoyed at the inequalities present in work loads.
I’ve hated this place for so long and now I feel like I’m going to miss it a lot when I’m done. I could sign on more time, but I know it’s not the right thing to do. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do here, but it still has been an interesting and memorable experience.
I’ll be happy to put down my gun, but I know I’ll miss the pride I’ve had in carrying it.