I'm writing this ahead of time to post of the day I leave Okinawa for a visit back to Texas. I'll travel for about 21 hours, Okinawa to Tokyo, Tokyo to Chicago, Chicago to San Antonio, plus layovers between. I will likely not sleep at all, as I've been completely unable to cultivate the ability to sleep on planes, even with the help of Ambien. Fortunately, it'll be night time when I arrive, so I'll be able to help my body adjust by going to sleep immediately upon arriving at my parents' house.
As much as the journey doesn't sound like a great time, I'm so looking forward to getting to Texas. I'll get to see my family and friends and finally be useful in helping my dad recover from his surgery. I'll be able to eat Tex-Mex and Chipotle, shop at Target, and drive 70mph on the right side of the road while having multiple options for radio stations.
As much as the return trip also doesn't excite me (through DFW instead of O'Hare that way), I'm sure that after three weeks, I'll be ready for some alone time and to be back in my own home. Except that my home will be empty and I'll have more alone time than even I can use. Shortly after I leave for Texas, Raj leaves on deployment for three or four months. Which isn't so long in the deployment world and not even as long as we'd thought it would be when we first got here. And we're pretty used to being apart.
Except. There will be no phone calls, Skype, or email. Even when we've been apart, we've been able to talk via phone or Skype at least every two or three days, ever since a month or two after we met. (It was mostly texts at first and took us a few weeks to get into a daily phone call habit.) Even when we've been in different countries. So this will be the first time in nearly four years that we'll be so wholly without one another. We can write letters, which I suppose is romantic and connects us with so many separated military couples before us, my parents included.
It'll be good for me to be so busy for the first few weeks. And when I get back, hopefully there will be job interviews for potential teaching positions and there will definitely be starting grad school a month later. My friend Michelle and I have decided we'll run an evening half-marathon on an island off our coast in late October, which means we start training in early August. And there is, as ever, exploring to be done here on Okinawa, volunteer opportunities, books to read, and HGTV.
And Raj will be doing his job. He's not a doctor in the military because he wanted his med school paid for and to receive a salary during it, though those were certainly nice perks. He's a military doctor because that's the job he wanted. As long as I've known him, I've known that he wanted to deploy. He wants to be where he's needed, supporting troops, out in what his med school classmates called "the real miltary". I'll never like that he wants to deploy, particularly when it puts him in harm's way, but I do respect it. His desire to serve is a big part of who he is and it's something I love about him. He sacrifices a generous second income by supporting me in doing what I love, though it will never pay well. I sacrifice having him around all of the time by supporting him in doing what he loves, though it takes him away from me. Those are the choices we made.
It's more than worth it to me. Because I have a man who is well worth missing.