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Dating Through the Distance by The Girl Back Home - 9M ago

Good Afternoon all,

I just wanted to do a quick update because apparently I need to.

I want it to be known that although I am not blogging regularly to this blog anymore, I am still maintaining it.   I was very disappointed to find recently that someone has been plagiarizing from this blog and sharing my work as her own.  As I have outlined on my Disclosure page, this is absolutely not acceptable.  Not only is Plagiarism a crime, but it’s extremely hurtful.  I have worked very hard on this blog, so for someone to steal from me and try to take my work for themselves doesn’t give me the credit that I have earned.

So please let this be a reminder to be a decent human being, and come up with your own ideas instead of stealing mine.

Thanks for the support,

The Girl Back Home


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Dating Through the Distance by The Girl Back Home - 11M ago

Blogging friends,

I am so lucky and excited to say that my long distance relationship has finally become just a regular relationship.  Since I am no longer, “Dating through the Distance”, I have created a new blog to continue to document our love and share our adventures.  If you are still interested in the military lifestyle or Hawaii living, you may continue to follow me on my new blog: Just J and T.  As always, I am so grateful for your continued support, you have given my blog a purpose.  I can only hope to continue this and see you there!

-The girl who isn’t back home


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Being a college student and Navy girlfriend has been great.  However, eventually both of those things will come to an end.  Soon I will be living with my Love (becoming his wife sometime) and I’ll be entering the workforce as a recent grad.

With both of those changes coming so soon, here is what I have done to make the transition as easy as possible… You know, so I can get a job wherever we are.

Luckily for me, there is a national shortage of teachers.  So I’m safe there, at least I’ve chosen a field that has a lot of openings.  I suggest other MilSOs do so too.  Find something that can move with you.  A skill that is needed where ever you are, a job in a franchise where you can just pick up right where you left off, or a field that is necessary world-wide (like education, or health).  If you don’t have this option, try creating something that is transportable.  I know of many MilSO-owned Etsy shops, where MilSOs are successful in crafting out of their homes where ever that may be.  If they need to move, they can literally just pack up shop, and take it with them.

Where ever you go, bring experience! Instead of just student teaching this spring, I was an intern.  This was a step above typical student teaching where I was a paid district employee, ultimately having more experience.  I can tell you this as a fact, it is what set me apart from other young teachers applying for jobs.  Whatever your field, have the necessary experience that employers nation-wide will be looking for.

Dust off that resume.  I was a senior in college before I ever made an official resume.  But once I did, it looked great!  I made sure that everything was accurate, and that it demonstrated all of my skills.  I cannot stress enough, that you also need to check for any errors!  Typos happen to the best of us, but a lack of attention to detail could be someone’s deciding factor against you.  I also made sure that my resume stood out from the crowd by having light blue headings.  I know in the business world, black-and-white is preferred, but I’m going to be a teacher… I wanted my resume to reflect that.

Do your research.  Since  I know where I will be moving to, I have looked into licensing requirements for that location, demographics to expect within the classroom, average pay, application processes, etc.  I also researched where job openings were listed and checked that site frequently.  Then, when I saw an opening, I researched the school and it’s values to see if I was really interested in the position.  If I could honestly see myself working there, I applied.  I applied to 7 private schools and the entire public school system, before I secured one interview.  Which leads into my next point…

Since I was applying with an out-of-state address, employers were cautious about hiring me right off the bat.  So, be prepared for no.  I had many people who liked my cover letter and resume, but asked me when I would be there in person for an interview.  Since  I wasn’t available at the time, and wouldn’t be there in person right away, I had to understand that they weren’t that interested in me as a candidate.

On the other hand, I did have a principal who was very interested in me, and was willing to do phone and Skype interviews.  Once you have secured those opportunities, Prepare for them!  With the research you’ve done, be prepared for those interviews.  Show that although you are new to the area, you know what you’re talking about and can fit in.  Look up interview questions, and learn how to pronounce terms like a local.

In the end, it comes down to a simple tip, Apply yourself.  My grandpa always says, “You get 0% of the jobs you don’t apply for”.  Before moving, I applied for many jobs (everything from nanny positions, teacher’s aides, as well as full time teacher positions).  Starting in April, my goal was to apply for 3 jobs per week until I started hearing back and getting offers.  It was a lot of work and research to write a cover letter for each school I applied to, but it was worth it.  I did get an offer for a very prestigious, all girls, private school where I will be the 4th and 5th grade math and science teacher.  Now knowing that I have a job lined up, I am way less stressed about this move.

Any tips that I missed?  Leave them below in the comments!


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Just about a year ago, I was anticipating my Love’s second deployment.  As you know, to prepare for that, I made some deployment goals.  One of which was to complete a half marathon.  This goal had kept me plenty busy throughout the school year, because student teaching wasn’t crazy enough.  My best friend, became my running partner and we both trained like beasts to accomplish this.  We chose to do our run in Manitowoc, Wisconsin which was quite a drive for us, but half the fun was getting there.  The deciding factor for this run was that it was all on a paved, flat trail along Lake Michigan (which would help with the heat).  We found out later, that it was also a Boston Qualifier, but we had no interest in that.

Once again, our goal was just to be able to say we did it, nothing fancy.

Well, I’m happy to say that after a year of training, we did it!  Of course, there were times when we thought we couldn’t do it, that the next mile would surely kill us… But we were persistent and kept pushing ourselves.

Click to view slideshow.

Although I did accomplish this goal, I don’t plan on continuing to run long distances.   It’s not that I don’t enjoy running, I don’t mind running short distances -3 miles daily would be manageable, but I would much rather work toward improving my time instead of increasing my distance.  5k’s, or an occasional 10k, will still be in my future, but no more half marathons and I have absolutely no desire to do a full.

That was the last deployment goal on the list, and the last deployment for awhile (hopefully).  So now I’m focusing on closing the distance soon!


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Dating Through the Distance by The Girl Back Home - 11M ago

Well here we are, another deployment has come and gone.  To be honest, it went a lot quicker than I thought.  Following my Love’s 7-month deployment, he came straight home as soon as he could.  The stars even aligned and it just so happened to be over my spring break (Thank you Navy!).  It was a great homecoming.  We did the usual stuff.  Enjoyed each other’s company, ate pizza, watched movies, strolled around Ikea, visited the family, and just spent quality time together.  I swear that the most mundane things will always be my favorite.  Simply because it’s real life.  Unfortunately, we still have to sleep in hotels to be together, but what we do when we’re not sleeping is the most real-life stuff that I miss when we’re apart.  Being able to hold hands, cuddle, and speak face-to-face just feels so right, it’s only natural to want that all the time.

Here’s where this post gets exciting, the last homecoming, was really the last one.

Currently, I am filled with many emotions regarding that fact.  In less than a month I will graduate college.  I will be running a half marathon shortly after that.  And then, the next time I see my Love will be where he is.  With a one-way ticket.

As you can imagine, I’m elated to be joining him and closing the distance that has been separating us for over 2 years.  I’ll get to kiss him goodbye before work everyday.  We’ll get to cook dinner together, and cuddle up to a good show after.  I’m so excited for all of those little things that people tend to take for granted when they get to see their partner on a daily basis.

On the other hand, I’m also slightly terrified.  I mean, this is a huge change.  I’m moving across the country.  I’m changing time-zones.  I’m changing climate zones.  I’m leaving my friends and family.  When I think of that, I remember what my favorite barista told me, “Now that you’ve been in a long distance relationship though, you know how to have a long distance relationship with your family.”  Gosh, that hit me hard.  It’s true.  I mean I won’t be within driving distance, but I will be a phone call away just like my Sailor has been for me.  It’ll all be okay.

I’ve waited awhile to write this post, but I knew that I would eventually have to face the fact that this is really happening.  And it’s happening quickly!  With that said, since I will no longer be “dating through the distance”, I will be creating a new blog to continue to share our adventures together (more details on that to come).


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Dating Through the Distance by The Girl Back Home - 11M ago

While busy with life and student teaching, it has been hard to catch a break.  Add on the stress of a deployment, and I was in a rough spot for a few weeks.  However, I found a simple solution right in the progressive classroom that I work at.  Since we are always trying new things with our students, this quarter we have put a lot of attention on being mindful.  Trust me, getting 46 first and second graders to be mindful has proven to be a challenge, but I think you’ll get the hang of it easy-peasy!

First, I’d like to tell you what I mean by “being mindful”.  To me, mindfulness is simply being present in the current moment.

  • Emotional about things in the past?  Stop, that won’t change the event, but being mindful can help you heal from the pain.
  • Worried about the future? Stop, worrying won’t solve any problems, but practicing mindfulness may put you at ease.
  • By putting your focus and energy on the current moment, instead of living in the past or anticipating the future you will be able to clear your mind, and calm down.

With that said, let’s apply this to military life.

Let’s be real, being a MilSO is hard work.  I’ve spent so much time worrying about care packages arriving on time and intact, staying up too late to get a brief conversation with my Love, not to mention my Love’s safety during two deployments, and all the little things along the way… That’s a lot of added stress that I carry on a day-to-day basis just being in this relationship.  And I know that you’re right there with me!

Here’s how mindfulness can help you: Military life is stressful.  There is a ton of uncertainty regarding all aspects of life when loving someone in this line of work.

So, if you can’t help but worry every single day during deployment… Start practicing mindfulness.

On the other hand, if you are stressed about the growing to-do list to prep for his homecoming… Take a break to be mindful.

I should clarify… I completely understand if you’re worried during a deployment, or stressed (believe me, I’ve been there!).   However, to live in that constant state of worry and stress, isn’t healthy for anyone.  I’m not saying you should ignore your emotions, but taking a break from them to rejuvenate isn’t going to hurt either.   I consider this a way to show myself some love (something MilSOs often forget to do).

Here’s a simple way to be mindful:

Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, and closing your eyes.  Then, try to consciously think about your breathing.  Just take a break from all of your other thoughts, and breathe.   Then, try to think about the current moment.  Every detail to ground yourself in this moment.  For example, what do your pants feel like on your legs? What do you taste? This simple exercise, doesn’t take much and can even be done in less than a minute if you’re always busy.  In fact, I suggest starting out trying just a minute at a time and building your way up to a longer duration.  Afterwards, I always feel calmer, relaxed, and more energized because I was able to calm my mind so that I can focus on this current moment.

I hope this helps you get through the day-to-day of military life and make that deployment go by a little easier.


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One more month of deployment has past.  Honestly it feels like this deployment has flown by, which I’m very thankful for.  But I know that these last few weeks are going to drag on just because I’m excited for his homecoming.

Entry:

Hey Honey!

Today you’ve been gone for exactly 6 months.  And a long 6 months it has been.  However, on a brighter note -in just a month, we’ll back together! One more month can’t hurt when we’ve already made it this long!

I do miss you incredibly though honey.  I try to stay positive, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve been gone for far too long.  I’ve been missing you for well over half a year and each day that “missing you” grows.  I just can’t wait to have you back in my arms again.  I’m certainly counting down these last days!

All my love,

The Girl Back Home

*Due to OPSEC, dates and names have been excluded, as well as time and location details; entries are never posted on the exact date they are written.*


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Dating Through the Distance by The Girl Back Home - 11M ago

Alright, I’ll admit, this box is the first one I’m sending later than I planned (the goal is always to get them in the mail before the first of the month), but hopefully the theme will make up for that fact.

This month’s care package stumped me.  I mean, I searched Instagram profiles, Pinterest pins, and anything else I could find only to not find anything I really liked.  I wanted something specifically work-out and valentines related.  I know it’s kind of an odd mix, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that difficult.  Plus, since this is one of the last few care packages I’ll have to send, I want it to be good.  Really good.  So the pressure was on.

Luckily, just in the nick of time, I worked a shift at the Y and my coworker gave me the idea that I decided to run with (she has this saying tattooed on her back)!  Now, as you can see it isn’t G rated, but it’s valentine’s day -and we all know what people do on Valentine’s day (except for people in long distance relationships that is.)  So the official theme is “Sex, Weights, and Protein Shakes” -the perfect mix of work out, and Valentine’s.

Here’s what I included:

OLLY and VEGA single-serve protein shake powder packets.  I literally bought out Target’s stock of single serve protein powder packs so my Love will get a total of 9.  With that, I sent a Nalgene bottle that’s small enough to store, but the perfect size for those packets (and has the ounce labels so he can mix the perfect amount of water with them).  I also sent these weird Nuun Energy effervescent tablets that he can add to water as an energy boost.

To go right along with the workout theme, I added the usual protein bars.  Then I also found these fruit smoothie type protein snacks called SmashPack to include.  Target will forever be my favorite.  Right when I walked in the door I found the My Instant Workout book that was a perfect addition!

Then for the Valentine’s Part, I added a set of “Love Tokens”.  This was a cute little packet of coupons that my Love can redeem when we’re back together in person.

Overall despite being stuck in quite a rut trying to think up this care package, I’m really proud of how it turned out! Thank goodness for coworkers with regretted tattoos!


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January’s care package was to help my Love welcome the new year and celebrate our anniversary from afar!

Since I want him to have a happy and HEALTHY 2017, I included a bunch of healthy snacks instead of my usual sugar-ridden surprises.  Since he likes dried fruit, I included some dried pineapple and mangoes.  I also added two boxes of KIND protein bars, and caffeinated AWAKE  granola bars too.  As a staple for any military man, I also threw in a few sticks of beef jerky along with some high-protein trail-mix.  Can’t go wrong with those.

This month’s mini care package was a personal hygiene box that I made for my Love so he can “Stay Sexy”.  In this, I included body wash and a loofah, a new toothbrush and floss, q-tips, as well as 10 disposable razors.

Since today is our 2 year anniversary, I also included a love letter in the care package.  Unfortunately, his real anniversary gifts didn’t arrive at my house in time to make it into the care package, so they will be here waiting for him with his Christmas presents.

Here’s how the care package decorations turned out.  I kept it simple this time, mostly because I am honestly losing all motivation for these packages.  I’m definitely hitting that “Deployment Wall” that everyone talks about.

The fine print on the bottom flap says, “The best 2 years of my life have been with you!”

I’ll admit, I’m not perfect.  As I stated earlier, I did order the 2 anniversary gifts for my Love, but I didn’t order them soon enough to make it into this care package.  I know, I know, I’m slacking!  So, with his Christmas gifts, the anniversary gifts will be at my house waiting for his safe return.  By the time he gets back, he’ll have a mountain of gifts ready to open!

I’ll still share the anniversary gifts with you all though, so honey, if you’re reading this from around the world -STOP… I want it to be a surprise for you!

Love Book

Throughout Pinterest, with a simple search for “Anniversary Gifts” it didn’t take long to come across an ad for the Love Book.  I’ve seen these books before, and have always thought it was a cute idea so I decided to finally create one for my Love about us.  One of my favorite parts to creating this, was making my Love and I as characters.  It was easy and we turned out adorable as 2D figures!  After deciding the characters I chose a cover design, of which the company had a ton of different options (of course I went with the anchor one!) that could be edited to suit your needs.  After the cover, you get to design every single page inside the book.  Once again, this was a super easy process because the website had a ton of pre-designed options to choose from, or if you wanted to create your very own page you could do that as well.  I organized the book into two different sections, one about all the things I love about my Sailor, and another about all of my favorite memories of us.

Overall, the website was easy to navigate, and I think this personalized gift was well worth the $45.  Once I got the finished product in the mail, I was even more in love with the idea!  The book turned out to be super high-quality and exactly how I had planned it!

                          

Retro Viewer

The second gift I came across was not as common from what I can tell, but I’m excited about it all the same.  Remember those viewfinders that we had as kids? If you grew up in the 90s you should know what I’m talking about.  Well for this gift, I made a reel for one of those!  I was able to add in personal photos and captions to create a personalized reel of my own.  Along with the reel, I ordered an accompanying viewfinder (RetroViewer as it’s called now) so my Love with be able to view the photos.  I think this is a cute gift, and what’s better is that I can continue to add to it.  Right now, we only have one reel, but as our lives continue to mesh and we create more memories together, I can order more reels that we will ultimately be able to reminisce with.  Once I got my reel and viewer in the mail, I tried it out right away!  I was impressed with the overall quality for the $33.90 I paid.  My images came in clear, the captions were “popping out” (in a 3D effect), and the viewer itself wasn’t just some cheap plastic -it’ll last a long while as we continue to make more reels for it.

Of course, it’s a bummer to spend our second anniversary alone (just like I did for the 1st one).  But I know that this waiting will be worth it, and we’ll be able to celebrate in person soon enough.  I know he will love both of these gifts, so I certainly can’t wait!


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As many of you know, one of my deployment goals is to write to my Love at least every other day while he’s deployed.  I’ve been successful in this goal for the most part.  Every now and then I’ll miss a day, but other days I practically write a novel to him.  It all balances out in the end.

*Due to OPSEC, dates and names have been excluded, as well as time and location details; entries are never posted on the exact date they are written.*

Entry:

Good Morning Love,

I woke up in a great mood today -because of you!  I woke up to a fantastic dream of us.  We were together at a hotel (kind of a usual for us) so we were able to wake up together (which was great as you can imagine), then I stood up and grabbed some coffee and opened our room curtains and the view outside our window was wonderful!  I don’t know where we were or why, but I hope someday that dream becomes a reality.  I can’t wait to travel the world with you.  Anywhere together is fine with me!

Hopefully this good start means it’ll be a fantastic day!

Meet me in my dreams again soon,

The Girl Back Home

Yes, this is a picture of me.  Photo Credits to: India Laurenne.

Up until this point, most of the quality time spent with my Love has been in hotel rooms all over the country.  So having a dream in that setting was lovely.  As you can imagine, I look forward to any quality time with my Love, especially one with a view (besides him of course)!

I wish you all sweet dreams!


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