My pre-deployment terror of deployments, like most anticipation, over-estimated how difficult/tragic/different life would be. The best analogy I can come up with is that deployments are like a foreign language. Learning a new language is difficult and feels unnatural at first. It’s annoying to be slightly out of your element all the time. It’s inconvenient when you can’t get things done in a timely fashion or as smoothly as you would prefer. It can be difficult to relate to people who aren’t struggling with language lessons. But while it’s challenging, it’s exciting to finally successfully communicate with people speaking that language. These are people I could not speak with in my native language, yet here we are talking! Ok, so it’s only about the weather. Small victories! Eventually–and more quickly than you thought–you get used to hearing the different language all around you, even if you don’t understand it all. You still think and dream in your native language, but it’s a pleasant surprise to hear it. And then, at the end of the deployment, finally! Speaking the same language again! Surprising in its ease, comfort and simplicity!
I’d gotten used to being alone, and that was ok because it’s a necessity sometimes for us. Then this weekend I woke up in the middle of the night wondering, “Why am I stuck in this tiny section of the bed, and what is all that racket!?!??!…..whoa, CHRIS IS STILL HERE!!! NEAT!”