2005 versus 2015: Ramadi and My Home Life

2015 Life

The title of today’s blog is not meant to incite anger. It’s an honest assessment of my day here in the States versus news abroad. The news is reporting the fact Ramadi has fallen to ISIS. (A sad emoticon does not suffice here.)

I can’t do anything about Ramadi falling to ISIS. I can be angry about it. I can be disappointed. I can’t fly out there with my fellow Marines loaded with an M-16 and honestly do something about the problem. I can’t sit in a command center like I did years ago and compile reports to help commanding generals decide a course of action.  I can only hope ISIS’ “win” is short-lived.

The citizens of Ramadi, like other Iraqi citizens and citizens everywhere, should be free to enjoy a pleasant and comfortable lifestyle free of mass violence.  Their disenfranchisement is a significant reason why I’m nervous to admit my life is a complete 180.  I have a steady job, a safe neighborhood, and can enjoy daily perks like Starbucks new awesome and overly indulgent S’mores frappucino which I get in a mini size, so it’s a candy bar liquid equivalent 230 calories versus 330 calories for a tall.

My biggest problem right now is the stomach discomfort that’s lasted all day long, which didn’t help as I put in much-needed over time today. (Not at all related to Starbucks; my stomach just hates me today in general.)

My ‘2015’ life means for the first time in our marriage truly setting down into a typical American dream, minus the fact it’s not a home purchase.  We know we aren’t moving around for years, we have a private enclosed yard (for the first time) and a two-car garage (also a first)!  We’ve been here just over a month and are still unpacking boxes.  Our books, like our artwork, reveal the best part of our personalities.  Thomas is a history buff.  I enjoy numerous non-fiction works, particularly as they relate to relationships and personal/professional development.

Part of our home library
Part of our home library

These roots are so different from my seabag lifestyle on deployment.  I own more than a week’s worth of clothes and 2 pairs of boots.

I recently began reading Ashley’s War and the author’s mention of the soldiers’ choice to use non-Army issued socks grabbed me as a reader.  When I prepared for my first deployment, my boyfriend at the time took me shopping to pick up Smartwool socks.  I was prepared to bring issued boot socks, but he was adamant about the quality of Smartwool socks.  I don’t remember our entire conversation about the socks, but I recall my shock at their price.  It was something like $17 or $18 a pair.  Seriously, one pair of socks!!!

Those socks were one of the best purchases I ever made.  They lasted through two Iraq deployments and my time in Cody, Wyoming.  I love this brand and while I’m not brand loyal on many things, I can justify the price of those socks.

2005 Life

During my day trip to Camp Fallujah (2004)...I have very few photos of myself at Camp Blue Diamond (outside of Ramadi, Iraq).
During my day trip to Camp Fallujah (2004)…I have very few photos of myself at Camp Blue Diamond (outside of Ramadi, Iraq).

Back on this day, May 17th, 2005, I was no longer in the fray. I was a goofy 21-year-old remarking on training that day.  The funny thing is I don’t recall this training at all.  It’s odd that some things stay in our heads for years and years and other things are quickly lost.  It’s a good thing I enjoy keeping a record of my life, otherwise these observations would be lost for sure.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 7.14.44 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 7.14.53 PM

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