So last week I got my orders.  Very exciting!

What are orders?  They are official military documents telling you where to go, when to do it, and how long you will stay there.  They take a while to arrive because they are tied to financial accounts and budgeted monies that cover travel costs and adjusted allowances, etc.  Plus everyone at every Navy base on earth has to be aware and ready for your change of station.  It’s critically important to get orders, because I can’t leave OCS without them.  Eek!  Seriously, they move you to another wing of the residence and keep you here doing menial jobs while you wait around for your orders to arrive, sometimes for weeks.  In the meantime, you continue to earn enlisted pay (once I commission, I get a nice pay raise).  As you can imagine, getting my orders was a big relief–it means I get to leave on Friday!

The other reason I’m happy to get my orders is that they held great news!  Specifically, I got O-HARP for 10 weeks!  O-HARP  is an abbreviation for something, but in English it means I get to go home, to Flagler Beach, and I will have to report into NAS Jacksonville, the nearest Navy base to my house, and do not much of anything for 10 weeks, which is in the new year!!!  Yay, I get to be home for the holidays!  Lots of exclamation points all over this paragraph!!!!!

Then in early January I head to CONTROL, and I’m pretty excited to get there (although not excited enough to want to go right away–I cannot wait to get home, to my own home, and not have to do much of anything for a while).  In Virginia Beach I found an apartment thanks to Craigslist that is the lower floor of a beach house, is one block from the Atlantic Ocean, is three blocks from base, and the landlords are ok with dogs, so the three of us are set for Virginia Beach.  Huzzah for CONTROL!

So that’s the future.  But what about the next 48 hours?

Today, I have not much to do, so why I had to get up at 0350 is a bit of a conundrum…anyway, let’s not think about that.  Today is basically the last day to wrap up all the stuff we have to do, including file paperwork with the HR people, arrange our move to the next duty station, pay our uniform bills, hang out at the coffee shop, pack our things, handle phone calls, and more.  Guess which item on this to-do list I am doing now?

Tomorrow the parentals arrive.  Tomorrow is the beginning of commencement festivities.  We kick things off by having pass and review, and here is a video of some Marines passing and reviewing.  Our pass and review is very similar to this one.  We even play the same music.  You may notice that all pass and review seems to be is people marching around in formation, with a bit of rifle drill thrown in.  This is indeed what pass and review is.  Which explains why we have practiced pass and review every day since we entered candio phase, sometimes twice a day.

After pass and review we have hi-moms.  Hi-moms is also called the pre-graduation reception.  Hi-moms is known as hi-moms because it’s when we get to say, “hi mom!  I did it! Take my picture!” The reason hi-moms is on Thursday night is simple: Since no one wants to spend any extra time here after we commission, we throw our commissioning party before we graduate.  It’s about the only thing that makes sense around here.

Then on Friday is graduation.  It starts (naturally) at 0630, where friends and family gather around at predawn so that they can watch us get RPT’d and go for a run.  That’s right.  We have to do PT before we graduate, and our families watch.  Seriously.   I won’t even search YouTube for a suitable video–you can do that.  Finally, around 1030, we get down to business and do the whole take the oath thing and walk across the stage thing.  Then afterwards there is yet more paperwork, and finally and only then do we get to leave this Godforsaken place and never come back.

Unless you are stationed here.  Which I never intend to be.

Further research: Packing.  There’s a lot of packing that needs to happen between now and Friday.