Saturday, September 7, 2013

Drop Night: Our next adventure. A fork in the road.

Last night we celebrated a ceremony called "Drop Night". It's a military pilot school tradition that when they finish their  final "weed out course", they have a ceremony where the Airmen find out which aircraft they will be flying and where they will be stationed!

Now that is the standard for Active Duty members, but because Ryan is Air National Guard -- we stay in Tucson. (Think of "guard" as being for the state, active duty orders are delegated is for the nation).

When they find out their assignment, they stand up on stage, their assignment is announced, they have to say old saying, and everyone in the audience cheers them and says "Here, here!", and they have to take a shot of cheap whiskey, and say "Smooooth" and then turn the shot glass upside down on their head to prove that they drank it all.

It is really fun. It was exciting to see the looks on the faces of the Active Duty guys when they got their assignment. Everyone in Ryan's class was happy. Ryan got MQ1 and we are obviously stationed in Tucson.

Our next school is up in the air. They say it will be March AFB near Riverside, CA. However, this week there was rumor we were going to be sent to Holloman AFB in New Mexico. Where is Holloman, you ask? Have you ever heard of White Sands? You know, where they did Missile testing and numerous people ended up with cancer. Have you ever heard of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico? Drug trafficking capitol of the world? Yep. That's it!!

So this has been a trying week full of many unknowns and decisions. Will he go to NM? Or California? If he goes to NM, I'm not accompanying him due to a variety of reasons. Will it be a tough 5 months being separate? Yes. But we will get through it!

Now if he goes to California, my chances of joining him are much better. There is 50% of me, however, that wants to curl up in a blanket under the covers and hide from all this change and erratic lifestyle. I want to just stay at home, and not worry about leaving our house empty for another 5 months. I want to stay at my job where I feel valued and welcomed. I want to stay in a place where I have some of the best friends ever, who have become like family (since my family lives so far away).

But, if I don't go to California with him -- I know I will always look back and say "I wish I had been more adventurous". Some day we are going to have children (probably. Maybe.), and we won't have the luxury to just be able to pick up and leave for 5 months. I also know that some day in my mid 30's, maybe 40's, we will hit that "mid life crisis" stage where life feels monotonous. Routines need to be broken when the opportunity arises!

So between choosing comfort or adventure, I'm choosing adventure. I'm choosing the unknown path. I'm choosing an area that I'm not so sure about, but I'm young, and we'll figure it out. This experience in San Antonio has grown our marriage stronger, and I'm sure the next adventure will too!

Below I have a few pictures showing the events from last night! After the Drop Night Ceremony, 13 of us rented a party bus and went to Austin, hit up a few rooftop bars, and came back. It was a really fun few hours that I will never forget!


When each Lt got up in stage, they had a slide that the class wrote about them. This is what they wrote about Ryan. Made me laugh :) I love the part about keeping up with this wife on runs. And the Versace flight suit. That's my babe! 

 Ryan and another guy hand painted this sign. It was their class gift. "Target for Tonight" is the bar name, it's based off this tradition for naming a bar in England during WWII. 

This is Ryan crew. "The Guard Guys". These 4 Lt's all went through officer school together in January, all lived together in crappy dorms in Pueblo, CO from March-May, and now have been in San Antonio this whole time. They will unfortunately get split up for this next school, 3 are going to March AFB and one will be going elsewhere. 

This is where the party started! This was a ride for the night. So much fun! 

A few of the wives. And one of the girls is actually the only female pilot in his class. I have major respect for her! I think it'd be really tough to be a female pilot in what's still a primarily a "man's world".

There they are on the rooftops of Austin! It was so hard to leave Austin (we only got about 1 hour 30 minutes there). I love that city!! 

It was such a fun night that I will never forget! Life feels kind of surreal at times right now, meeting so many new people, working in this crazy new hospital, making such big decisions. I think it's going to be an interesting transition going back to Tucson when all this is said and done, as I feel like I've changed and grown a lot this summer.

Have you ever had to make a really difficult life choice where both roads had really positive aspects, and both had a few negative ones? Sometimes I wish I had a wizard. But that's why I pray to God.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Maybe I like Texas! Our weekend trip to Austin.

Life just got a little more fun. :)

So as you know, Ryan had his check ride last Wednesday. This means that the first portion of the San Antonio school is done, which also means I get my husband back! No more studying every waking hour that he's in class.

Since we set foot in Texas, we've been dreaming of taking a weekend trip to Austin. Ryan used to travel here a lot for his job at Raytheon, and has always talked about taking me there. I now see why he knew I'd love it so.

It is most definitely the most fit city I've seen! So many running trails, biking, paddle boarding, and just fun! Great food. Great music. It's my kind of city.

I could probably write about book professing my love-at-first-sight I experienced this weekend. But I'll spare "y'all", and do my best breaking it down.

  • It was Ryan's 1st half day off in a since June 14, so I didn't allow us to make any itinerary. It was all about spontaneous fun!
  • We checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency. Ryan picked this one, because he knew I'd be in heaven. It was right on the Colorado River, which has proably the most popular running trail in downtown Austin! Below is a view from our room!
  • We grabbed our books, some hydration (it was HOT HOT HOT outside), and headed straight to the pool for a little R and R!
  • For dinner that night we hit a mix of places. First stop was Ten Oak, a Bourbon bar. Ryan is a big fan of bourbon, so this one was for him. I was not let down - our bartender urged we order the "nachos", which came loaded with Bourbon BBQ Pulled Pork. Melted in your mouth! Next stop was a sushi bar, and we just ordered 2 pieces of sashimi. I am embarrassed to say I don't remember the name of the restaurant. But it was good!
  • We then we took a nice stroll back to our hotel. We made sure to stop at the bridge on Congress to check out the bats! (The bridge has hundreds of bats that fly at night. It's pretty cool!)
  • This may sound a little pathetic, but we were tired and in bed by about 9:30 Friday night! But, we did have an active day planned for Saturday.

    View from our hotel room! We didn't even close our window shades at night, we couldn't close off this view. It was awesome!

    Bourbon BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos. Ridiculously good. Had fresh jalepenos, cilantro, roma tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. Yum.
    The view from Congress Avenue (where the bats can be seen). It was really quite a majestic view!
  • We kicked the day off at about 7 am with a run along the Colorado River. There is a gravel running path that follows this area. I have never seen so many runners! It was amazing. The scenery isn't bad, either! It really didn't feel too hot to run in, either, since most of it is shaded by trees!
  • Next up, we showered up, and headed to Austin Java -- Ryan had breakfast tacos, and I had some granola & fresh fruit. We both enjoyed Americano's and some reading time! It was relaxing and blissful.
  • We walked back to our hotel, because we needed some "water time" - the temps were starting to rise to the 100's. We rented paddleboards and spent about 2 hours paddleboarding the river. Sadly, there are more weeds than desired - but once you get past that, it is so fun. I absolutely adore paddleboarding. If we lived somewhere that had bodies of water, we'd totally invest in 2!
  • After the paddleboarding, our bodies needed more R & R from all that running and rowing! So we enjoyed pina coladas by the pool.
  • One of Ryan's friend's from this program was in Austin this week with this wife, so we hit up a bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. We enjoyed one of 5th Street's many "rooftop bars"
  • Then Ryan and I headed to Eddie V's for dinner with Heidi and Chris, (Heidi is one of my sister Lisa's best friends). We had such a great evening with them! And the food was amazing. I had this ridiculously delicious sushi-grade Ahi Tuna. We shared Blackberry Cobbler for dessert. It was so comforting and fun to see familiar faces for a change!! :)
This was the view from the running path! I could have run for hours....
Happy face, enjoying a refreshing pina-colada!
Rooftop Bar photo!
  • Sunday was time to head back to San Antonio. (So weird that SA is "home" right now)
  • After I had my run, and Ryan worked out at the hotel gym we built up appetites....We hit up brunch at Annie's, a French inspired bistro that is so charming. Everything looked so good that we couldn't decide what to order. So Ryan ordered eggs benedict and I ordered an omelet - we then shared our entrees. Delicious!
  • Last Stop: We then walked to the Texas State Capitol. I highly recommend people to check this out. The building is so impressive - and the landscape is beautiful!

Overall, it was a wonderful and much-needed weekend together! It was fun to see Ryan relaxed again! We definitely want to return to Austin maybe during the Spring or fall again when the weather is cooler. I love this city!