Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012

Matt did not recieve Airman Below the Zone as we'd hoped he would, but he still ranked up a few months later.  He is now a Senior Airman. 

He was told that he could test for his next rank up- Staff Sargent and he did that at the begining of May.  They base ranking up on several things- his 'resume', awards, time in service, time in rank, and the test scores.  His 'resume' is excellent but he has no awards, his time in service and time in rank are pretty short and we don't know how he did on his test.  Hopefully we'll find out how he did in August.  We suspect that if he does rank up that he'll do so the middle of next year.

We have now been in Guam for a year and a half.  We wont recieve orders for another year or so and we've been pondering what bases we really want to move to.  Sometimes it seems perfect to go overseas again and we imagine all the educational opportunities our kids could have.  But then we realize that having a lot of kids and living overseas is difficult (expenses, small houses, etc).  We consider living stateside and I get frustrated because there is no 'ideal' location for us to put on a dream sheet. Everywhere we consider is too far away from some portion of the family, or the weather sucks, or the location leaves something to be desired in some way.  I keep telling myself that I'll learn to love where ever we are sent.

Matt did get a really good score on his last PT test so he doesn't have to test again for a year (that'll be next Feburary I think).  He is regularly training to get new and different vehicles on his lisence (I didn't know there were that many...).  We are no longer haivng him go to school though because the stress levels were way too high.  Somehow we have to keep working toward his degree, we just aren't sure how/when that'll happen.

Life in the military has its ups and its downs, its mostly just like a normal job, sometimes is awesome (all the extra days off!) and sometimes it sucks (12 hour shifts for two weeks straight...).  Overall, I'm still very glad we made the decision to join the military.  And Matt is thriving in this setting.  I hope that we'll be able to continue with the military for many more years. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Work in a nutshell

Matt is doing great here in Guam. He was sent to Storage (a unit within Ammo) which is the same place he worked in Korea. So he knows the job well. He'll be assigned his level 5 soon, after he proves him self capable of leading a group of guys in a job.

Matt's goal is to make Airmen Below the Zone in a few months. This is where he could possibly get the next rank 6 months early based on how good his 'resume' is. Generally a person needs to have great test scores, education, service hours, and glowing recommendations from superiors. Matt was told that typically the women who apply for ABZ actually get it and Matt has a smaller chance for being a man. But thats not going to stop him from trying.

Matt has started school up again- he is going to try for a Psychology degree through the University of Maryland. Having education on his 'resume' is great but it does take up a lot of time and energy. Luckily he can get away with working on school work during his down time at work so he isn't having to do everything at home.

In a couple of years Matt'll be allowed to request a job change and he could be retrained to work in another area of the Air Force. He is really considering if this job change is something he wants to do or not. He loves Ammo and really likes working hard with his hands, getting out every day. But in general, the guys he works with have foul mouths and dirty minds. So he's considering other vocations to see if there is something else he should be doing.

Overall, Matt is doing very well and is excited to be doing his job and be home with family. Last year was hard and he's trying hard to put it all behind him!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thinking of My Family

Today for work I had to sit around a lot and my mind went towards my family and how much I miss them and how last year at this time I was counting down to the weekend to go visit my family before I finished tech school and left for Korea, and how now I'm counting down 'til when I can see them again.
When I got back to the shop, it was still very slow so I hopped on Facebook for a second and saw this video a friend had posted and it so fit how I felt I had to post it. I hope you all enjoy the amazing creativity and animation skill as well as the music and storyline, it's beautiful and a little sad.

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Orders

Well, I got my orders a couple of weeks ago now. YEAH!!! And the best part of the whole thing was the little checked boxes that basically say my family gets to be with me at my next assignment! So now I get to start the long process of going to different places around base to made sure I have everything in order to be able to get out of here in a couple of months; from getting plane tickets to scheduling dates for packers to go to my home and move everything to nearly a hundred different items (it's not really that many, but there are three or four different checklists that are at least a full page long, so more like 30-60 things total to do).

I have appointments already to get some of it done and some stuff I can't do until I'm about a week or so out, But at least the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. :) I really miss my beautiful girls and am looking forward to being with them a ton, being able to help around the house so my wife doesn't get so stressed over the little constant have to get done things, playing with my daughters and watching them grow, to continue courting my wife, and well everything that goes along with being with your family. Yeah! and the cont down starts/continues.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Korean Folk Village

My most recent trip was up to a Korean Folk Village between Osan and Seoul. This time I just went with some friends from Church rather than with the CAC (Community Activities Center) which saved me about $25 or so.
Just passed the entrance was a shopping/ restaurant area, which we came back to for dinner. I got an onion pancake since I enjoyed the one I had on my first tour. This one ended up using way too much onion and not enough of the meat, but it wasn't too bad.
Some of the items in the were really cool, but most were a little too costly for me. If I was rich I would of probably walked out with a lot of trinkets like the pressure point sandals, or a pewter warrior, or maybe even the gold-leafed piggy bank, which was the size of my two fists put together, because it was really cute. But I'm not sure I'd want a piggy bank that is worth more than the money I could fit inside it. :) There was also a bazaar at the far end of the village, which is where I bought my little girls a parasol and a milkshake in a bag, which was Delicious!

The first building we stopped at was the equivalent to the court house. Here's where the leaders would try you and set your punishment...
... which was carried out in the court yard if it was serious enough, by beating you as you were tied down or breaking your legs. Ouch!
If the crime was less serious you simply were locked up and probably given poor food. Here's me locked up in a neck bar. "I'm Sorry" *sniff* *sniff* :)

They had some costumes that the little kids could dress up in. They were too adorable not to get a picture of them.

We saw a lot of different styles of housing, depending on where in Korea they were found and different time periods. Here's a black smith shop, where they made and sold kitchen knives, gardening tools, shears, and horse shoes.
The coolest houses were of course the richer and more official type buildings.
The two shots below were from where they filmed one of the videos "The Kind and I".
Just a nice gazebo with some beautiful surroundings.
There was even a haunted house with little goblins on the roof. It was only 3,000 Won so I decided to be festive and go in. We were told not to take pictures of the inside, so sorry you'll have to miss out in the paper-mache, black-light painted horror scenes and creatures that were a bit ridiculous. I did get startled twice though when Bro. Baumgarten poked me from behind at the same time one of the scenes lit up (they were motion sensor-ed) and when a loud jet of air was blasted in my face near the end.
One of the last cool buildings I saw was this water wheel mill.
There was also a large stream/ shallow river that ran through the middle of the village with several types of bridges, from this wood one to stepping stones, to a cut and laid stone bridge.
This is one of the two boats that the had set out on the water, the other one was more of a large raft with a small hut and a cooking area (an ancient boat-house)

There was also a bunch of photo spots that we stopped at and took a few fun photos.

One of the best part was the shows that they had.
Music and dancing,
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Horse-back riding and feats,
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And a tight-rope walker.

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Another Tour

My second tour I got to go on was a lot different from my first one. And a bit further away too. It took a couple hours to get to our first destination, Kosu Caves. We had to park a little ways a way because there's a market just outside of the caves and it was packed. If you zoom in to the image you can see the mouth of the cave and people walking up to it just to the left of the center.

Along the path to the cave I saw this cool little foot bridge. Although it looked plenty sturdy, I was still a little glad we didn't have to cross it. :)

After paying a small fee I climbed up and into the cave. This is a better view of the entrance. There was a lot of people from our group as well as other people checking it out, which made it a bit crowded once I was inside. And it made it so you traveled through it at the same pace as everyone else, having to wait for those in front of you, but not wanting to hold up everyone else behind.

This vine-like tree made a neat, if not totally dry, covering at the entrance.
Some parts of the cave were a bit open and often either had a steep incline or decline coming in and out of those areas, while other parts you had to bend over and nearly crawl.
The black squares are pads just in case you didn't duck low enough or brought your head up too early on a far side. I was lucky enough not to have needed them.

This was one of the sites I liked a bit more, with the pools of water. It was quite wet and drops of water kept falling on our heads. Some areas had mist falling down more than large water droplets.

Ah, Light at the end of the tunnel.
Once I exited, there was a long line of markets, before we even got to the parking area. Since it was getting close to our anniversary I spent some time looking at what they had to offer and ended up buying a little gilded elephant and palm tree statue.

Destination #2 was a boat ride across Lake Chungju to one of the largest Asian dams. After buying tickets we had some time to wait, so we got lunch, it was a lot cheaper, but not nearly as good as the last time I ate out. The sweet potato fries were VERY stale and the other stuff (still not sure what it all was) was a bit too spicy.
When it was almost time for our boat to arrive we headed down to the dock, and down we went to since there were no steps and it was quite steep. I didn't quite fall, but I did use the hand rails to help keep me from tumbling.
Some photos of the beautiful surroundings on the boat ride.






I was kind of sad to see the dam, cause that meant the ride was over and it was perfect weather. There was little to no wind, but the speed of the boat created a perfect breeze to cool us down, since it was a bit warm out.

On the way back to the base we stopped for a bathroom break and a snack. I ended up buying an ice-cream and strawberry crepe for 3,000 Won (about $2.80 or so) Well worth the cost, it was delicious, but a little messy.

My 1st Trip/ Tour in Korea

My first tour that I got to take here in Korea took me to a couple of different places. We started at the Chikso Waterfall, or more specifically the trail head to the waterfall. There was a lot of beautiful mountains that surrounded us the whole way there as we hiked in, as well as a frozen over lake at about the half way point.

Some of the trail was more finished and had steps the other areas you had to watch your step a little bit to not trip over roots or broken rocks.

After about 20 minutes or so of hiking in we arrived at the view point of the waterfall. I took a few pictures then I saw a trail that led up to the top of the waterfall and got all the way to the head of it.

On the hike back to the bus I could hear some chanting echoing through the mountains. That really made me feel like I was in a oriental film. :)
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Just outside of our next destination was a bunch of shops and some restaurants. This was my lunch (green onion pancake). It had squid, sliced carrots, green onions and scrambled eggs cooked on top of a pancake batter. It as Really Good!

The second place we got to see was the Neso-sa temple. Here are two of the guardians near the entrance.

Some of the temple housing. I wasn't allowed to take any good pictures of the actual Buddha temple, but the architecture of the buildings is beautiful. If you look really close the is another house up in the hills in the background too.

Some people were drinking the crystal clear and very cold water from this fountain, I'm not sure what it was for (good luck maybe).

Our final tour spot for the day was at Pyonsan Beach. There really wasn't much there to see or do, but I skipped a few rock, which is a lot easier to do on a lake or somewhere without the waves. :)
And since I was missing Britta and so I could have at least one cute picture I could show her, I wrote my love for her in the sand.