After running around and all the mix-ups...I finally have my orders! I will be leaving on July 20th for Newport, RI. After that, I will go directly to Portsmouth, VA as my duty station. So excited!!! I'm looking forward to being close to family and living in a place I've never been before! During these next few weeks...I have lots of paperwork and stuff to get prepared to leave! Pray that I get it all done and don't forget anything important! :-)
I just got back this morning from a week in Honolulu…had so much fun with my family! Before I get into those details, however, I passed my NCLEX and I’m officially a Registered Nurse! I was on the plane, pulling into the gate in San Francisco when I found out…and it was such a relief! I’ve let the Navy know that I passed and I’m currently waiting for my orders. I think I’ll be leaving in a few weeks for training…so my priority right now is to keep working on my push-ups, memorize what I need to for Officer Development School, and finish packing.
I still don’t know where I’ll be stationed as the Navy has yet to tell me since they got the mix-up all straightened out. I am still waiting and hoping they let me know soon for planning purposes. I need to start getting all my paperwork sorted out and ready for the training…so much to do!
A few days before we left for Hawaii, Gracie (my dog) passed away. She was my friend...who slept on my bed, followed me around, and went on walks with me. I miss her so much. It's weird because I keep expecting her to be just around the corner. She was such a blessing and I truly miss her. I was thinking about it...and I now know why people say that dogs are man's best friend. Dogs, and Gracie in particular, are there for you no matter what. They don't care or judge you for what you've done or said...they love you no matter what has transpired. I miss having Gracie follow me and beg to get on my bed. I miss her presence. She was so special to me and my family...it was very hard saying goodbye. I'm a little tired of goodbyes. I am, however, thankful for the time I had with her and that I was there in her last moments. I miss her and keep thinking that I'll take her for a walk. It is so strange having her gone. I'm glad I was there.
Beyond that, it was good to get away for a while...since so much has been happening at home with Gracie passing away, Mark (my brother) graduated, and since taking my NCLEX. Hawaii was such a nice break and reprieve from all that has me worried at home. We stayed a few blocks from the beach in Waikiki…absolutely loved it! Every morning I woke up to an awesome view of Diamond Head on one side and a view of the Pacific in front of me! I really enjoyed spending a part of each day on the balcony with my feet propped up and a good book in my hands…finished four books during this trip!
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time at the beach…though the first day, Mark, Laura, and I got pretty scuffed up trying to body surf and hit some rocks…our poor feet were rather torn up. That happened on the part of the beach closer to Diamond Head…from then on I body surfed and boogie boarded at Waikiki…and didn’t hit anymore rocks. I still got a bit bruised and scuffed up, but it was so much better…and as an added bonus…my skin has never been so well exfoliated! ;-) It felt so good to sit by the pool and soak up the sun and play at the beach.
While in Honolulu, we went to Pearl Harbor and that was an awesome experience. We saw the inside of a submarine and I left feeling like I never wanted to be on one again. I really admire those who serve on subs because I could not do that…think it would drive me crazy! We also went to the Arizona Memorial…can still see oil coming up in the water. While there, I was struck by how transient our existence is…and that we never know what moment will be our last. It could be now or another fifty years down the road. With that in mind, it is so vital to pursue the right things in life…loving God and loving people. Nothing else really matters. I suppose it is a good way to live…always ready to meet your Maker.
One of my favorite stops at Pearl Harbor was the Missouri! We got to take a tour all over and inside of that massive ship. I got to see where and how the guns were loaded…didn’t seem like a pleasant job. It certainly looked tough! Our tour guide was funny and extremely engaging. I had never heard how the surrender took place…of course it was aboard the Missouri, but I didn’t realize all the intentional detail woven in and how significant every piece was. For example, I didn’t realize that the Japanese had to walk aboard and under our loaded guns that were pointed at the Emperor’s house. I didn’t realize that the sailors were told to be in their work clothes and that they did not stand on ceremony or salute the Japanese. There were so many details and I found that very interesting. I liked seeing the spot where WWII ended. Now that I’ve been there, I want to know more about this period of history. There is always something else to learn.
Beyond that, we hiked up Diamond Head Crater and that was pretty cool…beautiful view of the island. It was funny because on our way up…I was struck by how many people were not appropriately outfitted for the short hike. Some people were in dresses and wedge heels!?! To each their own...I suppose!
One of my favorite things was “window shopping” with mom. There are a lot of really nice stores that I had never been in before. I know the brands, but had never actually gone to their stores…places like Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Armani, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Chanel…and of course a short stop at Tiffany’s! I loved looking! Actually…Gucci is my favorite and when I was there, the sales lady asked if I wanted to try on a jacket I was admiring. I posted a picture of it…would you believe it cost about $5000!!! No wonder I liked it! She also gave me shoes so I could get the whole affect! I liked it, but didn’t buy it since I don’t have $5000 to burn right now ;-)…don’t think I’ll ever actually buy something like that, but I had some serious fun looking!
One night we went to watch the fireworks on the beach and that was so pretty…really enjoyed that. Got to watch a few movies in the theaters, went shopping and got to bargain a bit, ate out a ton (feeling the need to work out!), went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and saw the show, walked to the beach without shoes, got sunburned and tan, put on tons and tons of sunscreen, and keep finding sand all over my things! The last day I was woken up by a bird that had flown into the condo. It made a bit of a racket…flapping all over the place. It scared me half to death!
Overall, it was such a good trip and I really enjoyed hanging out with my family. I think it hit me about half-way through the trip that this is it. This is the last family vacation…at least for life as I know it. I kept thinking of how much things are about to change forever. I’m so excited, nervous, worried, at peace all at the same time. I can’t wait for my new life to start, but it is bittersweet to close the chapter on a life I known for a very long time. Of course, I won’t be gone forever, but things are changing for good and that is always hard. I’m so glad that I do not have to do this alone…so thankful that God is always there and will help me through the transition.
It's been a busy few weeks. I'm making progress on my push-ups (am up to over 100/day). My goal is to be able to do about 300/day...just a few more weeks to go. I've also been working away on NCLEX review. My plan is to finish the HURST review this week with its videos/notes and then next week, I'll review all the body systems before I take my exam on the 14th. I can't wait to be done!!!
Beyond that...I taught a lifeguarding course this past weekend with my sister. I've taught Red Cross classes since 2010 and find that teaching is really fun! Just two more days of this class this coming weekend.
Also...I heard from the Navy again. Okay...I got a call from them this past week before 7am and this lady was asking me all sorts of questions about where I was going to be stationed, who had told me that, and what other information I had been asked when they last called. So here's the deal...apparently, there are two girls with the last name of Stevens--both nurses who are graduating this year. They got me mixed up with the other one who was supposed to go to Portsmouth, VA. I really was supposed to be in San Diego. Anyway, they called because there was some confusion about that and where my orders had been sent. My orders had been sent to Penn State for a Stevens in their ROTC program. Not only do I live near Seattle, but I'm in the Navy's Nurse Candidate Program...which is totally different! The lady who called to clear it up asked me which station I would prefer and I told her that I'd like to stay with Portsmouth...so she said that she would keep me there! The other nurse will be either there or in San Diego most likely. At least that explains what happened! I'm glad I'll still be going to Virginia! I leave next month! Till then...I just need to pass my exam...and then I'll head to Hawaii with my family for a much-needed vacation!
That I grow in my role as a nurse and always do my best.
That I would follow the Lord wholeheartedly.
I'm Carolyn...am so excited to be starting my nursing career in the Navy. Who knows where this all will take me?!