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Well everyone, it is official. As of 12:01 pm yesterday, Hawaii time, Matt is on terminal leave from the Marine Corps. He’s still an Active Duty Marine, until November 13th, and then from there until June 2013, he’s part of the Marine Corps’s Inactive Ready Reserve. Basically, he’s a Reserve Marine, without having to do the two weeks a year, one weekend a month – training. No working as a Marine unless he gets reactivated somewhere along the line. [Fingers crossed and prayers sent that that DOESN’T happen!]
He already has the beginning of a goatee started, and it will only get darker and more pronounced as time goes on. I don’t think he’ll get a hair cut until about Christmas, at the earliest. He is reveling in the freedom that he has right now. We have been busy. We brought all the stuff that will come to CA with us to the Cabanas, where we are staying until we fly out tomorrow, and today, the movers come and packed up all of our stuff. They were so quick and efficient. Then we cleaned the house from top to bottom and will turn it over to the housing company tomorrow morning. Then we basically sit tight and maybe walk the beach, until we fly out tomorrow night at 9 pm. Then our family time in California begins.
Tonight, Matt and I went and grilled out with some of his friends at the barracks. These are the guys he’s worked with on a daily basis for the last 3-4 years. He has gone to Iraq two times with these guys. In turn, I have grown close to them too, and especially their wives. We have shared a common thread to our lives – the USMC – for the past four years. Now… it is going to be months to even years before we see them again. Some, we may never see again. Sitting around the table, thinking about how much these guys have shared and experienced together, and knowing that they are going to be spread out, really hit me hard that we are actually leaving. The rest of the guys are going to be getting out of the Marines too, within the next two to three months. They’ll go home to their respective states: mostly midwest [thankfully!] Iowa, Illinios, Missouri… And everyone will fall into the swing of life after the Marine Corps. They’ll be left to using facebook, email, and phones to keep in touch. Because we are all [most of us anyway] midwest residents, it will make it easier to plan yearly get togethers. One of our friends is having a wedding and reception in April, and we are planning to attend that. That will be the first time that we will see most of these guys again. They won’t be clean shaven, short haired guys come April. They will have long hair [I’m betting] and most will have facial hair of some sort. Most will be in college. It will be fantastic to hear their stories and see how much they have changed. That is what we are looking forward to next, the next reunion. From there, yearly get togethers will become the focus in order to stay in touch. Switching off who’s turn it is to host it, each year. That will be great to see where everyone is from…
Ahhh, life is crazy. I have never been good with goodbyes and I get attached quick, which explains why this goodbye is emotional for me. I know that good things are ahead for Matt, and for him and I, and those good things are ahead for all of the Marines [and their families] that Matt has gotten close to in his time with 1/3. It is going to be great to see those good things unfold.
Anyway – enough of my emotions haha. Life is good, and I thank God that we crossed paths with these great people! The USMC has worked some absolute wonders and brought some fabulous blessing in the lives of these guys and in their girlfriends/wives too. I can’t believe it’s been four years.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Hawaii… it is been wonderful. We have really been fortunate. One last sleep on Hawaiian soil. Then it’s off to California.
Mahalo Nui Loa, Hawaii. [Thank you very much.] It has been wonderful, what a journey. I’ll remember our times here forever. [Plus, the 7000+ photos I took while living here will help me remember and reminsice too. :)]
Stay tuned for more adventures as Matt’s goatee grows longer and we land on the mainland’s soil!
Laura and Matt