Running and The Iberian Pig date night

I was so excited on Thursday night because I managed to get Jon to run with me at night! He really doesn’t ever run anymore but I was dying to take a nap before class, so I had asked him if he’d run with me after since it would be too dark for me to go alone. I ran down the road I’ve been going down lately and he wanted to run back which was really not okay with me since it’s all an incline, but I did fine. Even though I’m not a fast runner at all, I feel fast when I run with other people because I slowed myself way down going up the hill so I didn’t leave Jon behind. And at the end of 3.1 miles (30:39) I really wanted to keep going! I may try to run for a little bit today, but I work 3p-3a tonight and have to study this morning, so it may not happen. I haven’t worked a 12 hour shift until 3am in close to a year and I struggle working 7p-3a (and taking a nap until 5pm!), so I feel like I may need to be as lazy as possible until I go to work this afternoon. Conserve all energy.

Last night, I worked till 7p and then Jon and I went to The Iberian Pig. It was in Decatur and I haven’t gone to downtown Decatur in a long time, and when Jon and I went before, we got lost so we never even made it to walk around. It was so cute out there! I loved it! A lot of places had lights out! I wish I had taken a picture but I didn’t. Anyway, The Iberian Pig was awesome! However, my plan was to get 5 plates of tapas to share, but the server told us each plate was 3-5 bites. I still wanted to stick with 5 plates because I had seen pictures of the food, but then Jon wanted to increase it. So I decided to get a plate of food and only try each tapas so that Jon could eat all of them. After getting our food, we realized that 3-5 bites per plate thing is a total gimmick to make more money on new people. The tapas were actually really good portions and Jon didn’t even finish his last one (and he’s a big boy!) because he was so full! And I was miserably full after trying small bites of the tapas and eating my meal! The bacon wrapped dates and pork cheek tacos were amazing! Holy moly. Amazing. The rest were decent. I definitely would recommend going there, but our bill was $82, including 2 glasses of wine. So definitely not a cheap date night. But I really wanted to do something different than we usually do (how many times can we eat Mexican and sushi?) and I had heard good things about The Iberian Pig. I am really glad we went! We had a table by the window and overlooked the downtown area and it was a really nice environment.

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I miss the days when our date nights could cost us $70 on a weekly basis and we never even though about it. I definitely didn’t mind spending over $100 for our date night last night (especially because I didn’t do anything for Jon’s birthday last month because I’m a horrible girlfriend), but it’s definitely not the norm now that we’re both in school.

We fell asleep as soon as we got home (old people) and now I’m working on biology before I go to work! My sister and nephew get in town today but I won’t see them until dinner tomorrow! Jon and I are heading up to have dinner with the family since we have to pick out our floors in the morning! My other sister and her fiance come in town on Monday night! I don’t think I’ve been this excited for Thanksgiving in a long time! In the holiday spirit, I’ve been eating this as a snack lately:

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Turkey with cranberry sauce, cut up apples, and brie- baked in my toaster oven to heat it all up! So good! Picture skills not so good.

I’m off to try and be productive! Jon is about to get home from a doctor’s appoinment and he said he’d make us breakfast! Looking forward to it cause I’m starving!

The Love Story Part 2: The End of Iraq

Part 1 (in case going back 2 days is too hard)

Once I was back in Iraq, things with Jon picked up pretty quickly. I came back sometime right at the end of September and was going to be off to Baghdad for the entire month of November. We continued spending all of our nights off together and started talking about the future. You know, the real life stuff, not just the deployment stuff. We would talk a lot about the would you still like me at home type of stuff, and we decided that we thought we would. Despite the fact that you don’t even have somewhat close to a regular life, you still feel like a normal person (you’re not, by the way… deployment “you” is totally different than real life “you”).

We decided that I’d apply to a nursing school just over the Georgia state line so that I could keep my HOPE scholarship (I had to stay in Georgia for it) and that we’d get an apartment together and live happily ever after.

I went off to Baghdad for the month and communication wasn’t quite as easy as it was in Tikrit (where our unit was). The internet was in and out and the phones were no good. There was a much longer wait for the computers. One night we were on the phone and when we went to get off the phone, I told Jon that I loved him. I think his response was something along the lines of, “Weeelll okay, I’m going to go to bed now.” I wasn’t disappointed since we hadn’t really been together that long, but I definitely did love him.

The next day, I got an email from him telling me that he loved me too. Baghdad seemed like the longest month ever. I couldn’t wait to get “home” to see him again! Unfortunately, every flight I was supposed to go back to Tikrit on was delayed, so I spent 3-4 days waiting to get home. I don’t recall if it was a sandstorm or if the flights were full, but I remember being ecstatic when I finally made it on the chinook to go see Jon!

This is actually when Jon came to pick me up when I flew in (flaw in Part 1, it was a long time ago, guys!). So this is when his buddy at the TOC told him I was flying in and he came to get me!

Shortly after I got home, I found out that Jon was going to go to Mosul sometime in December because our unit was going to take over the hospital there as well. I’d be staying in  Tikrit, which was pretty upsetting at the time but in just four short months, we’d be moving in together. We spent the month of December planning out a trip to France for when we returned to the States and working on our plans for starting our life together at home. We weren’t positive when he’d be leaving for Mosul, and I can’t even remember him leaving. It was sometime surrounding Christmas…

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(The picture on the left is their going away “party” for the Mosul people, and the right is one of our awesome Christmas photos, and that cot behind us was where our first kiss was. Romantic.)

Over the next two months, we talked on the phone every night. Luckily our phones were easily accessible, but because neither of us were doing anything and we would spend far too long on the phone every night, we found a lot of time to argue. There were a lot of clues in what he said that led me to believe that he may not be over his ex girlfriend, but since we had elaborate plans for our future, I ignored them. And then one night, he said we had to talk. And that talk led to him breaking up with me. And that break up led to him starting back up with his ex girlfriend.

And so I returned to the United States in April of 2009 as a single woman, who was accepted into nursing school in Dahlonega and in south Georgia.

To be continued… again…

The “Love” Story Part 1: Iraq.

Since Jon is a pretty big part of my life, I thought I’d give a little story about our background, even though he’s still not actually my boyfriend 🙂

Technically we met back in 2007 in Ft Gordon. I was attached to the 345th CSH (I’m in the Army Reserve) out of Jacksonville, but had been drilling out of a unit up in Dahlonega at my college. I went to Ft Gordon as my second training with the unit, which was the start of our pre-deployment training (it was really long and drawn out). Jon claims that he asked to sit by me one morning on the bus to breakfast and he asked me where I was from and we talked the whole way to the DFAC (dining facility). I don’t remember this at all since I was new to the unit and everybody kind of blurred together, but that was probably when he decided I was awesome!

We did our pre-mob training out of Ft Sam Houston. Our unit had a fake hospital set up and I was working in the EMT (or the equivalent of the emergency room) with Jon’s little brother, David. Jon was working in radiology as an x-ray tech. I’m assuming we must have talked at Ft Sam Houston because Jon took an x-ray of me and I remember looking at it; I just don’t remember Jon being part of the equation.

Let me just take a second to say that I was really looking forward to spending a year without worrying about dating anybody. I’d had a somewhat recent breakup from a boyfriend of two years, and I had zero interest in coming home with some deployment love. Jon also had a girlfriend when we were going through our pre-deployment process and they stayed together for a few months into the deployment.

We got into Iraq and started our jobs. I never paid attention to Jon. He said he did pay attention to me, but kept his distance because he had a girlfriend. My first actual memory of Jon was when I was at the DFAC with my friends one night. All the guys in Iraq liked to go through phases of not shaving (but this wasn’t No Shave November… maybe it was Mustache May?) and I remember talking about how uninterested I was in the guys we were deployed with. Means, one of my Army buddies, was like, “Well, what about him?” and pointed to Jon. Then she said something to him about his mustache, and I remember not having any interest.

Jon and his girlfriend broke up in early August, and he was spending a lot of time in the EMT. We worked twelve hour shifts, five days a week, and since we worked nights, we also spent all of our time off at the hospital. One night, Jon and I started talking and we talked for the entire shift. Then it happened again. And again. And again. We started eating breakfast together. Jon and I talked about absolutely everything you could possibly imagine. When you’re in Iraq and the only things you do are work, work out, eat, and sleep, you have a lot of time to talk about your past. We spent some time running together, and I always noticed how he’d make me run on the inside of him from the road. He was just a good ol’ boy, and I’ve never really been interested in somebody like him.

I honestly don’t even know when the interest started, but I was so nervous to kiss him! Since we were in Iraq, it wasn’t really as easy as it would be back in the States. He would walk me “home” from breakfast and we’d stand awkwardly, out in the open but kind of hidden by some walls, and then I’d just go inside and we’d talk later about how we wanted to kiss.

Jon worked by himself at night in a the x-ray department, which was closed off from the rest of the hospital. I was in there all the time when I wasn’t working. One night, I was off work and hanging out with him. I was laying on the cot and there was a trauma coming in so he was radio’d in to go to the EMT so he could do his thing. Before he left, I think he said something to me, and then he finally kissed me! I was so happy and so excited!

I ended up going home on R&R for two weeks shortly after that. He called me every day and I couldn’t wait to get back to Iraq to see him. During that time, on September 24th my time and September 25th his time (2009), we ended up as boyfriend and girlfriend. I can’t recall the conversation, but I’m pretty sure that I was the one who brought it up.

My leave ended, and so I returned to Iraq as a taken woman 🙂

To be continued… Dun dun dun.

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Some of our first pictures together in Iraq… He liked me even without any makeup! Haha.