Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tying it all up

Our last day of orientation was very productive.  We had our last briefing in the morning about the vision of the Army Reserve, most of which was over my (Sarah) head, but it I did learn a lot.  After a quick lunch at Subway on post (this is a fact that they kiddos are VERY excited about....a Subway on post!) we hit the transportation office, financial office, housing office and made lots of contacts, including the G1, translation: head of human resources. We even secured lodging on post for the night of the 15th so we can be sure to be there when our goods arrive. 

Going into this weekend, there were so many unanswered questions.  Now there is a huge sigh of relief and lots of anticipation for July 16th. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another great day of Information Overload...exactly want we wanted!

Big, HUGE news!!!  We have a report date!!!  Drum roll please.....  July 16th!  Do you know what a relief that is?  Amazing!  The next question that will be answered shortly will be pick up date for our stuff.  The week of May 21st, we should find out what we will be assigned for housing.  

Last night we got to go out with Brad Nindl, he is a guy that Mark was in Iraq with and is attending the War College as a civilian.  Over an amazing Italian dinner, I had pasta with a spicy red sauce, Mark had Lobster Ravioli, we got the low down on schedules, classes, advisers, SRP, the infamous Strategic Research Project, intramural sports, the required softball team, and then just some fun stories of Iraq and lots of catching up.   I'm so grateful for Brad and his positiveness and his friendship, it was just a wonderful end to our day. 

Today we had more briefings, these were by current students to give us the real scoop on the Army War College, not the paid infomercials of the faculty.  Some information was redundant, but it was great to hear that this year is going to be a good one, both for our family and for Mark's career in the Army Reserve.

At lunch we walked around a little bit, taking in all the building that most of his classes will be in, as well as just drinking up some sunshine and chatting about being a part of the rich history here.  I snapped a few pictures around Root Hall where most of his classes will be.

Root Hall, where most of Mark's classes will be.

Out side of Root Hall, the building on the left is a part of the original campus of Carlisle Barracks, on the front side of it is seating for the parade deck.  The brick building on the right is the movie theater.

Young Hall is in the background, Parade deck in the foreground.

Right side of Parade deck and an admin building

The playground outside of Young Hall

Upton Hall.  This is where we had most of our briefings this week.

Something that we learned yesterday is that every Friday night the elementary and middle school aged kids play dodge ball.  We have heard that they either hate it or love it.  The adults hate it, it's very loud chaos, in fact it was recommended that parents don't watch, they will be wincing the entire time.  Of course we had to go check out Root Hall gym to see where the activity goes on......  And Julia & Hope, I'm thinking you are going to be spending some time here.....

Root Hall Gym...home of Friday Night Dodge Ball!!

We have a joke in our family....never ask Hope, "What do you want to do tonight?"  She will ALWAYS say, "BOWLING!!!"  So, Hope, this is for you....

There are kids bowling leagues!
It is finally becoming more and more real that this is where we will be this summer.  I'm so thankful for this opportunity not only for Mark's education and career, but for our family and all the things that we can take part in.  I think July needs to hurry up and get here!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We want to live Young Hall? Really?

Last post was stating that we were going to Orientation...

...And here we are!

We arrived yesterday afternoon along with about 40 other Reserve and National Guard members from the Army and Air Force.  We found the two other TPU Reservists, when you think TPU, think about the guys that have their regular civilian job and then are a Reservist also, drilling each month and having annual training during the summers.  The other type of Reservist is and AGR, they are employed full time by the Army and are a totally different animal than TPU.  I heard that about 6,000 TPU's applied to the War College and we were one of the three lucky ones chosen.  Last night at the first meet and greet, the Army Reserve advisor from the War College congratulated all of us and said, "I don't know how ya'll got here, but be thankful.  I don't know what makes you any different than the other guys that applied, but you are the ones that won the lottery."  Mark & I had a good laugh about that one.  We feel so blessed to be here.

We were taken by bus this morning from the hotel to Carlisle Barracks and into one of the rooms that is used for conferencing.  Around the room were pictures of 4 star Generals who have passed through these hallowed halls.  To see the pictures and the names was such a humbling experience to know that we get to be a part of the history of the War College.  Introductions were made and we found that another student is a Army National Guard LTC from Lincoln, Maine.  For you non-Mainers, Lincoln is above Bangor, but below Houlton on I 95.  Talk about a small world!  Another LTC that we met here is also from Maine but has been AGR with the Reserve down in Fort Benning, Georgia.  He and Mark served together in the 3-316th when Mark was in college. 

The rest of the day consisted of briefings about finance, briefings about forms, briefings about Child and Youth Services, briefings about briefings, okay, that was a joke, but lots of briefings.  All good stuff.  The opportunities that the kids will have here are beyond what we had expected.  Soccer and dodge ball to piano and art lessons, not to mention a youth center that they can visit when they want to hang out with their new friends.  Another briefing that we had was on housing.  This was one thing that I was familiar with, one website that does have lots of information on it.  So I had done my homework and knew where I thought I wanted to be, but open to what ever came up also.  Young Hall was one of the last on my list of places I wanted to live.  Picture a long brick two story building with 26 units in it.  How big could they be anyway and who wants to live in an apartment after always being in a house?  Not this girl.  Those nice, pretty, new houses across the street with big back yards look nice to me, thank-you-very-much.  And just as it goes with most preconceived notions, I was wrong.  Young Hall is our #1 pick.  It is smack dab in the middle of all the action.  It is with in a 5 minute walk to class for Mark, the soccer field abuts the back yard along with a track and a playground.  Amazing!  We got to tour inside one and it is beautiful!  It has 3 big bedrooms, the master being large enough to hold an office space, with a bath and walk-in closet.  What more could a girl want?  Those nice, pretty, new houses are nice and pretty and new and we would be happy if we got assigned to them, but bring on Young Hall!   

Now we are back at the hotel, digesting everything we learned today, filling out some on-line paper work, and trying to set us up for success.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!