Tuesday, May 09, 2006


(For "nasty civilians" like myself, that means Standard Operating Procedure)

Every time I find myself living alone, in a new country, new city, a new school, a new job, or just a new situation I have a few rules I force myself to follow - it's my SOP. These may or may not have helped me snag my husband, that hunky devil dog, but to survive your first year away from home, a flock of foreign faces, or a husband’s deployment, here are “the rules" laid out in my SOP.

- Say yes to any and all invitations extended. Feel a little too tired to meet a new acquaintance out for a drink? Not an excuse; put on your party pants and drive on down to that new watering hole because they may not ask twice.

- Buy a few books that have been molding on your 'must read' list. Somehow watching TV makes you feel like a lout, but engrossing yourself in a novel transforms you into a well-read, self-satisfied, interesting intellectual.

- Learn the language. Spanish, Italian, military acronyms, business lingo – it’s hard to feel comfortable when you can’t understand what’s going on around you. You can’t follow the SOP, much less write your own, if you don’t know what an SOP is!

- Take on a challenge and accomplish something brand new. Sign up for the grad-level art class and prove to yourself you can be a confident corporate by day, and a veritable Frida Kahlo by night; register for a marathon and conquer twenty-six-point-two miles worth of pain, doubt, and depression.

It’s this last rule that brings me here. I’m not sure if documenting my thoughts during work-ups and my husbands upcoming deployment is a lesser or greater challenge than running that hilly long race in Seattle’s November rain. But here I am – clamoring for the catharsis of accomplishing a new feat - conquering the barriers of language instead of the physical pain of mere lactic acid.


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