Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Ah, memories.

While I was in Virginia last week, I traveled down to Norfolk to see a friend who is leaving, essentially as I write, on a long "cruise" with the USN. This was the first time I have been on the Norfolk Naval Base since high school and (essentially) the first time I've been on a naval base at all since I got out 3 years ago. It was strange being back, but what was really strange was being back as a civilian. My memories of naval bases are completely wrapped up with summertime: midshipman cruises, port calls in warm-weather locations (SIngapore, Pearl Harbor, San Diego), my dad's homecomings from his deployments in Norfolk summer heat. I felt like I should have been walking back to my ship, saluting the ensign, reporting my return aboard. I keep looking at the sailors trying to recognize familiar faces. I drove to Norfolk with my father who had a meeting there. While I was waiting for him to finish his meeting, I was sitting in the building lobby, reading. As an admiral walked through, his aide announced "attention on deck" and I sprang to my feet to attention, mindless of the book and water bottle I was holding (and amusing the admiral). Old instincts die hard. I think the fact that I just found out that my father is getting out of the Navy after over 38 years has made me nostalgic for his sake as well.

My weekend in Virginia encapsulated so much of what I've left behind in my current life: the East, the Navy, my family, liesurely summer days of my childhood: childhood itself. I felt very nostalgic walking out of the heat and into the chill airport air on Sunday afternoon. Once I walked out of SEATAC into Seattle's summer sunset 8 hours and 3000 miles later, I was fine. I'm living in the city that I love, with friends, a good job, a great house, and the ability to change any of those things any time I choose. I'm glad I'm not on deployment: counting down days until the next port visit, months until homecoming, and years until I get out.

Part of me still misses it, however.


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