Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Truth Bomb!

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post for about 6 months now because I didn’t know how to get this off my chest without sounding nasty (or crazy). Because that is not my intention. My intention is for this to be a reality check of sorts. A non-sugar coated truth bomb that I hope will help you see the bigger picture.

I have come across some blogs and Facebook posts from girlfriends/partners of recruits at Kapooka that have made me cringe and honestly they have made me concerned about how these women (and their partners) are going to survive. In response to what I have read, here are 11 things I think everyone should know:

  1. Basic training is training is not just training for the recruits. It is also training for you to get used to your new lifestyle. Things like having minimal contact with your partner is to help you to become independent and not reliant on your partner. For example, I see a lot of people getting worked up about the last bush exercise. It is only 12 days. This is your first real test and a lot of you are failing to use it as a time to show your strength and independence. As I said, it is only 12 days and you will have much longer periods without contact in the future so you need to be prepared.
  2.  I understand that there are a lot of couples who have never spent any time apart prior to joining the army. What I don’t understand is how many of you seem to fall apart when you other half leaves. We are strong, modern women! We don’t need to lay on the floor crying when they leave! Yes it is sad and you will miss them but life will go on as normal and you WILL see them again. Use this time to get to know yourself better.
  3. The army’s version of what’s urgent will be different for yours. Stretching the truth about ‘urgent’ situations just so you or your kid can talk to them is only going to ruin it for everyone else. The army will always give you what you need, not what you want.
  4. Your partner is the one doing the hard yards at training, not you. There is no ‘we’ made it to march out. They did all the hard work, not you.  
  5. Local leave is designed for the recruits to have some R&R. Don’t have big expectations and don’t make it about you.
  6. Defacto recognition. If you haven’t lived together prior to Kapooka (or if you just lived together at a parents’ house) you are not in a defacto relationship. You shouldn’t have to set out to open bank accounts etc just to apply for defacto recognition. Let your relationship progress to that stage naturally. Would you be registering your relationship with any government agencies if your partner hadn't enlisted? It’s totally ok to be in a relationship with a defence member and not have defacto recognition. It doesn’t make your relationship any less meaningful nor does it mean you don’t love each other as much.
  7. The defence community is small so be careful what bridges you burn because you might end up being neighbours or having your partners work together one day.
  8. You are not the first person to go through this nor will you be the last. You are not the first person to have to leave their job, family and friends and everything you’ve ever known and move to a new location. Everyone has to do it eventually and it is actually one of the best things about this lifestyle!
  9. Respect the advice of those who have been here before and the ones that have been doing this for a long time. They can be the best source of support for you. But remember, the best support isn’t always a shoulder to cry on but rather someone who can tell you to stop the tears and put your big girl panties on when you need it.
  10. The 80 days at Kapooka is not the hardest thing you’ll ever do, it’s just the hardest thing you’ve done so far. While things might improve slightly during IET’s, the hardest things are yet to come once you get to normal army life. The absences will be longer. There will be no set timetable of what they are doing when like at Kapooka. You might only have a general idea of where they are. There are no set times in which they can call you. There will be exercises where you will have zero contact at all.
  11. There will always be decisions made by the army that you think are ‘unfair’ or ‘mean’. Try to see the bigger picture. All decisions are ultimately made with the wellbeing of the serving member in mind (although it may be hard for you to see it).

Enjoy the learning experience that is basic training. Use the opportunity to learn new things about yourself and find strength you didn’t know you had. Learn from those who have been there before and you will be a better person for it!

Until next time,


C.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Where are the kangaroos at?

So, here I am quietly minding my own business in some online defence wife communities, laughing away at some of the crap people post, when I come across a link to another Army wife blog. The link was followed by much outrage, and a couple of hundred or so comments. Now I could have just read the comments to get a good idea of what it was all about and become equally as outraged as everyone else, however, not one to follow the crowd blindly, I decided to have a read myself.

What I found was nothing short of astounding! The blog is written by an American Army wife, whose husband chose to join the Australian Army through the Lateral Transfer program (nothing spectacular so far) and this poor dear is not loving life since arriving in our great land, and she is pretty outspoken about it (also not astonishing, given she is American and they don't tend to be backwards in coming forward).

And in this case, they have a blog!

This delightful darling claims she was given the wrong end of the stick prior to coming to Australia with her family, it seems she was lied to about Australia and what to expect. I will admit, there were moments throughout her almost illegible ramblings where I felt a little sorry for her (until I reminded myself that as backwards I think the U.S. is at times, they do have Google, which she could have used to do her own research).  Now even if what she says is true, and representatives of the ADF exaggerated the truth to her family to get them over here or that mistakes have been made with her husband’s pay, what comes next is inexcusable.

Instead of blaming the people who she perceives have wronged her, she goes on to attack our entire country, our people, our government and our Defence force, all while (inserting sarcasm), which I can only assume is something ignorant self important idiots need to do to signify when they are being a little tongue in cheek, she throws around apparent insults like 'Australia are nothing like the US and never will be!' and 'your Army is nothing like the Marines'. Can I just speak on behalf of the entire country right now and say we cannot be more grateful that we will never be like the US!

She complains about our food, she complains about the other wives and complains about having to celebrate Christmas in summer (laughing too much – getting harder to breathe). She goes on to complain about her husbands command (and even names her husband’s unit!) and how ‘unprofessional’ the ADF is. She complains about how that she, as a wife, doesn't get the respect she deserves (I am genuinely struggling for breath now!) and she complains about the lack of freebies she is given in Australia (oh god! I think I just peed), including our lack of free entry to Disneyland (wait – we have a Disneyland here?). She complains about how Australia really isn't anything special and has complained that she has not yet seen a single kangaroo yet. I can only conclude that instead of getting out and exploring she been blogging away about how awful Australia is and has spent too much time trying to work out how to convert pounds to kilometres (just for the record mate, that isn't possible). She complains about not being welcomed with open arms, although according to many who tried to befriend her, her negativity acted like a force field and repelled any would be friends away. 

I couldn’t be bothered listing any more of her complaints so if you would like to read more, like about how she thinks DHA should be mowing her lawns, you will have to go read her blog. (Word of warning - she edits her old posts regularly so if you think something has changed, it's not your imagination. For someone who 'won't be silenced by the ADF' she sure does delete a lot!)

One of the things on her blog that tickles my funny bone the most is how she thinks her husband is here to ‘save the ADF’ and that the ADF NEEDS his skills. Oh my poor little possum, you can think that all you like but in reality the lateral transfer scheme is as much a budgetary issue as it is anything else. To put it simply, it is far cheaper for the ADF to ‘buy off the shelf’ than it is to ‘make your own’ and train up a solider from scratch. But I understand how it would be so much nicer to think that your husband is here to teach all these poor little disadvantaged Aussies how it’s done.

I also get a good laugh when she complains Australia’s lack of free healthcare. That’s right – an American is complaining about Australia’s free healthcare system. I…just…can’t…even…

'Murica


What gets me the most, is that she just cannot see what she has done wrong. She sees her bullshit blog as her right (you know, freedom of speech UScentric, I can say what I like because you all want to be like us attitude), but what she doesn't see is that she could have said what she wanted to say, and made her point without offending an entire country. She should be embarrassed! I know I am embarrassed for her, I embarrassed for her ignorance, I am embarrassed for her country and I am embarrassed for all other Army wives to think that we have idiots like this within our midst.

Now I'm going to use something I read today, and I have been granted permission to use, because... well I couldn't put it more eloquently if I tried.
"I for one am happy she doesn't like it here. Go the f@$k home, and PLEASE continue to discourage your other ignorant dickhead mates (which by the look of her Facebook page, are many ) from coming here, we don't want you, you pack of wankers.  If you want to come to Australia, come here with an open mind, an open heart and a sense of adventure. Leave your self importance at the last international airport you were at and see the opportunity that awaits you. Those are the people we accept with open arms. We can learn as much from you as you can from us, but not how we can be like you, we don't want to be like you, and we don't want you to be like us (although you have much to learn about not taking yourself so f$@king seriously).  She has missed an opportunity to open her mind to a different way of living, and enriching the lives of her and her family. It's a shame she doesn't see it that way, but we who love and are proud of our country and hold sacred our way of life will happily drop her at the f$@king airport and throw beer cans at her as she departs".

Now before the Harry high pants tree loving do-gooders jump up and down, nobody is telling her not to have an opinion, we all have the right to one, but maybe have some respect for the country you are living in, like we would if we were in yours, and try not to offend the lot of us with your complete self-centred ignorance.

Until next time,

C (and my awesome collaborators)




Thursday, 15 May 2014

Guest Blogger - A modern day monster

Early this morning, an anonymous person commented on my blog post from yesterday. Her comments made be laugh and I thought they deserved a bigger audience. So I decided to cut & paste her comments directly to this post. Enjoy!



Did you ever see the episode David Attenborough did of the new found creature?

It's was called the five minute spouse (FMS) a modern day monster.

His detailed description went something like this.

A FMS soon discovers her Johnny is going to join the army. She quickly joins as many Facebook groups she can, this enabling her to find out all her entitlements long before Johnny has been issued his kit, shaved his head and is realising his new first name is recruit and will be showering without much modesty!

Meanwhile poor little FMS has been inundated with information she cannot understand or make much sense of but keeps asking the lovely ladies she has met online, more and more questions. She is constantly reassured that as hard as it is while he is a basic training, she will get through it and will be back together before you know it hun and we're here for support. These wise words of wisdom come from the experienced spouses, the ones who went though the whole ordeal just last year and thought they would never survive the heartbreaking time apart and huge adjustment the army has enforced onto them. This is just day one of basic training how an earth is she going to survive the 3 months?!

FMS is in desperate need of speaking to little Johnny, however he isn't able to speak on the phone because the army won't let him! She then pours her heart out on Facebook in the supportive groups who are there to help her through this very trying time and she tells them she isn't coping with Johnny being away and not contacting her daily. They reassurance is once again flooding in and they suggest to go and meet him at the Sunday church service or when he has a few hours off and can meet him in town!!! She snaps from her depression and self pity and asks how she goes about doing this brilliant idea!!

FMS then makes the travel arrangements to Wagga Wagga which is in SW NSW and either a decent drive, country link train ride or rural plane trip each being an expensive mode of travel for maybe a whole hour with Johnny, while he's got a little downtime from his basic training which is full of long physical days that seem to all blur into one and still being called Recruit instead of his first name!! That is quickly dismissed by the FNS because she is seeing Johnny no matter what and doesn't care he might not actually want her to come and would like to be left to do his training with his new mates in his platoon who are all trying to adapt to becoming a soldier.

FMS happily updates her new supportive friends on Facebook how great it was to see Johnny on the weekend even if it was only for a short time! it was worth it and can't thank them enough for the advice and guidance getting her there! 

FMS is still struggling through her basic training period and would like some support on her day of self pity, so she makes a fatal Facebook update!!! The fatal update stated she is finding life so difficult and doesn't think she will survive the remaking 10 weeks of Johnny's basic training! The experienced spouses, you know the ones who went through it last year, and who have been there since the start of this journey, the whole two weeks, just keep telling her she will get through it and vent away it helps because we all know what she is going through!!!........fatal you ask? 
Yes fatal, the spouse who doesn't tolerate such self absorbing melodramatic bullshit has seen the post!!! 

FMS soon discovers the spouse who will tell her to grow up, harden up and not sugarcoat the realities of the newfound lifestyle she finds herself in and that the basic training IS NOT THE HARDEST PART!!! FMS is taken back and feels she is being bullied and there's no need to be so nasty. Others jump to FMS defence and soon 'old hands' come and see the fatal post and before you know it, it's a opinion slanging match!! Then the admin of the group steps in and reminds all involved that 'we're here to support each other and has deleted the post because it wasn't within the guidelines of OPSPEC and PACMAN which all spouses must adhere to'! 

FMS is so shattered by her experience she leaves the group because she can't handle the nasty army wives who gave her true facts, with personal experiences and not the make believe fairy tale she wanted to here!

Then David said, the creature needs to be made extinct and exterminated before the FMS becomes a OSMW!!!!! 



So thank you to my anonymous guest blogger - you said it much better than I could!

Until next time,

C.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Top Secret!

Breaking news! Fresh from last night’s budget, I have managed to obtain a secret document outlining a new plan to give training to the spouses of all new army recruits. There are whispers that this training program is already in place and is being trialled on the spouses of recent recruits. Below is an excerpt from the document.

"A guide to becoming an army wife in 2014
  • As soon as your spouse has boarded the bus for Kapooka, you are no longer to refer to him as your husband/boyfriend/partner. You are now to call him ‘my recruit’ or ‘my soldier’.
  • Once your soldier has left, you are not to continue living your life as normal. You are now an army wife which means the independent individual with their own interests is gone and must put their life on hold until their soldier returns home.
  • The amount you miss and pine for your soldier is directly proportionate to how much you love him and how ‘close’ your relationship is. If you aren’t moping around the house and staying in bed all day, then you don’t love your soldier enough.
  • Use of social media is a must for the modern army wife. One must publish every waking thought, concern and complaint on as many social media platforms as possible. Correct spelling and or grammar are not necessary. The use of hashtags is imperative. Suggested hashtags are #armywife, #armylife and #ilovemysoldier.
  • While your soldier is at Kapooka, it is a good time to start working on your sense of entitlement.  Remember the 3 D’s – Demand! Demand! Demand!”
What did I just read?


Until next time.

C.