I suppose the next step is filling you in on where I'm at. Although my job as programmer here at Keesler AFB was not a bad one and in fact there was a project with a great deal of potential coming down the pipe, nonetheless I didn't want to stick around if I could help it. My reason for applying to retraining as a linguist in the first place still applied even though that didn't work out in the end: I don't want to spend my whole career as a programmer. On top of that, while over the past year or so Michelle has found a few things she likes about Mississippi, they are far outweighed by downsides, with the summer weather first among them. With that in mind, when the NCO retraining program opened up in August last year I applied for retraining again.
My first choice was a long shot at linguist again, if they were willing to send us back to Monterey and have me learn another language we wouldn't say no. It was a bit of a let down, but no surprise to find they weren't looking for any linguists at the time. Second was a surgical assistant position as I have long wanted to spend at least a bit of time in the medical world (more on that subject to follow.) It turned out that I hadn't read enough of the fine print on that one, you had to already be a physician's assistant to be eligible. My third choice was weather. I've always had a tendency to watch the sky and I figured it would be a good opportunity to learn what was actually going on up there. I don't remember now what other jobs were on my list, but I was accepted for retraining into weather.
There is a seven month long tech school for weather, which was fine by me (I will never complain about being paid to sit in a classroom and learn things,) but the downside was that it was right here on Keesler. We had our guaranteed ticket out of here, but the departure date was a little farther off than we might have hoped and we would be spending another summer here. It is worth it though, and I now have tentative orders to Scott AFB in Belleville, IL (just across the Mississippi River from St Louis) when my class ends in October. It will be wonderful to have regular access to a real city again in addition to a return to a proper four season climate! Another big plus is that both Michelle and I will have access to the schooling we intend to get for ourselves over the next couple of years.
In the end, although my failure to become a linguist was frustrating at the time, I may have gotten the best possible result: I got the benefit of a year and a half in Monterey, I learned a language, I met Michelle and then I didn't have to go on and actually do the tedious day-to-day work of a intel analyst. If only I could have had all that without giving up those orders to Okinawa... Ah well!
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