OK, so, it has been a gross amount of time since I last blogged.
Well, I had a fairly miserable 48-hours of travel from Iraq to the U.S. for leave, but it was well worth it to be greeted at the airport by my perfect boyfriend, who was standing with the chauffeurs holding a sign that said, "Best girl in the world." I wasn't sure he meant me, but I took a chance, and I was right. We had an incredible time visiting with my entire family and a few of my dear friends.
Poor Dave had to suffer through meeting and hanging out with my parents, my brother, his lovely wife, my niece, my grandparents, my aunt/uncle/cousin, my crazy uncle and his charming wife, my best friend and her husband, their friends, my dear Land Rover friends, and a few others. He was a trooper through it all, and he even proclaims to have enjoyed every minute of it. I believe him, because his smile never left his face (nor did mine). Not surprisingly, all of the above-mentioned loved ones fell for Dave instantly, and they all think I should keep him. Hahaha. ;)
A few highlights:
Partying with my parents and Dave at my Aunt Nancy's house in Pauma Valley, California. It's a country club area northeast of San Diego, and it is gorgeous. My grandparents have had a place there since before I was born, and now my aunt has a second home there. I was hoping Dave would love it, and he does. I wish it were closer to San Diego and work, because I would kill to live there. We got to play with my niece, Kaile, and I was thrilled to see my bro and Stacey. My family hadn't been together since July 4, 2003, and that was also the last time I saw my brother. We're never in the same country at the same time...
Fishing with my Uncle Dick and Aunt Kathy on their 59-ish-foot yacht, Xiphius. We had a blast, even though the biggest fish we caught was only a few inches bigger than our bait. My dad and Dick say it is because my mom brought a banana on the boat. Apparently, bananas are banned from all fishing boats, because they make the fish disinclined to bite. That is not a joke. There were fish everywhere, according to the fishfinder, and Dick was beside himself trying to figure out why none were biting...and then he saw Stacey eating a banana and about died. All bananas had to be tossed overboard, and we all but gave up for the day. Dave didn't catch a fish, but he did manage to catch about a 10-ft piece of kelp.
Visiting with my great friend from USMC basic school days, Jen, and her husband Sean. Visiting her always makes me happy. They have a new house and are thrilled with life in Burbank.
Visiting with my Land Rover family, Bill and Marilyn. I love them to death. We met during the Land Rover G4 Challenge tryouts in Nov, 2002, and we've been friends ever since.
My incredible birthday dinner and birthday DAY with Dave. Can you say Ruth’s Chris and emerald/diamond earrings and bracelet!? (I think he likes me.) Dave spoiled me with the royal treatment. Also, I no longer have to save up for double pog day at the PX…because he bought me the Play Station Portable I’ve been wanting. Weeee! (On double pog day, the cardboard disks we use as coins count as double, up to 100$.)
It was very difficult leaving Dave, fam, and the U.S. to come back to Iraq, but them's the breaks. I have wonderful friends here, too, and the work is interesting. That said, I cannot WAIT for October, when I am fairly certain I'll be heading home for good.
My flight from San Diego to Baghdad was pretty good, although I did have to suffer through a 6-hour delay at the Amsterdam airport. I hate waiting around for flights. I used my time wisely, though, and stocked up on delicious Danish cheese, since the chow hall is completely devoid of good cheese.
OFF-THE-SUBJECT BREAKING RUMOR:
Between now and July 15, the PX will receive more than 3000 XBOX 360 systems ($400 ea). Insane. (Shane is my source, and he got it from the guy at the PX.)