Some gifts don’t come wrapped under a tree. This Christmas, I had the awesome opportunity to spend a week with my cousin Megan and her fiance Domenic after they flew in to Oahu from New Hampshire to visit me. It was amazing to spend time with them, particularly because I will be missing their wedding this upcoming June. I was able to share some of my favorite spots on the island with them and to explore a few places that I’d never been. The adventures started off with a hike of Ka’au Crater, which they performed admirably on despite some treacherous conditions. We ate our way through quite a few restaurants, from the shrimp trucks of the North Shore to the Kona Brewing company in Hawaii Kai. It was awesome to be able to give them a tour of my boat, the USS MISSISSIPPI – SSN 782, and even see Air Force One parked on Hickham Field, as President Obama was visiting for the holidays. I was very grateful for some invites we got to attend some special events including an Ugly Sweater Party, the Coast Guard Christmas Eve Service at Diamond Head Lighthouse (thanks Haleys!), and Christmas dinner with the Heuers, another awesome family I’ve gotten to know from church. Thank you to everyone who helped make their visit so special, particularly Sami, my landlord, who was generous enough to let them stay in a spare room of the house for the entire week. I can’t wait until the next adventure I’m able to share with the two of them.
Today I had the incredible privilege to honor my grandfather during his internment at Arlington National Cemetery. It was an incredibly moving service and one that I will never forget. Especially the presentation of the flag. It wasn’t so much grief, but the flood of overwhelming gratitude owed to my grandfather and men like him that swept over me. The pastor talked about “the greatest generation” he was a part of and the incredible love they had that earned them that accolade. What an example and a role model to try and live up to. Lone Survivor came out the weekend before and the opportunity to see it with my friend Steve set a very reverent and solemn tone for the trip to Arlington. Touring the capitol on his tandem bicycle was definitely another great dose of ‘hooyah.’
So it’s been a very quick but also long past few months. Training is going well, but it’s a grind. Getting used to rotating shift work has been interesting, but it doesn’t seem to be that bad. It’s also been amazing to finally get some operational experience with all the knowledge and studying we’ve been doing.
It’s been great being back up in the northeast and having the opportunity to visit friends and family up here. Having the chance to see a bit of Boston, doing a bunch of mountain biking, and having the opportunity to take a flight in a glider has been awesome. Morning runs will never get old, and it’s been great that they’ve been able to continue despite the long hours of training.