Sleepy Oils

Since moving to Hawaii, I’ve only stayed up later than 10 o’clock one other time, and that was because my husband and I went to a late night premier of Wonder Woman. We later regretted it, because no matter how much I tell myself that I’ve adjusted to the time difference, I have not.

I used to be a night owl. I see you’re laughing now, but if you only saw me then. Going to sleep before midnight used to be ridiculous in my mind. And even when I finally did crawl into bed, it would be with laptop in tow, where I would stream old episodes of Parks & Recreation late into the night.

So why am I now burning the night oil? I have no clue really, I’m quite miserable. My body is sore and my back is killing me and I want nothing more than to nod off, but I cannot for some reason.

First, I washed all the dishes. Then I put in a load of laundry. Then I finished writing letters to family and friends, addressing and sealing them. Then I put some sleepy time oils in my diffuser, hoping that would help me sleep. And now I am at my computer, writing this blog post and listening to music in the background. And my husband is still asleep, which is very aggravating.

So other news in the lives of the Guerras (which reminds me, I’m finally officially Devyn Guerra in the eyes of the government as of today!): I completed new hire orientation at her new job today, a job which I have to be awake for in the morning. *cries* I’ll be working at the PX on base, and I’m pretty blasé about it. The main reason for my job search was boredom; I was going crazy at the house by myself all day while Alex was at work with our only car. I’m hoping that with work to keep me busy, I won’t go insane. Also, extra money.

Alex and I went to our first luau last weekend, and it was very cool. We went to the Polynesian Culture Center for the entire day, exploring the facility and attending mini demonstrations of dance and other mind-blowing talents (palm tree climbing, coconut shucking/cracking, fire dancing, etc). Then that evening, we went to our buffet dinner and show, which was very impressive. It was much more focused on hula, which is a beautiful dance that I’ve been inspired to learn. There was also a little 11 year old fire dancer who blew all the other fire dancers out of the water.

Then after that, there was another show. This one was more of a production, a conglomeration of all the different dances that we had seen throughout the day. It was such an amazing and interesting experience that I didn’t want to leave. I’m excited to go back with friends and family when they start visiting. (Hint to my friends and family.) (Wink, wink. Nudge.)

Well, I’m beginning to feel the affects of the essential oils, so I better hit the hay. It’s always a pleasure, my loyal readers.

(Translation: still can’t sleep. Gonna drag myself to bed and watch Parks & Recreation reruns. Goodnight, world.)

Adventure Unleashed

Before Hawaii, my idea of a good time was going a.) to the movies, or b.) out to eat. However, I lived in Harlingen, Texas, where there’s not really much to do besides that, especially compared to where I currently reside. Now I find myself going out and exploring the island every weekend, and it’s both exhilarating and exhausting.

I had been hoping to visit the Dole Plantation at some point because many people had recommended the cute tourist attraction, so my husband and I planned to go last Saturday. I woke up that morning, dressed for an outing at the Dole Plantation, packed us a lunch and we headed off. When Alex went the opposite direction, I looked at him questioningly and asked, “Isn’t the plantation that way?”

“Oh, I was going to take you to the Pali Lookout first,” he explained. And while that was not what I had in mind, I wasn’t upset. Besides, it was 8:00 am, and we had plenty of time left in the day. However, this was followed by, “Are you mad?” “We can turn back.” “Is this okay?” “We’re cool, right?”

Yes, husband, we are cool.

Regardless, the Pali Lookout was absolutely beautiful. It was the windiest place I’ve ever been in my life, and I wouldn’t recommend wearing a dress or anything else loose-fitting; however, the glorious view is worth the brief discomfort of having to hold your shirt down for fear of revealing too much.

After we returned to our car and warmed ourselves up a little bit, Alex informed me he was going to take me to a nearby beach named Bellows to check it out. Also not apart of the plan, but I assumed he meant “drive by the beach and look at it from a good distance”.

There’s a portion of Bellows that is open to the public, which of course is packed. However, there’s also a portion of Bellows that is only accessible through the Air Force base, which is considerably less crowded. We pulled into a front row parking spot, and I just kind of cried a little bit inside; it was the most beautiful beach I’d ever seen in my life.

The only kinds of beaches I have ever known have been icky and brown and mucky and littered with trash. On Bellows, the sand was clean and the water was clear and blue and it looked so refreshing and nice…

So naturally I plopped myself on a bench and moped.

“But why did you bring me herrre?” I whined. Husband is confused.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like?”

“Yes, of course I like. Which is why I’m mad that I dressed for the Dole Plantation.” Husband is still confused.

 

“Well, we live in Hawaii now, so we should always be prepared to go to the beach from now on.” At this point, I’m probably giving him the stink eye. Or maybe staring longingly at the gorgeous water.

“Well, too bad I was prepared to go to the Dole Plantation.” Husband sighs.

“So I guess we’re coming back here later?”

Attaboy.

So we went to the Dole Plantation, which was adorable and fun and educational. We took a ride on their Pineapple Express through their many fields of various fruits and vegetables. We strolled through the gardens and feasted on Dole whip. We walked through the Largest Maze of 2008 for approximately 15 minutes, and then we went home to prepare for our trip back to Bellows.

Poor Alex had to call and postpone a Tesla test drive appointment (long story) in order to satisfy my beach craving, and I appreciate and love him very much.

The water felt just as good as I thought it would, if not better. It was cool and clear and beautiful. The waves were perfect for boogie boarding, and there was even a guy out there surfing, which I had never seen in person before. Of course, he was using the same waves we were using to boogie board, so it wasn’t too terribly impressive, but it piqued my interest in that possible pastime.

So maybe all it took was relocating to a thrilling new place to unleash the adventurous side of me. Regardless, I still spent this weekend binge watching Netflix. Trust me, I can easily do both. Still, I’m excited to explore and try new things. Alex and I have plans to go to our first luau this weekend, so here’s to many more firsts for the Guerras.

How to Get Married in Proper Military Fashion

Step One: do not make definite plans.

I should have kept this in mind from the very beginning, but I still allowed myself to get my hopes up when it seemed that things were going our way.

Your wedding is not on the Army’s to-do list. They don’t care if your plans are months in the making, or that “it would be incredibly convenient if _____ happened”. They really do not.

My now-husband Alex and I wanted to have our wedding at home, in south Texas, where most of our friends and family were located and everyone else was planning to travel to. My mother and I met together with bride’s maids and friends to discuss wedding ideas and themes and decorations. We planned to have our ceremony in the evening, right before sunset, so that by the time we said “I do” and Alex kissed the bride, our pictures would have a beautiful background. Because I worked at Chick-fil-A, we planned to have them cater the wedding, storing rows of nuggets and sandwiches in big, fancy chafing dishes.

We had it all figured out, but the Army had other plans.

I do realize that it was all for a reason and that sergeants and other authorities have more important things in mind than weddings and parties. It was just so difficult to constantly have our plans put on hold or cancelled because the Army paid no mind.

We thought of every possible alternative after that. We thought about waiting until after Alex was stationed in Hawaii for a while and getting married when he could come home on leave. We discussed courthouse weddings and online marriages and even proxy weddings. (Did you know that there’s a way to get married where the bride and groom don’t even have to be there? Well, that option was up for serious consideration for a while.)

Finally, after tears and agony and months of indecisiveness, we all decided on a destination wedding.

At the time, Alex was in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for AIT, and he was due to graduate in less than 2 weeks. So in that amount of time, my mother was determined to make it the nicest impromptu, out of state wedding possible.

Our first roadblock came early on when it was time to decide how to actually get to Missouri. My mother is deathly afraid of flying, and we knew we would be traveling with a lot of baggage anyway, so we decided to rent a motor home for the trip. We then spent the next week preparing for the journey: packing everything from my wedding dress, decorations, food/snacks/drinks to stock the RV with, and supplies/ingredients for the wedding cake that my mother agreed to decorate on site.

We had so many loving friends help us and incorporate so much, even though they wouldn’t be in attendance. A kind friend hand-made the most beautiful bouquet for me; another family agreed to watch our many pets and animals while we were away. It was heartwarming to see that so many people had my back and were so encouraging through the difficult process.

The real MVP was my mom, who was being so incredibly supportive even though I know she would have much rather we waited to have a big wedding at home. I know she was disappointed, but she made the best out of the situation by making phone calls galore and contacting potential wedding venues and gathering as much info as she could.

When it finally came time for us to ship out, it was clear in the first hour of the trip that the next two days would be hard. Regardless of the several comfortable places to nap and sit comfortably, the RV rode very roughly in the winds and on the harsh roads. We were buffeted all over the place, making us all miserable and anxious.

Luckily, we made it to Missouri in one piece, just one day before my fiancé’s graduation and our wedding was set to take place. My mother stayed up at least half-way into the night working on my beautiful little two-tier wedding cake, and we along with my Aunt Kim enjoyed a mini bachelorette party eating pints of ice-cream in bed and watching Shark Tank and NCIS re-runs.

The next morning, I woke up quite early with my aunt, so we made a quick run to Wal-Mart for some last minute items: plates, forks, and napkins for serving cake, and glasses for Alex and I’s sparkling cider toast. We then headed to the local Waffle House where she shared stories and nuggets of wisdom with me over huge plates of hash browns.

Alex’s mother and grandparents, who had traveled separately, came by the RV park to pick me up for Alex’s AIT graduation, which was small, short and sweet. We spoke at length with his chaplain, who had actually been in contact with my mother throughout this whole process and had become quite invested in our crazy situation. He offered us some very sage words of advice and wished us the best as we headed off. Thankfully, we were able to take Alex off of base, which had been a concern from the very beginning: you never know with the military.

We headed then to the local courthouse to pick up all the documents that we needed to get married. It was a surprisingly quick and painless process; we were in and out of there in less than 15 minutes. From there, we went back to the RV park, where I ran straight to our motor home to get into my dress. Outside, everything was already set up and ready for our little ceremony; Alex’s family was all seated, along with my dad’s parents who had arrived in the last hour for the wedding. There were picnic tables laden with flowers and painted mason jars, and there was fabric hanging from a lone tree in the field where we were getting married under.

When I was all ready, the owners of the RV park were on standby with a little two-seater recreational vehicle. They drove me up the hill where the ceremony was taking place, quite gloriously if I do say so myself.

My father walked me down the aisle where my fiancé and grandfather, who would be performing the ceremony and marrying us, waited. Alex looked so fancy in his dress blues, and I could hardly believe it: after all the problems we had run into and all the issues we had encountered trying to plan this wedding, I was finally here. I was marrying the man of my dreams, and we were surrounded by family, and the weather was beautiful, and we both looked great, and everything was perfect.

So maybe the way I did it wasn’t the best way possible. Maybe there was a way for me to have my dream wedding in my hometown surrounded by friends and yummy Chick-fil-A. I do know that this wasn’t the first time that the Army had messed up my plans, and it won’t be the last. I know that I will probably always be frustrated by the Army and it’s timing, and I know that I’m just going to have to get over it, because there’s nothing I can do to change it. However, I would say:

Step Two: if you see a chance, take it.

Step Three: make the most out of it.

Step Four: be willing to let go and compromise.

And most importantly,

Step Five: learn to laugh about it later and tell me all about it.

Hawaii Living

Never did I picture myself living in Hawaii. Never in a million years, yet here I am, living in an adorable little house with a loving, handsome husband and a promising future ahead of me.

Something that blows my mind is how much things can change in such a short amount of time. Two years ago I was depressed, aimless and lonely; now I am married and living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Never did I think that I would meet a man when I started going to community college. Never did I imagine that man would become my boyfriend, then fiancé, then husband. Never would I have believed he would join the military, and his first duty station would be Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, but it happened. It all happened, but I’m still not convinced that this isn’t just an elaborate prank or a very long, wonderful dream.

Someone pinch me?

Of course, it’s all come with it’s own hardships that we have overcome slowly but surely. Through the long periods of waiting and the separations and the uncertainty that Army living brings, I’ve managed to [barely] keep it together. However, I’m learning to adapt, and the Army lifestyle is one that I’m excited to adapt to.

So this is a blog following my journey as I maneuver through this crazy new world and explore beautiful Hawaii. I will also post about every step that has led to this moment and reminisce about times waiting to hear word from the Army about duty stations, graduation dates, etc. It’s been a wild ride so far, so I’m guessing it’ll only become more so!