Sunday, November 13, 2011

How did we get here?

Many of you have heard bits and pieces of this story, but, for the sake of clarity, Yoni and I thought it would be best to begin our blog with a brief summary of our experience to date. But where to start?

All rabbinical students are required to do a chaplaincy rotation, in the name of training. Most choose to do theirs in a hospital. Yoni, having grown up in a military family, decided to serve as a chaplain candidate in the Navy Reserves. The training program came with no strings attached, no commitment after school, no requirements really except a summer spent in Officer Development School and Chaplain School. But even so, Yoni always planned to remain in the Reserves even after taking a pulpit.

By the time the 5th and last year of rab school rolled around, two things had changed. First, Yoni had become more excited about the idea of doing a stint of full time Navy chaplaincy; and second, the job market for newly-graduated rabbis had taken a turn for the worse. Now, to know me is to know that moving around constantly is not my idea of a good time. (Actually, in high school, I used to tell my parents that, if they moved, I would not be going with them.) That being said, Yoni and I were relatively easily sold on the idea and the adventure of spending 3 years in locations unknown, and Yoni put the necessary wheels in motion on the Navy side. Our only caveat was that we were not interested in going to Japan. We were assured that would not be an issue.

Of course, the night before Yoni was scheduled to sign the papers committing him to three years of service, we found out that we would, in fact, be going to Okinawa. We also found out that we’d be leaving in October, not August, as we had previously believed and prepared for. Having quit my job in June to prep for our August move, I was more than a little flummoxed but this turn of events. But, as I quickly realized, there was absolutely nothing I could do. So I tried (and continue to try) to adopt a go-with-the-flow attitude, and to be as good a sport as I could about everything. It's a good thing I learned that lesson early on!

The rest of our summer was spent endlessly pursuing my “area clearance”, military ID, medical clearance, and all sorts of other bureaucratic stuff. By October, it finally seemed like all of the pieces were finally going to fall into place. My clearance was in process (despite a snafu involving decades-old encryptions), the first shipment of our belongings had already arrived in Okinawa, and the day we assumed we were leaving was approaching. However, we then found out that the application for my diplomatic passport had been misfiled by the post office, and had to be re-submitted. And, although I am in possession of a brand new (regular) passport, I apparently would absolutely not be allowed to leave without the other one. And so we were delayed again.

This past week (it’s November, mind you), things finally started falling into place. We received word from Okinawa that I had FINALLY been cleared, and we heard from the people Yoni works with in CT that my passport exists and is on its way to Forest Hills. So it really seems like we might be leaving within the next week or so.

So where does that leave Yoni and me? We are, of course, excited and scared. We’ve also been preparing for this moment for such a long time that we’re both pretty reluctant to believe it might actually be happening. I know I won’t believe it until we actually get on the plane. Whenever it happens, though, I am pretty sure that eventually we WILL get on a plane and end up in the sub-tropical Okinawan climate, where I’m sure more adventures (bureaucratic and otherwise) await. Thank you all for your support and encouragement so far. We’ll try to post here once a week or so to keep you all up-to-date. Stay tuned…

1 comment:

  1. First comment! We'll miss you here in NYC but the world is smaller than ever and I'm looking forward to keeping tabs on you guys here. Safe travels!