The "worst" parts of ALC

Sunday, April 12, 2015
I got a couple emails this past week asking what the worst part of Justin's ALC experience has been for Ava and I... totally spaced on writing that up, so here it goes. The communication while Justin is at any school is pretty consistent. He went to WLC after he got his last promotion (granted, he still came home every night), but the schedule was really similar. From about 530 a.m. through 6 p.m. every day he was in school. Whenever he wasn't busy studying, doing laundry, or taking some time for himself, he gave us a call. I went over the forms of communication in a blog post just in the last couple weeks. So, that being said, communication has never been a real problem for us. Some of the things that have proven to be a bit more challenging over the last six weeks include:

No privacy. This is definitely on Justin's end. While away at ALC he has a roommate, who is pretty much around him all the time. That's a given, considering they both had to travel to attend this school, and they are both away from their families. It has proven to be a hassle when there are certain things I want to discuss, but can't while he's in the presence of his roommate. There was an incident while face-timing where his roommate walked across the room and had a towel malfunction. Thankfully, Ava and I didn't get moon struck, but it was still pretty close. Also, if Justin's on the phone with us, sometimes his roommate has his music on, or other soldiers over. It hasn't been a major hassle, but it's definitely something we have never been used to.

The actual distance. As I said before, this isn't the first military school Justin has had to attend. We were pretty lucky last time because the installation we are at offers WLC right here. Unfortunately, it wasn't the same deal with ALC. He's over 3,000 miles away from us and this school lasted much longer than the last. Not being able to see him after a school day is done has taken some real adjustments on our part. Just like any given military based event. Deployment, field time, and school. You'd think that this would be one of the aspects of this experience that I am used to.. definitely not. He's not in harms way, which I am grateful for, but not having his presence is by far the worst part of this entire experience.

The time difference. On top of being super far apart, we are also working around a three hour time difference. I can't tell you how frustrating that is for me. The convenient parts of my day ironically happen to be the most inconvenient parts of Justin's day. When I have "real" free time, he's already headed to bed for the day. The time difference only really impacts us on weekdays, but it's still a pain to deal with. Aside from his last deployment to Afghanistan, we haven't really been faced with dealing with one another in a different time zone. It's a little weird for me to think about how different our lives are right now. When he's waking up for the day, I've still got at least five more hours of sleep to get in. Overall, I'm impressed how we have been able to make this work for us.

Passing or failing. This is definitely on Justin's end as well, considering he is the student at ALC. This school was exceptionally harder than WLC, because it is an advanced leader's course. Justin got a promotional status as of the first week of March, and attending this school was mandatory for that. A lot of soldiers in this cycle of students failed out of this course. The consequences for failing are pretty severe. Soldiers that failed at ALC were barred from reenlisting in the Army, they lost their promotional status, and some of them have been faced with losing their current rank. It's pretty intense stuff and adds even more pressure on doing well while at ALC. A lot of the things that students had to study were areas that Justin has never had to cover. He did a lot of group study sessions as well as independent study sessions. He excelled at each test he had (I'm so proud), AND  I am proud to say he is no longer in the pass/fail zone of this school. Everything he has left to do is just evaluation in the field and such. This brings me to my next point.

Field week. Justin has gone to the field about 100 times in our marriage, but never while he's already away, and never after weeks of not seeing his face. I think this is going to be hardest on Ava bug because we won't be talking to daddy for a few days. She's at least used to seeing his face and hearing his voice on a daily basis. Now she won't have that for a little while. I plan on making our week busier than usual just to distract her from that. The silver lining in field week is that daddy will be home shortly after!

So there it is, the five worst parts of this experience for us. I'm really proud of how well we've done with the communication and staying connected overall. Ava misses her daddy SO much, but she gets so excited when we are able to interact with him. I'm so incredibly happy to have this chapter of our life come to a close pretty soon here. Justin gets a few days off once he returns, and I have planned so much family stuff for us to do, it's a little crazy.

Happy Sunday all!

♥- Leilani

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