I find it difficult to tell people what Turkey was like.
It was incredibly lonely at times. It was a tiny base, and terribly routine. It felt like a safe place with a high threat level. The lockdown made me feel institutionalized, and it was isolating. But I felt like our efforts really mattered. We were part of something important here.
I don’t know what I was expecting before getting here, but it’s not what I thought it would be like. Lots of surprises and growing pains. This is why I wanted to live abroad. This is why I chose a different path.
About one year ago, I made a serious, no kidding, promise to myself to stay single during my time in Colorado Springs to break the dooming cycle of serial monogamy.
I made it exactly 343 days.
“Does anyone here not know how to clear their weapon?”
My hand goes up.
I’m the newbie in a class of 32 for a crash course in weapons training. I’m a Captain in the USAF and I have no idea how to handle an M9 pistol… how to take it apart, inspect it, load it, shoot it, clean it. Honestly, the gun scares the crap out of me.
This was such a painful thing to do on so many levels. I’m so happy that I did it.
Mixed Vegan/Sambazon cleanse: no animal products, nothing artificial, no caffeine, no processed foods for six days.
I learned about discipline and self control, focusing and staying positive through the headaches and feeling unsatisfied even without hunger. I learned that I use food as a crutch, when I’m tired, stressed, or working late. I found new foods that I love. And I experienced the camaraderie with my residency friends who joined me these six days (even if meat or cookie cheats were had).
30 hours into this challenge, I started asking, “WHY VEGANISM!?” There had to be a reasonable explanation that would lead someone to choose to deprive themselves of tasty animal products.
I climbed onto the Paleo bandwagon about four years ago after reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I’d consider myself a loose Paleo eater, 75% clean with the occasional pastry, pizza, biscuit, or burrito. Meat became the centerpiece of most of my meals and I get very, very excited about bacon.
I’ll admit that I joined the USAF for selfish reasons.
NYU College of Dentistry tuition and school expenses run at about $75,000 per year. Living cost around $25,000. 4 years total = $400,000. Paid back over 20 years with interest would mean around 1.2 million dollars to become a dentist.
I didn’t want that financial burden. I didn’t want to be pushed to produce at a dentist mill and finish molar endo in one hour, or harassed by a dental office owner to do unethical procedures to make more money. I was scared of having to turn patients away because they didn’t have the money to pay for necessary treatment.
I wanted to be free from loans. Free to learn. And free to take care of patients.