It’s been awhile

*blows off a thick layer of dust*

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Well, it’s certainly been awhile since I’ve posted anything on here. It’s not that I forgot about my blog, but my training is fairly intense. Lots of studying. Oh boy, studying up the wazoo! But AVS training is very theory heavy. The practicals certainly help.

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I’m officially done my training! I’m a QL3 qualified Technician! So now I’m off to my next unit and begin my apprenticeship!

So I’ll now try and fill in the blanks from my last entry. I’ll be brief, I promise! Or I’ll try to…lol

Not much too exciting occurred, other than our postings. Back in the fall we put in our posting preferences. Those of us who wanted specific bases put in memos to help sway the CoC (chain of command) in helping us get our preferences. For those of you unfamiliar with this and why one would need a memo, I’ll try to explain.

Bases only have so many openings for certain positions. Now those number change throughout the year. One base could be closed and not accepting anyone new, but then a few months later some people get posted to other bases and then viola! There are openings! So they’re constantly in flux. There is no set number of positions available per year at any given base.

Some people want to be a certain geographic area, and the reasons could vary. For example, if they have a spouse of child who requires special medical care that’s only available in let’s say Toronto. So their obvious posting choices would include Borden and Trenton, as they are only about an hour commute away. So that individual would write a memo, give their reasons and as well submit any supporting documents to further strengthen their memo.

Of course, not everyone will get their first choice. We are allowed to submit our top 3 choices. Most got their first or second choice and some got their 4th choice. I got my second choice. I was shocked, because I was so sure I’d get my first. But there’s nothing they can do if that base has no openings. But as the days passed I began to accept my new fate. I honestly think it will be the best for hubby and I. It will give us the opportunity to start an adventure on our own. Make a new life for ourselves. It will be hard, I know. Being so far away from our immediate families and friends will be tough, but we’ll survive. There is always holidays and opportunities for us to go back and visit family.

Oh, where am I going? We’re moving to Winnipeg! Or Winterpeg, as some like to refer to it… lol… A lot of people like to tease me about it because Winnipeg get’s a “lot” of snow. It’s actually a myth to be honest. I did my research! Out of all the major cities in Canada, Winnipeg comes in 9th for annual snowfall. Toronto, believe it or not, actually get’s more snow! The big difference is that Winnipeg doesn’t get random thaws throughout the winter months. So the snow comes and it stays. Whereas with places like Toronto, it snows, then melts a little, then snows and melts etc… etc…

Well, so much for being brief! I didn’t mean to get so sidetracked, but it’s been so long and so much has happened!

I can’t go into details about my training for obvious reasons. It’s been challenging at times, I’ll leave it at that. Some areas I struggled with, but when you’re having other problems going on in your personal life, it’s difficult to focus. But in the end I graduated!

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Graduation was bitter sweet really. There are some people who I am going to genuinely miss. Then there are other individuals I’ll be happy not to see. When you’ve been stuck with the same group of people for nearly two years (or longer), you either learn to tolerate or despise each other. You can’t get along with everyone. I try to tolerate everyone. but some people just have a lot of growing up to do.

 

I’m Learning!

Sorry for the lack of updates. There were a number of factors leading to that. The main one was lack of internet access. So I’m going to try and condense and summerize everything since my last entry! Wish me luck!

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After completing BMQ, I was sent to Borden to await my training. Borden is very pretty, especially if you love nature. There are a lot of trails to walk/run in you’re spare time. But in the dead of winter, Borden is not fun and is even less fun if you can’t drive or own a vehicle. It’s very isolated and the nearest town is a bit of a hike; the nearest city is about a 30 min drive. Like I said, you’re isolated. It can drive you mad!

Being on PAT platoon was not the most enjoyable thing. I actually wished I was back at St Jean from time to time. MY best advice is to volunteer for tasks. It at least gets you out and doing things other than working out twice a day.

Just 2 weeks after I arrived I received my course dates and they were beginning much sooner than I had anticipated. I was looking to see if I could get a detached posting to a base in my hometown so I could live at home with my husband. But my first course, POET (Performance Oriented Electronics Trainning) was set to begin in only 7 weeks (April 24th), so there was no way they would send me home. So I stayed and huffed it out, only to discover 2.5 weeks before my course was to start, it had been cancelled. Everyone on my course got shifted around. Some were lucky and were only pushed back to April 30th, the rest of use were pushed back to either June 8th or June 29th.

Wanna guess what date I got? Give up? June 29th. I was furious. I could have been at home, tasked to the base in my hometown, and not paying rations. Of course there was still no way they’d send me home because by the time my posting would have been approved it would have been declined. There\s this thing with long-term posting for tasks that they don’t like to post you unless its for a minimum of 2 months.

So I was stuck in Borden for another 2 months. I at least got on a nice long term tasking on base working with the 3 Canadian Rangers Patrol Group. I worked with a lot of amazing people there. And even though I’m not going to be a Supply tech, I learned a lot from them.

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Finally The end of June rolled around and I was packing my bags and heading off to Kingston for 7 months. POET is not easy. Especially if you have no background in electronics. Even thought they teach you everything, it’s fairly condensed and hard. To pass a class you need a minimum of 70% on the final test. You could get 69% and that would be considered a fail. And people do fail out. There is one course that has lost about half it’s students since it began and they’re only about halfway through POET at this point. We’ve only lost 1, which now makes me the only girl on my course. Lucky me, I now have to babysit 13 boys. Well not all of them are bad, just some.

Kingston is much nicer than Borden, mainly because you actually in a city, so when you’re not busy studying there are lots of fun things to do. For anyone who will be taking POET, study study study! I can’t emphasize that enough! If you don’t understand something in class, ask. If you don’t understand what you’re supposed to be doing in a lab, ASK! Don’t be afraid. Suck up your ego and pride and ask for help. Otherwise you’re just going to screw yourself over. The instructors are there to help. They want to help you because they want to see you succeed!

Some other bits of general advice: Don’t leave your lockers in your room unlocked or leave the combinations on the back. The staff will periodically go in your room to make sure your stuff is secured and your room is clean. Also, hang your DEUs up in your closet and not shoved in the bottom of your kit bag. Your staff will not like that and will punish your entire course with an open locker inspection, which is not fun in the least. Also make sure your parade boots are super shiny. They do inspect them once a week and if they’re shit you will be on boot parade until they are vastly improved.

BMQ Day #13

7 Nov 2014

I’ve lost count of the days. This week has been insanely busy. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true! Our instructors are really trying to amp up the stress on us. Some guys are beginning to crack under the pressure.

We had our first three inspections this week. They weren’t too bad. I accidentally my section command (who’s a Sgt) Master Sgt…Yea, fuck me. He didn’t seem too amused, but he rarely does. He asked if I was making up new ranks or something. I had to bite my tongue. To be fair, there was a MCpl with him so I got a little flustered.

We did our swim test today in our combats. The was fun. We had to tread water for 2 mins, then swim half the length of the pool without letting our heads go underwater or touching the wall. Sounds easy right? Well you don’t have a life jacket and combats are pretty flipping heavy when wet.

The second part pf the test you had to jump from a 3 meter high diving board, land a certain way then swim half the length of the pool. For the second test you had to wear a life jacket. I passed both. Slow and steady wins the race. Some people I noticed were overexerting themselves during the treading water part. I just leaned back and took it easy. Out of the 50+ people on our platoon, 18 failed. However, it’s not a mandatory test to pass while on BMQ. So some people really lucked out there.

Update!

This isn’t going to be a lengthy update. Not enough time and  typing on a tablet  is a bit annoying.

We got our first weekend off this week. It felt so great to sleep on a proper bed. Not some 6in matress. Also, it felt amazing to actually sleep under the covers! Because of inspections, and the specific way we have to make our beds, most of us just sleep ontop of our sheets.

My experience here has had its ups and downs. We’ve loxt our cellphones twice already. We’ve  had to swtich cubicles twice, which is super annoying when you have an inspection the next morning.

I’m surviving though. I’ve been taking it day by day. It’s easier not to think long term here. It only gets  you depressed.  That and you tend to lose track of the days. You just look forward to Friday, bcause that’s when you get your new week number. We just got our 6’s on Friday.

We have a very busy week ahead of us. Lots of weapons training and drill. Friday is our big practical test for weapons. Then next Monday is our drill test. I’m nervous about both.

Sorry that I can’t go into too much details. We’re not allowed to. So everything will just have to be vague and brief from now on.

Well I seem to be running out of time. Need to pack up my stuff and check out of our hotel soon! I’ll try to write something more interesting when I get home in a couple weeks!

Whirlwind!

These last few days have been such a whirlwind of emotions. I’m so happy I got my job offer. I’m over the moon happy! But I’m also sad at the same time. I’m going to be leaving my hubby, my family, my friends…it’s tough, it really is.

I told one of my managers on Thursday. That was so hard! I love my job. I love the people I work with. They’re all amazing! Me and the manager had a little cry together. They were happy tears and sad tears. I’ve only been there for 5 months, but I feel like I was part of one big family. I’m going to miss them. This morning one of my supervisors pretty much let everyone know by accident, I think. Well he was just loud with saying congratulations and when he jokingly said I’ve screwed them. The last part may have been a joke, but it is a sad truth. I don’t want to sound conceited or full of myself, but I rocked at my job. And everyone knows that. I am leaving a big void and some seriously big shoes to fill.

I told my trainer yesterday. So we did a lot of low incline push ups. We did more weighted lunges. And longer planks. Oh my body is hurting! I’m so glad that they don’t do the EXPRESS test anymore at BMQ. It’s the FORCE test, which is slightly easier. If it was still the EXPRESS test I’d be screwed. I still can’t do push ups well and with the old test I would have been required to do a minimum of 9. But that’s no longer necessary. But course staff like to hand out push ups as both punishment and as rewards. Yea…I’m screwed there…lol

This afternoon I went to CHAA for their volunteer appreciation BBQ. It ended up being sort of a going away party for me. Everyone wishing me well and wishing me success. At times I did feel a bit emotional. I don’t know when I’ll see any of these people again.

Hopefully this summer I can spare some time to hit up an airshow or two. But that will all depend on where I am, what phase of my training I’m at, etc….

I think I’ve decided on using my backpacking backpack for my travels next week. I bought this backpack years ago! I’m talking when I still worked at my first job! So close to 8-10 years ago? Any ways, I bought it when I had these grandeur ideas of backpacking through Japan. This store in the mall was having an amazing sale and I got this pack for dirt cheap. It’s pretty big and has a padded back and shoulder straps. If I end up on the 13th floor at BMQ, at least this will be easier to lug up the stairs.

Basic Up

To really help get me excited about possibly getting into the Canadian Forces, I’ve begun to rewatch the documentary Basic Up. It was filmed back in 2006 I believe and follows a group of new recruits going through BMQ (Basic Military Qualification).  They did 2 seasons only, which is unfortunate, but it at least gives you an idea of what BMQ is like during the summer and winter.

There are some things I know I wont particularly enjoy, like the second week spent at Farnham. The whole “role playing” real world scenarios just isn’t my cup of tea. But I understand why it’s important we have to do it. I just don’t like it because I hate acting and I hate role playing; except when it comes to videos games. But that’s a whole different story!

I still need to rewatch season 1 of Basic Up. I only watched season 2 because that’s the winter BMQ. There’s a good chance that if I get selected and sent to BMQ it’ll be for the winter. There are some good things about a winter BMQ. First, there’s no bugs that you need to worry about while at Farnham. Second, you don’t get muddy while dong the obstacle course and also while doing field training at Farnham. You just get cold and wet, which I’d prefer to being muddy. Snow is easier to clean up than mud.

If you are interested in watching the series, the CF has the episodes posted on Youtube. I’ll provide links to the playlists.