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.

 

And Now I Learn How to Do My Job

I successfully completed Common Core. I score particularly well on one of my final practical tests. I got a sweet 97% which made me super happy! Especially since the final month of Common Core was more so geared toward what my trade entails. This particular test we had to troubleshoot a wiring box (which we had previously assembled). I do believe I had one of the top marks for that test too. The highest was either a 99 or 98 and I think only 3 of use were in that range. It felt good to be on the top.

After I finished my course I was back on PAT, but I had a tasking lined up already so I didn’t really have to do any of the PAT platoon stuff. PAT seems to have shrunk again, which is good. That means more people are getting on courses quicker or are being tasked out. So at least PAT does seem yo be continuously improving.

I’m all moved into my PMQ with my wonderful hubby. It’s so nice to be out of the shacks. I’m fairly confident my shack was making me sick. I thought it was allergies, but within days of moving out I felt so much better! I even checked the local pollen report and it actually was worse days after I moved out.

I just wish I had of moved out sooner because then I think I would have passed my fitness test. I was so run down and medicated the morning of my test. I was light-headed, dizzy and so out of it. I found out afterwards that I could have rescheduled it. Wish I had of known that before hand but I was told I needed to do it before I started my QL3. I passed everything except for the final test, the sandbag drag. I got about 3/4 done and I started to feel like I was about to pass out.

On the brightside, I actually improved in a couple of areas of the test. So that’s something. But now, because I failed I have to do special “reconditioning” PT for 3 months. It’s not too bad. I actually feel like I’m getting a much better workout compared to the group PT they have for us on course. I’ve only been doing the Special PT for almost a few weeks now and I’m made a lot of improvements. But it also helps that I’m feeling 100 times more healthy too. I really wish we had this sort of PT all the time. But I understand it’s not really possible when you have about 100 students all doing PT at once. We had the same issue in Kingston while on POET. There’s simply too many students to actually set up and run a proper workout. So we end up doing a lot of cardio or focus on endurance.

I suppose the big downside to having to do the special PT is that I now miss some class time. I miss about 2 hrs a week in order to go to the appointments. I can’t miss them as it is a direct order from our CoC (chain of command). I can only miss them if I have an exam that takes place at the same time. It is a bit annoying, and especially right now as we’re in a fairly difficult PO (course chapter). But just means I have to study more on my own time. Luckily the guy I sit next to has been really helpful in filling me in on what I’ve missed. So I’m extremely grateful for that.

 

From One Course to the Next

I’ve been back in Borden for the past 2 months now. It was a very quiet drive back. I have a love hate relationship with my new barracks. I hate how far away it is from everything, but I love that I don’t have a roommate and how quiet my building is. So that kinda balances things out a bit?

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I wish I could say the food had gotten better at the new kitchen. But I can’t say that as that would be a lie. It’s not terrible but it could be a lot better. Most of the food is either over cooked or over salted. Occasionally they’ll prove me wrong and make something amazing.

I started my next course just a few days after arriving, which is a good thing. I didn’t have to stay on PAT for too long. The new CO has really made a lot of improvements from what I can tell. They’re pushing through more courses, getting people trained quicker so they can go do OJE (on the job experience) which will be beneficial for when their QL3’s begin.

Once again I am the only girl on my course. 17 guys and myself. I think it’ll be the same for my QL3’s, which also got bumped up! I was supposed to start that in July but now it’s May! Almost exactly 2 weeks after I finish my current course I start my 3’s! I’m very excited about that. I wasn’t looking forward to having to wait 2+ months for my next course.

My new course, Common Core, has been going fairly well. I’ve been generally scoring above average on our tests. This course is designed to train everyone in the core air force trades some core knowledge. We’ve learned about different tools and how to us them, as well as general safety. Other things we have been learning are marshalling air craft, hanger protocols, doing paperwork and basic air craft maintenance.

The course is more relaxed compare to POET. But POET was very condensed. I believe the school’s CO said what we learned in the span of 8 months would have taken almost 2 years if we went to a civilian college. And on top of that the grade standards were higher as well. You go to any normal college and a pass is usually 50-60% but for us if you were under 70% that was a fail.

I’m also not saying that Common Core is easy either. Some things, sure but that’s because I had previously learned it. Other things like how to do lock-wiring were brand new to me, so it was a little bit of a struggle. Not to mention all the different maintenance forms we need to know and how to fill them out properly. I’m more so enjoying the pace of my current course. Not being tested every 2-3 days is kind of refreshing.

I’m in the last leg of Common Core called BEET (basic electrical & electronic training). This is where all the AVS techs on my course should excel. The theory thus far has been essentially a refresher for us, which is not a bad thing whatsoever. It re-instils what we already know.

In other news I got approved for on base housing so my hubby can move up here!

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It’ll certainly take a strain off of things. Commuting home on the weekends is such a hassle. Especially when people no longer become reliable for rides home and I’m stuck taking the bus. It’s a long bus ride and means I don’t get home until almost 11pm on Friday night.

I’m hoping this coming week proves to be better than last week. Wont go into details. Basically it just progressively got worse and worse. One thing would happen, then another and another. Like how I forgot my meal card on my desk back in my room one morning, so I had to go grab hat before lunch then at lunch I knocked over my glass of water turning my lunch into a cold soupy mess.

Certain people didn’t help either with my mood, which progressively got worse too. I just about snapped on a few people. It’s exhausting being tolerant all the time. I let a lot of things slide because I don’t like conflict. But it seemed like everyone was just trying to push my buttons.

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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 #2 & #5

26 Oct 2014

So I survived day #2! It wasn’t so bad. We had a lecture in the morning. Apparently we have a lot of air force recruits in our platoon. I’d say close to 80%, if not more. There’s only a handful of navy and army guys. Our one Sgt looked like he wanted to shit himself. He’s army. He was… disappointed I think. We’re also apparently fucked when we do our field training because we don’t have many army guys.

We also have a lot of young people on our platoon. By young I mean under 22 years old.

Nothing really interesting happened today. It was pretty boring for the most part. We did a group reading of a bunch of policies and stuff. Very dry stuff.

29 Oct 2014

So much for daily entries! We’ve been pretty busy the last few days. a lot of death by powerpoint. Yesterday was our fitness test. I passed! It was freaking hard! My body is so sore! I’m glad the beep test wasn’t necessary to pass. We had to do it, but if you failed it didn’t count.

Our staff watched the whole fitness test. They later gave us shit for being noisy. I thought we were supposed to encourage/cheer each other on. Are we not supposed to work as a team? Whatever.

I’m still bummed that some of my friends back home didn’t even acknowledge my leaving. Do they not realize once I’m done my basic training I wont be in town very often? I’ll be moving away soon. I could be posted anywhere! Oh well, their lose I suppose. We’ll just have to see what happens when I come home for Christmas.

I miss home. I miss my bed. I miss Andrew. And yes, I put my bed before my hubby. This bed suck majorly. It’s hard as a rock!

We had a random check in tonight on our floor with some duty staff. I was on the freaking toilet when I heard everyone call “GROUP!” I didn’t know what to do! Was I supposed to come to attention while sitting on the toilet? I froze and waited until I heard people moving around.

Homestretch

Im on the homestretch. Almost done the first half of BMQ. This week was easy but rough. It was easy in the sense that we were finished classes by 3 or 4 all week. But it’s been a lot of weapons training. Yesterday was our test and I choked. My mind froze and I forgot a step. It was stupid on my end. So stupid. But i was a ball of nerves!

I went to the extra training the night before the test. My rifle sucks and now everyone believes me. I was having issues cocking it. So the MCpl took my rifle and tried to cock it. He sliced his finger open. Yup. That happened. So he talked to one of my Sgts and I can apparently get issued a new rifle. Mine is clearly not safe.

Next week is gonna be busy. I have my weapons retest and the force test (again) on Monday.  Tuesday we have our drill test which will be a walk in the park. My drill is pretty good. Not amazing, but we did a mock test yesterday and I did well.

Our platoon has duty next week. But it’s only for a few days, not a whole week. We really dodged a bullet 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!