Experiences from week 9:
Most unique: Attending a court commission session for the 9/11 detainees that are held in GTMO. They aren’t called prisoners, because they haven’t been convicted of their crimes yet. The trial was very interesting. I haven’t really been to a court session before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in general. The detainees were at the session so that was pretty neat to see the people who live in the detention center here on our island. It sounds like a military court is slightly different than regular court, but everyone was called Mr. So-and-so, or by their military title.
They didn’t really even get into evidence for the proving/disproving of the men as involved in 9/11. They did discuss a lot of semantics regarding details of the court session. It made me so glad that I am not a judge, as he has a hard job to carry out the courts. Both sides of lawyers were very good and had valid points to make. I can’t say much about the details in court, but definitely a unique experience to see something like that.
It was sad to me that it has taken so long to get these trials completed. One man had been arrested 15 days from the date of the trial. That’s a long time to be sitting waiting for your trial! The judge was very wise and had very good questions for the lawyers. No pictures/phones/devices in court, but the picture in my collage is just of a googled courtroom, to stand in as a reminder of the experience.
Most impactful: To kick off the first day of Women’s History Month (March), on base they hosted a celebration. Commander Anne Lentos spoke about her journey, encouraging women and those who are minorities to continue to press on to make a difference in the areas in which they work. In the military, it’s about 10-15% women. Wow! It’s like tech (or worse)! I didn’t realize it was so low. Makes sense, as it seems like it’s much harder for mothers to be deployed than for fathers, although I’m sure it’s hard for anyone with family! I have been really inspired by the women military members that I’ve met. They’re encouraging, tough, and push the boundaries of innovation. I found out there is a Women’s mentoring group, and so I’m going to check that out and see if I can help mentor someone (maybe, if they want non-military people mentoring), or maybe someone will mentor me too!
After the Commander’s talk, they played the Hidden Figures movie. SUCH a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, go rent it. I love the humor, the significance, the race relationships, and the tenacity of the women to do their craft well, even when they were discriminated against. And plus, they’re nerds (AND they’re pretty)! Last year, Women @ Apple bought out the theater for a showing of it, and watching it in GTMO reminded me of that special time. In the theater with the Apple women, I don’t know if there was a dry eye, as some of the experiences, we felt like very much matched out lives in Silicon Valley.
Most dressy: Brian and I went to the Seabees military ball! It has been on my life-time bucket list to attend a military ball. It actually wasn’t as stunning as I thought it would be, but this is GTMO, and things are less fancy here. The Seabees are the C.B. or Construction Battalion of the Navy. Many/most of them are civil engineers, and I know most of the Seabees’ wives here on base, because we have a lot in common! Brian also works with many of them, as he’s the contractor working for their projects. We had a really good time at the ball, and despite not getting to sit with our friends (we’re the contractors…we don’t get the top pick of seats!), I was just glad to be able to attend and experience it. The steak that we had was probably the best steak I’ve ever had. Either I haven’t had steak for awhile, or it was just that good! There were quite a few traditions they do, such as singing a song, bringing in the colors (flags) in a march, doing a remembrance for the MIA/POW people who are not able to be with us due to their service, and then a cake cutting with the oldest and youngest Seabees together. I really liked that tradition, as it was fun to see a 65 year old man and a 20 year old man cut the cake together in honor of the Seabees birthday.
Most adventurous: Hmm, a tie for this. We went out on the boat with Jess & Matt to collect our anchors that were lost when Gail and Christie were here. Of course the boat makes weird sounds in the middle of driving, and I’m thinking, “really?! every time we take a boat we have some type of crazy situation happen!” However, the boat made it there and back without any problems besides the strange sounds and slowing down here and there. However, when we got to the area, we drove the boat around a little but didn’t want to get too close to shore like last week, so we anchored properly this time out kind of far and had to swim into shore. There were a lot of jellyfish. Like a TON! And they were huge! I don’t know where they all came from, as I haven’t seen any jellyfish for a few months. I guess, they all hatched, and now that it’s warming up, they’re coming out. But these weren’t the babies, so I don’t know where these guys have been. They were traveling in packs too, so there was like a whole family of them around you. Yuck. So I tried to look for the anchor, but was getting creeped out and didn’t want to get stung accidentally by running into them when my head was down snorkeling for the anchor. Went out to the shore, started walking along the shore to see if I could see better from there as well. Collected some good shells, as the beach there is not as frequently visited since you need a boat to get there. I also dug up some small clams to take for dinner!
The second adventure isn’t actually as adventurous for me, but more for the little C’s! They figured out how to escape! Oh no! They learned how to climb up the tree and jump over the backyard fence and go running around out in the open. Clemmy has done it every day since, and we’ve blocked his spot in the tree with sticks, but he just stands on those. So now we have to be out there to watch them every time they go outside. Bad kitties. They just like to hunt, and so Clemmy found the large area of bushes outside that has a lot of bugs in it and loves to go over and sit there. Generally, Jado chases him up the tree and provokes him to jump out, and then he chooses over the fence instead of inside where Jado can get him again!
More fun things:
Got to lead worship again with our wonderful band. It’s been fun to help Brian pick songs, because I used to lead worship for chapel in college. It’s pretty amazing to be able to sing to God out of the outflow of what you’ve been learning and reading in your own time, and then morph those into the weekly time of praise for everyone. It definitely makes it pretty heartfelt!
Made some wine charms for birthday gifts! We have been collecting special shells here and got them put together this week. They turned out really cool! I wish we hosted more parties where we drank wine so we could have some for ourselves! haha.
Got to a big milestone in my Chinese studying. Completed 50 days of practice on Duolingo! If you haven’t heard of Duolingo, it’s a language learning app (that was started at Carnegie Mellon, woot woot). Just this year they put Chinese on there, so Brian and I have been in a fierce competition to see who can get the most points (and learn the language the best). It’s been a fun challenge, and is starting to get harder now!
Trivia Night: Once a month, the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) group hosts a Trivia Night. Brian is pretty good at Trivia. I don’t really care about random facts (or know who pop culture people are, since I don’t watch TV!), but it’s been fun to go. We’ve gone a few times over the past months that we’ve been here and generally have done pretty well with our teams of 6 (varies who is in it each time, depending on who is available that month). We didn’t do that well this time, but we still had a nice time…besides the bugs coming to bite us! Thankfully not many, but I think any time I am outside, I get at least one bite.
Video of the Little C’s: The high jumpers.