Today, we're venturing back to May of 2009, when Dan and I had been dating for about three months. He was sent to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX for six weeks of training for his job in the Air Force (that he did at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, MO, ten miles from where we went to school at UCM in Warrensburg, MO). This was our very first test at long distance and being apart. I was a mess, and I will admit now that I am thankful we had to go through that BEFORE he was accepted to the Air Force Academy. I don't know if we would have made it through his Prep School year as a long distance couple if we hadn't gone through a mini version of it already so early in our relationship.
It was an interesting time being away so soon. We sent each other silly cards in the mail, and I got my first package from Dan during that time. He sent me a very funny card, along with a teddy bear from the base and a coffee mug that says, "Air Force Girlfriend... and proud of it!" because I had given up coffee for lent that year, and since Easter happened while he was gone, he said I needed a new mug to drink coffee out of. I still use that mug weekly because it reminds me of the thrill and excitement of receiving my first package from him! :)
When he left, we weren't sure if we'd see each other in the middle of it or not. We had talked about it, but nothing was finalized. When we decided that it had to happen, I was ecstatic, and I made the six hour drive to Oklahoma City, OK, while he drove about four hours. We arrived around 5:00PM on a Friday, and we left around the same time on Sunday, so we only had about 48 hours together. It was definitely worth it, though, and it showed me how exciting it is seeing someone you love after being apart (a vital piece of information for any military significant other).
Unfortunately, it was raining all weekend... but that didn't stop us! We decided to go to a science museum while we were there (nerd, I know), and we LOVED it. Now, we go to all kinds of science museums whenever we can find them when we're out of town. It's not something most couples do, I know, but we both enjoy them, so why not? We spent all day in one, having a great time. We went through a tornado machine and everything! We had dinner at a nice steakhouse, where Dan walked up the stairs behind me, explaining that it was the chivalrous thing to do, as I was wearing a skirt. I think he's full of it, but whatever. It's still cute. :) The next day, we spent the rainy day outside at the zoo, which was also fun. I love going to zoos (as most of you know), so it was right up my alley. Saying goodbye to him was the worst after that wonderful weekend, but I knew he would be home in about two weeks, so everything was okay!
While he was completing his training at Sheppard AFB, he received his appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, CO. He called me excitedly with his "great news". I will admit that I was less than thrilled and spent the day thinking and wondering (and talking to some mutual friends because I was so nervous). I wanted to be supportive, but it was tough. I'm not happy about the way I felt then, but it was CRUSHING. We had only talked about the possibility once, and he told me it was nearly impossible because he wasn't smart enough or strong enough to go there, so it wasn't worth even talking about. Little did he know that he would be doing SO well nearly three years into the five year program! Looking back, being at USAFA has been an amazing thing for Dan AND for our relationship, but that's another post on another day. He returned from Texas to Missouri for a little under two months, in which we spent an insane amount of time together, before he headed to Colorado for the Academy in July.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from that weekend trip to Oklahoma City:
Alright, that's enough for today! I'll try to remember to make another one of these "catch-up" posts soon!