This New Season.

This New Season | The Gallivant

Hello my friends! Thank you so much for checking back in over here. A lot has happened in the past few months, and as often happens…life was full and time was too precious. When things start to take precedence over this little blog, my hope has always been that they are the good and important things: investing in relationships old and new, exploring the world, carving out time to say goodbyes and honor places and people that have become dear to us, focusing on our marriage, trying new things, creating a new home. All those things have been part of the past few months, and I can’t wait to update you about them! I am learning that in order to be the kind of blogger I want to be, and to cultivate the kind of blog I want The Gallivant to be (worth your time in the sense that it is honest and rich and thoughtful) I have to show myself grace in the seasons where I don’t have time to create the kind of content I aspire to. So I am not apologizing for my absence, actually, just sharing my heart with you, and my excitement at being back!

And so, the updates:

John winged!

John got his wings back in late October. The entire winging weekend was such a blast, and we were so blessed to have our families with us to celebrate this amazing milestone in John’s career. I am so incredibly proud of him. The past two years of our life have been marked with much prayer and many different milestones that have led up to this occasion, and I have been honored to be by John’s side while he has worked so hard to become a Navy pilot.  It is a an amazing thing to see your partner achieve their dreams, and we are so excited for this next step in his career.

We moved!

After winging we had a pretty quick turn around (two weeks) before we left Pensacola and moved to Norfolk, VA. We have been feeling a pull to Norfolk for the past year, (a big shift as some of you know,) and we were thrilled to find out that John was selected to fly MH-60 Sierras on the East Coast. I will write more on it later, but our transition has felt relatively easy due to the peace we feel about being in VA. And we LOVE our new neighborhood!

We bought a house!

We did, we did! A 103 year old historic condo actually…crown molding, creaky floors, clawfoot tub, chipped paint and all! We have been slowly working room by room, caulking and painting, and putting our stamp on our new home. I actually wrote an article for Homes.com with some tips on turning your house into a home you love, which you can read here if you’d like. John and I frequently look at each other, usually covered in paint, and say, “Can you believe we own this place?!” Needless to say, we feel very blessed.

Now that the dust has settled, I am so looking forward to writing in this space more. Thanks, as always, for joining me on this adventure! I am preparing posts on aspects of our transition, so feel free to comment below with any specific questions or topics that you would like to hear about. I'm excited for what is to come!

xx,

Emily

P.S.  Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page, or you can follow me on Bloglovin so you never miss a post! Also, follow along with The Gallivant on pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

 

{Pensacola Do} National Naval Aviation Museum

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

One of our best friends, Quentin, came to visit last week and we were so excited to hang out, catch up, and show him around Pensacola. Over the past year we have discovered so many fun things to do around here, but when we have guests we always make it a priority to take them to the National Naval Aviation Museum , because it is such a fun and hands-on  way to learn about Navy aviation, both past and present. 

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

The museum, which is located at NAS Pensacola. has more than 150 aircraft on display, which represent Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation. It also has some neat dioramas, as well as an IMAX theatre where they screen a bunch of different movies, including our fave --The Magic of Flight--which is all about the Blue Angels. 

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

When we first moved to Pensy I was totally overwhelmed by trying to learn all the aviation lingo and different aircraft. Going to the museum for the first time and  seeing all of the different planes and helos in person that were an option for John later in his career was so helpful in the learning process. If anyone reading this is in the same boat I cannot recommend a trip enough. 

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

While I have been to the museum a bunch of times now, I never get sick of hearing John explain all of the different aircraft and aviation history. Not only is it fun to see him get so fired up, but he just knows so much...it totally blows me away. It is also neat for our friends to see his training aircraft, like the T-6, and for us to be able to point out the various different aircraft that our friends fly, instead of just trying to explain it when they come up in conversation

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

(While John briefed Q on some history I kicked back in a  cockpit for a sec and interjected Top Gun jokes whenever possible.  )

Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant
Things to Do in Pensacola // The National Naval Aviation Museum // The Gallivant

Not only is the museum fascinating for us, but it would also be a great place to take kids of all ages! They have a cute little play area, as well as camps during the summer and simulators that older kids would love. Also, there are always tons of sweet older veterans who give great free tours of both hangers. And finally, the best part, admission is free!

Follow @evr_thegallivant on instagram to see an excellent side by side comparison of Q and Tom Cruise in Top Gun...he has waited his whole life to take the shot. You are welcome, Quentin. And then head to the Aviation Museum yourself to take your own! 

National Naval Aviation Museum, 1750 Radford Blvd., Pensacola, FL 32506.

Happy Monday!

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on  pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

Life Of A Navy Wife & A Goal for the New Year

Richey's 2015

Richey's 2015

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had the most wonderful Christmas and New Years. After a little break, it feels so good to be here in this lovely little corner of the web, and I can't wait to share about where we have been and what we have been up to recently in the next few weeks! 

I know I am not the only one who has been thinking a lot in the past few days about some goals for 2015. One of my biggest blogging goals is to share more here on the Gallivant about the Navy aspect of our life and marriage. Part of this is spurred on by the fact that as I have been reflecting back on our first year of marriage (Anniversary post coming soon!) I have been thinking a lot on being a Navy wife. While being a milspouse is a large part of why I started this blog, I don't write about it that often, partially because there are many days where I don't feel like a milspouse. No one in my immediate family was in the military, so John was my first introduction to this lifestyle. Even though we have been together for almost 5 years, I am still learning military lingo, and being a spouse is a whole new learning curve.  I think most of my hesitation in calling myself, confidently, a Navy wife, though, comes from the fact that we have not yet weathered that big looming and impending thing that is deployment. Such is that nature of the Aviation track--Pilots have to go through 2.5 to 3 years of training before they are deployable, as opposed to something like Surface Warfare, who are deployable almost immediately. This has been wonderful for our marriage, because we, unlike some military couples, have been able to spend great quality time together in our first year. That being said, sometimes when I chat with older wives about their experience in the military, I can't help but think about how they have spent long period of their marriage separated from their husbands, they have raised and maybe even delivered children alone--they have earned the title of milspouse, and I am not there yet. 

But then I remember that this is not a badge that I can earn, it is just a fact and part of our life.  And despite the fact that John has not deployed yet, my life and our marriage does look different than our civilian friends and loved ones.  We shop at the commissary, we often can't plan more than a day ahead, our schedules change on a dime, we have no idea where we will be in a year....etc. While our lifestyle comes with some frustrations (whose life/career doesn't?), it also comes with an incredible community, friends, and opportunities.  Over and over again we have seen God work in it in the past year. Someone said to John recently in a grocery store in Massachusetts, "Oh, you are in the Navy? I feel so bad for people in the military." The comment was ignorant, but came from a place of what I believe was simple (and common) misunderstanding. Our life looks a little different from our civilian friends and loved ones, but we wouldn't trade it. John dreamt of serving his country, felt led here, and I along with him.

So, I hope to share more this year about what our life in the military looks like, in small ways and large. I hope this serves two purposes: 1) To help our civilian friends and loved ones (many of whom, like me, have no previous connection to the military) understand military life a bit more, and 2) To connect and relate with readers who are in the military and share encouragement. I have been so blessed and encouraged by more seasoned milspouses who have shared their perspective, (I read one of my favorite blogs, Tulips & Flight Suits, from start to finish when I first moved to Pensacola, and learned so much from Mary in the process) and I hope that this is a place that can in turn encourage others who are learning to navigate this lifestyle. 

With this in mind, I would love to ask you, my lovely readers: Are there any particular questions that you have that you would like to see discussed here on The Gallivant pertaining to flight school or military life? The Gallivant is not turning into a military blog, but it is part of our lifestyle so I would love to talk about it a bit more--maybe around 1 post a month. I would love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have, so feel free to either comment below, contact me through the contact form at the top of the page, or email me directly at gallivantblog@gmail.com. 

As always, thank you so much for reading. Cheers to all that 2015 has in store.

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Here are a few of my Navy related posts from the past year:


A Little Life Update: Patience + Perseverance

Photo: Author

Photo: Author

Just a little life update today.  The past month John and I have both been buckled down and working like busy bees. It has been nice to stay put in Pensy for a while and dig into both our work and friendships here. That being said, I am headed home at the end of the month to Boston, which I cannot wait for. Also, John and I are both so looking forward to heading up to Vermont for Labor Day with his family.

John finally started Primary a few weeks ago, and has been working his butt off in ground school. I can’t even begin to explain how proud I have been of him and how hard he has been working. Needless to say, this has been a very different experience so far than API, for which I think we are both hugely grateful. He has been spending about 75% of his time during the week on base, so I am getting used to him being gone again during the day. While I do miss him, towards the end of his time waiting to start Primary we were both beginning to crave more structure in his schedule. He had his start date pushed three times, which was a bit frustrating, and resulting in four extra weeks of waiting around. That being said, this type of thing is totally standard for flight school so we weren’t completely caught off guard by the wait, just frustrated.

One day in particular I was working from home and John had just found out that his start date had been pushed yet again. He had just gotten back from the gym and lay down on his back on our living room floor to wrestle Flynn. I lay down next to him with my legs up against the wall. We lay like that for a while, discussing various disappointments and frustrations in our current moment, as we both felt at a bit of a standstill—John getting antsy to start his next phase, and me feeling like I was having trouble gaining traction in my writing and editing. Out loud I tried to think of what joys God could have for us in this time of waiting. I came up with this list:

  • John had one more week to study.
  • Because of my somewhat open schedule I had time to spend with him.
  • We could make the most of it and do some fun and spontaneous things (like take a day trip to Destin)
  • Flynn had one more week of undivided attention
  • I had another week home with my husband

We didn’t know what the purpose for that time was, and still haven’t totally figured it out. One thing I have figured out, though, is that we, as young 20-somethings trying to start our careers, are definitely learning and cultivating patience and perseverance. Every once in a while we get caught in moments where it feels as though we are spinning our wheels in pursuit of our dreams. In those moments, though, I am learning that it is so good for us to come together and support and encourage each other, as well as talk realistically about what we can do better or differently right now.  We can’t read God’s mind or foretell the future. All we can do is live in the moment and make the most of it. This is Navy life, and beyond that this is just life. This is the hurry up and wait. But as John reminded us both that day—soon enough there will be days where all we wish for is to be lying together (somewhat pathetically) on our living room floor in the middle of the day, shooting the breeze. And soon after that, there will be days when that is not even an option, when John is away and I am alone on the carpet.

Fast forward three and a half weeks and John has started Primary. I have made some cool and significant strides both career-wise and blog-wise. Now, having transitioned into a busier moment, we are grateful for that time. We must be grateful for this time. Always. It is a discipline this, embracing the present, taking it a day at a time. But I believe this is where God meets us, this is where Jesus is, not in the next big thing, and not in the past.  My heart will learn this over and over again—our peace is in the present.

Thanks for reading today, friends. As always, I am so grateful for you. 

xoxo,

Emily

Navy Flight School Crash Course

Earlier this week after Monday's post (thank you so much to everyone for your kind comments and messages-so encouraging) I promised a "Flight School Crash Course" post so that any of you who are not familiar with the navy aviation lingo could have a reference. I didn't have any military background before I met John but I have slowly been learning the language since we first started dating, and I will always do my best to unpack it here when I write about the Navy. I also thought that a post about flight school would be helpful to our dear friends and family so that they can keep track of John's progress and have an idea of where he is at. So, without further ado: 

The Gallivant's Crash Course to Navy Flight School 

1. IFS

John after his first solo flight.

John after his first solo flight.

Introductory Flight Screening is the first phase of flight school for people who don't have their private pilot's license already. John started IFS in November and finished in the beginning of February. During IFS, students complete 14 hours of flight training, and have to pass an FAA Private Pilot test, as well as complete a solo flight. When aviation students first get to Pensacola they are assigned to a local airport-- John was in Foley, Alabama. The length of IFS varies, because it depends on how backed up the program is and weather. Can't take student pilots up when the weather is dicey! This can be a bit frustrating, but it is something that we have learned to just get used to. It's like having snow days constantly--at first they are fun, but eventually you are just ready to get through whatever you are doing. That being said, after I had just moved to Pensacola we got to go on some fun adventures because of John's IFS schedule, and for that I was so grateful. 

2. API

The Second Phase of Flight School is API, or Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. API lasts for 6 weeks (4 weeks of academics and 2 weeks of survival training) The 4 weeks of academics focus on aerodynamics, aircraft engines and systems, meteorology, air navigation, and flight rules and regulations and there is an exam after each subject. A month may not seem like a long time, but the students have so much information thrown at them and are expected to learn at an incredibly fast pace, with hardly any room for error. This is a point in the flight program that some people do not make it through, as it is essentially a screening process to make sure that these students have what it takes. API requires serious dedication to study, in fact I hardly saw John at all during the academic portion. (I wrote about our API experience in this post.) After Academics are over, API students do two weeks of land and water survival training. If anyone reading this has a spouse or significant other in API or heading into API--don't worry, they will be fine, but do know that it will be a grueling month and you probably won't be able to hang out very much. The nice thing is that a lot of times they may have a few days of lag time between the end of API and the beginning of Primary, and if you are lucky like me than your significant other will be finishing just as the weather is beginning to get nice and you can look forward to a few days of hitting the beach together!

3. Primary

After graduating from API, SNA (Student Naval Aviators) enter Primary Flight Training. There are six different sections of Primary, which lasts roughly 6 months. The sections are: ground school, contact, basic instruments, precision aerobatics, formation, radio instrument navigation, night familiarization, and visual navigation. Students do primary either in Pensacola, at NAS Whiting Field, or NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. John will do primary here in Pensacola, so we won't have to move, which we are pumped about! 

4. Advanced

After Primary SNA's are selected for the type of aircraft that they will fly for, in most cases, the rest of their Navy career. Advanced takes place at NAS Meridian or NAS Kingsville in Mississippi, NAS Corpus Christi inTexas, or NAS Whiting Field. This could be fixed wing aircraft (planes) or rotary aircraft (helicopters). Once SNAs finish Advance they officially gain their wings and then report to their squadrons as Naval Aviators. 

Have any questions or comments? Feel free to comment in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer, or enlist the help of my Navy Pilot. 

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

xoxo

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading and want to keep up with all of our latest gallivants? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the lefthand side of this page or follow me on Bloglovin so that you never miss a post! Also, follow along on Instagram, and Pinterest!