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. 



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!



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