The Rehders in Cuba

March 2, 2011

I’m going to blame my negligence in updating my blog on the perpetual Ground Hog Day in which I live.  One day runs into the next with the same cloudless blue sky overhead and  passing the same obese iguana on my way to work.  I know I sound like I’m complaining but I’m really not.  If there are days to repeat over and over again, these are definitely some of the ones I would choose.  My point is more to explain away my dereliction in updating you all on my Air Force adventures.  But recently there was an event that warranted note.  My parents made the long trek from cold and, depending on the day, rainy, sleety, or snowy Illinois, all the way down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

The trip was inspired and rationalized by many discussions about what a rare opportunity it would be to visit Cuba, even if it means visiting the portion of Cuba controversially claimed by the United States.  Cuba is Cuba and, dang it, I wanted my parents to see it.  And so they came, beginning with a 2am drive to Chicago and ending with a 3 hour flight on a plane smaller than my mom’s claustrophobia would prefer.  They came and they saw Cuba.  They saw the ocean:


They saw me SCUBA diving which necessitated taking a picture that makes it appear that the level of difficulty of SCUBA diving is on par with that of curing cancer or bringing about world peace:

They got to go on a boat ride around Guantanamo Bay, though we used my mom’s lap as a storage area and my dad rode in the blue bucket:

They got to see my house and spent as much time as possible soaking in the island life on the back patio:

We spent a lot of time looking for sea shells and other such things and as a result, Illinois has a lot more coral in it than can geologically be explained.

And probably the highlight for my dad and me (though not mom, she walked 2 miles around the track) was playing soccer together.  It had been a while and I think we’re both better than ever…probably…okay, maybe we’ve both slowed down a step or two but dang it, we had fun:

So that’s their trip in a nutshell and a few pictures.  I have no doubt that I will be receiving a flood of requests to visit within seconds of posting this but unfortunately, my time at GTMO quickly draws to a close.  Upcoming tour dates include stops in Virginia (see you there E!), Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Carolina and ultimately Texas.  Tickets are going fast so shop early.  Hope to see you all soon!


Since We Last Spoke

November 8, 2010


Honestly, not a whole lot has happened.  The Office of Military Commissions did send someone to jail which was kind of a big deal but that was over a week ago so I’m going to focus on, well…yesterday.  Yesterday was a big day for me because it was the first time since arriving at GTMO, oh, and definitely the first time in my life, that I had an iguana run straight at me.  One of the biggest iguanas I’ve seen so far….

chased two smaller iquanas straight at me.  It was terrifying.  And some of you may be asking the same question my dad did, are they really that fast?  The answer is yes.  Those puppies can move!  Sure it’s an awkward wobbly run but somehow that only makes it more terrifying.  I don’t know what happens when an iguana catches up with you but I’m sure whatever it is, is nightmarish. 

Before the iguana helped me do a startlingly good impression of Road Runner, I did manage to take a few pictures.  There’s a slightly beaten up lighthouse and a kind of boat graveyard on one part of the coast that’s fun to walk through.  I did learn today that you can get a key to the lighthouse and there’s a museum inside.  Yet another thing to do if anyone is brave enough to visit so close to communism.  Here’s a few of the pics:

Here’s a picture of my office and several of the other folks that I work with more indirectly.  It’s a fun group and I’m certain this is one of the few times I’ll have an office picture with the ocean in the background:

This week is the Marine Corps Ball which I’m lucky enough to be attending (I have to say that, I’m on a naval base) and in not too long I’ll be getting off island for a bit.  Can you believe it’s been 6 months since Kurt left?  I feel like I haven’t seen him in years.  So there will be crying and turkey eating and everything else that goes with a Thanksgiving/return from deployment trip.  And I’m excited to come home for even just a few days because so much has happened since I left.  I think nearly everyone in my family has had a life changing event.  I only have two cousins and one got married and one had a baby.  I have two brothers and one got engaged and the other sent his daughter off to college.  I only have one best friend and she bought a house.  I only have one Kia and it’s been to the shop 3 times since I left.  Honestly, I leave for 2 months…

But an old friend posted a very old picture on Facebook that made me laugh outloud which almost compensates for missing all those life changing events.  I’m just going to sit back and let you guys soak this one up.  Oh, and I’m not the only one in this picture that is now an Air Force JAG.  Seriously, who would have thought?

That leaves you with enough to think about for today.  I know it blows my mind.

The Social Network

October 9, 2010

I have always dreaded going to a movie alone.  It’s unbecoming.  Sure, people do it all the time but even those brave souls would probably admit that there’s a stigma attached to going to a movie alone.  It’s perfectly fine to watch a movie alone in your home but to do it surrounded by people who are not alone, well that’s just socially unacceptable.  With all that being said, tonight I went to a movie alone.  Not only did I go to a movie alone, I went to a movie that spends a great deal of time discussing coolness.  I won’t go as far as to call it irony but I will say it was an interesting coincidence.  But wait, it got more interesting. 

As I was driving to the theater, a giant herd of teenagers crossed in front of me.  This has nothing to do with the rest of the story but I knew it was a bad omen.  Teenagers and black cats are equally powerful distributors of bad luck.  Anyway, also as I was driving to the theater I noticed it was lightning.  Since I’ve been at Guantanamo Bay (did I mention I’m in Cuba now?  I am.), it has pretty consistently either thundered, lightninged or rained every evening.  So a little lightning was nothing to get upset about.  But about half way through the movie it started to pour.  I mean buckets of rain.  This isn’t making sense is it?  That’s because I haven’t yet told you that the theater is outdoors.  Completely open air.  There was nothing between me and the torrents of Cuban rain beating down on the island. 

So now I’m faced with a choice.  The movie was free so by leaving I’m not throwing away money.  However, movies come and only stay for a week or two down here.  If I leave now, I’ll have to come back at some other point, probably alone, and restart the movie and that’s only if I can make it before the movie stops showing.  I’ve made a lot of decisions in my life but this one was a toughy.  But as with so many of those previously made decisions, I took the path of least resistance…I just kept sitting.  I pulled my coat over my head and got soaked.  But I watched the last hour of the movie, I enjoyed the movie and I survived my first movie alone.  And by survived I mean, I left looking like something worse than a drowned rat.  

I’ve been at GTMO for less than a week and I have done a few things besides go to movies alone.  I’ve been the third wheel for at least 2 dates, which is pretty much every girl’s dream, and I’ve left my GOV in reverse on a hill (don’t worry, my sponsor caught it).  In all seriousness, I’m extremely lucky to be here.  I mean, it looks like this for Pete’s sake!

And the beaches are a little rocky but I’ve already been snorkeling a couple of times and these beaches are truly made for snorkeling.  Plus, even with a few rocks, they’re still gorgeous.

And I have gotten a mosquito bite here and there but I’m comforted knowing these guys are eating as many as they can.

The iguanas are everywhere.  There’s one that comes in and out of a drain pipe just below my billeting room.  He’s highly suspicious of me which he indicates with vigorous head bobbing.  If he wasn’t such a good mosquito eater, we’d have words.

Also, really quickly, I’m happy to report that Kurt and I were able to spend some quality time together in D.C.  We even got pictures of us hanging out.  If you don’t get it then good for you because it means you’ve never survived solely on Skype.

For now, that’s all from Cuba.  It’s surreal being here and I fully intend to make the most of this gift of a deployment.  I’ve updated my address on the contacts page but my email address is still the same.  Now I’m off to bed…as soon as I post my blog to Facebook and finish looking at pictures of the Holzhauer children on Facebook and I should probably update my Facebook status before I go to bed too…  See you all on Facebook!