Greg in 2009

Back home

by on under Army

Today is the last day of my full time contract with the army. Tomorrow I’m back to being a jobless bum until June when I start studying again at which time I become a student bum.

The last day in country was an eye opener. On the way to the airport the soldiers were thankful to be leaving the Solomon Islands, one soldier sitting behind me, egged on by others was so thankful that he thought it necessary to flip up some of the locals. I couldn’t fathom their logic, they volunteered for this operation, they got to experience another culture and country. If they thought it was a shit hole why take it out on the locals that aren’t getting on a plane to leave? It wasn’t the only incident of cultural insensitivity I saw in country. It made me sick, why couldn’t these soldiers see the bigger picture. That one little incident could have undone all the work they did and complained about. I thought it was really gutless.

I spent a few days in Adelaide, getting medicals, pills (9 for breakfast on the first day :s ), and sitting through countless lectures. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way home to Sydney. I had told my mum I was getting home in late April or early May in an effort to surprise her. But thanks to good communications on my units part, she double bluffed me and was at the exit gates when I got off the plane. It was a nice surprise. It was weird not being with my Army mates that had surrounded me for 6 months so because it was a Tuesday night I went to based to feel the mateship of green.

After a couple of days rest I was keen to meet my new Z niece and see my Z nephew in Newcastle. I at least got to surprise Sam and Aaron. I had to wait a while to meet Zahli because she was sleeping but in the morning I was introduced to a very beautiful baby. Zander was on two legs and has become a very playful little boy who likes hiding things.

In mid April I had the two day selection centre for the Australian Antarctic Division. It was made up of an interesting technical interview, a mind numbing two hour psych questionnaire, and a 24 hour role playing part. I enjoyed the technical interview with Ian. I had done a lot of study and memorised a lot of figures so when he asked me what a geostationary satellite was I had an awesome answer. I am quite interested in the communications in polar regions anyway so I had lots of questions for him. There weren’t any other comm tech applicants on this selection centre so I tried to get some information on my competition from Ian but I only got a figure of 25 with 8 positions. Next was the psych questionnaire. Two hours of “yes maybe no” answers. My head hurt :s . The role playing was interesting. The scenarios they choose really separated the group on many levels. On the first night they put on an open bar, I think it was to test how people deal with alcohol. I was still on some liver “cleansing” drug to get rid of any malaria so I didn’t think drinking was a good idea but I did anyway. After the selection centre we were told that we would receive a letter if we failed or a phone call if we have progressed onto the next stage. I headed home feeling quite confident that I was in with a chance.

This ANZAC day was my first year wearing medals. My unit dawn serviced at a bowling club. I headed home for a sleep then back into town after sleeping through the march. By now I had finished with all my medication so I was keen for a big one. We headed to the sig hangout, the City Hotel. Stu and Janell joined me and it was the first time Stu had met any of my army mates. We played two up and even with the great odds I managed to lose $30 :) More beer then the pub closed and we crawled the city till we couldn’t get in anywhere on account of drunk Indian friends we’d made.

The next day I carried a hang over to Melbourne to see my nephew in his natural habitat. I had seen him a week earlier in Newcastle when Ninny and Ollie visited but it was nice to have some one on one time with the little feller. I also caught up with Natalie. It was comfortable, I hadn’t seen her since we broke up by distance while I was away. I didn’t feel any anger or resentment between us and I hope it stays that way.

My birthday day poker and beer. I always get depressed on my birthday, like I haven’t done enough in the last year or something. I think I’m 26 and I should have done more :( so I enrolled in some open uni subjects to make me feel like I’m going in the right direction at least. I still hadn’t heard from the Australian Antarctic Division by this stage and I was wondering if my life was stalling.

The next day I got a phone call :) this was great news and I have my medical tomorrow. If I get this job I’ll feel like less of a bum, 12 months in Antarctica would look awesome on a resume :)

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