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We Can’t Escape Crimson Tide

May 19, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006 — Day 15 in Japan

We’re watching Little Bill on TV right now and a Japanese woman is teaching the kids about origami! How funny!

Well, it’s been two weeks now since we arrived in Japan. I’ve had every emotion one could have since getting here. It’s been an up and down roller coaster every day. So many strange new experiences, both wonderful and frightening.

Most annoying is the red tape and paperwork we are still having to go through as Army Civilians. We’re supposed to be issued new ID cards because our cards from Ft. Rucker don’t work here. In the states we don’t have shopping privileges, but here we do, so Husband’s card has to be reissued to notate this.

My card is a whole other matter. It’s like nothing anyone here is familiar with so every time I leave the Post and want to come back on, the Japanese Nationals who guard the gates get thrown off. I have to show them a paper copy of our orders that say we are supposed to be here, and then they call several other Japanese over to try to decipher the writing. That’s actually the easy part of not having proper ID cards. In order for us to take the Japanese Headstart class, a free week-long culture class they offer to newcomers, I have to find child care. Because Ches isn’t in school, our options are limited. They do have a family home care provider who can keep the kids for us, but in order to use her services, the kids have to have a medical checkup at the clinic. In order to use the clinic, we have to have ID cards. It’s this terrible circular trap that we can’t move out of until our ID cards can be processed. So, I asked the logical question, “When can we get our cards?” The answer is, “Your previous job has to release you from duty and submit that release to the Army. Then the release is processed in Hawaii, and over the computer, Zama can pick you up as active here.” “So, you’re telling me that Ft. Rucker has to be involved in this process and RELEASE my husband? So they have to be involved in this?” Oh great! I know exactly what that means. The slowpokes at Ft. Rucker are going to take a month to get this simple computer request processed. If it goes anything like how they handled getting our passports, we’re in for another hellish experience. Meanwhile, I’m 7-plus months pregnant and can’t see a doctor until my blessed ID card can be processed. I just want to scream. Aaaaa! Alabama!

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