Friday was my last day in base, and I stayed for a little while after collecting my transcripts, It was truly a bittersweet affair, but at the same time, I feel like a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders. No longer am I responsible for something that is so beyond my control. Everyone else seems quite bent on making speeches and proclamations and I suppose it doesn't bother me as much as before as I feel that this journey has truly been a personal one.
Even though everyone goes through pretty much the same training, each one of us has different takeaways from the experience. For me personally, the reason why I detested it so much was because I was thrust into a situation where I have no control of my own fate; where everyone is judged as a collective, and not valued as a thinking individual young adult.
But alas, I'm no longer part of the collective, and I can now heave a sigh of relief. The last few hours in base, I treated my team members to KFC and Sarpino's, because that was quite possibly the last time where I could get everyone together. We shared anecdotes and funny stories and recalled horrible training experiences. I am thankful and thoroughly blessed that I got a bunch of good people on my team. I am glad that I did not have to deal with maniacal egos and horrible personalities.
I have to say, I came into this whole thing expecting the worst, and I'm glad I did. I did not place any expectations, and I took things as they came along. I made sure I did my part, and along the way, there were pockets of moments that are truly worth remembering. Many a times, the best experiences came after dealing with major setbacks. And by setbacks, I mean the usual shit that we have to go through, like activations, and ranges.
I will remember the time when after a massive base activation, and everyone was tired as hell, and it was four in the morning, when our then platoon sergeant got us those lao ban beancurds just to get our spirits up again.
I will remember the time when we had to stay in after our range, and while waiting for the truck to arrive back in base, we went back to the bunk, cranked up the air-conditioning, and had a massive, thumping, techno party where the guys who club showed off their best dance moves in the dark complete with the light sticks. That was cool to watch.
I will remember the time when we had to clean our store items, and we ended up spraying each other with the hoses and dumping buckets full of water onto people who were actually cleaning the tentage canvas.
There were quite a few good memories and these are my takeaways from the experience. I entered expecting the worst, and came out of it with several good memories, and I don't think I can complain about that.