Monday, 20 March 2017

"If you don't support our forces you don't belong inside our borders"

The famous quote of "If you don't support our forces, you don't belong inside our borders" has been circling more frequently as society develops and the acceptance of asylum seekers, refugees and a international individuals becomes more common. Whether they are thankful for our great land and its establishment, some people will argue yes and others no.

Australia... 'The lucky country' I read online. I agree, and I am thankful every single day of my life that I did not live through any wars - From World War I to the Vietnam War and everything in between. However, what I find difficult is the recognition of the people that serve and continue to serve our Country. Some people may say 'Well, we have Anzac day and Remembrance Day. That should be enough.' I, personally do not agree. I understand people may think I am biased due to having a boyfriend in the army. I disagree. I am not biased, I have been exposed to the hardships individuals face doing their job to protect you and I. The hardships of accepting it is acceptable to take another's life if in danger or threatened by another, the hardship of saying goodbye to their loved ones... whether that may be a young family, their parents, partner, family and friends, or even their dog. As a second hand woman to it all, I have come to realise there has been a decrease in the support or better yet appreciation of our serving members.

'Well, it is now their choice to join the army... Unlike back in the war days when men and boys were forced to fight for their country.' Yes, that is very true and with that there are heartbreaking stories of young boys lying about their age to be able to serve their country. However, the current men and women serving their country, although they may not be fighting for it, they have chosen this career. The career as labelled in a 2017 research, as the most stressful job in Australia. These individuals have chosen to serve their country openly and willingly, often giving up everything which they know and love. I do not expect people to provide sympathy, instead respect and appreciation. For a moment on the days we recognise the fallen, also take a moment to recognise the individuals still serving or to whom has served. 

When reading the online comments relating to this quote, I often read comments insulting, discriminating and belittling international individuals that have come to call Australia home. I understand where these people are coming from and once felt this way. However, in considering this quote it is more than international people 'belonging inside our borders' it is the matter of all people... Australian or not. I've read and seen disgusting comments and posts by Australians that have little to no respect for the people who have given up everything, like I said before... From World War I to 2017 and the future. 

So, there is an importance of this quote is a matter of who we are as a country. Although this is only my opinion, the recognition in Australia must remain throughout time from the past, present and the future. Be thankful where you live, who you are and the rights you have today as this 'lucky country' did not happen over night. 

And for people who do not support our forces, arguing that you do belong inside our borders yet refugees that support our forces more than you, or are joining our forces to protect their new country and home, I hope that you rethink about this. I am an Australian, and although I have a partner in the forces, I am not biased. Instead his career has assisted me to open my eyes, heart and arms to appreciate these individuals, each and every day. At the end of the day, I agree with this quote - whether Australian or not, supporting our forces assists our country to be the best that it can be. Support the people who have lost their lives serving for our country, support the men and women who are currently deployed or are being trained overseas and in Australia and finally, support the days where we recognise these individuals and thank them.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The final care package!

Title - You are so hot like a sunrise!
Themed colour - Red

Date of posting - 20/10/2016
Date of arrival - To be announced! 

The day has finally arrived where I send my final care package to my man... Well at least for his first deployment because there is always that possibility of him being deployed again. When I sent this off I had mixed feelings. From joy knowing that it will hopefully be the last one (or at least the last one for a few years) and not having to nearly pull my hair out trying to make each and every little detail perfect to pure happiness knowing although it's the last one in the next few months he will be home again! Due to the unknown of when he will be returning home, there was a cut off period of guarantee that the care packages would arrive to them being the 5th of October, 2016. I'm aware that I've sent this off later than that date but due to work and study (including assessments being due) I've done my best to send this as quickly as possible relying on it arriving within two weeks like my other care packages have! While there is a possibility of it never arriving for him I accepted that risk when I sent it and just hoped for the best.

Another 'reason' I will use for sending this off later than the date I read was the due date for guarantee of arrival was because I struggled with the theme for this one. Although I tried to be creative like always most of the websites I used for ideas used the red care package for valentines day or Christmas which I couldn't use. For people who are not Australians, you may not understand that there is more to this than just giving a compliment to my loved one. So, if you are to watch that you'll discover the joke to this idea.

Image (above) - Design of care package.

Image (above) - The Red Care Package!

Images (above) - The packed care package. Although I had managed to fit every item into one box when I went to the post office the care package weighed in at 2.6kgs which I was surprised about. Since there were lots of little items I got another small box (only cost $1.75) which I was able to pack with items to make the weight under the 2kg! 

Items in this care package included:

  • Stress Ball 2 pack
  • Red letter
  • Packet of Jelly beans
  • Optical Illusion book
  • Snickers bar
  • Can of Pringles
  • Doritos - Cheese Supreme
  • Bhuja snacks - Beer mix
  • Sesame bar x2
  • Deck of cards
  • Sour Straws
  • Box of band-aids
  • Vegemite cheesybites
  • Maltesers box
  • Killey Python packet
  • KitKat Bar
  • Tube of toothpaste
  • Skittle boxes x2
  • Box of Tic Tacs
  • Cadbury crunchy bar
  • Picnic bar x2
(I also included a KFC packet which has a little wet wipe, napkin and spoon which I sent just to tease my loved one as he is craving it and is hoping to have it as his first meal when he gets back home. Just forgot to put it in the picture below.)

Image (above) - Items in care package.

Review on purple care package -
Due to sending the red care package sooner than I had imaged, the purple care package has only arrived yesterday so I'm not able write my review as we haven't opened it 'together' over video call yet. I'll be sure to do another post soon about both the purple and red care package (hopeful) success. Until he receives both of them and opens them, thank you for reading!

Madeline - 23/10/2016

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The fifth care package!

Title - Roses are red, violets are blue, through the distance... I still love you!
Themed colour - Purple.

Date of posting - Wednesday, 5th of October, 2016.
Date of arrival - To be announced!

So, with this being the second to last care package I am sending I have started to run out of ideas on items to send besides food, also the colour of this care package did not help with items to send! Due to all the food items on the care package, I did end up writing sticky notes on a few items telling him to share them since I know he is working on his body before coming home. As I couldn't find many good ideas online to do with purple care package I started brain storming ideas and this was the result of the hard work that I had been thinking about for awhile. 

This care package was surprisingly on schedule for me and when I had aimed to send it, but this was only because I had finished the care package three weeks ago. The effort of these care packages often takes me a few days or weeks, so with all the letters in this care package I did it earlier to avoid the stress of making this as well as going back to uni. So, fingers crossed he enjoys this cheesy care package, and also the second to last one... which is slightly exciting but at the same time makes me feel a little sad. Strange because no more care packages means that he is home, so I shouldn't feel sad at all, right?

Image (above) - Design of care package. It wasn't until I took the photos of the care package had I realized that this care package looks a little girly due to the pretty colours and love hearts but I know my loved one won't mind. Also, surprisingly the whole design of this care package was done with my own brain unlike the other care packages.

Image (above) - The Purple Care Package!

Image (above) - The packed care package. This time I was lucky enough to have all the items fit in the care package with a few items bubble wrapped so they didn't break or melt on everything. Thankful it weighed in at 1.94kgs!

Items in this care package included:
  • Hand written letter (as usual, like in every care package I've sent so far)
  • Packet of Freddo Frogs
  • Shapes - Pizza flavour
  • Cadbury chocolate block - Turkish Delight flavour
  • Grape mentos 
  • Violet Crumble
  • Cadbury Chocolate bar
  • Box of nerds
  • Classic Logic Puzzle book
  • Lo-Carb Rocky Road bars x4
  • Choc Jewels (better known as freckles, lol)
  • LCM bars
  • Mini m&m's tube x2
  • Mario Party DS Game

Image (above) - Items in care package.

Review on green care package -

If you saw my last care package post, you would have known that my loved one opened it without telling me because he was so excited. So then he had to pretend to open it a few days later during a video call and act surprised. This time he was an absolute gem and waited a few days until we were both free to video call so I could watch him open it. As I've gone back to uni and he is working 12-18 hour days he woke up at 5.30am to call me. Now, in my opinion if that doesn't make him the best boyfriend in the world... than I don't know what is. In my eyes he is a gem! Anyway, that is enough of my babble that isn't about my care package. The green care package thankfully was a success and I was over the moon with his reaction, especially watching his face glow when reading the letter which is incredibly sloppy! He laughed at the mint leaf too as he started eating the lollies which came as no surprise to me considering how much he ate from the yellow care package!

Madeline - 05/10/2016

Monday, 26 September 2016

The truth of deployment, in my eyes

As someone who has said goodbye to their loved one, I feel as I can relate to how many people that have also experienced the deployment journey. Whether it has been your loved one, a close mate, brother/sister, mother or father, just anyone in your life that you’ve had to say ‘see you later’ to as they embark on a temporary journey of a life time, to server their country for the better good of people living in war-torn countries, poverty or even to be posted to a training base. I’ve come to realise, there is little appreciation for everything that they do on deployment.  
The reality is that, yes, they may be killed on deployment but they may also be killed back home when driving to your house, walking the dog or even shopping at the mall. The truth is, nobody knows when you’ll die. While the feeling of the unknown for you back home may be daunting upon you when you watch the news and see something has happened near their deployment location, you cannot live by assuming the worst. Before his deployment, I would constantly live in fear questioning what would happen if he was killed while away. Trying to understand how I would cope with knowing our last kiss, our last hug and holding of hands was a rushed goodbye in the airport on the night he left. I realised that these thoughts got me nowhere. The overthinking will eventually eat your insides to the point where you can no longer sleep, eat or even concentrate on living your life while they live their own, miles away from you and in my case, on the other side of the world. In the first few months of deployment, every single news article that I read in newspapers or online and watched on television instantly filled my body with fear and panic that my loved one was in danger. It is ridiculous, I know that now, but at the time I didn’t know any better than to have these feelings stirring inside of me. I knew that he was fine, he would tell me not to worry every time I had the chance to explain what I had seen, thinking it would be related to him. Like he once told me ‘You can’t believe everything you see’ and ‘You can’t assume the worst of everything relating to me, because if it happens, it happens. You live by everything happens for a reason, so use that motto for me.’ The truth of this was scary, we are both young and I wasn't sure if he would be safe. Knowingly trusting his words of 'You could be killed when taking the bins out' I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, but accepted yet another challenge to our relationship. As I am writing this four months, which is 126 days later, I'm confident when saying that the deployment journey, as challenging as it is, is possible for anyone. Nobody told me it was going to be easy, nor did anyone tell my man what to expect on the deployment. Eventually you learn to live with whatever may occur, but to only live for the day.

I believe there are good and bad in this world, whether their actions are intentional or not. There will be a point in your life where you may face a near death experience or know of someone dying and understand it’s a matter of appreciating the life they have lived or the life you have instead of expressing negativity. I am only young, nineteen years old and counting. I can write that I have experienced life for all that it is worth and enjoyed every moment I have lived as a young person. However, I cannot say that I know everything of it’s true value in life. There are times for everyone when it will all feel like too much, it’s not a ‘I want out of this life’ but more of a, ‘how am I living this life’ which I guess can be a difficult thought for ourselves and also our deployed loved ones. When I am writing this, I think it would be fair to say that the deployment journey effects everyone associated with the person who has been deployed. From this, I want to make it clear that nobody has more of a challenge than them because the reality is that they have been sent overseas, often with a large time difference to back home making contact difficult, they are working long days/nights sometimes between 12-19 hour days alone on only 5 hours of sleep and we almost forget that they are just humans too. I can’t write to say that I know what it is like to be deployed, instead I am writing as a partner of a deployed man. There have been too many times where he tells me that I'm doing it hard, but when I look at the changes to my life compared to his life, the only change was that he is no longer physically around me. While there are plenty of times I throw myself on my bed and cry myself to sleep because I miss him, I know it's not forever. The roller coaster of emotions I feel are normal, my man isn't around me and sometimes all I want is to be in his arms and hear him tell me that everything is going to be alright. Instead, I cuddle up to the giant teddy bear he gave me which smells of him and tell myself 'only a few more months and he will be home'. His position? How he handles it? I would have no idea, our communication is very limited and when he has a bad day he hides it, I know that is partly because there is the assumption an army soldier is strong and as some people criticizes, 'have no emotions' but I know that it isn't easy. Life isn't easy but with the right support and love from the people surrounding you anything is possible, and that is all I have tried to show my man since he left. Until he is home again, I continue to wait for him while I continue to live my life knowing that everything is going to be alright, no matter how difficult the days and nights may become.

Madeline - 27/09/2016

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The fourth care package!

Title - "You are doing a great job" - Encourage Mint.
Themed colour - Green.

Date of posting - Tuesday, 13th of September, 2016.
Date of arrival - To be announced!

As an army girlfriend I could list so many items that are green to send to my soldier! Since this is also my loved ones favourite colour I knew this was going to be an enjoyable care package to create! From the beginning of my loved ones deployment I had decided to slowly buy items here and there whenever I saw them and put them in the colours box to prevent the stress of doing one big shop a few days before sending it. The green care package was one of the easiest, this is because there were so many green items I purchased from food, toiletries, even items to use in the few hours he may have 'free time' in (a rare occasion for him at the moment, lol) and more food!

I had originally planned to post this over a week ago, but it took longer than imagined to have finished the decorations on it. The letters alone on the care package took several hours over a couple of days to complete, so, I'd make a recommendation that IF you aren't good at cutting letters out (like me) then maybe spend money on stickers. I bought a bunch of silver stickers but I like the font of the letters which is on Microsoft word rather than the stickers. After that, I cut out the letters individually then outline them on black cardboard and cut them out. Also, a tip with this is to keep some of the base colour to use use when making the middle hole for letters i.e. A, O, E, etc. I've found this gives a nicer finish to the letters rather than shoving scissors into the middle of the letter.

Image (above) - Design of Care Package. The letters aren't perfect as it took longer than what I had imagined and almost lost my 'cool' after day three of working on them.

Image (above) - The Green Care Package!

Image (above) - The packed care package! So, as you can tell by this image unfortunately there were too many items in this care package to even close the lid. After using my Tetris skills and packing I finally found most items to fit. However, when I went to the post office the package was overweight so I had to remove a packet of wet wipes, a can of pringles, packet of chewing gum and a milo bar, to get the perfect weight of 2 kilograms... #winning 

Items in this care package included:

  • Twirl chocolate bar, mint flavour
  • Box of shapes, Orginal barbecue flavour
  • Extra spearmint chewing gum x3
  • Milo bars x2
  • Ritz snacks, sour cream and onion flavour
  • Speed Puzzles book
  • Hand written letter
  • Mint Pattie
  • Pringle cans x2
  • Body wash, Orginal Source
  • Breaking Bad season one
  • Yoyo
  • Cleansing Puff
  • Smartskin face wipes x2
  • Ball on a paddle
  • Mentos x2
  • Exercise massage ball
Image (above) - Items in care package.

Review of yellow care package:
The yellow care package was another major success! My loved one forgot to tell me that he opened it, and surprisingly it only took nine days to get to him from Australia. As I only send the care packages once a month, I have told him many times any food items are to last the whole month, but he ate 2 of the 3 bags of lollies within 24 hours of receiving it.. But I guess with the long days/night he needed it! The green care package will be sure to have another review in my next care package post, fingers crossed for another success... Not sure if he will find this as cute as the minions. Thanks for reading!

Madeline - 13/09/2016

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The third care package!

Title - You are one in a minion!
Themed colour - Yellow

Date of posting - Monday, 8th of August, 2016.
Date of arrival - To be announced!

My loved one and I love the minions! So, although I had other ideas for the yellow care package when I saw this themed idea online I knew I had to make one the same. I had so much fun making this care package (like all my care packages) as I didn't fear he wouldn't like it as I know minions are his favourite.

Surprisingly, I struggled to try and not buy too many items for this care package. This care package mostly includes food items, especially lollies as requested by him. I've found that although the weather is extremely hot, the turnover has been very fast with previous care packages that food items I thought may have melted haven't... yet (anyway)! I always wrap all of my items that I'm worried about melting or breaking in bubble wrap. This can help to ensure if they are to melt that they won't completely ruin the care package straight away along with the obvious reason of bubble wrap preventing items from breaking (hopefully anyway).

 Image (above) - The Yellow Care Package!

Image (above) - The packed care package! Surprisingly this care package including all it's items were the perfect size. This packaged weighed in at 1.91 kgs which I was thankful for since the first care package was too heavy and the second one I had to purchase another box!

Items in this care package included:

  • Hand written letter
  • Starburst snakes
  • Despicable me fruit tails - Orange and Raspberry
  • Ritz snacks - Tasty Cheese flavour
  • Maggi Beef Noodles
  • Minion Candy character 
  • Maggi Chicken Noodles
  • Minion Tic Tacs x3
  • Wagon Wheels x2
  • Starburst babies
  • Minion Toy 
  • Flake chocolate bar
  • Starburst Fruitful mix
  • Minion Bath and Shower Gel x2

Image (above) - Items in the care package

So, in case it wasn't obvious from this care package my loved one had requested a lot of food to send over, especially his favourite lollies Starburst. I'm hoping this care package will last him for at least a week as I know that he generally eats the food from the care packages I had sent him within 24 hours. That is because he loves food from home, like all the snacks and bits and pieces that I send him. My suggestion is that send them anything that they really like because it can be difficult for them to eat due to limited time to go to the mess.

Image (above) - Care package box design

Review of orange care package:
So, I was lucky enough to be able to have a video call with my loved one when he opened this care package. It happened to be our anniversary as well which was special for him and my luck (or should I say amazing timing)! His face was filled with delight when he opened it and that is why I have sent this care package earlier than imagined... seeing the happiness on his face when he opened it meant the world to me. There is no better feeling in this situation to see your deployed loved one smiling with joy and talking to you. So... I guess the second care package was also a giant success!

Madeline - 08/08/2016

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Some days may be bring sunshine and others may bring storms

Some days are going to bring sunshine... This may be receiving a letter in the mail, having a Skype call or even just a normal call. You may even wake up to a loving message from them. The time difference won't matter when you hear from them once a day. So, whatever it may be that brings you the happiness or comfort is going to make you feel like you are on cloud nine, but don't be afraid to fall.

Others may bring storms... A storm will never last forever. While they blue skies may disappear and turn into grey, it doesn't mean that a rainbow won't appear, and the blue sky won't return. So, although you may be having a bad day, remember a bad day only lasts 24 hours. Tomorrow is a new day and you can start over again, and again every morning until your loved one is reunited with you.

There are going to be days when you just want to cry. You may have one reason, many reasons or no reasons for it and at the end of the day it is okay to be like that. Many people cry.. it may not even be because you miss your loved one. Nobody expects you to be strong all the time. Just because you come across as a positive person, never be afraid to let down your walls. If you think you aren't strong, you are wrong. There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about if you aren't having a good day. I've had many so far, and he has only been away for 52 days... sounds like a long time but it's only been 7 weeks and 3 days. Somedays you'll realise that time has passed so fast and you count up how long it has been and think you are so close to them coming home. Other days it will feel like the time is taking forever and the day is longer than 24 hours.

So, if you feel like you are going to cry enough tears to fill a river, then let yourself. You may want to be alone, have someone nearby to vent to or just find a stress relief for it. Whatever your way of coping with your emotions is the best way because what works for me, may not work for everyone! It is important that you surround yourself with an amazing support group though. This may be family, friends, co-workers, someone you know that also has a loved one deployed or even someone online. You don't need to talk about them, talk about anything! I'm also finding this blog as another way to express myself as well as hopefully help other people in my position.

All of what you may be feeling is natural. While I am not an expert at this long distance - deployment relationship, I've managed to accept the bad days along with the good. At times you may deny the bad day, but eventually it will get the better of you. I can only say this one thing... you don't always need to be strong, especially around your deployed one. I was worried of making him feel guilt when expressing my emotions, but he did not mind at all. It is best for you to express your feelings so they know and can try to help you. Surprisingly, the things you may think are a big issue, they will explain to you to be something ever so simple. Two brains are better than one, and your loved one when leaving would have assumed you'd be feeling worried and anxious about them while they away. This is more than likely because you have no idea what they are doing, and generally as they can't tell you, you won't know but just believe them when they tell you they are doing well. Have trust, confidence and believe them.

Madeline - 15/07/2016