Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Touching Base Event

Today, I'm writing this post with a happy heart... and not because of hearing from my loved one! Last night I went along to the 'Touching Base' evening at the local Community Centre at the base where my loved one works when he is home. Touch Base is a group started by NEDC for those who partner is away on deployment, on a course or involved with other factors relating to their service. It was an amazing first time experience that has left me with joy and a motive to write another blog post to share with everyone who may be reading! 

Thanks to the Facebook Page 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment I was able to find a closed group on Facebook named Partners & Family of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. It's amazing how much is available via social media these days!! Through the closed group I was able to find events being held during the day and evening for family and friends to go along to that support partners/family/friends of loved ones that are involved in service. 

It was a mixed emotional experience before going to the event. When saying goodbye to my loved one at the airport over a month ago, I noticed that most of the deployed soldiers had families and children they were leaving behind. However, my partner was leaving behind his family and friends and I... His girlfriend of just over a year who was 19. So, I felt that going to this event would be a struggle for me as I wouldn't "fit in" or be able to make conversation with others easily as I imagined our situations of life would be different. 

My assumption of the age differences was right.. So, naturally I felt uncomfortable but all the people who were there talked to me and made me feel very welcome! Although, I was the youngest (by far), I would consider myself a mature person for my age, so I think that helped! I spoke with a lot of people who attended and got the chance to listen to their stories, which is inspiring to hear... Especially, for someone young like me. Being able to listen and discover this group was highly enjoyable!

I would 100% recommenced that regardless of where you may live to do some research pre-deployment as to whether anyone is organising events similar to the one I went to. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet others going through a similar situation to yourself and create new friendships! While it may be out of your comfort zone, it's also a chance to share stories, listen/offer advice and most importantly support one another. 

Never forget you aren't alone throughout this journey! Don't feel guilty for having 'a bad day' because it is going to happen. Bad days are just a reminder to be grateful of the good days. While it is challenging for your loved one who is on deployment, you will go through a roller-coaster journey of emotions during their time away from home. It is natural to feel that way and nothing to be ashamed or have guilt over.

Madeline - 29/06/2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The first care package!

Title - Something out of the blue to let you know, I love you!
Themed colour - Blue.

Date of posting - Wednesday, 15th of June, 2016.
Date of arrival - Sunday, 26th of June, 2016.

Today was a very exciting day for me as I was able to send off my first care package to my gorgeous partner! While creating this care package I felt uneasy as I was unsure whether he would use the items that I sent or whether the items would go to waste. As there is a first time for everything, I decided to go with my gut instinct along with the help from the following blogs/websites:

When purchasing food items I had to considered what would be appropriate for the journey i.e. whether a bumpy ride would ruin it and question if it would melt in a car because realistically it's going to be very hot on it's journey and when it arrives. Ideally, foods are going to be difficult items to send over especially as it is summer in Iraq, whereas it's winter in Australia. If the item is likely to melt in a car then I decided I wouldn't send it to him. This was because I didn't want them to melt and ruin the other items in the care package.

Considering whether to send toiletries I decided to send just the basics as I've read that most stuff is available for them to purchase at the local store that apparently contains almost every essential you need to use in the bathroom. I know that my man likes certain brands that are Australian so I decided to send only a few items and if he wants other items then I'll send them at his request.

Image (above) - The box design

Image (above) - Desired set out of care package

Image (above) - Reality of how the care package is packed before sending

Items in this care package included:
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Oreo cookie box - Strawberry flavour
  • Australian Flag (paper)
  • Pringles grab & go - Salt and vinegar flavour
  • Niva sensitive shaving cream (in a tube)
  • Hand written letters x2
  • Niva chap stick with SPF 15
  • Mentos - Mint flavour
  • Powerade Mountain blast powder
  • Moisturising facial cleansing wipes
  • Extra chewing gum - Peppermint flavour x 2
  • Maxx trunk underwear
  • Lined notebook
  • Ball point pen (with 4 colours)
  • Pocket pack of tissues
  • Protein FX Lo carb choc-coated protein bar x2
  • Chupa Chups lollipops (Cola and lemonade flavour) x2 
Image (above) - Items in the care package

To All Australian family, friends and other individuals who are sending care packages to loved ones please know that ANY type of item being sent letter or box has FREE shipping as long as it is 2 kgs or under is weight! This was my first package I sent and was caught out... I decided to pay for it as it was a once off. It cost $16.30 to send my package which weight 2.47 kgs. So I hope this is helpful!

I'll be sure to include a review about whether my partner enjoyed the items that I sent in this care package and whether he has asked for any items to be sent in my next post! Until then thank you for reading.

Madeline - 15/06/2016