Sunday, April 15, 2012

Help! I'm a Navy Hostage

We think we matter

We think we matter. We trade tips on ways to matter. Do this, then do this, blah, blah. We are numbers on a spreadsheet, a line of accounting. What we want is irrelevant to the ways of a bureaucracy. Despite being told that our separation orders were forthcoming in the system, on follow up, we learned they await accounting numbers. We are hog tied to Japan until the Navy issues our orders with a line of accounting which could come anytime between now and the new fiscal year in October.

The Issue

Allow me to walk you through the issue. The line of accounting will pay to move our things from our house in Japan to the States. My children and I can't leave Japan until we move out of our house in Japan because if we leave before the line of accounting, we will loose our housing allowance. If we loose our housing allowance, we can't pay for our house in Japan. It will also include plane fare.

The Proposals

I offered to divorce my husband yesterday, but he told me it would take too long and it would not get me sent home. My government passport will expire this summer as will my children's. I'm guessing that will seal my fate to stay in Japan for forever at the rate I'm going. I thought about going crazy since I feel pretty darn close to loosing it, but my husband weighed in on that and said it probably wouldn't work either. I'm likely to be cantankerous for a while.

Let Go

I've been trying to meditate on the good side of being held hostage by the Navy. I have more time to sew since Japanese schools continue through July. I have more time to contemplate ridding my house of extra no good stuff versus actually doing it. I'm a reasonably good procrastinator particularly with household chores I dislike. I have more time to be with my friends, but it also means more time to ask for help with school and Japanese life. Can you tell my heart is not in this? I'm sick of needing so much help.

I keep coming back to there is something good in staying longer, but I haven't got my finger on it yet. My anger and frustration are still simmering away. I know they need to cool off before I see my way around them. My husband kindly told me, "Once you accept you are nothing, you can let go. When you stop trying to control the outcome, you can be." I'm not there yet and I liken him to a rat that has been repeatedly electrocuted- there is no fight left in him.

It's Not Personal

I really thought it was reasonable to think that we could leave a few months early after five years overseas since we would save the Navy money. Having to stay longer, longer, is killing off any appreciation I once mustered for Navy life. I feel like my wings have been clipped just as I was about to fly off. We think we matter; that it's personal. It's not personal, and we don't matter. Lines of accounting matter in the ways of bureaucracy, and this is a deal we financially can't pass up even if the wait is excruciating even if it's not the best thing for our children.

Worked out in Play

The Moose, setting up his Romans for the siege of Jerusalem, told his sister, the Mule, "The general is retiring." I love how when you're a kid, things are worked out in play. I was thinking that maybe that would help me with staying in Japan- I just need to play more. I could buy one of those inflatable paddle boards, pull the kiddos out of school early, and we could go surfing everyday. Then none of us would want to leave when the orders come. However, we spent all of our money remodeling our house stateside so the paddle board isn't really an option. Laying in the warm sand, listening to the wind, collecting sticks, that seems more interesting than the week I'm about to have, TAP Class and shogakko observation days.

The Hostage Situation

Being held hostage isn't the end of the world. People do a lot of things with their time in prison. At least when they are people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I've got my health, a sewing machine, a blog, and a bad attitude. Surely something fun will come of it.

We will wear you down
The Siege is on


  1. > I'm not there yet and I liken him to a rat that has been repeatedly electrocuted- there is no fight left in him.


    The thing I have learned in Japan, where the bureaucracy is almost a mad as it sounds like it is in the US Navy, is to pick my fights carefully. The rest, one has to let go since banging one's head against a wall that isn't going to move will eventually kill one. Unless the wall can be moved, or unless it's really worth winning, then it isn't worth it. Typically, in Japan which does not obey the normal rules of logic, if it really matters but the wall won't move, then one eventually discovers a way to walk around the wall... not sure if that works in the US Navy...? Try looking sideways to see?

    Actually... it strikes me that you are amazingly lucky to have them relocate you. No UK science place funded by the taxpayer is likely to pay us to relocate back to the UK, so we'll be paying for it ourselves. I don't really understand why you don't do it yourself. You can't be that badly off - you've just bought a huge house! What does it cost to relocate? Depends how much stuff you want to ship I suppose, but surely less than the cost of those renovations on the house?

    Don't hit me - I realise I probably don't understand the whole picture..! Just thought I'd offer another point of view...

    Met with Julie Fukuda last Sunday afternoon - and she said how much she enjoys your blog. She wanted to comment and tell you how great it is but for some reason the leave a comment option wasn't accessible to her.

  2. Jules, When a company sends you overseas, they also send you home including airfare and your personal belongings. The Navy sent us here.

    No, we are not so bad off.

    "Don't tell me your troubles" probably applies here. I see the system as flawed and it is taking up room in my life so it comes out in my thoughts and writing. Heading toward a decreased income is not the best time to spend money on things that will be paid for by someone else eventually. We have to wait.

    I like your suggestion to look sideways!

    I'll check the comment info again- thank you for passing along Julie's appreciation.


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