General Question

noraasnave's avatar

Can you please provide creative suggestions for my dilemma?

Asked by noraasnave (3094points) October 30th, 2008
18 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I am in Iraq, I have extra hours each day to kill because life is changing and I will be coming home in a short time. I have access to the internet intermittently and I would like to spend some quality time with myself in preparation for my return. I already journal, blog, communicate with my kids and family regularly, and practice guitar. I of course am surrounded by Marines, that might be a resource. I know I can count on you flutherers!

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mea05key's avatar

Travel plans with family, read about the country’s latest affair so you know what’s happening and would be useful in conversations, think about gifts you can bring home, talk to your marine frens about this etc

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@noraasnave, thank you for serving. I bet your kids are beside themselves at you coming home. Will be home for an extended period, or separating from the military? Your kids will probably want you to come to school with them so they can show you off, so you might want to get together pictures, souvenirs, etc. that will be of interest to kids and educational.

I know you’re coming back to a tough situation with your ex-wife, and the possibility of a new relationship. You might want to spend some time thinking about how to keep that separate from your kids; they are going to be going through enough change as it is, with their mom. Hang in there, and work through whatever you can. It sounds like you are doing that through journaling, etc.

Do you have any opportunities to learn other languages? If you have the time, this could be the way to pick up a language skill. I noticed that you asked a question earlier about writing styles. Are you planning on returning to school? Do you have materials to brush up on/practice math skills? I like working math problems; and am beginning to prep for the GRE, which is why I suggest this.

susanc's avatar

I agree that you have a lot to bring back with you, and the writing you’re doing now is going to be invaluable.

Be careful out there. Thank everyone for us, and let them know we want them safe and then home.

Judi's avatar

Don’t let anyone destroy your journals. In the future they will be historical documents, primary sources for historians as they study the effects of this war.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks for your service. I’m so glad to hear that you’re coming home. Start visualizing how you’d like the rest of your life to go. You can start over, in a whole new direction of your choosing, so really think about what would be ideal for you. Stay safe in the meantime!

cyndyh's avatar

Write some songs for your kids and for yourself. Write songs about your feelings, all the things weighing on your mind, your friends that you see every day now, your hopes and fears for coming home. You don’t have to share them all now.

This helps more than you might think to get your feelings out in a creative way. Some things that might seem hokey in a journal don’t when put in song. It’s really useful during transition periods in life to capture all the messy stuff in your head in some creative, expressive, and not-very-abstract way.

BronxLens's avatar

Perhaps plan a bit of R&R before getting back to the family?

When I was about to head back from Turkey, the plane in which I left was a military one which then did a stop over in Germany. I arranged beforehand permission from my commander to take a short vacation before having to report for duty back in the USA, so from Germany I took a passenger train to Switzerland, explored a bit of Geneva for about half a day, then took another train into France and down the Pyrenees into Spain, where I enjoyed myself for about day in Madrid, taking then a commercial plane to NY.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I was thinking about you on the way in. Make sure you take lots of pictures before you go. Of the people you know, how you live, ordinary things. A neighbor has a collection of photos he took during the Korean War—his feet with his boots off, cooking in his helmet, packs of cigarettes, the back of the guy ahead of him when they marched, all sorts of weird close-ups. They’re really great to look at now, because they tell a story.

noraasnave's avatar

Wow! Thank you very much for the ideas. I do write poetry and have noticed that it has a positive emotion draining effect.

I do have a digital camera, I think I will wander around base today and take a lot of pictures with an objective eye, most of my pictures to date have been of people.

I have all my plans when I come home, worked out, budgeted, to the point that I can in advance. I will be visiting my children’s school in my Dress Blues, and I think participating in a small town Kansas Parade of some sort.

I think I might print off and work on some math problems too, I really like that idea. Math has always been fun for me.

All the drama in American politics is very disheartening. I choose to pay the highest price so they can do it, but it doesn’t mean I can handle the stress of getting wrapped up in it. I have plenty of other things to work out.

My kids will remain with my parents in Kansas while I finalize my divorce and work on new relationships. So they will be separate and of course I will not talk to them about any part unless they ask. I will be visiting them regularly, they will be finishing off the school year, by that time everything should be wrapped up and we can begin again.

Thank you all for the creative ideas!!

noraasnave's avatar

Okay, here is how one creative idea turned out: What do you think?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@noraasnave You probably don’t have enough time to see this through, but it’s interesting to keep in mind or pass along. Gardening in Iraq.

The website that this is on,, has a lot of cool stuff to do.

noraasnave's avatar

Okay, Flutherites. I have used all the applicable ideas on this page and have 4 more days of time I could invest creatively like my album (which i will be expanding with a few more pictures). Please let me see what you got.

augustlan's avatar

@nora: I checked out your album. Very interesting…thanks for sharing! Now might be a good time to set up something (a system? a procedure? an event?) for the benefit of those you’ll be leaving behind. Inspired by Alfreda’s idea of passing along the gardening thing.

noraasnave's avatar

@Augustlan: My entire unit is leaving. There are some group dynamics here that bear explaining.

When the new unit takes over, there is a certain atmosphere of tolerance, and then when we leave everything we setup, all of our policies and SOPs (Standard operating procedures) will be thrown away and the new unit will do things totally different.

They put up with us, and they nod when we talk about really cool ideas and such, but they are waiting for us to leave and execute thier own really cool ideas. So doing stuff for the ones that are left behind isn’t really pheasible. Thank you for the idea though. I will continue to ponder this.

Oh…and we are Marines we don’t leave anyone behind. ;)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Miniature sand sculpture—large would take too much water.
Walk out a meditation labyrinth in the sand
Repaint the door to your hut
Do you have a lumber pile? How organized is it? Repetitive tasks are always a good distraction.
Compile a cookbook. Take pictures of what’s served and see if you can match up recipes for it. You just never know when you might get a late night craving…just like White Castles! heehee

Are you going to be home for good after this tour? Start a list of all the things that would be helpful to have people send soldiers, and send it to Soldiers Angels. Like your comment about the plastic bag. I shoved a few into the boxes I sent off yesterday.

BronxLens's avatar

@noraasnave, try this to spice up your photographs a bit – nothing wrong with the ones you have taken so far – they bring back fond memories of my ARMY service.

Change the camera’s point of view: squat down; climb to a higher point (safety first Marine! ;) and also get closer, way closer! This can dramatically improve portraits. You can always take the photo most take where you see someone head-to-boots; follow up with one where you capture the image of the person/group from the collar up – it removes the environment to stress the individual and /or relationship – Brothers in Arms for ever. Again, consider shooting from different angles (stand low/hi and to the side to make the subject/s vanish into the horizon).

With the advent of digital cameras you have now the possibility of making a photo both in color and also B&W. B&W images stress the subject matter. A rifle resting on a wall, a helmet on a table, boots by the door, all part of the Marine’s gear become now ageless icons instead of a products from a surplus catalog, if you know what I mean.

B&W also works really good to for those people showing their age. The old lifetime Marine, the man at the local bazaar that appears to have wondered the earth for a thousand years, etc. Look for contrast of surfaces too (an unshaven face, dirty hands (e.g. say, a mechanic’s), etc.

For landscape I would continue with color; use the dusk/dawn light. It works better more often than the noon sun.

Sharing others’ sentiment, thank for serving. Now get home safe.

Semper Fi.

noraasnave's avatar

Thanks, Bronxlens for the new ideas.

SherlockPoems's avatar

@noraasnave I just checked out your picassa pix and they are great… wouldn’t it be terrific to get in a sunrise to start your album and a sunset for as you leave? Wishing you only the best always!

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