This week we’re in Monterey, CA to see Kevin graduate from the Defense Language Institute. He just spent nearly 18 months, training full time to learn Mandarin Chinese. We arrived on Wednesday night and will be here till Sunday. The high temps this week are only supposed to be in the 60’s, which is very refreshing after the heat of Phoenix. This coming Monday Kevin leaves to go to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas for another month of special training. Erin will be staying with her parents in Southern California while he’s there because the assignment is so short. Sadly, they’ll be spending their first wedding anniversary on September 24th in 2 different states so be sure to send them a note that day.
Yesterday we went to Kevin’s graduation ceremony. There were 6 guys going through the ceremony, but only 4 of them actually passed the final exam and will move on. The last 2 guys have to stay on in Monterey and keep studying to retake the exam. The assumption is that they’ll have to stay another 12 weeks. Wow that must be hard for them! The ceremony was pretty laid back for the military. Interestingly, the officers, teachers and staff in attendance far out-numbered the graduating class. The six guys sang the national anthem (a-cappella), received their diplomas, then there were several speeches, including much in Mandarin (with English translation of course). The ceremony was held in one of their classrooms that had a bunch of Chinese cultural pieces in it. Kevin graduated with honors and afterward his teachers raved about how smart, mature and what wonderful guy he is. Of course, we think the same, but we’re his parents. I’ll be posting a photo of his graduating class plus the teachers, but right now Blogger isn’t cooperating for some reason…I’ll try a little later.
Last night we went to Benihana’s to celebrate – Teppan cooking is usually Kevin’s restaurant of choice for special occasions and this was no exception. We had fun and great food! In honor of his graduation, they gave Kevin a silly balloon hat, sang a song to him and made him dance while they were singing. Cute! While we were there Erin decided to find out how many ways she could creatively use her napkin. There were many variations, but here are just a couple. (I’ll post as soon as Blogger will work)
Today we’re sitting here at K & E’s place with packing guys in every room boxing up all of the belongings that they’re not keeping with them. The military pays for all the boxes and furniture to go to storage for at least 4 months when Kevin & Erin will ultimately end up at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska sometime about mid-January…interesting time to be gettting to Nebraska and quite a drastic change from the beauty and mild climate in Monterey. Kevin’s not quite sure what he’ll be doing between the end of October and mid-January. We’re hoping he’ll have some leave time, but not sure. They’r epacking the internet connection so I’ll finish this later…