Before I met Chad, everything I knew about the Navy, I learned from Top Gun. It's my favorite movie. I love it so much I can probably recite the whole thing from memory and constantly find ways to work Top Gun quotes into daily conversation, because hello, who doesn't? For example, when my parking deck was full and I couldn't find a space, I said, "Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full." I'm not even a little bit embarrassed that I was by myself, and so impressed with my joke that I cracked myself up for like ten minutes.
However, I was pretty disappointed to discover I was about thirty years too late to the party - Top Gun, isn't very realistic as to the overall Navy experience. For one thing, it's a LOT less rowdy these days. Second, not everyone you meet is an Ace fighter pilot with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. Third, there are no shirts optional/jeans required pick up volleyball games (at least not that I'm aware of).
Now, obviously, I am not in the Navy, just dating someone who is. If this were Top Gun, I guess I'd be the Kelly McGillis character, although I'd much rather be Debra Winger in An Officer and A Gentleman if we're comparing eighties movie Navy girlfriends. But whatever. In real life, I am just a girlfriend, and as a result, it feels like I know less than one percent of everything I should know. It's the first day of swimming lessons all over again, except this time I got thrown in the deep end without my floaties on.
Since I'm not a spouse, just a significant other, I don't yet have access to those support organizations that are supposed to help make the transition a little bit easier and give you helpful information. However, I've been on the Google, and found that there are so many great blogs and online resources geared towards our situation. And it's nice to read things written by someone who's been exactly where I am. I also joined a Meetup group for Navy Plus Ones, and that has been great as well, just to meet other women who are also navigating this lifestyle.
In a couple years, I'm sure I'll be a pro at this, and in the meantime I'm going to keep looking for those volleyball games.