I didn't quite understand what I was getting myself into when Martin and I started dating. I have never heard of merchant marines. Then you throw Naval obligations into his Merchant Marine obligation, and it all gets incredibly confusing. Looking back over old conversations we had about what he did for a living, it's a wonder that Martin put up with my ignorance of what he did as a career!
We have now been together for some time now, and I feel like I understand it quite well. Martin attended school at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Upon graduation he took his commission into the Navy Reserves for 8 years and into the maritime industry for 5 years, both to be completed simultaneously.
What this means is that he primarily works in the maritime industry, where his time at sea is credited to his Naval obligations, thus leaving his to only need two weeks of training a year with the Navy. This also means that, with his current job sailing the Great Lakes, he is at sea every other month, more or less. Less when the maritime industry halts during winter as the Great Lakes freeze over, but more when the lakes are open and time at sea should be made up.
Before his first deployment during our relationship, I didn't think much of it. We're already in a long distance relationship. So how hard would it be if he's at sea when, regardless, I still am unable to see him on a regular basis. But as it turns out, Sprint reception is horrible in the Lakes, so our Skype calls are choppy and consistently dropped at best. At worst, we can only text when he is at port. This makes for some lonely nights, no calls, and much needed community support.
Hurry up and wait.