Adrianna opens up the Orangeverse
Listen up loyal readers and followers of the Orangeverse, we are going to follow Adrianna Adventures for six months or so in a new column named “Adrianna Adventures” under the Warrior Profile section as she integrates herself back into the normality of being back in the United States for good. We will follow her through her difficulties. Relationships, Job seeking and family encounters. We will live through her five senses of what she experiences. Join me for an Adventure you will not experience anywhere else. Be, Bold Be, Beautiful Be YOU!
Name: Adrianna Grijalva
Age or Sign: 28
Hometown: Scituate MA
Ethnicity: Cape Verdian, Mexican, Philippino
Passion: singing and dancing
OM: How are you doing Adrianna, How do you feel being home knowing that you do not have to go back overseas unless you decide to take another job overseas?
AG: It still feels a bit surreal. I definitely feel different knowing I am not going back but still do not feel like I belong here. Feel like I am not really a part of any world.
OM: At what age did you start contracting and what made you become a contractor?
AG: I started contracting when I was 23.
OM: What job or occupation did you have before you took a job contracting, were you attending school as well?
AG: I was in college, the air force reserves, and had two part time jobs. I deployed to Bagram right after I graduated from college, learned all about the world of contracting, and recruited to come back.
OM: How did your family feel about you becoming a contractor and going into a hostile and dangerous work environment?
AG: They hated the idea of me going to work out there. When I explained to them how fast I could pay off my school loans, they realized that was a great opportunity. They still hated it but understood why I wanted to go.
OM: What was your first job you took as a contractor and where did you work, what country? You do not have to include any of the contracting companies we can call them Contracting Company number one and so on.
AG: My first job was in Bagram. I worked in the Movement Control Team office (MCT) and the PAX terminal.
OM: How is the money contracting overseas versus a job in the United States? I understand it to be a boatload more money.
AG: The money is a lot better than state side jobs. My first job was not the greatest in terms of overseas pay, but considering I was fresh out of college, I thought it was good.
OM: How often did you take leave and return to the states because this time you being home seems more for real and final. People who have never done contracting do not know about the 365-day rule with you only being able to spend up 35 days in the US or all the money you make is taxable.
AG: I normally took leave twice a year. Because of the tax rule, I would only visit the US once a year. It was fine though because I love to travel and I had the chance to visit some great places.
OM: What are some of the best things and worst things about contracting?
AG: The best things easily are the people. You meet people that you would never be able to in normal life. You are forced into working with certain people, and spending every day with them you become friends. You can become great friends with people that if you met them in the states you probably would not even talk to them. The money is great; it lets you do things in your life that others have to work years to be able to afford.
The worst thing is being away from home and not having any freedoms. You literally have to put your life on hold to work overseas. When you go home, see how people’s lives have changed, and see that yours has not that can get upsetting at times.
OM: What is the scariest encounter you had overseas being in a warzone?
AG: The mortar attacks. They do not often hit close to you but when they do, it is scary. Then you have to lie about it to your family and friends because you do not want them to worry.
OM: What are some of the best experiences you have had being in a warzone?
AG: I learned how to salsa dance. The first year I was there Salsa night was the thing to do, everyone went. I had a good group of friends who loved to go and dance and they taught me how to salsa, meringue and bachata dance. It was a lot of fun.
OM: How many countries have you been to as far as vacationing overseas and describe a little bit of each trip and the country. The Orangeverse will take a vacation through your accounts of your journeys.
AG: My first trip was to Spain and Portugal. I went to a few cities in Spain and Lisbon/Fatima Portugal with two of my friends and my older brother. It was a lot of fun. We signed up for some tours so we were able to see some places that we wouldn’t have seen if we had just gone and wondered on our own. I loved the food, especially the Portuguese food. It reminded me of home since Portuguese food is a lot like Cape Verdean food.
I went to the Dominican Republic for a week, to Punta Cana. I went with a friend from college. We did not leave the resort but there was plenty to do at the resort so we still had a lot of fun. The beaches were beautiful.
Australia was an amazing trip. I went to Brisbane and Sydney and loved it. There was so much to do and see. The people were very nice everywhere we went. I have to try all sorts of different foods and see so many animals. I went for two weeks but that was nowhere close to being enough time out there. There is just so much, that you will want to do, you need at least a month to really enjoy it.
I have been to Thailand twice, first time I had a week where I traveled by the second week and myself my child hood friend flew out. That was the first time I went to a foreign country alone but it was still fun. The good thing about doing that is you can do whatever you want and do not have to worry about what anyone else wants to do. I like to do a lot of site seeing so was able to go to different monuments and other historical sites. When my friend flew out, it was still a lot of fun. It was her first trip outside of the country, so she was open to pretty much anything. Going elephant trekking (riding and elephant) was an experience I will not forget. Along with going to the cobra show and having three pythons wrapped around my body.
The second time I went to Thailand it was split, 1 week Thailand and 1 week Philippines. I went with friends that I made out in Bagram. I had always wanted to go on a vacation with them because they liked to be adventurous so it was a great time. The second week they were supposed to go to the Philippines but a lost passport changed that. I ended up going alone. I did not like it that much out there. I thought it was a very poor and devastated country in the streets but they put a lot of money into their malls. The only thing that was worth seeing was the mall. I ended up being in the same area that I had family (I had no idea they were there) so got their number and spent the last few days with them. They were sweet people, welcomed me into their home, fed me lots of food, and took me to two different malls (even they said there was nothing to do but go to the mall haha).
My second trip to Spain was awesome. I went with my friend who I met in Bagram. She used to live in Barcelona so I got to see the city from a different point of view. We went to places that are normal local hangouts and walked the streets without worry of getting lost. We also went to London for the weekend. London overall I did not think was great. It was gloomy and the people were not very nice but we still enjoyed ourselves. We went to a DePeche Mode concert. It is my friend’s favorite band; I only knew one of their songs. It was still exciting even though I could not sing along.
OM: Which countries and in what order would you recommend someone go visit?
AG: Australia is number one. If anyone has the chance to visit there take it, you will not regret it.
Thailand was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. The country is beautiful and the people are very friendly. Although depending on what you do, it can get expensive. It is very possible to get by on little money and still have a good time. Thailand is not a place many would think to visit, but I definitely recommend it.
Spain/Portugal is equal on my list. It is a lot easier to get to from the states. More people can go there but you still get to experience a different culture, see amazing site, lots of history and great food. You cannot go wrong visiting there or anywhere in Europe.
Dominican Republic, if you love the beach and a cheap vacation this is the place to go. The beaches are gorgeous, the water is so clear and the sand is so fine. It is a beautiful place and the people were all nice.
Philippines, I know many retired military love it and move out there but I personally did not like it that much. I did not think there was much to see of do to make it worth spending a lot on a plane ticket to get out there. I know it is cheaper to live there but if you have a house that is surrounded by cardboard shacks it is not really worth it in my opinion. I do not think I would go back there unless it was to visit family again; they were the only thing that made it good.
OM: I do understand that while you were deployed that while you work for the military you are subject to hear to military laws and regulation. Under general order number one, it states you cannot have a sexual relationship. Without using names and me asking you did you have sex, did you have any relationships with a man while you were deployed?
AG: I did have relationships out there. It is an unreasonable request, especially if you are there for years, to ask someone to remain alone.
OM: Did you fall in Love and why are you not with him anymore?
AG: I did fall in love a few times. There were many factors to why the relationships did not work.
OM: Are you still friends with him?
AG: I am still friends with one of them.
OM: In your experience, would you start another relationship while being deployed? Would you recommend it to any other ladies or do you have some words of wisdom to pass on?
AG: I always said I was not going to have a relationship out there but if you meet someone, it is hard to stop yourself especially if you have a strong connection. My only advice is guard your heart. Understand that although you want one thing that does not mean they are looking for the same thing. Casual relationships are a lot more likely than finding your dream guy.
OM: How long have you be considering going back home and why did you choose to leave contracting the contracting life now?
AG: I have been thinking about it for years but my goals were not met. When I went home for Christmas, my first real Christmas in 5 years things just felt different when I got back. I did not want to go back, I was not as into my work as normal. I just did not want to be there. Being home, seeing how much I missed made me want to leave more than anything. I was tired of missing out on life and decided it was time to leave before I missed out on the things I always wanted.
OM: When you quit did you have a job already line up?
AG: I did not have a job lined up. I always said I wanted to have something lined up but then decided that I needed a good break first. I needed to re-learn how to live in the states. I needed to just relax for a little while instead of jump into a new job with no break.
OM: If you do, what is it? If not, that was a very bold decision wouldn’t you say?
AG: I know that jobs are scarce now but I have to keep the faith that all the experience I gained from working overseas will help me find some sort of employment. I think as long as I am not picky and do not have unrealistic expectations I will be ok.
OM: Describe your first few days at home?
AG: I know this wont sound like much but the first 2 days I did nothing. I stayed in my pajamas, watched TV, slept, just did nothing? It has been so long since I have been able to do that. When I came home on vacations it was always a rush, you only had so many days to do everything. This time I was not in a rush, I was free to do nothing and enjoy it.
OM: How does your family feel about you being home for good out of a warzone?
AG: My family could not be happier. They have wanted me to leave for a long time and can finally breathe; they do not have to worry anymore.
OM: At this very moment, are you scared about finding a job and the economy the way that it is?
AG: I’m a little scared but figure I have money saved and as long as I’m smart with it and don’t live like I’m still making the money I was, I will be good for a while. I will give myself a good 3 months to find a job before I worry.
OM: Now let me ask you a few personnel questions about you. You are a lovely, talented, and educated young lady; I am sure all the guys out in the Orangeverse would like to know if you are still single?
AG: Yep I am single and ready to mingle, hah.
OM: If you had your choice of any man in the world what man would, you like to get at (romantically that is)?
AG: Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy, he is gorgeous!
OM: Do you have any children? Do you want children and how many?
AG: I do not have any but I have always wanted to have kids. I want a nice big family, two girls and two boys.
OM: What would you say your best attribute is?
AG: Physical attribute? Everyone says I have a great smile, and pretty eyes, I am not sure which is better
OM: What would your dream date be?
AG: I have not been on a real date in so long I do not even know how to answer that question. I guess
it does not really matter what we do, I just want to be made to feel like I am the prettiest, most important girl around and no one else matters. I just want to feel special.
OM: Is there anything else you like in a man that you would like to share with our readers?
AG: Honesty and being faithful are the most important things. It does not matter who you are if you do not have those two things everything will fail, no if ands or buts about it.
OM: Do you like to dance or can you dance?
AG: I love to dance! I get so much joy out of getting out on a dance floor and letting loose. I took dance classes while growing up, danced the first couple of years while overseas (until they took salsa night away). I want to learn how to ball room dance, it has always been something I have wanted to try.
OM: Do you workout or go to the gym?
AG: I do now. It took my 4 years to finally get in the gym but once I got a gym partner and a schedule, I started to love it. I feel better, healthier, now that I go to the gym.
OM: Do you drink and if so what is your favorite drink?
AG: I have been drinking rum and coke mostly. Do not know many drinks; I want to learn more to try. That and vodka cranberry juice.
OM: What is your favorite foods to eat, and if you went out on a date what would be that special meal to share with a special person?
AG: I love all food, I love trying all types of food. I have my limits but am more adventurous then most. Somewhere for a date, though I would go with Italian. It is delicious and something everyone can enjoy.
OM: What is your favorite TV show or Movies?
AG: Grey’s Anatomy. I also just started watching Vampire Diaries. I know it sounds stupid but that show is seriously addicting.
OM: Do you have any other hobbies or special talents?
AG: Not really, I just watch a lot of TV shows and movies. Now that I am back in the states, I want to find a hobby. I want to find a way to sing again, take dance classes. Maybe get a bike and just ride around town, not sure yet.
OM: Do you have favorite designer clothing, jewelry that type of stuff?
AG: I have always like Michael Kors shoes. Do not have any but I admire them from afar. I do not really shop by names, if it looks good that is what I go for.
OM: What is some of your contact information for our readers can get a hold of you?
AG: Facebook, Adrianna Grijalva…it is easy to find me
OM: If you could leave the Orange Mode readers anything, what would it be, besides make sure you get your Nine Livez on?
AG: Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything. Life can be hard but it can always get worse so try to let the bad things go and move forward to get the life you want.
OM: Listen up loyal readers and followers of the Orangeverse we are going to follow Adrianna Adventures for six months or so in a new column named “Adrianna Adventures” under the Warrior Profile section as she integrates herself back into the normality of being back in the United States for good. We will follow her through her difficulties. Relationships, Job seeking and family encounters. We will live through her five senses of what she experiences. Join me for an Adventure you will not experience anywhere else. Be, Bold Be, Beautiful Be YOU!