Sunday, January 29, 2012

Way Up North

I've been up in the Dehdadi/Marmal area for about two weeks now, though it feels like much more. After the boring near-vacation of my first couple of weeks in country, I really feel like I'm earning my pay now! Being the Officer in Charge of a project or area is challenging as an O1, though I do look old enough now that I have a bit more gravitas than the average cherry-cheeked butterbar. The positive side to having such enormous responsibility- I'm a major part of planning what will become the largest site for my agency in the country- as an O1 is that, well, I'm only an O1! I think of it like being a relief pitcher. Relief pitchers can only win the game. :-)

There are positives as well as negatives to everywhere we go. Unlike LNK, at DDII, I don't have my own little mini-apartment (CHU). I also don't have access to a vehicle. Some positive sides to being here include having showers within easy walking distance. And, having a base small enough that I can walk it- good exercise.

I work on my thankfulness, here. It gets cold; I'm thankful I have shelter. If I don't have the food choices I might prefer, I do at least have food, hot food, and plenty of it. When I go to Marmal, I enjoy the German food I get there. Not having things helps me remember how good I- and most of us, as US citizens- usually have it. Last night I grew tired of reading with my dim light bulb, and went over to our tiny PX to buy a reading lamp.

There were no reading lamps to buy. So I was reminded of how privileged I am to live in a country where I *usually* can go buy a reading lamp quickly, easily, and without it potentially interfering with my ability to eat for that day. We in the United States really have it good.

I have it good.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

For All These Things...

I have been moving a lot in the past 3 weeks. I realized about a week ago that I had already far exceeded my total air travel for the my last deployment! After just a few hours back at LNK, I was on the road again, headed for the other side of the country.

Bagram had a very cold spell, and the resulting weather added over a week to the usual travel time. I spent an extra 3 days trying to get to Bagram, and an extra 4 days trying to get out! I still count my blessings, though. I have had cover to keep the rain and snow off me, regular showers, and plenty of food.

During the process of moving around a country the size of Texas, I have not been able to bring many of the toiletries and comfort items that have been kindly sent to me at Camp Leatherneck, due to space constraints. A well-stocked USO is certainly a relief at these times. Here at a base in Dehdadi, I picked up a couple more razors, shampoo, lotion, soap, toothpaste. I usually use Gillette Aftershave, as I especially like following shaving with aftershave in this place, with its many particulates and contaminants. I was delighted to find some Mennen Afta aftershave here. It's really amazing how much something small can bring a smile.