Some chapters of everyones life are never read aloud.
June has come and gone. My time is slowly ticking off the deployment advent clock. Each day that passes I am one step closer to returning home. While I am curious to find the state of my previous life, I will forever miss those who I have shared, struggled, and survived so much with here in Afghanistan.
Many of my friends and family have asked that I give a perspective on my life here in Kabul. What do I do for fun? Let’s see if I can answer some of your questions.
I live in a concrete building with few windows. I happen to have a room without windows. Making it easy to sleep in because there is no sun shine! The sun rises here around 4 AM… ouch.
I rise and shine around 7:00 – 7:15 AM. Get dressed and head to breakfast! On Monday – Thursday and Saturday breakfast is served cafeteria style from 6 AM to 8 AM. On Friday and Sunday there is some cereal until 10:30 and then brunch! I like a good waffle on Friday with maple syrup from NH. Be honest, who wouldn’t?
Once I have my breakfast I am off to the office for a coffee (Marty sent me Starbucks, I am a coffee ROCK STAR!!!!). I check email and handle any urgent or emergent computer problems. I usually find some time at this point to also read the news. I follow the local New England sports teams this way. We have TV here but the channels are not what you expect. The sports channel will show games that are broadcast on any number of channels.
At this point, I leave for the hospital! The hospital is not on our base so I must travel every day to the Afghan hospital. The hospital sits on an Afghan National Army base. They provide all the security for the compound. I spend my time at few locations. At this point, spread too thin and I have experienced the sublimazation of my effectiveness.
Life is lived in the present. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is yet to be. Today is a Miracle.
My trip back to the US compound is followed by some lunch! There have been a few times I missed eating. You get so caught up in working and talking with the Afghans time flutters away on the wings of a butterfly. I spend time every day speaking with them in Dari. I can follow a conversation if they speak slow. I can engage them in a usual greeting. I hope to continue to get better!
The food here is brutally consistent: chicken. All in all, it isn’t bad. The hots are hot and the colds are cold. I eat a salad every afternoon and evening. I eat the chicken a lot and occasionally partake in a steak, usually on Fridays!
After lunch, its back to the office for some computer time. This is usually where the magic of the word processor happens. I have a few different roles here in my unit. I serve as the Information Officer (IMO), the weapons range Guru, and the officer of choice for various driving missions around Kabul. The afternoon sees me managing and planning many of these tasks.
The IMO position keeps me the busiest of them all. Constant computer issues and the constant influx of new team members means I am relied on for my ability to keep this team connected to the information superhighway! The logistical challenge is greatest with arranging the weapons ranges. This also extends to our Greek team as we have trained them well on proper weapon use.
The late afternoon sees me sneak out of the office for some exercise. I usually hook up with Captain Holly Sullivan who is built like a fighter jet, and we run… well… I try to run but I am built like a tug boat which has sprung a leak… We have been running at least 5-6 times a week. I have run a 5K, 10K, and 1/2 marathon while here. I usually spend some time in the gym as well. Lifting weights is WAY more fun when you are doing it with friends. I came to Kabul around 195 lbs. I currently weigh 170 lbs. I don’t feel much different, and Holly will tell you I am not faster. Maybe my math skills have improved?
The evening sees dinner and Skyping Grace. Then maybe a movie with some friends? How about a walk in the evening around the base? The weather in the evenings is in the 60’s, and it is beautiful walking weather.
So there you have it. A day in the life.
If you want to experience peace, you must first learn to provide it.