Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back to the front

It has been nearly two weeks since I returned to Afghanistan, and I am finally feeling back in the groove. I didn’t realize before leaving how hard it would be to return here. It isn’t the mission or the country itself that I struggle with; I miss having privacy. I spent two wonderful weeks in a fancy hotel room, enjoying all Bavaria had to offer. Now I am back in a dusty war zone, living in a little plywood shack with seven other women (whom I know only casually) and walking 100 yards to the bathroom and shower, a shower that doesn’t always have hot water.

When we first arrived, the novelty of being deployed and the “adventure” of it all made the transition easier. I had stars in my eyes, imagining all the great things we could accomplish. Now, I know how stressful the work is, how long the hours, and how hard it is to actually move a project to completion. I think the chaos of our current living situation doesn’t help, either. We are in the process of relocating our headquarters to another location. This involves packing everything—offices, personal belongings, even ammunition—and arranging for its movement to our new home. We have a plan to phase the process out but it still seems overwhelming some days as we struggle to move people, trucks and belongings a measly 40 km!

Knowing the deployment is already halfway done helps but, with the holidays rapidly approaching, I know the ache of missing my family will only become more acute. Knowing they will be able to see friends and family helps, but it will be a difficult time for them as well. Also, I have no idea how to make the holidays special for the soldiers and airmen who are here with me. The team has talked about decorating our tents and putting up a tree, and we anticipate a special meal from our French hosts. (Yes, we will be living in big tents for the remainder of our time here, with winter closing in!) But it just doesn’t seem like enough. If anyone has any ideas, please pass them along.

O, an update on the mouse situation—they continue to plague me! With all the moving and cleaning going on, we have found several and the spot outside my bedroom door is still the best place to put a trap. We have caught at least five there but, since my return, I have not seen any in my room, so that is a good sign. There are rumors of snakes being found in the living quarters. I think I prefer the mice! The girls in my hut are convinced that mothballs will keep the critters away, so now everything I own smells funny. But, if it works, I am game.


1 comment:

  1. Someone told the snakes that they could eat your mice... that's what they're looking for. Either way, you have my sympathy. I do not share well with critters.