Around 70 days to go. Approaching the end of my contract supporting the US Army here in the mountains of Afghanistan and I am thankful that I won’t be having another Thanksgiving away from my family.
This is interesting work and I’ve experienced cool things – riding in a Blackhawk with the door open, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere at night outside of a French COP (Combat Operating Post) en route to where our system was based, getting dusted by rotorwash while carrying 100 lbs of personal gear in dufflebags, you know… fun stuff!
These are some of the great memories I’ll take with me when I leave, but now I depend on memories of home to keep me focused. Video calls every night help a lot – hard to believe that this tech is only a couple of years old. Must have been tougher for service members to get the same type of personal connection over a phone line in the 90’s and the early years of 2000. You can even get cell phone service out here – it is strange to see people who live in adobe type structures without windows, electricity or indoor plumbing break out a cell phone to make a call.
Our aerostat is at the highest elevation in country so we expect to get hit with snow first. This week will be the first real cold weather we’ve experienced since getting to this new site a couple of months ago; should be an interesting challenge when we get near zero farenheit.
Having MREs in the morning and for lunch just made the turkey day dinner more enjoyable. The rest of the guys on my shift were sleeping but I stayed up because we don’t get to eat like this very often. It wasn’t like being at home – ate by myself and didn’t really talk to anyone. Contractors are kind of resented by regular military mostly because of the difference in pay between us. I guess you could call it salary envy; not really hard to believe considering how big that gap is. I hear it sometimes in the remarks made when they talk to one another about us. I would be wishing I made that kind of money too if I were them but they don’t realize if they get a couple of years of experience under them, they too can make this kind of money in this kind of work. Kids- what are you gonna do?
Eating alone in a tent full of people not the way I planned to spend Thanksgiving but I’m o.k. with it. I’m not someone who needs to be around people and am quite comfortable sitting in silence with another person in the room. Going to movies by myself isn’t an issue for me yet others can’t understand how I can do it. I think you have to be comfortable and secure with yourself to enjoy that kind of independence. I don’t care what other people in the theater think about that guy sitting by himself and you shouldn’t either. Would I rather have my wife with me? Sure, but I wouldn’t force her to see something she didn’t want to see.
A secure and loving relationship fosters trust which allows a couple to be the people that they fell in love with. Without trust, projecting that insecurity onto someone you care about creates a festering wound that will eventually end the relationship. It may not end the marriage but it will kill the love that started it. I’ve seen friends of ours who start thinking the worst whenever their mate is out of sight – doesn’t look like a fun way to live. I’ve been lucky to find someone who I love being around yet don’t need to obsess about what she is doing in my absence. Can’t wait to see her again.
Only 70-some days to go…