Monday, October 04, 2004
Pack Your Bags...
I'm being pushed out of the door, literally. I had almost no time to pack my gear and start looking for a plane out of Kirkuk. There's nothing inbound any time soon, so this may take a while. The Commanders looked around the AOR and found no other openings for me to fill, so instead of keeping me around to get shot at they want me on my way home pronto. I was going to surprise Tonya with the news once I got home (She's currently in Australia with her Mom and our two little girls, Kalyssa and Trevi), but I don't want her to go another day worrying about me being out here. I'll give her a call.
This is weird. I'm very happy to be headed home, but I'm also feeling guilty and a little sad because there are some folks here that should be going instead of me. Also, I work with two of the most kick-ass Admin troops in the Air Force, and they have kept me from going insane ever since they arrived here. They're like two peas in a pod. I sometimes call them Laverne and Shirley, but they're more like Janet and Chrissie from 'Three's Company'. No matter what you call them, they are the best people out here by far. I'm going to miss them both.
I'm going to attempt to Space-A it all the way home. If you don't know, Space-A means 'Space Available', and it involves finding empty space on existing military flights that are going in the same general direction you want to go. You may end up in the wrong city or country, but at least you're near the hemisphere you're trying to get to. It's not always the best way to go, but sometimes you get lucky, and it beats sitting around for a rotator flight (Contracted Commercial).
I have no idea how I'm getting home, but they want me off, so I'm gone. Wish me luck.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
This Can't Be True...
One of the Commanders called me into his office today. I of course thought, "What did I do now... just great, it wasn't my fault whatever it was, blah blah blah." Instead, he sat me down and told me that they had too many people in my office, and that since I was the first to arrive I could go home.
I of course don't believe that it's possible. Secondly, I was stupid enough to tell him to look around the Area of Responsibility (AOR) to see if any other bases or units needed another Exec. He said he would look into it.
Note to self... SHUT YOUR FREAK'N MOUTH NEXT TIME YOU IDIOT!!
We shall see what happens. Wish me luck.
Friday, October 01, 2004
The Pizza Guy
Tonight I was in charge of setting up a 'movie night' for our staff. This involved reserving the small tent theater on base as well as ordering food. I decided to order 12 pizzas from the Pizza Hut on base. We all decided to watch 'Dodge Ball', so pizza seemed appropriate and was the easiest thing to buy. As luck would have it, 45 minutes prior to the start of the movie the generator that ran the food court broke down, leaving us totally in the dark.
As Civil Engineering desperately tried to repair it (thanks in part to our Commander who wanted his Pizza ASAP) I sat down with some of the employees of the Pizza Hut outside. They turned out to be some pretty cool people to chat with. The two managers were from Egypt, and they worked for a Kuwaiti company that set up fast food and pizza places up all around the Middle-East. They hadn't been home in 2+ years, so one of them was about to leave to visit his family within the week. They both gave me some good insight into what Egypt is like compared to the rest of the Middle East. They were both Christian, and were proud of the fact that you could worship any religion in Egypt without fear of persecution. They stressed to me the fact that Egyptians were not Arabs, and that even though there was poverty in their country, there was also opportunity for many to succeed. You can't say that about many countries in the Middle East. Nearly all of them have systems that don't allow people to go from being poor to having wealth, and the middle class is far out of reach for the poor. Egypt seems to be different like that. Just like the Iraqis and Jordanians I've met, they too hate Saudi Arabians. To them Saudis are vile, inhuman creatures who you should never go around. I wonder why so many people in the region think dislike Saudi Arabians?
After nearly an hour and a half chatting away, the power came back on and they made the Pizzas quickly. I ended up missing most of the movie, and all of the pizza disappeared before I could even get a slice, but my conversation with the two employees were much more rewarding than any of that. We shared stories, found that we knew mutual jokes (or things to joke about) in our societies, and treaded very lightly around politics... touching the topic just enough to gauge one another's political thoughts. Once again we were all in agreement.
I walked away that night very grateful for meeting such good people, and happy that I was once again able to have a good conversation with people who were so different than I. It was nice to hear non-Western opinions about food, family, religion, politics, and women.