Where’s The Oxygen Around Here?!?

Well. Finally in Afghanistan. This place is unlike any I have ever seen. The mountains that are easily visible from where we are at are the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. risingly majestically into the sky and showing the true beauty of this war torn country.

The living situation here is surprisingly nice. Enough space to feel comfy, but small enough where it feels like a small college dorm room. We moved in and slept for the night.

This morning here (like 10 or so hours ahead of the states) we ran a memorial 5k for some fallen soldiers we lost in 2005. So, not even having been in Afghanistan for 12 hours, we went on a run. There were prizes for the top finishers, so I decided to push myself. Not the best idea I’ve had…

Within the first half mile I felt the lack of oxygen in the air hit my lungs like a brick wall. Needless to say, the remainder of the time I was running, I felt like someone was slightly choking me. By the end of the race, I had finished first in my company again, and chalked up a third place finish in the battalion. So you can say that it was worth the pain. Then, the cold hit my lungs. It is November after all, and the weather here functions closer to my home state of Washington than Kentucky or Tennessee. I have never had a coughing attack after running, but the feeling is the absolute worst. Only time I have ever felt like that before was when I had a cold or some other respitory ailment. Not fun, but a reminder that things are going to be different here.

We got back and went to chow. As I have said multiple times, the food here is amazing, and I ate more than I probably should have. The only good part of this deployment so far has been the chow.

The desert here is crazy. the mornings are frigid cold, but by noon, it is as hot as any summer day. And as the sun sets behind the imposing mountains, the cold slowly seeps back in, like an unrelenting tide.

Well. Shit is going to get real here in the next few weeks. Do not be alarmed if you don’t hear from me. I am alive, just not in a position to talk. I promise I will return as soon as I am able.

Peace to you all!


What Is Wrong With This Place?!?

After a good night of sleep that left me very refreshed and mostly recharged, it was time to explore this strange new place I am to call home for the next few days or so until we continue on to our final destination. First item of business was breakfast. We (myself and Matt, one of my best friends in my platoon) walked to the dining facility and ordered breakfast. Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, cocoa puffs, and orange juice. Just like I always have when I’m stateside. It was a relief to finally eat again, even though it had only been a few hours since my KFC binge.

Next thing on my mind was a shower and a shave. Feeling the warm water cascade over me was an amazing feeling. Slowly. Very slowly. This place is starting to feel normal. But normal may not be something I want this place to feel like. Maybe normal is what this place will become, and life stateside will be odd and unnatural. But those are questions for later on in this nine month journey abroad.

Next order of any trip after food and hygiene is supplies. Thankfully there was a base post exchange not far from where we are staying. the post exchange (henceforth referred to as the px) is basically a one stop shop that sells anything but food. I got the necessary items. Socks, Q-tips, power adapter, headphones. The essentials for life away from the usual
comforts of home. We stopped at the open air market after that.

The locals here are a wonderful people. Very friendly and always looking for business opportunites with the soldiers who filter through here. As we were looking through the little bazaar, a notebook seller caught my eye. Leather bound journals of wonderful craftsmanship were his specialty. I ended up buying one from him. A black notebook with a wonderfully intricately carved camel on the cover. It will probably end up being a more mundane and less filtered version of what I put on this site. I look forward to filling its pages with the memories I accrue here.

From what I’ve written so far, it would appear that this place isn’t that bad. Well I have yet to give you the weather conditions here. It truly is a kitty litter box. Sand everywhere, briefly broken up with patches of gravel and plastic walkways. It is surpisingly hot for November, and the sun is nearly blinding as it comes off the sand. But the worst is
the wind. Very windy, and the feeling is truly disgusting. The sand kicked up gets everywhere and makes you always feel dirty.

We keep busy. Sleeping, eating, reading, and exploring this wonderful new place. I only wish I could continue my language studies in spanish in peace here. They told us to have a goal for ourselves while we are here on deployment. For me it is learning a language in nine months. It’s an ambitious task for sure, but I know I am more than capable of completing the goal.

The dreaded jet lag hit hard today. I’m ashamed to say that I slept all afternoon and through dinner. But that’s what midnight chow is for, so I’m not going to bed hungry. But seriously, this whole sleep all day and night is getting rediculous. I just want to get back to a normal sleep schedule. The wind isn’t as hard at night, giving us a reprieve from
the harsh conditions of the day. But I’m signing off for now.

Peace to you all!

Well This Sure Ain’t Kansas

WELl. It’s been a long time traveling. I lost track of the hours after the first meal on the plane. Not gonna lie. Airplane food is highly underrated. However. I did enjoy the time on the plane. All like 15 hours of actual flight time.

We boarded the plane in Kentucky and began flying. As I settled in for the flight, I put a movie on and kept an eye on the tracker of the plane’s flight. Seeing us head north over New York and finally over the North Atlantic was a surreal feeling. When we hit Ireland and flew directly over it, the suspense grew in my mind. What was this new adventure going to look like? What kind of people would I meet?

We touched down in Germany and got off to stretch our legs. The first half of our journey was over. Next came the flight to the sandbox.

The one thing I like about flying is the turbulence. Crazy. I know. But the rise and fall of the plane reminds me of the waves and the times spent on lakes on a raft just floating along. When times were simpler. We landed down at the airport. As I looked out the window, all I saw was brown. Brown sky,  brown dirt, brown buildings. To be honest,  it looked uncannily close to tattooinne from the Star Wars series.

We got rooms, and settled in. Then came the time for food. Thank god for middle eastern Starbucks and KFC. Chicken was on point.

I am currently relaxing in a recreation building on the base. It’s 0130 in the morning, but the jet lag hasn’t set in yet. I saw a map on the wall here with pins put onto it to mark people’s hometowns. I proudly put one on lookout mountain. I’m already dreaming of going home.

Well. That’s all for tonight. I’m safe and in good company. Peace to you all.