Off for some R&R
Dearest parental units and such,
I am so happy to announce that our plane trip has been confirmed, and we depart Camp Arifjon in the morning! We leave at 0300 tomorrow morning to travel by bus up to Camp Doha, Kuwait.
We will arrive in Germany tomorrow night, and my friends Rob and Andrea will be picking me up to carry my luggage for me while I kiss the ground they walk on. But in all honestly, I packed lightly, so they shouldn't be complaining. Today we had the Customs officials (Air Force Pukes) inspect all of our baggage, and out of all of the officers and NCOs in my tent, my pile was by far the smallest and I was repacked first as well. Yes, we raced, because after all, this was the highlight of our day. Otherwise, it was just clearing our tents, napping, eating and avoiding the scorching outdoors as much as possible.
The small things entertain us now (as if they didn't before!). We are not whining about having too much time off though, no sir-ee. I think we all needed this 10-day period to unwind and decompress in our own ways before going home where we are expected to pick right up where we left off in our lives. I think it's part of the plan to make us more socially acceptable after Iraq. I guess that I can only speak for myself, but I have gone through a series of moods and emotional phases since I've been here at Camp Arifjon. Everything seems a bit surreal to me here.
For instance, the Air Force and Army airmen and soldiers that are stationed here wear civilian clothes when not at work, have American-like facilities, are nearly all issued personal SUVs upon arrival, do not carry weapons ever, and live in high-rise condos. And to add insult to injury, they are all very tan since they have an Olympic sized swimming pool that they frequent. It seems to me it's better to be stationed in Kuwait than in Korea, and yet they are still receiving the same combat pay and benefits that those soldiers in Iraq get. They are also given the same combat awards, just for being separated from their familes as opposed to actually suffering any kind of danger or discomfort. I think it's embarassing. For all of the money that is wasted out here though, I suppose I won't gripe too much since it's soldiers that are receiving those funds instead of someone like a KBR lifeguard who is making $110,000 a year! The military always finds a way to get their money's worth out of you eventually.
I am getting ready to walk back up to my tent now so that I can TRY to get some sleep before our departure in the wee hours of the morning. Many of us have been having trouble sleeping lately. I know that I haven't slept well in two to three days now. I drift in and out of strange dreams while fighting to get comfortable. Something is always going numb while sleeping on that cot. Old injuries are finding their way back to me. I was flipping and flopping on it last night for two hours before I finally found my happy spot and dozed off. Yesterday I woke up after having a dream about going through each and every clothing item in my closetand being frustrated and excited at the prospect of finding something nice to wear. I know, you're thinking that for my entire life, I've "never had anything to wear," but currently, all of my clothes in my closet are from the winter! I'm stressing about it subconsciously I guess! It's stupid, I know. I must face my fears and just commit to going shopping on Day One of my Reintegration Training! :)
You know, I just want to take a moment to say a couple of things before I sign off. This is the closing of a significant chapter in my life, and I want to thank you all for being there with me the whole time, YET AGAIN. My entire life, you have been there for me, supporting me and making efforts to keep me in your lives. I have always felt that no matter what chaotic situation I put myself in, I could always come home to remind myself where my foundation and balance is. I can only hope that you benefit in even a small way by my staying in touch with you too. Writing letters with you over the years has been fun for me, and I've so appreicated all that you've done. You are the one sure thing for me--family.
Friendship is the second sure thing, and I've truly developed some beautiful friendships over the years. I never imagined that I'd be so lucky. Thank you, my friends! I appreciate all of your letters, packages, and prayers. I love you so much, and I cannot wait to come home again. Germany, I'm on my way...
And God Bless America!!!!