Saturday, October 16, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

I was called out on yesterdays blog piece.
I wrote something that wasn't the total truth.
It was right to have been chastised for this because I want this blog to be only the truth, but somtimes it's hard to write. Truth can be difficult to articulate or face and sometimes it is evasive.

My dear friend who sent me the Jonny Mathis hit albums is definitely a dear friend, but also a past lover. I would have to say that this former lover was one of the most poignant relationships I have had. He being a writer and a Vietnam war veteran totally understands me. I don't think there is anyone who has hooked into me more.

I seem to be overloaded with emotion. Perhaps it is because I am waiting for a decision that will affect my life dramatically. Perhaps I am discovering how precious life is.

One thing that I have learned in life is that sometimes we learn to live around our own. I want to live through mine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

I was very tempted to contact Gabriel, my guardian angel at ISAF, but I knew he wouldn't know anything; so I didn't.

I'm trying to keep my mind busy, but everything reminds me of going to Afghanistan. It's funny to me how you always think about what you don't want to think about. Trying not to think of Afghanistan of course...makes me think of going to Afghanistan.

A dear friend of mine sent me an all hits Johnny Mathis album. The songs are so beautiful. They remind me of when I was young which makes me think of dancing close and necking with boys, which makes me think of young soldiers and there I am...back to Afghanistan.

I try not to check my email too often. I try to plan how I will react to the words that will read positive or negative. Positive and negative makes me think of blood and there I am back to Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Still waiting for my orders.

The hard thing about waiting is that your imagination begins to wander.

This morning I woke up in a cold sweat.
I was in a sand colored hummer with other soldiers and we were driving on a long desolate stretch of highway. Looking ahead between two soldiers helmets I saw the flash.
Should I jump out? Will we be be hit with a rocket? Is it too late by the time you see the flash?

Then I thought, why do they, the soldiers do this? What goes through their mind?
Is it because we the American people have sold being a soldier as a job, like being a police officer or a fireman. Are they risking their lives in Afghanistan for their country or to put food on their table or to get an education?

These are questions I want to find answers too. I want to know who these soldiers are who are risking their lives.

I still want to believe life is not cheap. I need to believe life is not cheap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes


Sometimes I'm better at waiting than at other times.
I'm good at waiting in line. I just go someplace else mentally.
I'm good at waiting for people to show up. I relax and people watch.

I pretend I'm fabulously famous or even royalty and the commoners around me have no idea who I am. I must get a funny look on my face when I have this thought, because I find people start to stare at me and then whisper...I of course imagine they are whispering, "Who is she?", but they are probably commenting about the smudge on my face or the inappropriate saying on my too tight t-shirt.

I've never been good at waiting for things. I've gotten better as I've aged. But I remember one Christmas when I was seven and I found all of the Christmas presents my Mom had hidden away for me. I opened every single one of them carefully and then sealed them back up. Everyone except the box of Thelma Lou's candy.

I opened the box and ate every piece.

Then I closed it up and rewrapped it.

I have never been more disappointed then that Christmas morning when I knew what everything was before I had opened it. I don't remember how I got away with not sharing any of the candy, which was good because it was all gone. My Mom was probably on a diet. She was always on a diet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - Dickie Chapelle

I made my list and checked it twice.

There wasn't enough room to write all the divisions I want to embed with. I put in the two that I definitely want, the 25th Infantry Division and the Leatherneck Marine division. I picked these two because I couldn't find Ernie Pyle's buddies, the 34th Division in all the paperwork; so I picked a dear friend of mine's division the 25th, Bobcat. The Leathernecks are in honor of Dickie Chapelle.

I would also like to spend time at a field hospital and with the Army Corps of Engineers and with the all women's Marine engagement team.

I wrote a brief note to Gabriel that I would go anywhere they wanted me.

Then, I scanned everything into my computer. I didn't think twice or hesitate to email it.

Now I have to wait.

Again, within hours I received an email from what did I forget I thought?
Nothing, everything was in order and was been sent off for processing.

I am now resigned to wait...again, trying to be patient.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

The questions on the ISAF documents are very explicit. Which divisions do you want to embed with and what part of the country do you want to go to? Although, it also says you may not get what you want.

Strangely, I am comforted by this. It sounds just like the government I know. It promises me everthing, but in reality gives me nothing.

Within a few hours after sending my documents, I get an email from ISAF.
I open it with intrepidation. Surely I haven't been rejected all ready.

Just as I suspected, I had done something wrong. I didn't include this document and I didn't fill out another document. I carefully wrote down all of the instructions again. I needed five more documents scanned or filled out properly ASAP ordered Gabriel from ISAF.

Gabriel, and I have become email acquaintances. Mostly because I emailed him several times trying to clarify this or that. He has been very patient with me.

It is significant that his name is Gabriel, as I feel he is my guardian angel.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - red tape

I figure I got the Visa I'm sure I can get an extention.

So, I knocked this hurdle down...I'll make it up on the next run.

What I'm really worried about is the embed. According to the form, in BIG BOLD LETTERS, it reads: YOU ARE NOT EMBEDDED UNTIL YOU RECEIVE YOUR ORDERS. I wonder how long it's going to take. I can get a Visa in 48 hours, I better just go for it.

I fill out the papers as best as I can. I have to pitch the ISAF the story and tell them what I'm going to be writing about. They actually ask: What's the hook! I have to print all this in a little box. My printing isn't that great and I don't have any whiteout. If I make a mistake, I have to reprint the forms.

I ask a friend who was a base commander to look it over. He says I'm good to go.
So I send the forms in by email as instructed.