Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Greetings From Afghanistan

I just got internet working in my room, so this is the first time I am able to post to the blog. Here is something I wrote a few days ago. More to come soon:

This was written on 8 September 2010:
34 Days ago (Friday night on August 6th) I boarded a plane in Fort Campbell, KY bound for FOB Sharana, in the Eastern part of Afghanistan. After getting settled and having some time to reflect I thought I would post some of my journey and experiences.
The first stop we made was in Shannon, Ireland. I’ve never seen a more green countryside in my life and couldn’t stop staring out the window at the rolling hills. We spent about 2 hours at the airport and then re-boarded the airplane. A few people got in trouble for having knives which is completely ridiculous since everyone on the plain, except me, had guns!
We took off and landed a few hours later in Bucharest, Romania. Again, spent a few hours in the airport passing time, drank a phenomenal cappuccino, and then re-boarded.
Next stop was Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan (just north of Afghanistan). We landed on Sunday morning and made our way to the tent we would call home for 2 days. Let me tell you, these Air Force guys have got it made. It’s a small base but has its own PX/BX, a bar (at which they are allowed 2 drinks per day!), wireless internet throughout the entire base, and a great view of the Himalayan mountains. Oh yeah, and they’re only there for 6 months at a time. The Air Force has this deployment thing down!
We took off late at night in a C-17 and landed the next morning in Bagram Airfield just outside of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, finally having arrived in Afghanistan. The stay at Bagram was short lived (thank God). 4 hours later we boarded a C-130 and flew to glorious FOB Sharana.
We were welcomed at the flight line and after scanning our ID cards to prove we were really there, we got rides to our future homes! The housing situation is actually not all that bad, especially compared to some of the small FOBs and COPs that I’ve visited. We have a square room with a center hallway with plywood 3/4ths of the way up to the ceiling creating 4 smaller rooms. It creates some privacy but everyone in the quad can hear what’s going on in each of the rooms.
My individual room is about 8ft x 8ft. I’ve got a bunk bed (I sleep on bottom and store stuff on the top bunk) and some shelves that the guy who lived there before me built. It’s a cement floor but I put down some area rugs for comfort. Overall, its not that bad of a space and I’m finally getting some stuff up on the walls to make it feel more like home (Christmas lights would be a fine addition).
My office is a different story. I’ve got one of the nicest offices that I could ask for. Keeping in mind that its Afghanistan, so my walls are still just plywood, its great! I have a new black leather couch and 2 chairs, two desks, and 4 computers. It is a huge asset to do ministry and it is a great place for my soldiers to hang out and get away from all the other craziness that is happening.
All in all things are going really well. I will post again soon!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getting Adjusted To Life In Afghanistan

Well I'm finally starting to get settled in at my new home. FOB (Forward Operating Base) Sharana is where I will be spending most of my time. The base is huge but size doesn't always equal quality. It feels like one big dust bowl where we are at. That being said, I have my own room, a nice office and hot chow every day. I'll be posting pictures soon once I get all moved in. Right now there is still stuff everywhere and if Christina saw that she would not be happy =).

Even though we just got here, I'm already out traveling. The Chaplain I'm replacing is back in the States with a medical issue so Chaplain Eric Alfsen has offered to let me tag along with him and see what his ministry looks like. He's an Infantry Battalion Chaplain so his guys are spread out all over the place which means we are flying around (fun times). He has been a huge help to me and has gone above and beyond in helping me understand what's going on over here.

Our trip over to Afghanistan was quite the event. We flew from Fort Campbell to Shanon Ireland. Then we flew to Bucurest Romania and then on to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. We spent a few days in Manas living in tents. Then we flew into Afghanistan. In all it took about 4 days of travel to get to FOB Sharana. And from stories I've heard from others, that was pretty fast. I think I'm finally over the Jet-leg.

I want everyone to know that things are going well. I can only talk about things that have already happened to avoid leaking anything about current or future operations. Please continue to pray for the safety of our soldiers, they risk their lives every day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things to do during the Deployment List

We're back to blogging again. Why? Because Chris will be leaving us shortly and this is a great way for us to communicate with each other and our friends and family. Also, I will be living with only a 3 month old. I know, I can talk to her and she'll learn language and it's good for her... but I want a way too keep track of my life during the next year. I've tried the normal journal thing, and I'm not good at it. Luckily, I have met some great friends at Fort Campbell, so It's not as if I have no one to talk to and hang out with for a year. I have plenty of people, which is a HUGE blessing.

So, with looking our first deployment in the face, it's starting to get sad around here. Everyone keeps calling to say "good bye", which is nice of the to think of us, but it makes it harder and harder each time. To get out of my sab thinking I am starting my list of stuff to do during this deployment. Here is my list so far and will be adding to it. I'll also hopefully update when i actually get this stuff done:

Sew Madison clothes
Make myself a new dress
P90X... twice (maybe more to get down to my goal weight)
Run a 1/2 marathon
Visit the Zoo
Visit Chicago
Visit New York
Take pictures
Go line dancing with friends
Get a massage (with my birthday gift certificate from March!)
Kayak with my own Kayak (still in Chicago)
Make baby food (thanks kylee for the idea)
Finish Madison's baby book
Put photos in a photo album
Take golf lessons (chris wants me to learn too)
Make a video of Madison
Learn a song to sing Madison
Get professional photos of Madison

Any more ideas?